Tea Time – Tenmoku Tea Cup

Tenmoku (天目, also commonly referred to as Jian Zhan 建盏 in Chinese) is a stunning style of ceramic ware, created using high temperatures and glaze with a very high iron content. The end result is a variety of incredibly rich, deep, and iridescent finishes.

I received this beautiful “Jellyfish” teacup from Tenmokus.com, who provide a wide array of beautiful tenmoku cups and teapots. I was expecting it to be pretty, but nothing prepared me for how stunning it was in person. The glaze is so luxurious and layered, the shimmering rings peering through layers of translucent blues. This cup was undoubtedly named after the moon jelly, which just happens to be one of my favourite sea creatures ever.

It also feels perfect to hold. I have large hands (to go with the large rest of me, hah) and often small Asian tea cups are too small and I end up feeling clumsy and awkward holding them. This one is still delicate, but just large enough that it feels great to hold. It’s also a bit thick, which will also make it very comfortable when holding very hot tea, thicker walls mean less heat transfer.

Their cups are shipped in absolutely gorgeous presentation boxes that serve dual purpose; not only are they perfect for gifting but they’re so thick and well-padded that the cup was very well-protected during shipping.

My only “concern” with this cup, if you can even call it that, is that it’s so impossibly gorgeous that I almost don’t want to use it. But somehow just leaving it in the box or even on display feels disrespectful. This is a cup that cries out to be used and appreciated.

I highly recommend checking out Tenmokus.com if you’re in the market for a unique, stunning cup either for yourself or for a very special and unique gift.

 I purchased this item at a discounted price for honest review purposes. 

Thank you, Ichiroya!

If you’re active in the kimono communities online, odds are high that you’ve already heard the devastating news that Ichiroya, one of the oldest and most well-established online kimono stores, is closing. I’ve spoken about them at length here on this blog, even devoting an entire entry on how wonderful they are and how to use their services. Everyone there is so kind and helpful, and they’ve always been the first place I suggest when people want to dip their toes into buying vintage kimono online. While I am very sad,t this feels like the end of an era, I wish the owners all the best for their upcoming retirement!

I also used this as an opportunity to treat myself to some items I’d been watching for a while. One of the pieces I splurged on was this beautiful vintage houmongi with genjiko motif on an utterly lush purple background. When it arrived, I realised that an obi I’d bought from Ichiroya quite some time ago was the perfect complement to the pink and green accents of the kimono, and it all fell into place.

I wanted the kimono (and to a lesser extent, the obi) to shine so I went with subtle brown and beige accessories that tied into the kimono motif without drawing attention to themselves. I can’t remember where most of the accessories came from, they’re not from Ichiroya, but they worked very well with the outfit. I love how the brown obiage almost looks like shiny gold due to the gradations on it. I hope I did these pieces justice, as I wanted to honour and thank Ichiroya for twenty years of amazing service.

I bought one other kimono and two gorgeous obi at the same time as this one, so be prepared for lots of new stuff soon!

Items used in this coordination

A Punch of Pink!

What’s this? I’ve worn kimono twice in less than a month?! Apparently unemployment agrees with me…

I’ll be honest, I got dressed for part of a bigger group project that I’ll hopefully be able to share with you all soon. But I figured while I was all done up I should take advantage of it. Also, you get to see part of my bedroom for once, instead of the living room. It’s a fair bit more boring, but I wanted a more neutral background. So not only do you get to see my goofy face, you get to see a small part of my ridiculous pile of collectables. I’m sure you’re thrilled.

I really do love these giant kimono from Kimonomachi. Unfortunately, Rakuten Global has shut down so ordering from Canada is way more of a hassle now than it used to be. I decided to pair the pink one with this awesome red and black faux-shibori obi in a sort of cute improvised casual musubi. Black haneri and black zori (which got mostly cropped from the photos, alas) help anchor the outfit and echo the black of the obi. I kept my makeup soft and pink to suit the kimono, since my hair is already edgy enough at the moment. My moonblossom kamon kanzashi earrings were the perfect finishing touch, I think.

Items used in this coordination

Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka – Life Imitating Art

Before we get to the entry today, I have to speak out on what's happening in the United States (and really, around the world) right now. I've always aimed to keep this blog positive and apolitical, but it's reached a point where saying nothing is complicit with the racists. Black lives matter. Here in Canada we also need to acknowledge that Indigenous lives matter. As a white person, I need to use my voice to amplify and uplift the voices that are being silenced at a terrifying rate. Things need to change. The police need to stop killing black people indiscriminately for perceived offences while privileged white folk walk free after documented atrocities. If you're at a loss for ways to help and can't attend rallies or protests, please visit Black Lives Matter for information and resources, and consider donating to the NAACP or the ACLU. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you feel the need to argue this, tell me it was unnecessary, or tell me that "all lives matter", please unsubscribe and unfollow.

Way back before the flood in my room, COVID-19, and my life (and the whole world, really) going sideways, I found this beautiful little drawing entitled 海の日, Umi no Hi, or Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka and realised I had quite similar pieces, especially my beloved octopus obi. Right away I knew I wanted to try to do the first entry in a new featurette here on the blog, where I plan to reproduce kimono ensembles from artwork. Now that I’m back into the swing of things, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot.

The pieces aren’t exact; the water on the kimono is from a different perspective and less saturated, the obi is purple instead of black, but as a whole I think I did a good job of emulating the mood and feel of the coordination quite well. Also, I’d somehow never noticed before but this kimono is a five-crested houmongi. All my other houmongi are either uncrested or have only one crest. I wonder what sort of event it was intended for.

Doing this coord was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing more of them. I won’t make any promises or stick to time frames, because I know that’s a surefire way to turn me off from something, but keep an eye out for more of these in the future!

One final note; I have officially lost my job for good. I worked at the same small specialised toy store for almost thirteen years, but unfortunately it has become a casualty of the economy and the coronavirus shut-down and will not be reopening. So for the time being, you will be seeing a lot of older, familiar pieces being reused in new and hopefully interesting ways. My budget is a little tighter than usual so I can’t run around buying new pieces.

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!