Orizuru Nagoya Obi

I actually received this on Monday but was hesitant to post it, not wanting to seem callous. I've permanently added the list of donation resources to the top of the page, and I also realized that one of the healthiest things for people to do, especially people like myself who are panicking needlessly, is to try to live a normal life. Furthermore, the motif of this particular piece seemed exceptionally timely. Paper cranes are often viewed as symbols of good luck and hope, and in Japan there is a tradition known as Senbazuru, or A Thousand Paper Cranes. The belief is that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will have a wish granted to them. They are often made to encourage long and happy weddings, or given to people suffering from illnesses and hoping for a cure. I cannot think of a more fitting motif to add to my collection right now.

I've wanted something with orizuru (which is the name for paper cranes, ori- folding, and tsuru- crane) for a very long time, and actually bid on an obi exactly like this a while back, but it skyrocketed out of my budget. When I saw another one come up for auction again I kept an eye on it but didn't get my hopes up. However, the seller who'd put it up has been having some techincal/communication problems and I guess people were hesitant to bid, because I picked it up for a song.

It's so nice in person, for synthetic it's really thick and soft, not slippery like a lot of modern obi can be, and the areas with the cranes are edged in a thin line of gold thread, which really makes them pop.

Orizuru Nagoya Obi

Orizuru Nagoya Obi

Moorish arches nagoya obi

Recently, I won a kimono from Yahoo Japan with a mosque around the hem. It hasn't arrived yet, so I don't have photos, but it's absolutely unique and stunning. When I posted about it on the Immortal Geisha forums I got a lot of questions and suggestions about coordination. Several people actually found the same obi on eBay, a deep rusty reddish orange with blue archways on it that had similar Middle-eastern style ornamentation on them. Technically it's a little casual for the kimono but thematically it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, I'd pretty much blown my budget for a while on the kimono itself, so I had to pass it up.

I should also mention that around the 2010 Holiday season, I organized a gift swap on the forums. Since I was the one arranging it, I wasn't technically able to participate. In the end I did get a lovely gift from one of the members, due to my own disorganization – I'd accidentally left her out of the swap so I sent her things from my own collection and she graciously sent me a package of lovely handmade things in return.

Fast forward to this morning, when my father informs me that I got “a ton of mail”. I am expecting a few things so I wasn't terribly perplexed, but when I started opening the package I had no idea what it was. I was worried maybe one of the sellers had mixed up my order, until a note fell out of the package.

Moony, thank you for the work you put into the ImmortalGeisha forums, especially the Winter Swap. You didn't participate, but here is your surprise gift!

There was no name and no signature, and since several people brought the obi to my attention I really have no idea who sent it! I did make a post on the forums thanking whoever it was and explaining that in the end I did get a package though. ~.~;; In any case, it's stunning and very appreciated, and will be cherished. I can't wait for the kimono to arrive so I can put them on together.

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Moorish arch nagoya obi

Red Tokaido Nagoya

If you're anything of a regular reader, you'll know of my fondness for items with the 53 Stations of the Tokaido motif. I also love the colour red. So when I saw this online, I clearly had to go for it!

I like it because it's simple and vibrant, and also has two stations I did not have yet on obi. I had Nihonbashi on a fan, but I like having them on wearable pieces better. I also find it interesting that the other station, Kanagawa, is from Aritaya, one of the “other” editions of the prints (the standard one used for this sort of thing being the Hoeido edition).

Red Tokaido hakata obi

Start point, Nihonbashi Bridge
Red Tokaido hakata obi

Station 4, Kanagawa (Aritaya edition)
Red Tokaido hakata obi



Hakuna Hakata

First off, happy new year to anyone reading this! I hope the coming year is safe, healthy, happy, and filled with beautiful things.

But now onto the actual point of this entry – my love affair with hakata-ori (hakata weave). Guess who watched The Lion King recently? XD I don't know many people who collect kimono who don't appreciate the supple, geometric beauty of hakata textiles. I do know one, but she’s silly.

Hakata is a beautiful distinctive woven textile from the city of Hakata in the Fukuoka region of Japan. It's typically a single thickness, similar in texture to gros-grain ribbon. Generally it's decorated in a geometric design in a contrasting colour, symbolic of Buddhist treasures. However, more organic or fanciful hakata does exist! I recently missed out on the chance to bid on a white and red hakata obi with fish on it. :(

Other terms for hakata weave can include honchiku or honchikuzen and hira-ori, so if you are searching online, try looking for these terms as well.

For women, hakata tends to evoke a more casual feel, although geiko commonly wear them with more formal kimono. Men, however, are lucky and the bulk of men's kaku obi are made of this sort of textile.

My personal collection of hakata textile is small, but I hope to change that eventually. All of the hanhaba obi I own at the time of this entry are hakata. I also own several fukuro-width obi of various formality levels.

Cream ro hakata fukuro


A soft creamy-white synthetic ro hakata. It's technically fukuro, but the only ro kimono I currently own is a komon, and when folded in half this obi could easily pass for being something more casual. That's part of the magic of hakata.

Green and gold hakata fukuro


Proof that you can indeed dress up hakata. This is a rich slightly blue-leaning green with white and soft gold weaving. It's not yellow, it's definitely gold-coloured, and definitely too dressy-feeling for a casual outfit. It has the perfect blend of vintage “laissez-faire” and modern dressy feeling for the vintage furisode I wear it with.

53 Stations of the Tokaido hakata nagoya


This is a particularly special piece to me. Within my kimono collection, I collect items with the 53 Stations of the Tokaido motifs. I found this one online and as soon as I'd saved enough money to purchase it, I found out someone I know online had beaten me to the punch. Through the kindness of said person and Yuka and Ichiro at Ichiroya, it found its way into my grubby little hands. Geometric hakata, organic hakata, and Tokaido motifs! Gleeeee!

Last, but definitely not least I have the two non-traditional hakata obi Naomi sent me in a box of goodies. I've yet to coordinate these with an outfit, but I will soon!

Pale and dark pink fukuro


Two soft, dusty shades of pink with white, black and yellow accents. I love how fun this one is. Definitely on the more casual end of things, I'm considering pairing it up with the purple yabane komon I bought on my birthday.

Orange and pink fukuro

This is such a fun and unexpected colour combination. A similar dusty pink to the previous one, mixed with a bright reddish orange and vivid green. I honestly have no idea what I'm going to wear this one with, it's a challenge!

That's it for my hakata, for the time being, but damned if I won't be getting more eventually!