Winter Hikizuri in Late Summer

Recently the naughty voice in my head told me to browse eBay, despite having no job and no storage space. I figured browsing hikizuri would keep me safe as they tend to be out of my price range anyway. Unfortunately, I listened to the naughty voice, found a gorgeous ume piece with multiple extra layers that happened to be a huge size, and now this stunner is now all mine! I’m fairly certain it will fit, but right now it’s just way too hot to wear something with so many layers and so much padding. I am looking forward to putting it on eventually, but in the meantime I couldn’t wait to put it on the mannequin instead.

It was listed as a geisha’s hikizuri on eBay, but the overall boldness and huge padded hems make it feel more like some kind of stage or dance piece. Either way, it’s absolutely stunning and it’s already a treasured part of my collection. I chose metallic, heavily textured accessories to balance out the rich black and smooth yuzen. The green shibori obiage isn’t technically appropriate but I really love how it draws attention to the green accents in the kimono that almost disappear otherwise. I think next time (maybe whenever I actually wear it) I might go with a white-and-silver obi instead of the primarily gold one, since most of the metallic accents on the piece are silver, but I think the gold works just fine. I tied the musubi on a bit of an angle to make it feel a bit more chic and I quite like how that looks.

This also happens to be the 100th kimono I own, if you count men’s items, uchikake, and yukata. A piece worthy of the milestone, in my opinion.

The catalogue photo here is from the seller; this piece is just too damn big for me to photograph with my usual set-up. I’ll get a proper one soon.

Items used in this coordination

DIY Kokeshi Dolls featuring The Washi Tape Shop

Washi tape comes in so many beautiful and versatile designs, and is an important part of any Japanophile crafter’s arsenal. While most often used for journaling, scrapbooking, and wrapping gifts, there are so many other ways you can feature the gorgeous designs of traditional washi tape.

Today I’ve teamed up with The Washi Tape Shop to bring you a quick, affordable, and fun DIY project. If you’re stuck inside the house (aren’t we all nowadays?) this is a great way to spend an afternoon, and is easy and safe for kids to do as well! Many of the designs available at the Washi Tape Shop are clearly influenced by traditional Japanese textiles and patterns, so I figured what better way to feature them than to make your own kokeshi dolls?

Keep reading for detailed instructions!

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The Fruit of the Sea

I can’t look at this obi and not think about Bubba from Forrest Gump.

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried…

You probably know I love goofy crustacean motifs, and when I saw this obi listed online (and on sale!) I jumped on it. I’ve actually had it for over a month now. 😳 Every time I find myself time to coordinate an outfit, something else grabs my attention. But yesterday I was determined to let this adorable obi shine. I waffled for quite a while looking for the perfect kimono and then it hit me; this tsukesage with a woven net-like design was it! Nets for catching shrimp, and the purple colour is just the right desaturated shade to go nicely with the burgundy of the obi itself.

Green accessories add a pinch of contrast, but since I used a similarly desaturated olive colour they’re still harmonious and balanced. This outfit is technically too casual for a date-eri to work, but I wanted just a pinch more of the warm/burgundy tones without adding more colour or pattern. I really wanted the shrimp on the obi to be the star here, with everything else almost fading away into the background. Do you think I succeeded? I do!

Also I’m sorry if these pictures seem dim or off slightly; my flash unit died yesterday and the replacement just arrived and I’m still getting the hang of it.

Items used in this coordination

Book Review – See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now

See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now
by Ivan Vartanian & Kyoko Wada
ISBN: 978-0811869577
Buy on Amazon | Buy on AbeBooks

If you’re like me and you appreciate both traditional and modern Japanese decorative arts, you need this book. It’s an incredibly well-researched and well-written exploration of how traditional motifs, styles, and techniques of Japanese traditional art have influenced modern popular art.

Whether you’re a fan of Kunisada or kawaii, temples or Transformers, this book will probably have something to show you. Often the antique and modern art are juxtaposed on the same page or facing pages, so you can see the influences and connections directly. Everything visual about this book feels deliberate and well thought-out, which is reassuring in a book about design and art. It’s a pleasure to look at, even the text-heavy pages. It’s relatively compact but densely filled with gorgeous pictures and fascinating information.

The writing is informative and clear without being overly dry or academic, which makes it an enjoyable read for people of all interest levels. It’s not a textbook and doesn’t feel like one, but I could easily see it being an excellent academic resource.

Here’s a small sampling of a few interior pages, to give you a feel for the comparisons I made above.

Also, this is a small thing but I want to thank the authors of this book for engaging in fun wordplay in the title but not going down the lazy/obvious route of calling this book Zen and Now.

I would recommend this book for:

  • Anyone interested in Japanese art
  • People studying the evolution of art styles
  • Art history students or fans

I would not recommend this book for:

  • People only looking for books about traditional art
  • Uh… people who don’t want to learn cool things, I guess?

 I purchased this item myself and chose to review it.This post contains affiliate link(s). If you choose to purchase, I receive a small rebate or commission which goes to the continued maintenance of this site.