Oh I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay!

I sleep all night and I work all day!

I’d been waiting for the right opportunity to wear my lumberjack kimono, and I was starting to worry winter would come and go before I had the ideal combination of weather and free time. I guess the universe took pity on me, because we had a rather spectacular blizzard overnight!

I decided to pair it up with my ume and momiji tsuke-obi, since it seemed seasonal, thematically appropriate, and practical. I dressed in a sort of comfortable casual style, forgoing a proper juban for a turtleneck and a pair of tights. I figured the ridiculous hat and boots completed the outfit well.

I only realised as I was getting undressed that I’d forgotten my obijime – the perils of wearing a tsuke-obi, I suppose! I think it’s fine in this particular case though, since my kitsuke is so non-conventional to begin with.

And in case you don’t know where the title and opening bit of this entry come from, I present to you, The Lumberjack Song, from Monty Python:

Red and black plaid casual set

When I saw this, I knew I needed to have it. It reminds me so much of a stereotypical lumberjack shirt and it called out to my inner Canadian. I’ve already got an outfit in mind for it, including an obi with a maple leaf, a fur hat, and my winter boots. I’ve just got to wait for snow! The fact that it’s incredibly long (167cm) was an extra bonus.

It’s a wonderful thick taffeta silk, much like my other plaid kimono. What I really love about this set though, is that the jacket is a dochugi, not a haori. Dochugi are more casual, and have a substantial decorative cord at the front where they cross over completely, rather than a haori which should hang open, held together with a small set of ties. I’m looking forward to wearing this dochugi with jeans and a black top as well.

As far as I can tell, this set is also brand spanking new. It’s still got the original basting threads and the white lining is completely pristine, and still stiff.

Lumberjack Kimono & Dochugi

Lumberjack Kimono & Dochugi

Lumberjack Kimono & Dochugi

Lumberjack Kimono & Dochugi

They followed me home, I swear.

If you’re an avid collector, it can get to the point where kimono and related items really do just start following you home. As I mentioned in this entry, I came home with a bunch of kimono in my suitcase, despite my best efforts. One of them is a gorgeous Tokaido piece I’d actually purchased on eBay and had shipped to my friend Jamie, due to the postal strike, and it will be getting its own entry. Here are the other two.

Mauve-brown pussywillow komon
Pussywillow Komon

Pussywillow Komon

We were out browsing and shopping in Soho and Jamie started getting amusingly evasive and vague about our next destination. I was so touched when we ended up at Kiteya, a beautiful gem of a shop. The front of the store is filled with wonderful Japanese handicrafts, jewelry, art objects, etc. The back room has two big comfy chairs (which made the rest of our group very happy) and a bunch of kimono (which made me very happy). The service was wonderful, everyone was very friendly and helpful. There were some incredibly gorgeous vintage pieces, but their prices were pretty much gallery-standard, and while they were not unreasonable they’re more than an online bargain-hunter like myself is used to paying, and the only piece I was tempted to justify a big price on (Taisho houmongi with gorgeous peacock design) was just waaaaay too short for me. I was about to give up when I noticed this modern synthetic piece buried under a bunch of other things.

This colour is not only impossible to describe, it was impossible to photograph too. It’s sort of a dusty mauvey brown taupe something I dunno. A pinkish brown, a brownish pink, I’m not sure? But I do know it’s completely adorable. I love pussywillows, they remind me of my grandmother, who always had a bundle in her living room. The ones on here are very adorable too, in soft springy shades of pink and blue. It’s a nice versatile spring kimono, and I look forward to wearing it. I needed more wearable, unlined pieces anyway.

Black tsukesage-komon with diamond fan design
Black fan tsukesage-komon

Black fan tsukesage-komon

This is kind of a funky oddity – it’s a half lined komon but arranged in very specific stripes, there’s even a seam across the hips to help ensure the pattern falls properly. I actually won this awesome piece in a raffle at the street fair mentioned a few entries back, and it’s not only unique and quirky, but it fits me really well. It’s so awesome. It’s half-lined in bright red, but the top is unlined which will help keep it airy and breathable. I also love how the design from afar just looks like little diamonds, but up close they’re actually fans. It’s so charming.

Two recent komon – meisen and BUNNIES!

My track record of “adopting” things from other folks once again rears its head today. Both of these were inherited from prior owners.

Sythetic hitoe with BUNNIES!
Bunny Hitoe Komon

Bunny Hitoe Komon

I’m sorry, I’m just far too excited by this piece. It’s just so cute! Jaclyn bought it and another komon with bunnies at the same time, and decided that the other one was more to her liking. I’d mentioned how cute I found this one, and she knows how difficult it is for me to find kimono that fit me well, so here it is! This thing is a whopping 171cm/68″ long, and 140cm/55″ wide. It’s enormous, and the only kimono I own that fits me properly. It’s unlined but not summer weave, so I should be able to get a fair bit of wear out of it in this climate.

Purple geometric meisen komon
Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Purple Geometric Meisen Komon

Naomi got this in a large bundle, and kindly gave it to me when I was down there visiting a while ago. It’s just about long enough for me to fudge a tiny ohashori out of, and if need be I can wear it without one due to how casual it is. The colour is so rich and lush.

Kimono for benefit concert

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit concert for the Red Cross, featuring Arashi Daiko and Matsu Take Ensemble. Sadly, there were no photographs allowed during the concert so I have none to share with you, but let me assure you that it was a wonderful experience. The energy was great, the music was awesome, the dancers were adorable. If you are ever in the Montreal area and have the opportunity to see either of these groups, I highly recommend it.

Of course, I chose to wear a kimono to the concert. Sadly, I was literally the only person in the entire audience who did, but that did have some benefit. After the concert I went to thank some of the members of Arashi Daiko, and one of them informed that a few of them had noticed my outfit from the stage, and found it very inspiring and touching that I’d chosen to wear kimono. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad I decided to wear one. I also got lots of lovely compliments from other people in the audience.

I decided to wear a beautiful olive-green karakusa komon from Naomi, and paired it up with my pink and white hakata to emphasize the pink in the pattern. I just happened to have an olive green obijime and mustard yellow obiage that matched perfectly, and couldn’t resist tying in the pink with my adorable new playing card geta. I also chose to use my new biyosugata (obi tying aid). Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take photos before I left, so everything looks a little bit rumpled. However, I think for about an hour total in a car, and several hours in an auditorium seat, everything held up quite well.