Geisha Henshin

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was going to be visiting Naomi. One of the things we’d planned to do was a full geisha henshin, something I lacked both the know-how and wardrobe to do. I knew she had a lovely purple hikizuri with ferns on it and we’d decided to use that. HOWEVER… about a month ago, a gorgeous hikizuri in shades of purple with indigo ariso (curled up jumping carp) showed up on eBay. I wanted it desperately, but with my trip coming up I couldn’t justify bidding too much, so it slipped out of my grasp. Imagine my shock when Naomi was handing me things to look at and said “oh, and I have this old thing, you can keep it”, and I saw that very hiki when I unfolded it. I was in a bit of a tired, emotional state to begin with and I totally lost it and started crying, I was so touched. It turns out she and Erica had conspired to get it for me as a “very very early birthday/Christmas present”. For the record, my birthday is in November.

So anyway, when we did the henshin today, of course I had to wear my new hiki. I have to say, it still feels weird to say that. My new hiki. Mine!. But I digress. It was a super fun experience, and we took waaaaay too many pictures. I’ve uploaded my favourites to Flickr, and plugged in a gallery below, but here are some of the best.

Geisha Henshin

Geisha Henshin

Geisha Henshin

And, just because it’s hilarious – geisha henshin with a mohawk.
Geisha Henshin

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Bowling and shenanigans in Kimono

Ever since seeing this photo of a maiko bowling in full regalia, I have been dying to go bowling in kimono myself. It looks adorable, and I wanted to prove that there’s no reason you need to be stuffy and “fixed”, especially in casual kimono. After the devastating Tohoku Quake, the Montreal Japanese Cultural Center has been arranging a lot of fundraisers and they announced there’d be a bowling event with proceeds going to the Red Cross. I figured it would be the perfect opportunity.

Amelie and I arranged to meet there, but unfortunately due to ridiculous road work she was a bit late, so I went in and played around a bit. The reactions to my kimono were all really positive and encouraging, lots of “sutekii!” and “sugoiii!”. It made me feel a lot less self-conscious about being there by myself. A lot of women asked where I’d learned to dress myself, and seemed very shocked when I explained it was all self-taught. A few of them sort of seemed wistful that they didn’t know themselves, but I encouraged them to check out some books and websites. I really hope they consider it!

A few lovely women were running an origami table and they taught me how to make a crane and a heart. They were so sweet! I have a LOT of photos to share here, so I’m inserting smaller ones than usual. Please click on them to see the larger versions :)
Bowling in Kimono

Amelie arrived while I was with them and we finished up and went to the part you’re all waiting for… the bowling! And no, these pics are not a setup. We really truly did play a full ten-round set to completion, entirely in kimono. I wore my black and red wool outfit that Amelie gave me along with a red hanhaba and my car obidome. I knew I’d be wearing bowling shoes, so I wore ridiculous red and black striped socks. Amelie wore a really pretty komon and orange hakata, and also had fun with rainbow striped socks. We didn’t plan it, I swear!

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Even the ugly bowling shoes look better when they’re paired with kimono and fun socks!
Bowling in Kimono

After our bowling game, we were feeling really hungry so we headed out for dinner. While walking to the car, we walked by Kazu Izakaya, a restaurant with Japanese-style pub food, and I remembered I’d heard really amazing reviews but hadn’t managed to go because the restaurant is always totally full and there’s always a huuuuuge lineup. We passed by just before it was getting to open, so we seized the opportunity. The food was amazing. I know I don’t normally go into detail about the restaurants I eat at, but I cannot say enough good things about the food here. The gyoza were deliciously flavourful with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The tofu was made in-store and creamy, soft, and delicious. The okonomiyaki was crispy and moist at the same time, the sauces were perfect. Even the simple dessert of ice cream with earl grey tea powder was rich and tasty. I cannot say enough good things about this place! The food was as beautiful as it was delicious, and the staff were all incredibly friendly. We sat at the counter and watched the chefs, and it was definitely the right place to sit!

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

After all that food, we were feeling a little bloated and tired, so we headed back to my place. We headed to the park near me in the hopes of taking pictures on the swings, inspired by Naomi’s awesome photoset. I was quite dismayed to find out that they’d removed the swings for the winter, but that didn’t stop us from horsing around on the other park equipment!
Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

We also managed to take some mildly respectable-looking photos. Shock and awe!
Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

There are a bunch more photos in my Flickr Account.

Anime with kimono eye-candy

Recently, I shared a couple of cute movies with kimono eye candy, and I thought it would be fun to share a few anime as well.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m watching far less anime than I used to but every so often a little gem comes along, and sometimes these have some great kimono ensembles. Certainly, there are scenes in nearly every long-run anime that involve one or more characters wearing a yukata to a summer festival, or a kimono on a holiday, but the ones I am sharing here have regular appearances, different outfits, and lots to ogle!

Kuragehime
Kuragehime (Jellyfish Princess) is an adorable recent anime about a group of young female otaku living in a boarding house together. The primary story is about the protagonist, Tsukimi, coming into her own and standing up for herself while the girls in the house band together to protect it from the Big Bad Real Estate Developers.

For me, however, one of the main draws was the character of Chieko, whose obsession is with all things traditionally Japanese. In each episode, she wears a different kimono ensemble, and they’re all really cute and inspiring. She also dresses Tsukimi up in kimono at one point, with lovely results. One of my favourite moments of the show is when the “stylish” Kurako gives all the girls makeovers, but changes virtually nothing on Chieko because she looks like “a celebrity who wears kimono because she’s rich” once she’s framed by all the other girls in their stylish new looks. How fab is that?!

Kuragehime on IMDB
Kuragehime on Wikipedia



Taishou Yakyuu Musume (Taisho Baseball Girls)
I’ve just started watching this, despite it being a few years old, and it’s absolutely adorable. Set in the Taisho era, there’s an interesting juxtaposition of traditional Japanese clothing and modern western-inspired wear. The main character, Koume, dreams of wearing a sailor-style fuku uniform, but her parents insist that the Meiji-style kimono and hakama are much more suitable for her. Several of her other classmates also wear the traditional outfits. The outfits don’t seem to change from episode to episode, but they’re still nice to look at.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume on IMDB
Taishou Yakyuu Musume on Wikipedia



Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to make it clear that I have not yet seen this anime. It’s on my list of “things to watch when I have free time”, but the main reason it’s even on that list is due to the kimono. Not only does the main (male!) character always wear kimono and hakama, they vary from episode to episode and are seasonally and formally appropriate for the weather and events. For a kimono dork like myself, this sounds really fun and exciting.

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei on IMDB
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei on Wikipedia




Both Taishou Yakyuu Musume and Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei are available on licensed region 1 dvd from many sites, including Amazon or eBay. Kuragehime has just finished airing in Japan and has not been released in North America yet, but has been licensed by Funimation. It is currently available in streaming format on sites like AnimeAntu, but is definitely worth picking up the dvd if and when it becomes available.

Kimono Resolutions for 2011

Good afternoon! Sorry for the lack of updates last week, things are still kind of hectic around here. Good news is that my eye is totally healed, so I am no longer a Kimono Pirate. I did keep the eyepatch though, it was too cool to throw out ;)

I haven’t had time to dress up or do much since last Monday, but earlier in the month I made a series of resolutions for 2011 relating to kimono and kitsuke and I’ve decided to post them here so I can keep track of them and then come back and review this post to see how I did. I’ve also added a few items and notes to my original list.

Kimono Resolutions for 2011

  • Finish more of my DIY projects. No more cutting things up unless I actually have the motivation to sew them!
  • Lose 15 lbs because my older kimono have gotten snug around the hips.
  • Wear kimono out more often. Stop looking for “reasons” and just wear one because I love them.
  • Stop buying things just because they’re “pretty cute” and “a good price” and focus more on buying things that are truly special and amazing.
  • Refinish the beautiful Art-Deco armoire I’m getting and use it for storage.
  • Catalogue and detail items as soon as I get them, rather than letting things pile up and then getting overwhelmed by having “too much to do!”

So far I have lost five pounds (thank you stomach flu?), gotten all the pieces I need to turn an old, damaged obi into a shiny new pre-tied one, and purchased one incredibly epic and special kimono that was absolutely worth the investment. It’s not in my grubby little hands yet, but you can rest assured that as soon as I get it, I will be posting about it. In the meantime, here’s a small teaser to tide you over.

So have you made any resolutions about kimono, or any other hobbies you may have? Do you think you will stick to them?

Movies with kimono eye-candy

So, 2011 is off with a bang. I started the year with one of the worst bouts of stomach flu I’ve had in years. I couldn’t hold down food, at one point I was delirious with fever to the point where I was hallucinating. That finally dissipated and I was able to relax a bit and have some fun in kimono, which led to the outfit in the previous entry. Unfortunately, I let my guard down too soon. Last Monday we had some guests over and I suppose I got a bit too animated during dinner, because I managed to scratch my cornea with a heavy silver fork. Yes, that truly is as painful as you’d imagine. It’s also as hilarious as you’d imagine. You are welcome to laugh. At least I managed to make my eye patch pretty. It has pearls, rhinestones, and sakura on it!

In any case, it seems like the world is against me so far this year, and we’re only a week in. I’ve had several things I’ve wanted to write about, but I just don’t have the energy. My right eye is totally covered, and my left eye has to do all the work. My vision in my left eye is very weak, at best, so it tires very easily. However, I love you guys and rather than just not post anything until this nonsense is over, I thought I would share two movies I really enjoyed both for the content and the gorgeous, luscious kimono in them. These are not going to be in-depth reviews, just suggestions if you’re looking for something fun to watch and ogle costumes in.

Sakuran
Based on a comic book by Moyoco Anno, this is the story of a young girl who is sold to a pleasure house and works her way through the ranks to become the most popular and most desired oiran (courtesan) in Edo-era Yoshiwara. It is by no means historically accurate – first and foremost it’s a drama and romance. Visually, though, it is a stunning, breathtaking movie. It was translated incredibly well from comic framing to live-action, with the addition of vivid, borderline psychedelic colours. The kimono, of course, are to die for. There is a scene where the main character wears a zebra-striped obi that made me weak in the knees when I first saw it.

If you’re looking for a lush romp through sumptuous settings, by all means, check Sakuran out. However, please bear in mind that this is after all the story of a high-class prostitute so there are scenes of nudity and sexuality.

Sakuran on IMDB
Sakuran on Wikipedia

Maiko-haaaan!
This movie is in a completely different vein. It’s a comedy set in modern-day Japan. Onizuka-san is a salaryman stuck in a dead-end job and his dream is to play drinking games with a maiko. When he gets transferred to Kyoto he goes through a rather ridiculous series of events in an effort to make his dream come true. While the slapstick aspects of Japanese comedy wear thin on my nerves at times, the movie does have some more serious and introspective moments that serve to break up the frivolity. And of course, since it takes place primarily in Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto, there are tons of beautiful, fierce kimono.

This movie, while still dealing with some mature themes, is probably a little more appropriate for a wider audience. Onizuka spends a fair bit of time in his undergarments, but that’s about the worst that happens.

Maiko-haaaan! on IMDB
Maiko-haaaan! on Wikipedia

Now, generally I do not actively encourage illegal acts, but neither of these movies have been distributed outside of Japan, and even if you were to purchase Japanese DVDs there is no guarantee they would work on your DVD player or computer, due to region codes. Currently, the best way to watch these movies is by downloading torrents off of a site like The Pirate Bay. However, if these are ever officially and legally released in your country of residence, I implore you to support the actors, directors, and of course the costume departments, by buying a legitimate copy.