Fudangi First Friday

Hello! Welcome to Fudangi First Friday, a sort of new feature here on Kimono Tsuki. Naomi and Lyuba of Immortal Geisha were inspired by the recent Fudangi Fun event in NYC they were lucky enough to attend, to create a day where kimono-lovers can focus on relaxed, wearable, casual outfits. We all love the vibrant formality of furisode or the subdued elegance of kurotomesode, but it seems like fudangi, which includes things like wool and cotton kimono, simple komon, and other informal relaxed pieces, often get overlooked. So they decided to create Fudangi Fridays to encourage all us kimono lovers to appreciate these everyday pieces.

However, I know that committing to do something every single Friday is just a recipe for disaster, especially with the holidays coming up. For those of you who don’t know, I work in a specialty collectible toy store, so this time of year tends to be incredibly busy for me. So I’ve decided to combine Fudangi Friday with a phenomenon known as First Friday, an art/networking/entertainment community event that happens in a lot of big cities in North America on the first Friday of every month. People gather to share ideas, show off creative endeavours, etc. Forcing myself to do this once a month without fail is definitely more achievable for me. I may even manage to dress myself for these on occasion, since the majority of my wider kimono are casual pieces.

I purchased this haori on a whim from the same seller as the beautiful kurotomesode I got recently. In the auction photos, it looked like a creamy white with ume blossoms, so imagine my surprise when I opened the package and a leafy green haori with sakura on it fell out! I’m not complaining though, it’s even more adorable and charming than I was expecting it to be. I had no idea what I was going to pair it with, but I had it out while taking photos for my updated collection catalogue and saw it sitting next to the vintage-style blue komon Naomi gave me years ago and I realised how perfect they were for each other. The colours reflect each other perfectly, and they both have a young, spring feeling to them. I finished the outfit off with a hanhaba obi and cotton haneri in shades of cream and green, and a skinny orange obijime for a little pop of colour. This outfit is definitely fudangi, and it’s definitely fun!

Happy Otsukimi!

Today is Otsukimi (お月見), the autumn full-moon viewing festival! It’s incredibly overcast here and they’re predicting thunder storms all evening so I won’t get to enjoy the moon here. I have some mochi waiting for me at home, thankfully. However, earlier today Kornelia of Kanzashi Yume shared a link to an utterly adorable little mobile game and I had to check it out and share it with you all.

The game is called (unsurprisingly) Otsukimi, and it’s a straightforward brain-teaser game where you have to solve little puzzles in order to escape from a room, but everything is Otsukimi-themed. Plenty of rabbits and mochi for everyone to enjoy, regardless of where you live or whether the moon is visible in your sky. It’s a very sweet, relaxing sort of game. There is no time limit, nothing to frustrate you. Just simple fun puzzles and beautiful graphics. It will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how quickly you solve the puzzles, but you can take as long as you need to. Once you’ve finished the primary objective of escaping the room, you can play a much shorter second mini-game, finding the hidden rabbits in the room. It’s an incredibly sweet and charming little game and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a nice way to relax and unwind while celebrating the Autumn full moon!

Otsukimi is available on Google Play for Android devices as well as the iOS Store for Apple devices. Please check it out!

The company who developed this, Jammsworks, has many other similar escape games including one called Hakone which takes place in a beautiful Japanese house and garden, and Obon which takes place in a beautiful summery field of sunflowers. You can bet I will be checking those ones out soon as well.

Art Gallery – Yukata Cutie by Nikki R

Check out this utterly adorable drawing of my recent yukata outfit! It was drawn by my friend Nikki, who draws all sorts of awesome comic, pin-up, and stylised artwork. This chubby little caricature style is probably my favourite, though, and I’ve loved watching her artwork evolve over the years.

I’m amazed by how much detail she managed to fit in to such a tiny and cartoony piece. It’s super accurate without feeling cluttered or busy. She even got the ume kanzashi on my hat and the little obi-kazari down pat. For someone not in the habit of drawing kimono-related artwork, she did a fantastic job of getting the details spot-on!

The artist’s going through a bit of a rough spot financially right now, and she deserves all the best. So if you love this style as much as I do and would like one for yourself, please check out Nikki R Illustration on Facebook! Also, I always love seeing how different artists interpret my coordinations so if you’re an artist taking commissions and are interested in giving it a shot, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Tiny Doll, Tiny Makeover

Hello! Just a quick post today. A few weeks ago, I found this charming little doll at one of the thrift stores near me. I posted a photo of her (along with the rest of my haul) on my Instagram but now that she’s had a bit of a face-lift I felt like she needed her own post.

She’s nothing fancy – maybe 4″ tall and made primarily of plastic. I assume she was a cheap souvenir or something. But I was really charmed by her, and wanted to give her a new lease of life. I was inspired by my friend Naomi, who has been rescuing dolls from thrift stores for ages now, and my friend Vi who runs The Heirloom Smith, a small custom design and restoration business.

The biggest and most obvious problem was her head; her hair was a wreck and there was a flat circle of paper glued to the crown of her head, where a hat had likely fallen off. Thankfully, she had two other hats – one in each hand! I carefully pried the hats off and put them aside, and moistened her hair so I could brush it and try to tame it down somewhat. I then soaked her hands carefully in warm water to dissolve the leftover glue and paper. However, without her hats her pose definitely looked a bit funny, and the fact that her hands, feet, and face were made of cheap yellowed plastic was very apparent. I re-posed her slightly (thankfully, her body is a wire frame so she’s relatively flexible), covered over her yellowed bits with white chalk paint, gave her a cute little umbrella to dance with, and glued one of the salvaged hats onto her head. The last step was to give her slightly more subdued facial features with watercolours over the newly-painted surface of her face. She looks very at home in the cabinet with the ceramic doll I repainted a while back. I’m so happy Ito have given both these girls a new home. Their big sister is also in the works, I hope to be posting about her sometime soon.

I didn’t take too many photos during the process, and the ones I did take were done at my desk with my phone so they’re not fantastic, but it’s still nice to see how she progressed to the final result up at the top of the page.

Art Gallery – Spring by Tsubame-Kimonoya

This precious piece was done by Tsubame-Kimonoya on Tumblr. I love how she was inspired by the adorable dog Luka in my original photo from Gofuku no Hi last year, and added not one but two dogs! The only thing better than one dog is two dogs. And the details in my outfit are perfectly spot-on.

The weather here in Montreal is finally turning a corner. We got snow on Friday but it’s been lovely since then, and this art feels like a welcome breath of the spring that’s to come.