Back to the Classics

It feels like sometimes I get so caught up in my kitsuke experimentation, be it kimono-as-costumes, turning a kimono into a ballgown, steampunk hime-styles, or one of the other multitudes of things I’ve done lately, that I forget about the timeless simplicity that drew me to kimono in the first place. So for this outfit, I decided to go in a very clean and traditional direction that’s all about the little details. I paired up my sagara embroidery tsukesage with an obi I got in the infamous obi bundle and hadn’t used yet. Accessories were plain and classic, a casual obijime that reflects the colour of the kimono and an obiage that adds a little bit of sweetness while still being quiet and discreet. This obi’s motif placement is very strange, and I had to cheat a fair bit while tying it, but isn’t that what mannequins are for? ;)

I doubt I’ll be reaching for this obi again any time soon, which is a shame because the soft embroidered details on it are so pretty. It’s just too much of a nuisance.  But I very am glad I decided to drag these two pieces out of storage and do something with them. I’m working on a bunch of new stuff behind the scenes, so this may be the last outfit post for a few weeks. I’m glad it’s one I’m proud to leave on the mannequin.

Field Trip! “From the Lands of Asia” at Pointe-à-Callière Museum, Montreal

Yesterday, I finally made my way to the From the Lands of Asia exhibit at Pointe-à-Callière Museum here in Montreal. The exhibit has been going on since mid-November and I kept procrastinating. Earlier this week I found out it ends this weekend, so I knew I had to get my butt in gear and go!

I would have liked to wear kimono, but we had a terrible blizzard earlier this week and I knew I wouldn’t be able to trudge through the aftermath and spend several hours in a museum in comfort, so I decided to go subtle and wear a haori and kanzashi hairpin over a cute dress. The fact that I ended up wearing a ton of green on St. Patrick’s Day was an unintentional but nice bonus. But enough about me!

The exhibit was absolutely gorgeous. It featured over four hundred items from the private collection of one couple, Sam and Myrna Myers. It started out with ancient Chinese jades, followed by Buddhist artwork and artifacts through multiple Asian cultures, and ended with what was of course the highlight for me, a feature all on kimono! It was fascinating to see so clearly how kimono and Japanese art in general was so strongly influenced by ancient Chinese art and textiles before it. Watching the progression of how something you love so much comes to be can be intensely rewarding.

The kimono featured were primarily stage pieces and late Edo or early Meiji clothing, and they were all absolutely lush and gorgeous. It’s clear that the Myers were a couple of discerning tastes. I took over 150 photos, but I’ve chosen some of the best and most relevant ones to share here, but if you’re curious to see the rest there is a public album available on Facebook here.

Ikigai, or why this blog exists

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is most accurately translated as a reason for being, but often referred to more colloquially as a reason for getting up in the morning. Each circle represents an ideal; that which you love, that which you are good at, that which the world needs, that which can support you. Where all four overlap, there is your ikigai, your purpose for living.

I will be honest with you all right now. I haven’t been in a great place mentally this month. While there’s no one thing seriously wrong, there have just been a lot of little frustrations and disappointments piling up, and it’s weighing heavily on me now. I miss being able to actually wear kimono, but my health is a constant challenge, as is my size. I’ve been trying to do more, to share more things with you lovely readers, but work exhausts me and eats my free time. Last week I ordered a garment rack to display kimono so I could update my catalogue, and that became a whole absurd saga in and of itself (which I will share with you soon!). My point is, sometimes this passion of mine feels more like a chore, and I found myself wondering why I do it.

That was when I was reminded of the concept of ikigai. While I may not be able to use this blog to support myself financially (in fact, rather the opposite – as many of you know, this hobby ain’t cheap!) collecting, coordinating, and displaying kimono fulfill me in a way not many things can. Sometimes the thing you love the most can be the thing that drives you the craziest, but in the end it’s always worth it. I just need to keep reminding myself that frustrations are temporary. So thank you all for reading, subscribing, and sticking with me. Sharing with you gives me purpose. You are the reason this blog exists. 💗

Everyone cheer, Melons are here!

I am really making an effort not to buy new kimono, but sometimes I find things that just call to me. When I found this komon (for less than ten dollars, I might add) I knew I had to have it. In my mind, it looked just like a slab of malachite. However, when it arrived the general consensus was that it looked like watermelon, especially with the pink lining. I’m still very likely going to do a coordination around the green stone, but I had to go with the melon first.

A sweet pink hakata obi and pink haneri seemed like the way to go, and then I remembered I have this cute black spade obidome that sort of evokes the feel of a watermelon seed against the pink of the obi. It’s a very simple, very casual outfit but I think it really conveys the fresh, summery feeling of biting into a juicy slice of watermelon. Now, if only the warmer weather would hurry up and get here!

(If the title of this entry seems familiar to you, that’s because it is from a very silly (and not exactly work-safe) video by Mr. Weebl)

Happy Hinamatsuri!

Just a quick post today, to wish you all a happy Hinamatsuri! One day I hope to own a full, proper set of hina dolls but until I have the space and the budget for it, I’ve started a little bit of a personal tradition. Last year I made an origami set and while I still love them I wanted to do something a little more complex for this year. When my friend Amanda posted her Perler bead hina doll set on Facebook, I knew I’d found my project. They were very fun and relaxing to make. I’d forgotten how fun Perler bead crafts are, and I’m happy to have been reminded. I can’t wait to make more stuff :)

If you’d like to try making a set of your own, here is the pattern for the Obina (男雛, Emperor) and here is the Mebina (女雛, Empress). I didn’t have the exact colours needed so I took a bit of creative liberty but I think they look absolutely adorable!