Art Gallery – Incredibly detailed vector art

This piece was actually done for a contest on Gaia, and it was definitely one of the most amazing entries I received. As you may know, this particular furisode is incredibly special to me so of course I’m going to be biased when it comes to artwork of it. But look at the sheer amount of detail in this piece. The artist, Elsa Lee, put in a painstaking amount of work to faithfully reproduce the pattern on the kimono. What’s more, can you believe she did it with a mouse?! My hand hurts just thinking about it.

If you want to see the incredibly high-resolution version of this (and believe me, you do!), you can check it out on Elsa’s DeviantArt account

Navy yukata for a good cause

After the devastating earthquakes in Japan just over a month ago, several of my friends decided to raise money by auctioning off items in their collections, with proceeds going to Global Giving for disaster relief. When I saw the adorable navy yukata that Jess had listed, I knew I had to have it. It’s got such a fun, summery feel to it. I love the trellis-like design, and I can’t wait to wear it.

Blue yukata

Blue yukata

I know it’s going to look adorable with my green hakata. I just have to wait for the weather to improve! I love how I keep ending up with more yukata and nowhere to wear them.

Tea Time – Taylors of Harrogate Lapsang Souchong

Most of the teas I drink are relatively light and floral. However, sometimes I need something with a bit (ok a lot) more oomph. That’s where a good old Lapsang Souchong comes in, and one of my favourites is from the classic English tea house, Taylors of Harrogate.

This is not a tea for the indecisive, by any means. It’s strong, it’s potent, and it’s rather an acquired taste. Lapsang Souchong is a black Chinese tea that gets a very distinctive character from being smoked in bamboo baskets after the drying process. It imparts a distinctly toasted smell and taste to the tea, almost reminiscent of a smoked fish or cheese. My mother refers to it as “that stinky tea,” and while I do love it I can see where she’s coming from. To me, it smells like woodsmoke and evokes a campfire. It reminds me of summers spent at the cottage, which may be why I find it so comforting.

The tea is quite “dusty”, little charred bits flaking off the leaves, and it tends to sneak through the strainer, leaving a bit of residue in the cup. It’s got a lot of personality, and can be sort of overwhelming consumed straight, especially since it continues to steep due to the residue. I prefer to soften it with a bit of milk or cream and sometimes some sugar, depending on my mood. It’s a great tea for warming up on a cold, damp winter day, or pairing with a big hearty breakfast.

Lapsang Souchong at Taylors of Harrogate

Punk-style yukata and obi set

This amazing set was a gift from Arian, because he is a goofball. I saw it on Rakuten and fell in love with the unexpected designs. They remind me of old-school tattoo flash or motorcycle art, sort of Von Dutch or Ed Hardy style. There are hot rod flames, skulls, roses, handcuffs, snakes, and lord knows what else. Every time I look at it I find new things to ogle. The obi is pretty awesome too – on the surface it looks like a pretty mundane pink obi with white butterflies, but on closer inspection, the butterflies (like those on the matching geta are actually decorated with human skulls. I think the fact that these are much more subtle than the vivid, cartoony skulls on the yukata are what make the items work so well together.

I can’t wait until it gets warm enough for me to wear this out somewhere! I think it’s an item that kimono and non-kimono people alike will appreciate.

Punky yukata & obi set
Punky yukata & obi set

Punky yukata & obi set
Punky yukata & obi set

Kimono for benefit concert

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit concert for the Red Cross, featuring Arashi Daiko and Matsu Take Ensemble. Sadly, there were no photographs allowed during the concert so I have none to share with you, but let me assure you that it was a wonderful experience. The energy was great, the music was awesome, the dancers were adorable. If you are ever in the Montreal area and have the opportunity to see either of these groups, I highly recommend it.

Of course, I chose to wear a kimono to the concert. Sadly, I was literally the only person in the entire audience who did, but that did have some benefit. After the concert I went to thank some of the members of Arashi Daiko, and one of them informed that a few of them had noticed my outfit from the stage, and found it very inspiring and touching that I’d chosen to wear kimono. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad I decided to wear one. I also got lots of lovely compliments from other people in the audience.

I decided to wear a beautiful olive-green karakusa komon from Naomi, and paired it up with my pink and white hakata to emphasize the pink in the pattern. I just happened to have an olive green obijime and mustard yellow obiage that matched perfectly, and couldn’t resist tying in the pink with my adorable new playing card geta. I also chose to use my new biyosugata (obi tying aid). Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take photos before I left, so everything looks a little bit rumpled. However, I think for about an hour total in a car, and several hours in an auditorium seat, everything held up quite well.