Fudangi First Friday – Kodomo no Hi

Tomorrow (May 05th) is Kodomo no Hi, こどもの日, or Children’s Day. So of course, as in previous years, I had to get out my beloved koinobori obi. This year, I thought I’d coordinate it with this vintage shishi komon that is eventually going to live with Naomi. Until then, though, I figured I may as well have a little more fun with it!

Koinobori, or carp-shaped streamer flags, are a traditional decoration for the holiday, which is why I always use this obi somehow during this time of year. The other pieces were chosen primarily for their look, not any real symbolism. The haneri is a new one I got in a package from Ichiroya recently and I really liked how the pattern meshed with the kimono. I used other pale purple accessories to pull it all together. As much as I love this obi, I tend to forget what a nuisance it is to work with. It’s got seams in odd places, it’s very slippery, and it’s short even by vintage standards. I’m pretty sure it was a kimono or a juban at some point in its life, before it was remade into an obi. I also can’t believe I was ever able to wear it!

Thankfully I’m already starting to feel much better since my fall last Friday. I should be back at work by next week, and I have a bunch of content lined up for this month!

Items used in this coordination

こどもの日 – Kodomo no Hi – Children’s Day

In Japan, May 5th is こどもの日, Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate and appreciate children, to pray for their health and prosperity in the coming year. It was originally a day to celebrate boys and fathers, while Hina-matsuri was a day to celebrate girls, but in the late 40s, it shifted to a day to appreciate all children and their accomplishments!

Koi-shaped streamer kites, known as koinobori, are tradtional decorations for this holiday. There are typically two large koi depicting the parents, and then one smaller one for each child in the family. I found this obi with koinobori on it on eBay eons ago, and it remains one of my all-time favourite pieces. It’s a strange duck, softer silk than obi typically are, and full of awkward seams on the back side. I suspect it started life as either a kimono or some sort of decorative piece, but someone decided it would make a lovely obi and I’m so glad they did!

Arrows are also a fairly typical motif for the holiday, so I paired the obi up with this bold Taisho-era yabane komon, and I’ve always thought this adorable car obidome Kansai_gal got for me looks like a little toy car, so it felt like the perfect finishing touch for the outfit.

Purple Net Tsukesage/Komon – a.k.a The Town Bicycle.

Courtesy of UrbanDictionary (link potentially not safe for work, do not click if in public, or easily offended)

A girl that is like a bike that belongs to the town – everybody gets a ride

You’re probably wondering what that quote could possibly have to do with kimono. I promise, I have not gone off the deep end. I use the term to refer to a kimono or obi that goes with nearly everything. Sort of a surefire go-to piece when you’ve got a particularly busy or awkward item you want to wear. It gets a lot of use, but never complains, never gets worn out, and is always up to the task. When it comes to kimono, my “town bicycle” has to be my purple tsukesage-komon with the woven fishnet pattern.

When I found it online, the photos were not the best. It looked like a solid, dove-grey kimono with an interesting design on the front okumi panel and the sleeves. I still thought it was lovely and versatile, so I bought it. Imagine my shock when I opened the package to find a beautiful ivory kimono with woven deep plum patterns, flecked with silver.

It’s much prettier in person than I ever would have guessed, but from a distance it still reads as a neutral, and a solid colour. This makes it amazingly versatile. It’s non-seasonal (though it’s lined, so not something I could pull off in the summer), has just enough sparkle and drama to be able to dress it up, but is simple enough to be dressed down too. It also makes a great “frame” for particularly special obi that I want to highlight.

Paired with my koinobori obi and mint-green accessories, at a toy convention organized by my work.

Paired with my spider obi and dark purple accessories.

Koinobori, No boring!

So I have been slacking with the cataloguing. Today I am going to feature another favourite obi of mine. Interestingly, it was a gift from the same dear friend who got me the blackbird obi I mentioned in a previous entry.

This obi has another quirky, relatively unique motif, koinobori.

The motif is koinobori, or koi flags/banners.

From Wikipedia

Koinobori (鯉幟, Koi-nobori?), meaning “carp streamer” in Japanese, are carp-shaped wind socks traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Tango no Sekku (端午の節句), a traditional calendrical event which is now designated a National holiday; Children’s Day[1].

The obi is technically very seasonal, because of this, and shouldn’t really be worn aside from the first week of May, when Children’s Day is.

Luckily, this year I went to my work’s toy convention on the first weekend of May earlier this year. It’s a day filled with superheroes and fantastic tales, a great place to celebrate Boy’s Day. I paired it up with a purple tsukesage and minty green and purple accessories.

I suspect this obi is quite old. It is very soft, the silk worn thin in a few places, and it’s very short. Unfortunately, because of this even with an obi-tying aid, I still get a relatively small otaiko from it. I still love it though.

And just for fun, a girl in a kimono kicking butt with a lightsaber. I do love my job.