こどもの日 – Kodomo no Hi – Children’s Day

In Japan, May 5th is こどもの日, Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate and appreciate children, to pray for their health and prosperity in the coming year. It was originally a day to celebrate boys and fathers, while Hina-matsuri was a day to celebrate girls, but in the late 40s, it shifted to a day to appreciate all children and their accomplishments!

Koi-shaped streamer kites, known as koinobori, are tradtional decorations for this holiday. There are typically two large koi depicting the parents, and then one smaller one for each child in the family. I found this obi with koinobori on it on eBay eons ago, and it remains one of my all-time favourite pieces. It’s a strange duck, softer silk than obi typically are, and full of awkward seams on the back side. I suspect it started life as either a kimono or some sort of decorative piece, but someone decided it would make a lovely obi and I’m so glad they did!

Arrows are also a fairly typical motif for the holiday, so I paired the obi up with this bold Taisho-era yabane komon, and I’ve always thought this adorable car obidome Kansai_gal got for me looks like a little toy car, so it felt like the perfect finishing touch for the outfit.

Items used in this coordination

Soft spring outfit

So my health is still a bit wobbly and on top of everything else I have a terrible cold, but I’d been itching to attempt the kamifusen (paper balloon) musubi and figured this sweet pussy-willow unlined komon I bought in NYC a few years back would be a great way to coordinate a pretty little casual spring ensemble.

I followed this great tutorial from Bangasa Kimono on youtube. Because the obi I chose to work with is incredibly slippery I ended up needing a hand from my eternally patient father, but we got it looking adorable in the end. Because the obi is quite long, the “bow” portion under the “balloon” portion ended up very wide, which I think makes it even cuter! I also love the pink and blue willow buds on the kimono, and chose to accent them with pink and blue in the accessories. I know I use this blue and pink haneri an awful lot, but it just works so well with so many of my coordinations! The obijime is pale pink on the solid side and blue, brown, and white on the other. I’d forgotten than I had it, but I don’t think I could have found a better one to tie all the colours in the outfit together.

Items used in this coordination

Purple Rain

This year is shaping up to be a doozy when it comes to celebrity deaths. When I heard about Prince’s passing, I remembered how cathartic making a coordination in Bowie’s memory was that I figured I would fight through my current health issues and see what I could do. Of course, being in honour of Prince, I had to start with purple. I decided to do a monochrome outfit with a bit of flash and flair. Purple hakama, purple and silver lamé komon, purple shibori haneri, and even the obi (despite nearly being hidden) is entirely purple. I’m not used to monochrome kitsuke, but I have to say, I really like it. It’s a very effective way to showcase patterns and textures, and I think I’m going to attempt it more often.

Now, 2016, do you think you could lay off on taking musical icons from us for a few months? That would be great, thanks. As much as these memorial coordinations help me cope, I’d be perfectly happy not doing another one for a long time.

Items used in this coordination

Geisha Style Coordination

It seems like I’ve developed a pattern when it comes to dressing Tsukiko; alternating experimental or non-standard kitsuke with very traditional coordinations. I’d been wanting to do something with the gorgeous geisha hikizuri that Naomi and Erica gave me years ago. The obi is a Taisho-era chuuya from the big obi bundle several of us split a while back. It’s absolutely stunning, but it’s in very fragile shape – the black silk used to line these obi tends to rot much more rapidly than the silk on the front. I repaired one with similar damage a while ago, but I haven’t had the chance to do it to this one yet. Because of this, I wasn’t comfortable wearing it myself, but mannequin kitsuke tends to be a lot more forgiving. I absolutely love how they look together, so soft and desaturated and elegant. I don’t own a momi, so I used a red shigoki obi and obiage to replicate the pop of red under the obi, and pulled out a vintage red juban with a heavily textured collar already attached. I’d initially wanted to tie the obi in yanagi musubi, which is common for performing geisha, but because the obi is so delicate I figured it would be safer to stick with something I know how to tie quickly and easily, so I defaulted to a standard otaiko musubi instead. I think it still looks quite good.

I do wish I could leave this outfit up as a display, but between the fragility of the obi and the cats being fascinated by the trailing hem (and discovering that it makes a spectacular tent), it’s going to to have to be put away quite soon.

Items used in this coordination

To the memory of Opaline Rose

Yesterday, the Immortal Geisha facebook group was informed of the untimely loss of one of our own. While I was not exceptionally close to her, Opaline Rose was a bright light in the online kimono community. She was also incredibly well-loved in the lolita fashion community, and had a wonderful knack for mixing the two styles and creating something vibrant and original. She always had an encouraging word for anyone trying something new, for anyone uncertain of themselves. I’m shocked and saddened by her passing, as are many other people.

In an attempt to deal with my feelings, I tried to honour her memory with an attempt at wa-lolita, which is the name for a style that melds traditional kimono and modern lolita fashion. Opaline often combined kofurisode with feminine skirts and petticoats to great success. While I’m not sure I accomplished the look, I’d like to think if she’d seen this she would have appreciated it.

À la famille de Marie (Opaline), je vous offre mes sincères condoléances. Elle menait de la joie et la lumière a tous ceux et celles qu’elle touchait.