Whale, whale, whale…

What have we here?*

 

I found this obi online several months ago, and kept coming back to look at it. The whales are just so adorably goofy and charming, and I fell completely in love. Eventually I found myself with a bit of cash to spare on something special for myself, and after being enabled by pretty much every single one of my online friends, I went for it. I bought it from Murata, a store based in Vancouver, BC, here in Canada. It only took a few days to get here, and believe me, after over a decade of ordering almost exclusively from Japan that speed made me giddy. Kazue and Fumie were also both an absolutely pleasure to deal with, and I look forward to ordering from them again in the future.

I felt that this obi is so fun and special that it had to be the focus of the outfit, so I went the vaguely monochrome route again. I thought this modern poly komon had a bit of a watery feel to it, and I love how it matches the obi but still manages to fade into the background, making sure all eyes are on the whales! This obi is also incredibly long, to the point where I had to wrap it around the mannequin three times, rather than the usual two. This means I’ll be able to wear it myself, and be able to tie all sorts of fun musubi with it. I can’t wait!

(I would apologise for that terrible title, but I am not remotely sorry!)

 

Tokaido hanhaba obi

A while back I found a Stations of the Tokaido hanhaba obi on eBay that was quite similar to this one, but it was a bit expensive for a hanhaba, in my opinion. I let it slide, but honestly I regretted it after the auction was over.

Fast-forward approximately a year and this little baby shows up on eBay for a starting bid of one penny. Not only was it in a much more affordable price range, it also had much nicer contrast – the stations and reverse are a lovely golden yellow colour. On the first one I’d seen, they were a deeper red than the obi’s base, so they were pretty indistinguishable.

Tokaido hanhaba

The front side is a lovely brick red with simplified interpretations of the start point of Nihonbashi Bridge, the end point of the Bridge to Kyoto, and Station2 – Kawasaki. The reverse is a nice versatile warm gold asanoha weave design.

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Green on cream hakata hanhaba

This is one of those lessons that reminds me that auction photos can be very inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely obi, a nice crisp hakata in a forest green on cream, but in the auction photos it looked very pink. I fell in love with the idea of green on pink. Thankfully I only paid a penny plus shipping for it, and I am sure I will find a good use for it, but it was a reminder not to get too excited or attached to things until they’re actually in your hands.

Green-on-white hakata hanhaba

Green-on-white hakata hanhaba

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

New green cotton blend hakata hanhaba

With an apology to my neighbours! Somehow this ended up at the right numeric address, but on the wrong street. They were kind enough to bring it over to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for all things hakata, especially in uncommon colour combinations.  This is not technically true hakata, rather than being a tightly woven silk it’s a rough slubbed cotton-silk blend with the “hakata” pattern loosely woven on top, but I still love the pattern. The colours in the auction photos made the item out to be a soft, dusty sage green. I was pretty shocked when I opened up the package and found a vivid apple green colour instead, but also really happy. It’s a great colour, and will go very well with a lot of my things. The best part, however, of this obi, has to be the price. I got it for one penny!

Green hakata hanhaba

Green hakata hanhaba

I already have a few coordinations in mind, I just need time and weather to cooperate.