Odori Otoko-Poi

I bought this dance kimono on a whim a while back, because I loved the graphic quality of it. The seller had listed it as a woman’s kimono but I was fairly certain it was actually a men’s dance piece. My suspicions were confirmed when it arrived. I don’t hold it against the seller, they list tons of items every single day and I’m sure it was an honest mistake. I was still very happy because it’s so fun and bold. I knew I wanted to do an otoko-poi or tomboyish look with it, and I wanted to keep the colour scheme really simple, so I pulled out my tenga obi with a gold side and stuck to black accessories. I would have preferred an all-black or monochrome haneri but since I don’t own one I thought the pink flowers on this one were neutral enough for the time being.

This is my first men’s kimono and I was actually quite surprised by how different putting it on was. I’m so used to slack in the collar, the extra length and ohashori, and the open sleeves that this was much more of a challenge than I’d initially anticipated. Despite that, eventually I’d like to try to wear this outfit, but I’d like a paler gold obi and a solid black collar first. I am curious to see if wearing a men’s kimono feels as different as using it on the mannequin did.

By the way, I am still on vacation, I just took these photos before I left so there wouldn’t be too huge a content gap while I was out of town :) I’ve got a few more things in the works, but this will be the last mannequin coordination until I get home. Thanks for understanding! ❤️

Rock Garden Ikebana

 

I said I’d be trying to do at least one ikebana arrangement per month, but that was the bare minimum. I was inspired to do a second before April ends.

I wanted this one to feel much more natural and organic, a bit like a rock garden at the edge of a pond. I found the beautiful white and purple ranunculus first, and then found the smaller filler flowers in the exact same colour scheme and knew I wanted to experiment with texture and repetition instead of the more traditional shin/soe/hikae structure of a more vertical arrangement. The roundness of the glass vessel echoes the rocks and the shape of the flowers, and and the colours repeat each other which gives the whole piece a feeling of cohesiveness. This has a very different feel from the last one, which makes me feel very happy. I can’t wait for the next strike of inspiration to hit me!

Rebirth and Renewal

I have always tried to keep this blog apolitical. It’s a hobby, a place of beauty fun and a bit of a distraction from the “real” world. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in the modern political climate, remaining detached is essentially an impossibility. This is not to say that I’m suddenly going to change the focus of things here, but I am having a harder and harder time keeping my mouth shut about the state of things. Syria, Brexit, Trump… we are living in a world that is increasingly on the defensive; cold and closed and unwelcoming.

So with that in mind, I needed a subtle reminder that there is always hope in the world, always a chance for rebirth and renewal. I bought this obi along with the hawk obi from my last coordination, and had intended to pair it with my leaf-green iromuji from the get-go. The obidome and obijime were bought at the same time, and seem like the perfect little complement. I’ve always had a soft spot for pearls, and they draw the eye to the silvery buds on the obi that otherwise blend in and nearly disappear. This felt like the perfect time to tie everything together.

The outfit feels as though it’s looking forward to Spring, but also looking forward in general. In a time when everything seems uncertain, at least we know the leaves and grass and first buds of the flowers will be back soon enough. It may not be much, but at least every time I see it I will be reminded that after every hideous, frozen, deathly winter there will inevitably come a spring when everything is reborn.

Oh, Canada!

Today is Canada Day! It is the anniversary of the first unifications of British colonies into the country we now call home. Since then, though, it has become much more. To me, it’s a celebration of all things Canadian, of our heritage, our cultures, the beautiful tapestry that makes us who we are, our country as a whole.

I knew I wanted to do a Canadian-themed kitsuke, but at first I wasn’t sure where to start. All I knew is that it had to include red, white, and maple leaves! My kiku houmongi, with its gorgeous red background and bold white flowers, seemed like a logical jumping-off point. I pulled out a vintage obi with maple leaves and a maple haneri. The obidome is a poppy, hand-beaded by a friend of a friend in a nearby Mohawk community. To me, it represents remembrance and appreciation of the First Nations people who were here first.

I wasn’t sure how this would look all together, I was worried the orange of the obi would clash with the kimono, but I was really happy seeing it all come together. I even like how the orange of the obi picks up on the salmon lining of the kimono, and the purple in the obi is echoed subtly in the haneri. The outfit is entirely inappropriate, seasonally, but thematically I think I’m spot-on.

Summer Breeze

Summer may officially start tomorrow, but it’s here with a vengeance already. It’s blisteringly hot and humid out, and even looking at the heavy, layered outfit that I’d left on the mannequin was making me hot! I got this adorable ro komon with bells a few years ago but never had a chance to wear it. It’s very long, which is great, but it’s also very narrow. Even at my thinnest, it never fit. It’s just too cute to get rid of, and I figured it was high time it had a moment in the (blistering) sun.

The obi is not usumono, but it’s a thin hanhaba, and the yellow colour really draws the eye to the yellow-gold bells on the kimono itself. I used my pink seashell summer-weight obiage and obijime to add an accent colour. I went with the ubiquitous pink set because it’s actually the only summer set I have. I’ll eventually invest in more sets, but as I currently don’t own a single usumono kimono that fits me, it’s not really a priority right now. I tied the obiage in a bow to echo the obi in back, to add a bit more softness and girliness to an otherwise very simple outfit. It feels light and airy, which is exactly what I was hoping for.