Rusty and Warm

Talk about sliding in under the wire! I thought doing Fudangi Friday once a month would be achievable but here I am, only the second month in, posting at the end of a very long day. I worked tonight and then ran some errands afterwards, so it was quite late when I got in. Thankfully, part of the beauty of this challenge is to encourage comfortable, relaxed kitsuke and try to break ourselves of the habit of insisting on overly formal, overly rigid style.

I grabbed my rusty wool komon because it felt warm and seasonal and perfect for this sort of a challenge, and realised that the mustard yellow reverse side of my Tokaido hanhaba obi would be the perfect complement. I can’t believe I’ve never paired these two up before! I really love the peek of red in the musubi that echoes the kimono so well. I made a point of fluffing the bow out to make sure it was visible.

A yellow haneri that matches the obi helped cozy things up further, and I pulled out a thin white and green obijime to echo the faint pattern in the kimono. It wasn’t necessary to hold the obi in place, but I like the finishing touch it gives to the whole outfit. I can definitely see myself wearing this exactly as it is at some point, and being incredibly comfortable and relaxed while doing so.

Outfit of the Week: Valentine’s Day!

I may be single, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get caught up in the ridiculous fluffy commercialism of Valentine’s Day, right? There are plenty of folks in my life whom I love. So I decided that for this week, I’d try to come up with a sort of thematic outfit. I started with this black wool komon I got from Ame a while back. The red and white designs, from a distance, remind me of hearts and snowflakes, which seemed perfect for a love-related holiday this time of year. The kimono came with a matching haori, but I decided to bring a bit of brightness to it with my well-worn red haori and a red hakata obi. I think this outfit is definitely cute and lovely, without being overly frilly or twee.

Bowling and shenanigans in Kimono

Ever since seeing this photo of a maiko bowling in full regalia, I have been dying to go bowling in kimono myself. It looks adorable, and I wanted to prove that there’s no reason you need to be stuffy and “fixed”, especially in casual kimono. After the devastating Tohoku Quake, the Montreal Japanese Cultural Center has been arranging a lot of fundraisers and they announced there’d be a bowling event with proceeds going to the Red Cross. I figured it would be the perfect opportunity.

Amelie and I arranged to meet there, but unfortunately due to ridiculous road work she was a bit late, so I went in and played around a bit. The reactions to my kimono were all really positive and encouraging, lots of “sutekii!” and “sugoiii!”. It made me feel a lot less self-conscious about being there by myself. A lot of women asked where I’d learned to dress myself, and seemed very shocked when I explained it was all self-taught. A few of them sort of seemed wistful that they didn’t know themselves, but I encouraged them to check out some books and websites. I really hope they consider it!

A few lovely women were running an origami table and they taught me how to make a crane and a heart. They were so sweet! I have a LOT of photos to share here, so I’m inserting smaller ones than usual. Please click on them to see the larger versions 🙂
Bowling in Kimono

Amelie arrived while I was with them and we finished up and went to the part you’re all waiting for… the bowling! And no, these pics are not a setup. We really truly did play a full ten-round set to completion, entirely in kimono. I wore my black and red wool outfit that Amelie gave me along with a red hanhaba and my car obidome. I knew I’d be wearing bowling shoes, so I wore ridiculous red and black striped socks. Amelie wore a really pretty komon and orange hakata, and also had fun with rainbow striped socks. We didn’t plan it, I swear!

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Even the ugly bowling shoes look better when they’re paired with kimono and fun socks!
Bowling in Kimono

After our bowling game, we were feeling really hungry so we headed out for dinner. While walking to the car, we walked by Kazu Izakaya, a restaurant with Japanese-style pub food, and I remembered I’d heard really amazing reviews but hadn’t managed to go because the restaurant is always totally full and there’s always a huuuuuge lineup. We passed by just before it was getting to open, so we seized the opportunity. The food was amazing. I know I don’t normally go into detail about the restaurants I eat at, but I cannot say enough good things about the food here. The gyoza were deliciously flavourful with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The tofu was made in-store and creamy, soft, and delicious. The okonomiyaki was crispy and moist at the same time, the sauces were perfect. Even the simple dessert of ice cream with earl grey tea powder was rich and tasty. I cannot say enough good things about this place! The food was as beautiful as it was delicious, and the staff were all incredibly friendly. We sat at the counter and watched the chefs, and it was definitely the right place to sit!

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

After all that food, we were feeling a little bloated and tired, so we headed back to my place. We headed to the park near me in the hopes of taking pictures on the swings, inspired by Naomi’s awesome photoset. I was quite dismayed to find out that they’d removed the swings for the winter, but that didn’t stop us from horsing around on the other park equipment!
Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

We also managed to take some mildly respectable-looking photos. Shock and awe!
Bowling in Kimono Bowling in Kimono

There are a bunch more photos in my Flickr Account.

Kasuri wool komon and haori set

A few months back, Amelie wore this set when we went out for shabu-shabu and I commented on how much I loved it and how I’d been wanting one of these matched sets for a while, but never found one that would fit me. Because Amelie is a total sweetheart and a very generous person, she offered the set to me as a late birthday/Christmas present. I couldn’t say no!

I love wool kimono for their versatility, ease of wear, and comfort. They’re wool so they can be nice and warm, but they’re unlined and relatively breezy so they’re comfortable in warmer months too. They’re also typically woven with bold geometric motifs, so they’re seasonless. They’re a great casual addition to any kimono wardrobe.

This one also appeals to my inner ex-goth (if you’re curious to see how I dressed when going out when I was younger, click here or here) due to the black and red colour scheme. What can I say, I’m easily amused.

Kimono and haori together
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Kimono alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Haori alone
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Fabric detail
Matched wool kimono & haori set

Not only is it adorable, it’s also more than big enough for me, which really shocked me considering how tiny Amelie is XD. I can’t wait to wear it!

Shabu-shabu with Ame and Mischie!

Tonight I met up with a few of the awesome girls from the Immortal Geisha forums for a warming dinner of shabu-shabu. It’s cold and damp and snowy and icy here, so I decided to wear my black, white, and red wool kimono and hike it up a bit with some boots. I figured it would be a great time to wear my new red-orange Tokaido obi, and had a bit of fun accessorizing with a sandy beige and red keffiyeh (shemagh).

Shabu Shabu

Ame went along the same lines and wore an adorable black wool ensemble, but mischie was very brave and wore a gorgeous black silk houmongi with ume. It was entirely accidental, but we were all wearing black, white, and red outfits!

Shabu Shabu Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu

The food was delicious. We went to Kagayaki Shabu-Shabu in Montreal’s Chinatown. It was warming and flavourful and perfect for the weather.

Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu

After we finished dinner, we went to a fancy hotel nearby to take photos over their gorgeous koi pond and to relax and have a drink. As usual, I could not resist being a giant ham. Look! Fishies!
Shabu Shabu

Ame with her Pink Lady
Shabu Shabu

Mischie with a cappucino (in a super pretty cup!)
Shabu Shabu

And me being a jackass with a Bloody Cesar. Hey baby, come here often?
Shabu Shabu

I had a great time, and can’t wait to have another kimono meetup. Maybe not until it warms up a little though!