Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)

Fudangi First Friday – Kodomo no Hi

Tomorrow (May 05th) is Kodomo no Hi, こどもの日, or Children’s Day. So of course, as in previous years, I had to get out my beloved koinobori obi. This year, I thought I’d coordinate it with this vintage shishi komon that is eventually going to live with Naomi. Until then, though, I figured I may as well have a little more fun with it!

Koinobori, or carp-shaped streamer flags, are a traditional decoration for the holiday, which is why I always use this obi somehow during this time of year. The other pieces were chosen primarily for their look, not any real symbolism. The haneri is a new one I got in a package from Ichiroya recently and I really liked how the pattern meshed with the kimono. I used other pale purple accessories to pull it all together. As much as I love this obi, I tend to forget what a nuisance it is to work with. It’s got seams in odd places, it’s very slippery, and it’s short even by vintage standards. I’m pretty sure it was a kimono or a juban at some point in its life, before it was remade into an obi. I also can’t believe I was ever able to wear it!

Thankfully I’m already starting to feel much better since my fall last Friday. I should be back at work by next week, and I have a bunch of content lined up for this month!

Items used in this coordination

#MonoKimono Challenge – Cool Blue

It’s the last weekend of the month, and you know what that means! It’s #monokimono weekend, and for this one I decided to go blue to suit the rainy mood outside. I also knew I had to go with something easy, so a poly komon and hanhaba obi fit the bill. If you’re not a fan of Kimono Tsuki on Facebook you won’t have seen my post, but Friday afternoon I lost an argument with the staircase at work and came out of it a little worse for wear. I’ve got a mild concussion, a sprained knee, and two cuts across my forehead that required surgical glue and a tetanus shot. That’s not counting all the varied aches, pains, and bruises scattered all over the rest of my body. Because of this, I knew I had no energy to wrestle with a bigger obi or a more fussy or fragile kimono. I didn’t want to skip this month completely, so I found the solution with these easy, modern blue pieces.

Initially, the outfit looked a bit too dark and heavy, and the obi wasn’t really jiving. Thankfully, using my blue cotton striped haneri in place of a kasane-eri helped lighten things up around the top. The kimono is also very big; I’d forgotten how big, so getting it onto the mannequin was a bit more fuss than I’d hoped for. But I think I made it work. This certainly isn’t the tidiest or best kitsuke I’ve done recently, but I’m proud of myself for managing to get something out despite my battered state!

I’ve also just noticed this outfit bears more than a passing resemblance to my little kimmidoll mascot over there on the sidebar. That was entirely accidental but it pleases me greatly.

Items used in this coordination

Vintage Temari

Spring is still in the air, and I’m finally feeling up to dressing the mannequin! I’ve been trying to make coordinations using pieces I’ve never worked with before, and decided it was high time I use this vintage temari chuuya obi. It’s actually the reverse side of the amazing crustacean obi Naomi sent me a while back, this side is just a lovely bonus.

As gorgeous as this side is, it’s a bit difficult to work with. There are two sets of designs on an otherwise solid black base, but no matter how I tried tying it I could not get one on the front and one on the otaiko at the same time. I decided to keep the front plain and use a fun obijime so I could focus on getting the design centred on the back and make it the focal point. Maybe next time I’ll use an obidome to add a bit more interest.

My beloved purple cotton yabane kimono made a wonderful base for the obi, and I pulled the accent colours of salmon red and aqua out of the obi motif in the accessories so everything feels cohesive. I do wish I’d been able to get some sort of design on the front, but I still think that overall this was a successful outfit.

And yes, that is yesterday’s ikebana peeping out from behind the mannequin! I was going to move it for the photos but I thought it added a cute touch and I love how the yellow flowers match the yellow accents in the kimono.

Items used in this coordination

Review – Japanese Collection from Squish Candies

Squish is a locally-based candy company that’s grown into quite a success story over the years. They focus on unique and seasonal flavours aimed at adults (including an entire cocktail-inspired collection), and offer a huge selection of all natural and vegan options. As someone with allergies to both artificial flavours and milk proteins, their efforts in avoiding common allergens and really clearly labelling all their products is incredibly appreciated.

So of course when I saw they’d released a special edition Japanese Collection for this spring, I knew I had to jump on it. I was very curious to see how they’d hold up to some of the more gummy variations of wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets. They released three separate flavours that all play very nicely together; sakura & sake, sake blossoms, and yuzu mimosa.

I was most looking forward to the sakura & sake flavour, and while they were tasty enough they ended up being my least favourite of the three. Between the cherry flavour and the slightly herbaceous accent of the sake they come off a tiny bit medicinal, for lack of a better word. They’re by no means unpleasant and I’ll happily eat them, but I’m not nearly as crazy about them as I am about the others.

The sake blossom ones have a very fresh and clean taste. It’s subtle but definitely has the familiar taste of sake. There’s even a hint of that warmth you feel after drinking alcohol. The nice thing about these is that they aren’t overly sweet, so they’re refreshing and not overwhelming.

The yuzu mimosa ones are by far the standout here. They’re absolutely delicious and it was very difficult for me not to eat them all in one go as I was trying them out and photographing them! They’re the perfect balance of tart citrus and sweet gummy, without being cloying. They taste like sunshine and summer and brunch with friends on the patio.

And look how cute and springy they are all mixed up in this jar! Eating them mixed like this seems to balance the flavours perfectly. You get the sweetness of the sakura, the bright citrus flavour of the yuzu mimosa, and the delicate sake to balance everything out.

Are these a substitute for imported wagashi? Sadly, no. Are they delicious, and a great accompaniment to a seasonal meal or snack? Absolutely! I’m definitely going to be stocking up on the yuzu mimosa and the sake ones.

 I purchased this item myself and chose to review it.Note: A portion of all purchases of sakura & sake during the month of April will be donated to support The Véro & Louis Foundation. This Quebec-based charity’s mission is to build and operate group homes to support autistic people twenty-one and over.