Pride Rainbow!

June, as you may know, is Pride month for the LGBT+ community. Here in Montreal we have a Pride festival of our own in August, but I wanted to do something for June. I don’t really own any rainbow-themed items, but I realised I could assemble a rainbow of solid-coloured pieces! My fabulous purple komon with silver lamé designs, complemented by a red haori, yellow haneri, orange obiage, green obijime and blue hanhaba obi. I love how bold and vibrant this outfit is! It would be fun to wear this to an event, but it’s all lined synthetic and incredibly hot and heavy, even just to dress the mannequin.

The finishing touch was a beaded rainbow choker I’ve had for eons. I know necklaces aren’t technically proper for kimono but this outfit is already all over the place formality-wise to suit the rainbow theme, so I just ran with it.

I do apologise for the photos, my flash batteries are close to dying and I didn’t realise how badly balanced they were until I got downstairs and started processing them. Unfortunately, it’s nearly 40 C (100+ F) in my living room right now and I can’t deal with the idea of going back upstairs and taking more photos.

The world is a scary place right now. Just know that I love you all, whatever your orientation and gender may be. Stand tall and never be ashamed of who you are inside, even if you’re in a place where being yourself openly puts you at risk.

Items used in this coordination

Nageire Crabapple Ikebana

As I mentioned a while back, the climate here in Montreal isn’t exactly ideal for sakura, but you can bet that as soon I saw a crabapple tree with these ruffly pink blooms on it on public land by the side of the road, I convinced my father to pull over so I could go cut some. Yes, I do keep a pair of pruning secaturs in the car for just this sort of situation. I have no shame at this point. Don’t worry though, I definitely don’t trespass or take flowers from private or manicured gardens!

These blooms are so lovely and have the perfect textural balance of rough bark and soft petals. I knew that I wasn’t going to include any other type of flower or vegetation to make sure they stayed the focus of the whole arrangement. I wanted to do a nageire (thrown-in) style ikebana, just relying on a tall vase and the natural inclination of the branches, rather than the more structural moribana style with a kenzan that I seem to gravitate towards most of the time. I was also thrilled to finally be able to use this vase; I received it as a surprise in the mail a while back. Whoever sent it (I’m going to take a guess that you read this blog), thank you so much. It’s so beautiful!

A couple of blossoms fell off as I was arranging the branches and they felt so pretty and natural and emblematic of the short-lived beauty of spring that I decided to leave them where they were. And yes, I used my new screen again. Sorry not sorry! I think it may become my default setup for my ikebana posts. I also couldn’t resist taking a couple of close-ups. Should I include detail shots of my arrangements more often? Let me know in the comments!

Movie Review – Batman Ninja

If you know me, you’ll know that aside from being a big kimono geek I’m also a big comic book geek. So when I saw that DC Animation was collaborating with Kamikaze Douga (an anime production studio known for some very bizarre cult titles) on Batman Ninja I knew I was going to have to watch it. I had zero plans to review this movie, I initially just thought I’d watch it for fun, since it combines two things I’m very fond of. But then I started watching it and realised I had A Lot Of Thoughts that called out to be shared.

First off, let me say, this movie is a trip and a half. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just be prepared for ninety minutes of utter ridiculousness. The animation studio are the same folks who put out some of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and all of Pop Team Epic, so if you’re familiar with either of those shows you’ll have an idea of the flamboyant craziness to expect. If that intrigues you, click through to read on! Continue reading

Tokaido Road for Tony Bourdain

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I often make coordinations as a sort of coping mechanism when someone I admire passes on. Friday morning, I heard the news I wasn’t expecting to hear for decades yet. Tony Bourdain was dead. Devastatingly, lost to suicide. This one hit me much harder than any other recent death. I’ve been a huge fan of his for longer than I can remember. His television shows, his books, even the comic books he’s written. I’ve actually been working on a post that involves some of those, but it’s been put to the side for the time being.

In an age of approachable, inviting celebrity chefs and easily marketed sound bites, Anthony Bourdain showed us that it was important to be honest and true to yourself. He showed us that it was entirely possible to be ascerbic and foul-mouthed while being open and empathetic. He used his bad-boy persona and privileged status to amplify the voices of downtrodden people who so many would have ignored, and did it all over a shared meal.

This 53 Stations of the Tokaido obi is an item that had been on my wishlist for months, and when I got a notification that it was on sale I jumped on it. I hadn’t used it yet, waiting for the right time, and what a better way to use this motif focused on travel than to honour a man who encouraged us all to travel and explore and experience new things? I kept the rest of the outfit very subdued, to maintain the focus on the obi.

If you do anything today, do it honestly, do it with no reservations. Try something out of your comfort zone. Sit down and listen to someone you’d normally overlook. Reach out to a loved one. Eat something incredible. Do it with open eyes, open ears, open mouth, open heart, and open mind.

Items used in this coordination

Vibrant Poppy Ikebana

More beauties from our garden – this time it’s these stunning, vibrant poppy blossoms! Poppies hold a special place in this household, for multiple reasons. My mother’s name is Poppy, and my parents met in the Canadian Armed Forces, so the poppy also represents remembrance. There are poppy-themed items all over our house, I have poppies incorporated into one of my tattoos, and of course my mother planted some in our front garden.

I really wanted this piece to be a very simple and clean arrangement with no clutter. I went for a traditional format inspired by what I learned of the Sogetsu school style at the workshop I attended a few months back. A plain white vessel and black pedestal serve to anchor the whole thing while ensuring that all the focus remains on the blossoms themselves. And look, no screen today! Don’t worry though, it’ll definitely be back soon.