Obidome converter, just about the best invention ever.

Earlier this week, Erica sent me a box full of awesome goodies, and tucked inside was this epic doohickey. I’ve wanted one for quite a while, so I was really thrilled.

Obidome are pieces of jewelry meant to be worn on the obijime. I have several, but they’re the kind of thing that are always nice to have more of – they add a wonderful finishing touch to an outfit. Unfortunately, they don’t often show up on the secondary Western market, and when they do the prices can get prohibitively expensive.

Enter the magical obidome converter. It’s basically a very thin piece of tubing with obidome hardware (two flat metal loops) attached to the back. You insert the pin part of any brooch or button through the tube, and voila, instant obidome!

Obidome Converter Obidome Converter

And here it is on a brooch.
Obidome Converter

Rather than hunting eBay and garage sales and thrift stores and hoping I may luck out and find an obidome, now I can just use all the old costume jewelry and pins I already have lying around. Yay!

No kitsuke for a little while

Just a quick note, my actual kimono-wearing posts are going to be a tad sparse for the next little while, due to a compressed rib and strict orders not to “do anything physically taxing or binding”. I may have a few old outfits from the archives I haven’t shared yet, but I’m not sure.

Also, posts in general will probably not be as frequent for the month of December, since I work in a toy store and my hours are going to be kind of crazy for the next few weeks. When I’m not at work, I’ll be sleeping or trying to fit in some Christmas shopping.

I’ll still be doing the occasional catalogue post and I have a few tea-related posts queued up, so I won’t be totally gone, but things will be a bit quieter around here until the new year.

On the merits of shigoki obi

Shigoki obi are one of those items that really aren’t necessary by any means in a kimono wardrobe, but once you’ve gotten a couple you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. If you’re like me and are built like the offspring of the Jolly Green Giant, and you have a preference for older kimono, they are a godsend. They are a great way to hide a lack of ohashori, or one that is too short to sit properly and lie flat.

These long loose types are traditionally worn by young girls, but lately with the trend in Japan leaning towards the vintage, the funky, and encouraging women to find their own personal style in kimono, they are making a huge comeback. There is also a variation called the kakae-obi that is stiffer and solid, sort of like a wide ribbon, and typically worn by a bride on her wedding day. I really like the looks of these particular accessories, but I’ve never seen one worn simply as a stylistic element so I think for the time being I will avoid doing so.

Typically they are in the standard beni-bana orangey red that was traditional for accessories and undergarments, but more often now they are coming in combinations of fun patterns and colours. BikaBika recently posted some amazing scans from the newest edition of Kimono-hime and one outfit featured a girl wearing an adorable white-and-red candy-stripe shigoki. I would absolutely love one of these for myself.
Spring Coordination Page 2

So far I only have red ones, but they’re all slightly different shades of red and all have different fringes – two have red with gold, one has a slightly peach cast, one is just solid red. The first example is how they should be worn, the second example is using one as a substitute for the momi, the red cloth geisha wear under their obi.
Halloween 2010 Kitsuke Geiko-inspired kitsuke

If you’re building up a kimono wardrobe and looking for a way to inject a bit of fun and personality into your casual outfits, I’d really suggest investing in at least one or two shigoki obi!

Tea Time! A new feature

I’ve decided to add a new feature to this blog – I hope you enjoy it! In my mind, tea culture and kimono culture are entwined quite strongly together, so I figured that I could share my love of tea and related items in here on occasion. While I have not ever studied traditional Japanese tea ceremony but I find the preparation and consumption of teas an enjoyable, aesthetic, and relaxing experience.

In this new feature I will be sharing my favourite teapots, teacups, and of course teas. For my first entry, I thought I would show you what is probably my favourite teacup currently in my possession, one that came to me through the kindness of Naomi. If you know me, you know my fondness and fascination for all things cephalopod. When I saw this teacup with its textured tentacle handle and beautiful blue hand-painting, I yearned for it. I coveted it. I neeeeeeded it. Thankfully, Naomi agreed, and managed to procure one and bundle it up in enough bubblewrap to protect it on a cross-continental journey.

It’s even prettier and more amazing in person than I’d anticipated. It’s much larger, it holds a very comforting and hearty serving of tea, coffee, or cocoa. The painting of the ship is incredibly delicate, the handle is amazing to hold, and the body of the cup fits perfectly in my two hands. It’s just a truly wonderful cup.

Anthropologie “From The Deep” cup & saucer

Shabu-shabu with Ame and Mischie!

Tonight I met up with a few of the awesome girls from the Immortal Geisha forums for a warming dinner of shabu-shabu. It’s cold and damp and snowy and icy here, so I decided to wear my black, white, and red wool kimono and hike it up a bit with some boots. I figured it would be a great time to wear my new red-orange Tokaido obi, and had a bit of fun accessorizing with a sandy beige and red keffiyeh (shemagh).

Shabu Shabu

Ame went along the same lines and wore an adorable black wool ensemble, but mischie was very brave and wore a gorgeous black silk houmongi with ume. It was entirely accidental, but we were all wearing black, white, and red outfits!

Shabu Shabu Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu

The food was delicious. We went to Kagayaki Shabu-Shabu in Montreal’s Chinatown. It was warming and flavourful and perfect for the weather.

Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu

After we finished dinner, we went to a fancy hotel nearby to take photos over their gorgeous koi pond and to relax and have a drink. As usual, I could not resist being a giant ham. Look! Fishies!
Shabu Shabu

Ame with her Pink Lady
Shabu Shabu

Mischie with a cappucino (in a super pretty cup!)
Shabu Shabu

And me being a jackass with a Bloody Cesar. Hey baby, come here often?
Shabu Shabu

I had a great time, and can’t wait to have another kimono meetup. Maybe not until it warms up a little though!