Bunny Geta

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I apologize for the gap between updates lately. I’m stuck in a perfect storm of being too sick to dress myself, too poor to buy new items, and too busy to catalogue old things, and it sucks. However, Kansai Gal sent me a box of all sorts of awesome stuff and these geta were in it, so here’s a little something to tide you over. And yes, I still have that giant box of obi to work my way through.

There are no words to express how adorable I find these things. The straps are thick white chirimen, and they’re embroidered with adorable pink bunnies and fireworks. I can’t wait to be able to wear them with this awesome bunny komon.

Bunny Geta

Bunny Geta

New geta haul

I’ve been wanting more “dressy” geta, ones I could wear with casual kimono or in inclement weather. These showed up on Yahoo Japan and Naomi, mutual enabler that she is, linked me. She bought a bunch as well, which made me feel better about splurging a bit.

Pink playing-card geta
Pink playing card geta
Pink playing card geta
Seriously, how cute are these? I just couldn’t pass them up. I love stuff with playing card motifs, and while I thought the pink might be a little twee, it’s actually a really perfect dusty pink that goes with far more things than I anticipated. They’re also surprisingly large, which is great for my gigantic feet.

Black skull butterfly geta
Black skull butterfly geta
Black skull butterfly geta
These actually came bundled with an epic yukata and obi that I will be posting about in the coming days, but I figured they were better suited to this post. The straps on them are a little shiny and cheap-looking, but they are insanely comfortable so I don’t think I’m going to bother changing them. What I really love about these is at first glance the design on the heels is a simple butterfly. Cute, but nothing particularly exceptional, right? Look again, particularly on the bottom hollows of the butterfly wings. Yes, those are hidden skulls. How freakin’ cool is that?!

Heeled geta with green shibori hanao
Stylish geta
These feel really nice and dressy to me, I love the shape of them. I also really like the hanao, but they’re quite overpowering so I actually plan to remove them and put them on the next pair of geta (see below), and replace them with some subtle red and grey hanao to make them a bit more versatile.

Curvy geta with flower design
Curvy geta with flowers
I absolutely love the unique shape of these, I find them very sensual. The lacquered flowers are also really charming. The hanao, however, are cheap and brittle, but that’s okay because I eventually plan on removing them and adding the green shibori ones from the pair above! I think they will look amazing and coordinate well with the flowers – better even than the pair currently on there.

Geta Makeover

Geta Makeover!

I purchased these geta a while back from my friend Amelie, because I’d been looking for a pair of slightly dressier geta I could wear with vintage or casual kimono. The straps were painfully tight and an akward shade of green velour that didn’t really go well with anything I owned.

Naomi sent me a wonderful box full of random goodies, and in it was this pair of gorgeous black pinstripe hanao. They’re wonderfully subtle and iki in my mind, and perfect for what I had in mind for the geta in the first place.

I’d lengthened the hanao on several of my pairs of zori before, so I figured I had enough experience to throw caution to the wind and go all Mad Scientist on the geta. There are a lot of images here, so I’ve made them smaller than usual. Click on them for larger sizes if you are curious :)

Phase 1: Lay the geta, bottoms-up, on a convenient flat clean surface.

Phase 2: Using a pair of small pliers (I used some sturdy jewelers pliers), pull the staple out from the flap under the toes and carefully undo the knotted cords.

Phase 3: Stripped geta bases with no hanao.

Phase 4: Insert the hanao back into the toe-hole, tie it around the metal pin, and carefully hammer the staple back into the rubber flap, making sure the cords are covered.

Phase 5: Thread the ends of the hanao into the back holes and tie the strings together in a tight knot and then tie the excess in repeated square knots around itself.

Repeat for the second geta, and voila, sexy and stylish new look.

While working on them, I noticed the black lacquer had chipped off one of the toes. This was simple to fix with a bottle of black nail polish.

And here I am wearing them with some delightfully obnoxious tabi!

Eventually I would like to replace the rubber soles on the bottom, and will share my adventures with that when the time comes. The whole process only took me about half an hour, and I think it was absolutely worthwhile. I now have a pair of well-fitting and stylish black geta, and the knowledge that I can totally do this again if I ever find another pair that’s not in fabulous shape. I hope seeing the procedure encourages you to try it as well if it’s something you were considering but were feeling overwhelmed by!

Hey, hey, wait a minute, Mister Postman!

Sometimes, I suspect the mail carriers in this area really dislike me. I’m constantly getting big packages. Today, I really surpassed myself with three separate deliveries! One, a book called When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan, arrived in the regular post and I will be writing a review of it when I have time to read it properly. First impressions are very positive though.

The other packages were larger, and more unwieldy, and the mail carrier was kind enough to leave them with my neighbours since I was at the cardiologist. Getting home was like having an unexpected birthday, or Christmas come early! So much pretty stuff! Since there are so many things included here, I have used smaller-than-usual photographs. Please click on them to view big versions, they will open in a new window.

Black zori with red chirimen accents

One of the few things I actually truly needed was another pair of casual, comfortable zori. Nearly all the footwear I owned prior to this was very dressy, all in shiny metallic vinyl or silk brocade. These fit nicely and I absolutely love the colour combo and the little chirimen silk insert in the stacked heel. They were a total bargain at $10!

Grey purse with kiku and black trim

This purse, and the one below it, were being sold by one of the sellers I regularly buy kimono from. They’re modern, and made of heavy denim-like cotton, but the designs are definitely kimono-inspired. This one in particular I can definitely see using every day. I love the contrast of the soft, girly fabric and the hard leatherette and metal details.

Red purse with ume and cream trim

This purse was bought at the same time as the previous one. It’s much bigger than I anticipated (I suspect the measurements listed were off), but definitely no complaints there! It’s fun and bright and while I don’t anticipate using it every day, it will definitely be a way to add a splash of colour and personality to a quiet outfit, either kimono or western clothing.

Now comes the find of the month, a bundle of five vintage obi for a total of twelve dollars (plus S&H). They were listed as “scrap fabric,” but as you’ll see four of them are completely wearable as-is, and the fifth one I am going to attempt to salvage and turn into a two-part easy obi.

Vintage cream nagoya obi with fans, thread spindles, and flowers

This is the main reason I bid on the bundle in the first place. I am just head over heels in love with this obi. The colours and style of yuzen make me suspect it’s late Taisho or early Showa, and even if it’s not it still evokes the feel nicely. I plan to wear it with my indigo Taisho houmongi sometime soon.

Mustard obi with flowers

I openly admit I am not very fond of the base colour of this obi, it’s a sort of a strange gold/mustard, but the woven flowers are very pretty and versatile, so I’m sure I will find a good use for it.

Cream obi with orange and silver waves

I’ve wanted something with a smooth wave motif for a while now, and this more than satisfies my urge. It’s vibrant and graphic and I like it very much.

White obi with red and gold flowers

The auction photos really didn’t do this one justice. It looked like a cute but relatively boring obi with some gold weaving and round dots. In person, both the gold and the red have such a rich silky shimmer to them that they look like rubies set in gold filigree.

Blue obi with herons

This was dubbed the Narwhal Bird Obi by my friend Kansai_Gal and I can totally see why XD. Unfortunately, it’s also the obi that is severely damaged – the silk is shredded to ribbons right above the folded area where the main heron is. Hopefully, I will be able to carefully cut it and sew it into a two-part obi. I will record my attempts and write an entry about that sometime in the near future. If worse comes to worst, I will simply turn it into haneri and possibly an obiage. The fabric will get used, one way or another.

A girl can never have too many shoes or purses!

Even when it comes to kimono! Typically, the only proper shoes to be worn are zori, a sort of platform sandal made of leather, vinyl, or brocade silk, or geta, a wooden sandal with fabric thong hanao (straps). Zori are dressier, geta are usually worn with yukata, though with a more vintage or experimental outfit, they can be worn with kimono. Handbags are usually clutch-style, small enough to fit in a hand. Sometimes they’ll have a small strap or chain, but not always. For dressier outfits, you can get matching sets, but like western wear, it’s not necessary to have your shoes and bag match, and in some cases can even seem old-fashioned.

I have large feet, even by North American standards, so finding footwear that fits is always a challenge. Thankfully, traditional Japanese footwear is worn with the heel hanging off the end of the shoe, so wearing them too small is not a huge issue, so long as they are comfortable. I’ve lucked out and found a few pairs I quite like, but I am keeping an eye out for more.

Pastel Saga-nishiki set

This a very dressy set, good for furisode or tomesode. The zori are a bit tight, but they’re not something I wear often, so I can deal with it.

Gold and orange Saga-nishiki set

Another dressy set, but the colours are a bit more subdued so these get a bit more exposure. There’s a cute little mirror in the bag, and when I got it it was stuffed with newspapers from the early 1950s, which I found awesome.

Gold vinyl zori

My largest pair, and one of my most versatile. The hanao and the heels have inserts of red and black with little gold sakura on them. They’re comfortable, and by kimono standards, neutral.

Silver vinyl zori

Another large, comfortable, versatile pair. I took a risk on these – the auction listing just said “Japanese sandals” and the picture was iffy. There was also no size listed. I’m quite shocked at how large they are!

Black zori with woven hanao

These poor babies get more use than the town bicycle. They’re comfortable and casual, and since there are so many colours in them they match so many outfits. If they ever fall apart I will be devastated.

Black ukon geta

A great little versatile pair of black geta. I’m planning on changing the hanao on these ones eventually, the green does not match anything I own XD

Blue modern geta

Slightly dressier geta (carved heel, gold accents on the hanao) that I sometimes wear in inclement weather, or with older kimono. They’re a little slippery, which makes them hard to wear with tabi, but a quick spritz of hairspray fixes that.

Casual Hello Kitty geta

Big, floppy, noisy, knockoff Hello Kitty geta. For yukata only, and even then only in a very casual situation!

Black arabesque clutch bag

I love this bag so much. I snagged it for $0.99, I cannot believe how lucky I was. It’s a lovely soft black silk with woven swirls, and a snowflake-like design in silver. The top is an awesome reddish tortoiseshell Bakelite and the leather handle can also be tucked into the purse and hidden.

Mauve handbag with black trim

Yet another $0.99 find. It’s a pretty dusty mauve rinzu silk with black leather trim and a celluloid and metal clasp. It’s also quite large, about 25cm long. There was a cute little mirror tucked into one pocket when I got it.

Leather bingata-style clutch

Another amazing $0.99 find. I seem to have a knack for snagging bags nobody else bid on. I’m not sure if it’s real leather or vinyl, but it’s soft and supple and has an awesome Bingata-style stencil print and metal hardware.

White and silver clutch

Strictly speaking, this is not a kimono bag at all. It’s actually a promotional makeup clutch from MAC cosmetics. XD However, it’s got a great little rococo feel and fits perfectly into the sleeve of a kimono. It was never used for cosmetics, and so is good and clean. It’s pretty casual, but cute.

Striped tsumugi wallet

Just a simple little jewel-toned flat pocket, good for holding cards and cash and tucking into the front of my obi, or washi paper for sweets during a Japanese-style event.