Kimono fun at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Several weeks ago, the Montreal-based members of the Immortal Geisha forums decided to have a little meetup at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. We had a blast and took a ton of photos. I would have posted them sooner, but I was admitted to the Montreal Neurological Institute on fairly short notice for a decompressive craniectomy to attempt to correct my Chiari malformation. It’s only recently that I’ve felt well enough to edit and upload the photos. Hopefully once I am fully recovered I will have a lot more energy, lose a fair bit of retained water-weight, and be much more inclined to wear kimono frequently!

Entirely unintentionally, we ended up dressing in three very different styles. Mischie wore a lovely houmongi and fukuro obi with a coordinating haori in a very elegant traditional style, Ame wore an adorable yukata dressed as kimono, in a sweet modern style, and I (due to a combination of weight-gain and a need to be more comfortable), wore a modern poly kimono hiked up to mini-dress hime style, with leggings underneath. I think we did a fantastic job of showing a variety and diversity of kimono fashion.

I took so many photos, I’ve set up a mini-gallery rather than make this page enormous. :) Feel free to browse!

Fun With Kimono Dolls, part 2!

I had so much fun making the first Fun With Kimono Dolls post, I decided it might be good to do it again! Here are a few more reasonably accurate kimono dress-up games for you to play with when you’re bored :) Have fun!

Elouai's Candybar Dollmaker - This is NOT specifically a kimono dollmaker, there is an enormous selection of clothing, accessories, backgrounds, facial expressions, hair, etc. Sadly, no options for skin tone though. I had this doll as my avatar on the sidebar of this blog for a very long time!
Mega Yukata Creator - Lots of options for traditional-style and modern sexy style yukata here. Great selection of hair, eyes, and skintones. Sleeves and kimono construction are not totally accurate, but it's still fun. :)
Folk Fashion Kimono - Nice doll with a few hairstyles, and a large selection of accurate kimono and obi.
Kokeshi Maker - Not exactly kimono, but totally adorable! Make your own kokeshi by selecting base skintone, hairstyle, and outfit.
Kimono Girl - Cute dress-up game with lots of hikizuri and fun accessories. Doll base (skin, face, etc) is not customiseable.

Punk yukata at the Astoria Street Fair

So you may have noticed that there’s been a bit of a dearth of updates lately, and I sincerely apologize for that. I spent last weekend in lovely New York City, meeting up with some friends. Some I’d not seen in years, and some I’d never met before. We all knew each other from an online community. It was a wonderful experience, everyone was incredibly awesome and we all had a blast. Knowing my obsession with kimono and Japanese culture, Jamie (who lives in NYC) was kind enough to arrange a trip to Kiteya SOHO and to the Japanese street fair in Astoria. I bought a lovely komon at Kiteya that I will be sharing with you during the week, but I thought that I would at least post a few photos of the outift I wore to the street fair.

I’d been dying to wear the punk yukata Arian got me so I figured this would be a great time to bust it out. I decided to tone it down a bit with a green hakata hanhaba rather than the pink obi it came with. Unfortunately, it was murderously hot and we spent the morning on public transit and brunch at a lovely restaurant before getting to the fair, so I look a bit melted and rumpled. I’d like to take a moment to give enormous thanks to my friend Ben for taking these photos, carrying my crap, and fanning me when I got overheated.

Can I just say how much I love my new glasses with this outfit? XD And a super-cute minion! I didn’t win him, just posed with him.

I also won an adorable tsukesage-komon at the fair, and will be sharing that soon too! If you would like to see more photos of the day, they are available in my Facebook album.

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

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.