Gofuku no Hi 2020

Gofuku no Hi is a bit of a play on words – May 29 is written as Go-Fu-Ku (5-2-9), and “gofuku” is also a word for traditional clothing. So it’s become an international day to encourage everyone to wear kimono!

As I’ve often mentioned, I’m currently too big to wear almost any of my kimono comfortably. I would have put on one of my modern plus-sized poly komon, but good lord is it too hot to deal with all that today. Thankfully I came across this video by stylist Sala Okabe on Facebook (who you should totally be following if you’re not already!) showing how to easily wear a kimono as a dress without any alteration or damage. It’s actually quite similar to how I styled Lynn in the mod michiyuki at the Otakuthon Fashion Show last summer.

I decided to use my beloved bright-red kiku houmongi, which also happens to be the first kimono I ever purchased. I recently cut all the blue out of my hair, which gives me a lot more leeway colour-wise. To suit the style and era of the kimono I went with a sort of kitschy-retro vibe, pairing some vintage-inspired shoes, my beloved pearls, and this ridiculously adorable purse that looks like a camera.

My intial plan was to go to the park near my house, but I ended up nixing that because it’s just way too hot to be out in the sun, so you guys get to enjoy my living room yet again.

 

Overall I think this was a very successful experiment! I love how the kimono-as-dress looks, and it’s definitely super comfortable. Next time I’ll try it with a slightly bigger one to prevent the slit up the front, but since I am wearing a little tunic underneath it’s not a huge issue.

Did you dress for Gofuku no Hi? If you did, please share photos, I’d love to see!

 

Picrew.Me Kimono Avatar Creators part 2

I know things have been rather quiet here, and I do apologise. I’ve been doing a lot of back-end work, stuff that keeps the site running efficiently, but I realise that while it’s necessary it’s also not very interesting for you guys!

One of the things I did was update last summer’s Picrew Kimono Avatars post so it was responsive and worked on mobile devices. While doing that, I realised it’s one of my most popular and most frequently revisited posts, so I thought maybe it was time to do another one! I promise, there are actual kimono coordinations and some book reviews coming up, but in the meantime I hope you have fun with this. If you’re new to Picrew.me and aren’t sure how the interface works since it’s all in Japanese, there’s an explanation and tutorial in the previous post.

Female Avatars

https://picrew.me/image_maker/5215

This one is utterly adorable! There are lots of customisation options, different kimono and haori, and the watercolour style is so unique. It was also one of the only ones where I was able to give myself some semblance of a buzz cut, and since I like my avatars to look like me it gets extra points for that.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/110764/

A very pretty vintage-looking avatar maker. Both the style of the art and the style of the kimono give this a feeling of timeless nostalgia. There aren't too many options for the kimono; the whole ensemble (kimono, haneri, obi, accessories) are all connected so it's a bit constrained, but there's lots of customisation for the avatar itself.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/185483/

This one feels like a sort of "create your anime girlfriend" thing, to be honest. Something about the art style and expressions just gives me that impression! There are only a couple of kimono options, and you can't change their colours or accessories, but I thought it was charming enough to include it. Also I totally want a frappucino now!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/146912/

Historical-style avatars to be found here! I love the soft, demure art style of this one. There are lots of assorted Heian-style robes, junihitoe, priest's robes, etc. The layering options sometimes conflict with each other but it's worth a bit of fussing with to make something lovely.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/14538/

Another one with only a few kimono options, but the colour combos available and the art style felt unique enough to me that it was worth including it. I feel like avatars created with this one would do the "Ohohoho" noblewoman laugh in an anime XD
https://picrew.me/image_maker/268253/

This isn't a kimono-specific one but I really liked the anime style of it and there are enough kimono options to warrant including it!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/167775/

This is another one that's not kimono-specific, but it's cute! I'm starting to sound like a broken record here. But I wanted to be as thorough as possible for you guys! The face is nice and customiseable, with lots of hair colours and styles too.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/133067/

This one had to be included for the sheer number of awesome oiran and tayuu hairstyle options. There's lots of colour options for the kimono as well, but the hair's really the main draw here.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/252138/

This is just a lovely, elegant lady with a variety of kimono to choose from. The base is relatively customiseable and there are lots of fun traditional accessories too.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/165093

This is a really sweet vintage-feeling full-body creator. I love that there are a bunch of options to combine kimono, obi, and hakama with western-style clothing. There are even belt and corset style options for the obi, if that's the mood you're in! Even the backgrounds have a soft, Taisho feel to them.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/4607/

This is more of a Kitsune maker and only has a few kimono-specific options, but it's so cute I had to share it. You don't need to make a Kitsune, the ears and tails are totally optional, but I couldn't resist!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/262931

Another full-body option, but this time in a much cuter and more modern style. The customisation in this one is pretty great, you can layer three different types of patterns and motifs to create a really individual kimono. Be sure to explore the "colour" options here, as each one changes the pattern, not just the colour!

Male Avatars

https://picrew.me/image_maker/225108/

This avatar creator has a bit of a spirit/fantasy vibe, but subtle. Lots of options, but the end result always feels a bit ethereal and mysterious, which is never a bad thing!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/5135/

Not sure why I made this poor guy look so sad! Maybe it's because he only has two kimono options to choose from... I just really loved the art style and the level of detail in those two available outfits so I thought it was worthwhile to include.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/51747

Oh look, another one that's not kimono-specific! But the poor dudes really don't have anywhere near as many options as the feminine avatars, so I'm including any ones I find that have even one or two kimono.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/150536/

Again, one kimono with a few colour options. However, this one's got some androgynous features and more feminine hairstyles, so if you're looking for something that feels less strictly gendered than the above male and female options, it might be a good choice for you!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/249679

Again, just one kimono, but lots of solid colour options. This one really stands out in the amount of facial customisation; there are options for shading lines around the eyes and under the mouth, different combinations of nose and nostril shapes, etc.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/80783/

This guy's got a bit of a hard-boiled detective vibe. There's a decent selection of kimono, haori, and loosely-tied yukata to play with, as well as a lot of facial customisation.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/280380

I'm including this one because I thought it might be fun for people to create an avatar and then colour/paint it digitally, allowing for basically infinite customisation!

I hope that this table setup works better on mobile devices for you, and that you have lots of fun playing with these avatars while we’re all stuck inside our homes!

Things Will Get Better

First of all, thank you for your patience. I haven’t posted in over a week now – the April A to Z challenge was apparently more exhausting than I’d realised! I’ve also been fighting off nasty allergies and a bout of pericarditis, and wasn’t really up to much. But things are tough for everyone right now, so I thought the least I could do was bring everyone a bit of brightness and hope.

Since the rainbow has become the symbol of hope and optimism in this time of overwhelming fear and confusion, I thought it might be fun to turn a few of my old monochrome coordinations into a kimono rainbow! I don’t have much in the way of pure orange kimono (orange is quite possibly my least favourite colour) but peach is pretty close, right? XD

I promise I’ll be back with new content soon. I’ve got outfits to put together, books to review, and crafts to make. But in the meantime, I hope this silly little rainbow brings a bit of colour and happiness to your life!

If you’d like to see close-up detail shots of each outfit, here you go!

Z is for Zen, Zoge

Zen, , Buddhism
Zoge, 象牙, Ivory

Celebrating the last day of this challenge with a two-for-one. Zen, the Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasising the value of meditation and intuition, and Zoge, the Japanese word for Ivory.

Rather than dump more info on you, I thought I would just let this statue speak for itself. There’s a grounded beauty in its simplicity I could never hope to explain properly. This ivory Buddha belonged to my grandmother. Both my father and I grew up playing with it. The texture on his head is incredibly soothing, and I have strong tactile memories of running my fingers over it whenever I was allowed to take it off the shelf where it was displayed.

Please note, I absolutely don’t condone the sale, trade, or collection of ivory. This piece is from a time when people had different mentalities and knowledge about this sort of thing. It’s treasured by our family and we appreciate it for what it is, and have no intention of ever letting it go back on the market.

Y is for Yabane

Yabane, 矢羽, Arrow fletching

Yabane (also yagasuri for the small, tightly-repeating variation) and hakata; two of my favourite things together! I love all depictions of yabane, but particularly these big, semi-random depictions that were so beloved in the Taisho and early Showa eras really get to me. I’ve loved this kimono ever since I first bought it back in Boulder, Colorado. It’s an odd fabric, it feels like a mix of silk and cotton. It’s very light and breezy, despite being lined, and is smoother than cotton but has a lovely grip that makes it a pleasure to put on. However, I still can’t believe I ever wore this comfortably though. It’s so tiny!

I’m glad I had an opportunity to use this dusty rose-pink hakata nagoya obi. It’s really subdued but the texture of it makes it feel so lush. I couldn’t resist using my spider haneri which is a near-perfect match to the obi. Also, you guys, I’m so proud of myself. I did an ensemble with yellow accents and didn’t use that lemon-yellow shibori obiage and hakata obijime I use all the time. Will wonders never cease? I did use a yellow obiage, but a much more subdued one. The obijime was a better choice in theory than in practice I think, but it’s not terrible. I just know I can do better next time. XD

Items used in this coordination