I’ve often said that being my friend is dangerous, and coming to visit me generally results in the guest being subjected to kitsuke. I decided to level things up this time, and when I went to Baltimore to visit my friend Elizabeth a few weeks back, I brought a kimono with me. She chose the bunny komon based on the photos of my collection, and I brought a selection of accessories that I thought would coordinate well with it and be easy to tie without too many accessories. We ended up choosing the taupe arabesque hanhabaobi, a hot pink obijime, and spade obidome.
For someone who has never worn kimono before, Liz took to it like a pro! Next time, maybe she’ll come up here to visit me and I’ll put her in something really elaborate.
I have to admit, this kimono fits her much better than it fits me. Oh, to have a shorter wingspan!
As you may have noticed, it’s become a bit of a thing for me to dress house-guests in kimono. Several months ago, my dear friend Dino of Alternative Vegan came to stay with me. Our friend Frances came by as well, and I had the pleasure of subjecting them both to the blissful discomfort of kitsuke ;)
I had fun playing with gender conventions here. Dino has a very fabulous and flamboyant personal style, so I put him in a woman’s kimono and obi but dressed in a manly style, similar to my own experiments in otoko-poi style years ago. You’ll notice that he’s wearing the same Victorian Gothic London houmongi that Elise wore when she visited. This tends to be a popular one with guests; I suppose the motif is both quirky and familiar, which makes it accessible to people who aren’t really used to kimono yet.
Frances is wearing a woman’s kimono and obi, but with a very neutral, muted palette and no accessories. They are also much tinier than I am, and even my smallest kimono ended up being big and a little awkward to work with, especially since I have been out of practice so long. Alas! At least they both had fun :D
Dino’s laughter is infectious, by the way. I don’t think our house has been consistently so full of random crack-ups as it was when he was visiting.
Last night, I met up with Amelie and we dressed up and went for delicious sushi near her place. I decided to wear my new black komon with a cream hanhaba obi and haori, and Amelie wore her beautiful new pastel bingata-ish komon with a pretty blue nagoya obi.
I got a bit matchy-moo and even busted out a coordinating purse. I do love how the whole outfit came together.
I also tried karuta musubi for the first time and I am totally in love. It’s super easy to tie, and incredibly comfortable if you’re going for a car ride or going to be sitting western-style in a chair for long periods of time. I also think it looks like a cute little bow.
I really love how the blue of Amelie’s obi picked up on the pale blue in her kimono.
And if anyone wonders how one keeps warm in kimono in sub-zero temperatures, the answer is lots of layers and lots of accessories. I wore footless tights under my kimono and tabi and was quite toasty.
Of course, the star of the night was the sushi. We ordered waaaay too much food, but that’s okay. It was delicious!
And a bonus, here we are laughing like idiots!
What were we laughing at? The discovery of what happens when you eat way too much sushi in kimono
(Don’t worry, I am going to fix it for her)
Omake – we came across this really awesome light fixture in a store near the restaurant. It was a branch covered in acrylic Sakura flowers with LEDs that slowly changed colour. It was so pretty!
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).
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!
The food was delicious. We went to Kagayaki Shabu-Shabu in Montreal’s Chinatown. It was warming and flavourful and perfect for the weather.
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!
Ame with her Pink Lady
Mischie with a cappucino (in a super pretty cup!)
And me being a jackass with a Bloody Cesar. Hey baby, come here often?
I had a great time, and can’t wait to have another kimono meetup. Maybe not until it warms up a little though!
Today I went to the Montreal Japanese Language Centre Spring Matsuri. Of course, I used the opportunity to wear kimono. I decided to pair up my new dusty pink iromuji with a gorgeous burnt-orange obi with irridescent pastel flowers Naomi gave me. The flowers feel like tulips to me, so it seemed appropriately spring-like. I know they’re probably something else, but shush! It was a little too warm for a haori, but too chilly for nothing, so I borrowed a cute shawl from my mother. I think I look like a dope in these, and a little rumpled, but they’re the only full shots of my outfit, so there you go.
I told my friend Nick, who I mentioned in this entry about it, and he came to meet me there along with several other friends. He wore his yukata again, and looked snazzy as always.
While there, I ran into Akane, a lovely young woman I met last summer at the O-Bon Matsuri. She’s always wearing beautiful, feminine outfits and always looks elegant and effortless. She actually remembered meeting me before, and I was quite chuffed about that! Isn’t she photogenic? Also, check out those great red high-top Chucks in the corner!
Here’s the photos of her from last summer – they were taken before I started this blog.
I also met a lovely woman named Serene and we chatted kimono for a bit. She had on a lovely komon and had a great personal style. She made her own obi, and it was adorable applique-work and I wish I’d thought to take a photo of it!
The festival itself was more like a garage sale than anything! Lots of tables with cute little things for sale. Sadly, no kimono or related items, but I did pick up a little fiction book with no relation to anything Japanese and a little handmade bag with a fish on it that I’ll probably wear with a kimono later. I also had a delicious hamburger bento, some umeboshi onigiri, and the most delicious strawberry mochi I’ve ever had, with half a fresh strawberry inside it!
Aside from the vendors, there was a great performance by Arashi Daiko and demonstrations of Aikido and Nunjutsu.
I tried to capture a video of the performance, but my phone is miserable. Watch at your own risk!
And a few photos.
Current Japanese Micro-Season: 穀雨 Kokuu - Grain Rains:
霜止出苗 - Shimo yamite nae izuru
The Frost Stops, The Rice Grows