Obi bundle part I – Hakata obi

I apologize for the lack of entries lately! I’ve been preoccupied with work, an incredibly severe migraine that ended up with me in the hospital, and an actor named Benedict Cumberbatch. What can I say, he’s got an intriguing face and a charming personality? XD

Anyway, I’ve finally found time to start sorting and cataloguing all the obi in the incredible bundle I posted recently. I think the easiest way to handle it will be to separate the obi into types and do one entry per type. With my love of hakata, there was no question as to which ones would be posted first!

Navy blue and white cotton hakata fukuro
Obi bundle, part 1 Obi bundle, part 1

This one is interesting – in most lights it’s so dark that it’s nearly black, but with light on it the obvious navy blue makes itself apparent. It’s also a very thick, durable-feeling cotton blend of some sort, rather than the traditional squeaky silk hakata is often made of.

Vivid pink hakata fukuro with geometric designs
Obi bundle, part 1 Obi bundle, part 1
I still can’t believe the other girls were willing to let me have this one, it’s incredibly stunning and unique – I’ve never seen anything like that interesting interlocked pattern on hakata textiles before. This one was constructed like a chuuya obi, backed in black silk. However, the silk is rotting away with age so I’m going to disassemble it and just keep it as a single layer, since most hakata obi are constructed in that manner.

Butter yellow, red, and black hakata fukuro with asanoha
Obi bundle, part 1 Obi bundle, part 1
This is another one that I’m shocked I managed to walk away with. It’s incredibly unique, and I love how it’s off-balance and has the asanoha motif worked in. It does have a fair bit of patina that is very evident with flash photography, but it’s quite subtle in person so I suspect it won’t detract from the piece when it’s worn. I may just have to tie it creatively to hide some particularly dark bits.

White on white traditional hakata fukuro
Obi bundle, part 1 Obi bundle, part 1
This is a much more standard-style hakata obi, but I’ve wanted a white-on-white one for quite some time now, since they’re so neutral and versatile. I’m quite pleased with this one.

Taupey olive grey hanhaba hakata
Obi bundle, part 1 Obi bundle, part 1
I tried to get the colour of this fairly accurate, but it was very hard to capture. It’s very interesting – from a distance it looks quite drab but up close it shifts from an olive khaki colour to a steely blue-grey to a warm taupe, and the weave almost reminds me of shark skin. It’s got an interesting subtle elegance to it, and I’m looking forward to finding the right kimono to pair it with.

Tokaido hanhaba obi

A while back I found a Stations of the Tokaido hanhaba obi on eBay that was quite similar to this one, but it was a bit expensive for a hanhaba, in my opinion. I let it slide, but honestly I regretted it after the auction was over.

Fast-forward approximately a year and this little baby shows up on eBay for a starting bid of one penny. Not only was it in a much more affordable price range, it also had much nicer contrast – the stations and reverse are a lovely golden yellow colour. On the first one I’d seen, they were a deeper red than the obi’s base, so they were pretty indistinguishable.

Tokaido hanhaba

The front side is a lovely brick red with simplified interpretations of the start point of Nihonbashi Bridge, the end point of the Bridge to Kyoto, and Station2 – Kawasaki. The reverse is a nice versatile warm gold asanoha weave design.

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Tokaido hanhaba

Black kofurisode and purple hakama

Today I went to a mini-convention to raise money for the Red Cross for Japan relief efforts and I figured it would be a great time to wear my new purple hakama. I’ve had this kofurisode for a while, but no hakama to wear it with, so I decided to pull them together with the yellow side of a new obi and a gorgeous purple shibori haneri Naomi sent me years ago.

I knew I’d be walking around a fair bit so I decided to forego tabi and zori and wore a pair of comfy mary-jane style shoes instead, but I think it worked quite well.

The outfit got a very positive reaction, lots of people asking what I was wearing and taking my picture. I actually also got suckered into going on stage during the costume contest. Since my outfit was not actually a cosplay, and it was not handmade, I was not eligible for a prize but I got to explain what I was wearing and the audience gave me a good reception, so I am happy! I also got a few professional portraits taken, but I do not have them yet. If I get copies, I will post them.

Black ko-furi and purple hakama

Black ko-furi and purple hakama

Black ko-furi and purple hakama

Black ko-furi and purple hakama

Black ko-furi and purple hakama

I really love the hakama. It’s amazingly comfortable and hides a multitude of sins. It was a great choice for a convention, it gave me much more freedom of movement than just the kimono would have. I’d love to get more of them eventually.

Black Hanamaru Furisode

Black Hanamaru Kofurisode

This is a piece I’ve already shown you, I wore it the first day it arrived, but it also needs a decent catalogue entry, so please bear with me.

Yamatoku was having a sale over the summer of graduation kofurisode overstock. Kofurisode are shorter-sleeved furisode, typically worn with hakama. Girls often wear them during high school and college graduation, so about a month after graduation season, kimono retailers will typically have a large number of modern, synthetic, mass-produced kimono available for good prices.

I don’t usually like modern kimono, and furisode even less, so I honestly wasn’t expecting to pick one of these up. However, when I found this one I had to cave in. It’s komon-style (all over pattern), so it doesn’t scream “furisode” to me. If anything, between the sleeve length and the bright all-over pattern, it looks more like a vintage everyday kimono than a modern graduation outfit. Because it’s modern, it’s nice and large and actually fits me nicely. It was also a steal at $19.95. How could I say no?

The patterns are hanamaru, which are decorative balls of flowers. They’re primarily fall and winter flowers; ume and kiku. There’s also some sort of berries or tiny flowers, I have no idea what these represent. If you know, please comment and help me out! There’s also some subtle trellis designs which add a nice geometric element and keep it from feeling too twee or girly.

The hakkake is a deep yellow, and there is a matching built-in kasane-eri. I hate those damned things, but it does add a nice vibrant touch of colour up by my face, and helps to break up the black, so I’ll probably leave it in there.

Hanamaru Kofurisode; in which I am a moron

It’s 32 degrees out (90 F). So what do I do, as soon as I come home and find my brand new lined synthetic kofurisode in the mail? Lovingly admire it and fold it away for cooler weather, like a sane person would? Of course not! I decided to coordinate an outfit and put it on ASAP.

I decided to pair it up with my pink and white hakata obi. This thing is like cardboard! It was a huge pain in the posterior to tie, but once I got it, it totally stayed put, which was awesome. I used my hellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime, to go with the yellow kasane-eri that was already built into the kimono. Some purple tabi tied in well with the flowers. My Aikoku Fujinkai obidome was the perfect finishing touch, it almost looks like it was made for the kimono.

And of course, my big orange lug insisted on making an appearance.

I really love how the whole outfit turned out, and I will definitely wear it out, possibly on my birthday in November when the lining and the motifs all make more sense with the weather!