Montreal Kimono Club September Meet-Up

Yesterday, a group of local kimono collectors got together for a casual meet-up to celebrate the end of Summer. We started in a quiet little park near my place, then to Le Petit Tokebi, a combined Korean and Japanese restaurant, for dinner. We finished up at Ca Lem, an ice cream place I love to bits because they make vegan options like sorbet and coconut milk ice cream so I can eat there and not die. I’m a big fan of not dying.

The timing of our event was perfect. Thursday and Friday were incredibly windy and rainy, to the point that nearby areas were under a tornado watch! Today is cold and damp. Yesterday, somehow, the kimono gods graced us with beautiful sun and just enough of a breeze for kimono to be comfortable. We really lucked out.

I wore my new-ish teal komon from Kimonomachi. I really love having kimono that fit me so well. Eventually I will buy a third one of these, when I have some money to spare. My initial plan was a red nagoya obi  but I realised that would have been nearly the same as the last time I wore it. I then remembered I have this cream-and-red hakata obi with asanoha that’s an absolute perfect match for the kimono! I went with fairly plain accessories otherwise, since the kimono is so bold already.

(before anyone asks – yes these two group shots were composited in Photoshop. We had nobody to capture all of us together so I cobbled together two photos)

One of the things I love about these meet-ups is the wide variety kimono and kitsuke. It’s so fun to see everyone express their personalities and personal sense of style. Kimono is so great for that – for garments that are essentially all the same shape, there’s so much that can be conveyed through colour, fabric, and motif.

Dinner was lovely too. The place was really sweet and quiet with a great atmosphere, and the staff all seemed really pleased by our outfits. There were also these adorable miniatures behind our table, and you know I had to grab some photos!

By the time dinner was done, it was cooling down a fair bit but that sure wasn’t going to stop us from getting our ice cream! I’ll be so sad at the end of September when Ca Lem closes for winter 🙁

It was a really great day, I had lots of fun with friends both familiar and new, and I can’t wait for our next meet-up!

Items used in this coordination

YATAI MTL! at the Marche Des Possibles – 2018

As much fun as last year’s YATAI! Japanese street food festival was, I have to admit that it was a little disorganised and definitely had room to grow. Thankfully, this year they took everything they learned from last year and it was so much more amazing! There was plenty of varied and delicious food, fun music, a yukata booth provided by Kimono Yuki, and even a giant daruma art project. There were several workshops over the course of the weekend, including one about tea, one about sake, and some origami. I didn’t participate in any, but it was definitely a nice addition to the concept. It’s amazing to see events like this grow and evolve!

Of course, it was an excellent opportunity for me to wear this new wide yukata I have, and I managed to drag my friends along too! I’ve known Sophie and Dave for eons, and they’re some of my best friends, but somehow I’d never had the opportunity to dress them until now. It was super fun. I kept things very comfy-casual since neither of them has worn yukata before, and we all wore comfortable shoes because the event is in a park with lots of roots and uneven terrain.

As fun as dressing up was, the main draw of the festival was the food. There were lots of amazing options, but in the end I went for a Japanese-style hot dog, yakisoba (noodles), korokke (potato croquette), and karaage (fried chicken). Dave also bought me some grilled corn on the cob, which I happily bit into before realising it had butter on it. I’m inconveniently but not fatally allergic to dairy, so nothing disastrous happened but I did have to stop eating it, alas! Everything I did eat was absolutely delicious, but the karaage was definitely my favourite. So juicy and crispy! And of course, dango for dessert! We also ended up swinging by Ca Lem, a place near my house on the way home that’s got lots of vegan ice cream options. I got a strawberry sorbet and it was the perfect finishing touch to the evening.

We also noticed while waiting in one of the lines that Sophie’s outfit was a perfect match to the cute little girl on their sign. so I convinced her to strike a pose. And of course, no yukata outing would be complete without stupid photos of me eating. We also tried to get a photo of my hair because I really liked how it turned out. The photo’s not great but at least my brain surgery scar looks cool, right?!

The whole day was great fun, and it’s so wonderful to see events like this grow and flourish in Montreal! Next year will be even better, I’m sure. And there’s several other fun things coming up, like the Matsuri Japon and Asian Night Market, and I’m hoping to hit up one or both of them. Maybe I’ll drag some friends along for those too. 🙂

Diane’s Outfit

Sophie’s Outfit

Dave’s Outfit

Pop! Montreal Marché des Possibles

Tonight I was invited to the opening night of Marché des Possibles, a local annual event put on by Pop! Montreal. You might remember my post from last summer about the Yatai MTL! food festival, which is one of the themed weekends that’s part of this event.

They contacted me through here so I figured it would be a great excuse to wear a kimono, but it’s currently waaaay too hot for either of my synthetic hitoe and they’re really all that fit me at the moment. So I decided to improvise and wear my pink lace haori over a summery tunic with a sakura design. I love how this looks; I feel like I represented Kimono Tsuki well but felt breezy and comfortable and was I was much better able to enjoy the evening!

Marché des Possibles is held every weekend between June 22 and July 29, and features a lovely variety of local craftspeople, vendors, and restaurants. I found a beautiful pair of earrings that happened to perfectly match my dress from Mi Florcita that are made of real pressed flowers in resin, and a gorgeous crescent moon ceramic pendant by Creations Lucie Jolicoeur and you all know I can’t pass up a good moon! I think this will also look really cool as a sort of improvised obidome. I’ll be sure to try it out in the near future.

I will definitely be going back to the event on the weekend of July 19, as that’s when this year’s Yatai! is. I’m hoping to wear one of my yukata, if the weather and my body cooperate, and I’ll post lots of photos. If you’re in or around the Montreal area this summer, give this event a visit.

O-Hanami & Taiko at the Montreal Botanical Gardens

On Sunday, a few members of the Montreal kimono club got together at the Montreal Botanical Gardens to have our own little O-hanami. The climate here isn’t ideal for sakura, but we’ve got lots of crabapples which look almost as lovely and are almost as transient and ethereal.

I had a blast. We met lots of awesome people, posed for a bunch of photos, and generally had a great time. Although it was slightly marred by me tripping at one point and pulling the hanao out of my zori. I spent the bulk of the day walking in tiny awkward steps, gripping my shoe with my toes to prevent falling off. Eventually I just gave up and walked around in my tabi, since they’d gotten dirty when I tripped initially. A bit gauche, I know, but better than spraining something. Especially since I’m still recovering from falling down the stairs a few weeks back.

This post is going to be incredibly image-heavy, because everything was lovely and also we’re a bunch of silly people who like to ham things up. Click through for kimono, taiko drumming, and a lovely ikebana show!

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Ikebana Workshop at Kyoto Fleurs

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an ikebana workshop at Kyoto Fleurs, a charming local florist here in Montreal. I know that when I started this journey I said I would focus on self-driven learning and more casual forms because I didn’t have the resources to commit to proper lessons, but the great thing about these workshops is that they’re held once a month and you don’t need to attend regularly, you can just come to one whenever you’re free and have some money to spare. This setup is much more accessible to me than a more rigid once-a-week type schedule.

The workshop was taught by Satoko Ueno, who has twenty years of experience and teaches the Shogetsu school style. I’ve typically been learning free-form and Ikenobo-style through books and videos, and it was great to get help with a more strict and traditional form from another school. The workshop was broken up into two parts, the first part was a very rigid traditional arrangement using tulips, and the second part was a free-form arrangement of willow branches, pittosporum, and vibrant anemones.

First Satoko-san demonstrated each form, very clearly and kindly explaining as she went. We all watched intently as she showed us each step and broke down the stricter rules of the traditional ikebana as she assembled the arrangement.  She also provided us with printouts breaking down heights, proportions, and shapes to keep in mind. Of course, I forgot mine there as I was leaving. I’m not the most organised person on the planet sometimes…

The free-form arrangement was very different; we were all given the same materials and general guidelines but allowed to do whatever felt and looked right. It was fascinating to see all the difference in shapes and compositions we all came up with, despite starting with the same things. It also confirmed to me that I’m much more fond of the liberty the free-form style affords, but I really do need to focus on more traditional shapes and rules for a while, I think.

Here are my two final arrangements. I’m quite happy with both of them!

As much as I’ve been enjoying doing this on my own, this workshop showed me that I still have so much to learn! Being able to see a teacher’s work in person as well as receiving immediate feedback and constructive criticism as I went was an invaluable experience. I’m very much looking forward to attending more of these if I can arrange time off work.

If you’re local and interested in attending one of these awesome workshops, you can follow Kyoto Fleurs on Facebook. They’re typically going to be held the first Tuesday of each month, but dates are subject to change so follow them to get updates and information in advance!