Festival Yatai MTL! and yukata outing

 

 

What’s this? Another outing for yours truly?! It feels good getting back into the swing of things.

This weekend a friend was in town, and the first Yatai MTL! street food festival was happening, so we decided to go in yukata. Since she was visiting from a ways away, I lent her one of my yukata and obi, and I’m glad to see it getting some use.

One of the awesome things about Montreal is the sheer number of awesome events and festivals that happen during this summer. This year is no exception, because the city is celebrating her 375th birthday. This weekend alone, aside from the festival we went to, had the Formula E electric car races, Just For Laughs!, the International Fireworks competition, and quite possibly other small ones I’m not even aware of. Because of all this, all the public transit in the city was free. However, because of this, the public transit in the city was also the busiest I’ve ever seen it. We were delayed getting out, and the metro was a horrible swamp of humanity. However, we made it to our first stop without too much drama. We began the afternoon by fortifying ourselves with lovely microbrew beers from Dieu Du Ciel, an awesome local brewery. My friend’s brother came with us and was kind enough to act as photographer for the day.

Thus fortified, we headed to the festival on foot. It was a gorgeous day, and yukata were perfectly comfortable and breezy. The walk to the park where the festival was being held was short, and we got there uneventfully. That’s when things went sideways. This was the festival’s first year, and they were clearly massively unprepared for the volume of people attending. We got there less than an hour after opening, and the lineups for food were over two hours long, and they had already run out of several dishes. We worked in shifts, taking turns in the line, and eventually got our okonomiyaki, which was the only dish available at the kiosk we got to. It was absolutely delicious, I will give them that! I also found a vegan mocha popsicle, which warmed my shrivelled little dairy-intolerant heart. However, considering how long we’d been waiting it wasn’t nearly enough food, and none of us were willing to wait another two hours we decided to find a restaurant to fill us up.

After another quick jaunt on uncomfortably crowded public transit we found our way to Kurobuta Izekaya & Ramen-Ya, an awesome homey Japanese pub-style eatery. I got two of my standby favourites, agedashi tofu and takoyaki, and they were both delicious. My dinner companions both got ramen, and I tried a bit, it was delicious too. If you’re looking for a comfortable, entirely unpretentious Japanese eatery in the Mount Royal area of Montreal, I highly recommend a stop here.

The day may have been waaaaay longer than we’d anticipated, and there was an awful lot of frustrated, cramped, waiting around but in the end good food with good company in adorable outfits made it all worthwhile!

Liz in Bunny Kimono!

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 hanhaba obi, 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.

Awesome Flickr Gallery Error - Photoset not found

I have to admit, this kimono fits her much better than it fits me. Oh, to have a shorter wingspan!

Par For the Course

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 😀

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.

Sushi dinner with Amelie

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.

Sushi avec Amelie

I got a bit matchy-moo and even busted out a coordinating purse. I do love how the whole outfit came together.
Sushi avec Amelie

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.
Sushi avec Amelie

I really love how the blue of Amelie’s obi picked up on the pale blue in her kimono.
Sushi avec Amelie

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.
Sushi avec Amelie

Sushi avec Amelie

Of course, the star of the night was the sushi. We ordered waaaay too much food, but that’s okay. It was delicious!
Sushi avec Amelie

Sushi avec Amelie

And a bonus, here we are laughing like idiots!
Sushi avec Amelie

What were we laughing at? The discovery of what happens when you eat way too much sushi in kimono
Sushi avec Amelie
(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!
Sushi avec Amelie
Sushi avec Amelie Sushi avec Amelie

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!