Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

I have turned the donation resources at the bottom of this post into a permanent page in the top link – please check there for any future updates. – Japan Donation Resources

My hopes are with the people of Japan in this horrifying time. Please take a moment to spare a thought for the culture that brought a lot of us together and the people who have lost their lives, loved ones, or homes.

If you are trying to get in touch with someone in Japan and are not having success, Google has set up a Person Finder service or you can browse the Red Cross survivor index

Live news stream from MBS, in Japanese. The beeping in the background is the aftershock alert.

Wikipedia article – may not be the most reliable source currently due to constant updates

CNN’s Live blogging of the Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks and tsunamis for Day 1

CNN’s Live blogging of the Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks and tsunamis for Day 2

Seismic activity map of the quake

Photos from the Globe and Mail

Shocking before and after photos – these really help show the devastation, if you’re wondering why such a large, developed nation desperately needs help right now.

Gakuranman’s live-blogging with links to news sources, help sites, etc

Donation resources
If you are looking for ways to help, you can:

Donate directly to Red Cross Japan via Google Crisis Response, which also has a lot of good resources

Donate to the Red Cross USA to provide much-needed first aid, water, and medication

Donate to Doctors without Borders to provide first aid as well as more intensive trauma aid

Donate to International Medical Corps to provide first aid as well as more intensive trauma aid

Donate to Global Giving to provide water, food, clothing, and many needed resources

Donate to ShelterBox to provide boxes of life-sustaining shelter supplies such as tents and camp stoves to survivors

If you are in Canada, Air Miles has set up a service where you can donate 200 Air Miles and they will give 25$ to the Red Cross.

Donate to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support to help the often-forgotten and silent victims of natural disasters, the wildlife, pets, animals in zoos, etc.

George Takei (Sulu from the original Star Trek) is posting all sorts of links and donation resources on Twitter

The Poster Cause Project has a wonderful collection of original themed art prints, with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders to aid their work in Japan.

I have turned the design at the top of this post into an item on Zazzle, they will be sending all post-production profits from the sale of it directly to Red Cross Japan. I would like to make it clear that I get absolutely nothing from the sale of this item, so I am urging you to buy it solely for the relief efforts.

Also, my dear friend Naomi is auctioning off a few of her favourite kimono and obi ensembles, with 100% of the winnings going to Global Giving through eBay’s charity services.
View her auctions here

Working on a new theme

As you can see, I decided it was high time to make a custom theme for this blog. The one I was using before was lovely, but it was a pre-existing theme made by someone else, and it was getting difficult to work with. I wanted something unique and exclusive, and a bit more scalable.

However, I’d forgotten what a pain WordPress themes can be! So there are still things that are not working correctly, and I will be fixing them over the next few days. Please bear with me, and be patient. 🙂 Thank you!

New obidome and obi-kazari

Recently, I seem to have amassed a large number of obidome and brooches specifically for my obidome converter. The two real obidome come to me courtesy of Kansai_gal, who picked them up for me in Kyoto. The first one is probably the most special, she found it and got it for me without telling me, and there’s a bit of a convoluted story behind it.

Moonblossom obidome
Moonblossom is not only my domain name, it’s the handle I use on nearly every web forum/chat medium I’m on, and it’s a name I strongly identify with. I even have a tattoo of a Japanese-style family crest on my spine that is comprised of a moon and a stylized chrysanthemum. I have been collecting items with this design for a while now. Kansai found this and bought it for me, because it looks so much like a stylized version of my design. I was so touched, I can’t even begin to explain. I actually wore this out on the weekend. It came bundled with an adorable flat obijime that I haven’t had the chance to photograph yet, but I will soon!

Car obidome
This is another one Kansai found while out shopping, and she knows me so well she contacted me right away. Aside from my strange fascinations with kimono and nail polish, I’m also a huge sucker for cars – primarily classic/vintage muscle cars, but also certain classic British cars. She found this obidome and knew how much I would want it. It reminds me (as well as my father and my best friend who are both big car geeks) of a mid sixties E-Type Jag, which is one of my dream cars. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I’m going to tell myself it was. It’s got a very interesting texture, it’s made of carved buffalo horn so it’s sort of translucent and glassy but very durable. I love it, and can’t wait to wear it!

Flower brooch
This technically isn’t an obidome but I bought it with the specific purpose of wearing with the converter. It’s the perfect size and shape, and the flowers seem very appropriate for kimono. I am not usually fond of gold-tone metal, but in this case I can make an exception. XD

Pewter and marcasite brooch with milk glass
I found this from the same antique seller as the previous brooch, and it had no price tag. She told me I could have it for five dollars, and I jumped on it. I love the art deco feel of the piece as well as the tiny flecks of marcasite in the leaves. I am considering replacing the milk glass with pearls at some point, since they are a bit dull now, but I still think it’s a beautiful vintage brooch and I definitely plan to wear it both with kimono and regular western clothing.

Flower ring
Yes, you read that right. This is actually a ring. It’s got an interesting stretchy metal band that fits perfectly over both round and flat obijime, so I think it will be really versatile. I love the little rhinestone in the middle.

GeekFest Montreal, in kimono

Yesterday, I attended the first GeekFest MTL with my friends Dave and Sophie. It was a lot of fun. There were definitely some growing pains that will hopefully be dealt with before next year, but overall it was a worthwhile experience. There were people in all sorts of cosplay, Japanese fashion, LARP outfits, and whatnot, so I figured it would be a great time to bust out a kimono.

I’d actually planned to wear this outfit to a convention last year but I ended up injuring myself and being unable to wear it, so when this opportunity presented itself I decided to get it out of the cabinet. I wore my synthetic mauve komon with one of the amazing vintage obi I got in a bundle last year, and blue and red accessories. I also got to wear the adorable moon and flower obidome Kansai_gal gave me and the amazing kimono cape my grandmother knit. I will be taking better photos of these things during the week, but for now you can see them on me!

The photographer at the convention was kind enough to let me use his drape and lighting setup while he wasn’t using this, so I got my friend Sophie to take this nice studio-style portrait of me! The little guy hanging off my obi is a stuffed octopus with a bandaid on his head. I saw him in the dealer room and had to buy one! My grandmother knit me this amazing cape, to wear with kimono. It’s comfortable, and warm, and I love how it looks. I can’t wait for her to see me wearing it.

This obi was virtually impossible to tie – the tesaki was so short I could barely wrap it around myself twice, let alone save enough to actually tie to the taresaki. I ended up having to remove the hardware from a tsuke-obi, use a bulldog clip and two extra himo, and pray to the gods of kitsuke that it would hold. Thankfully, it not only survived four car trips and five hours at the convention, it also survived dinner and dessert, and a rather inelegant exit out of a two-door Hyundai while I was being sick to my stomach. I was quite proud of myself.

There are many other pictures available in this album on my Facebook account. However, in some of them I am holding a large foam sword that looks alarmingly and realistically like male genitalia, so please be aware of this before clicking.

Anime with kimono eye-candy

Recently, I shared a couple of cute movies with kimono eye candy, and I thought it would be fun to share a few anime as well.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m watching far less anime than I used to but every so often a little gem comes along, and sometimes these have some great kimono ensembles. Certainly, there are scenes in nearly every long-run anime that involve one or more characters wearing a yukata to a summer festival, or a kimono on a holiday, but the ones I am sharing here have regular appearances, different outfits, and lots to ogle!

Kuragehime (Jellyfish Princess) is an adorable recent anime about a group of young female otaku living in a boarding house together. The primary story is about the protagonist, Tsukimi, coming into her own and standing up for herself while the girls in the house band together to protect it from the Big Bad Real Estate Developers.

For me, however, one of the main draws was the character of Chieko, whose obsession is with all things traditionally Japanese. In each episode, she wears a different kimono ensemble, and they’re all really cute and inspiring. She also dresses Tsukimi up in kimono at one point, with lovely results. One of my favourite moments of the show is when the “stylish” Kurako gives all the girls makeovers, but changes virtually nothing on Chieko because she looks like “a celebrity who wears kimono because she’s rich” once she’s framed by all the other girls in their stylish new looks. How fab is that?!

Kuragehime on IMDB
Kuragehime on Wikipedia

Taishou Yakyuu Musume (Taisho Baseball Girls)
I’ve just started watching this, despite it being a few years old, and it’s absolutely adorable. Set in the Taisho era, there’s an interesting juxtaposition of traditional Japanese clothing and modern western-inspired wear. The main character, Koume, dreams of wearing a sailor-style fuku uniform, but her parents insist that the Meiji-style kimono and hakama are much more suitable for her. Several of her other classmates also wear the traditional outfits. The outfits don’t seem to change from episode to episode, but they’re still nice to look at.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume on IMDB
Taishou Yakyuu Musume on Wikipedia

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to make it clear that I have not yet seen this anime. It’s on my list of “things to watch when I have free time”, but the main reason it’s even on that list is due to the kimono. Not only does the main (male!) character always wear kimono and hakama, they vary from episode to episode and are seasonally and formally appropriate for the weather and events. For a kimono dork like myself, this sounds really fun and exciting.

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei on IMDB
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei on Wikipedia

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
This is the beautiful story of a young Japanese girl named Yune who finds herself in Victorian-era Paris. It’s mostly a slice of life show about Yune’s adaptation and confusion, and there is no particular over-arching story or dramatic climax, which makes it absolutely lovely to just watch an episode or two and enjoy the combination of late Taisho and fluffy Victorian aesthetics, combined with lovely Art Nouveau designs and architecture.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée on IMDB
Ikoku Meiro no Croisée on Wikipedia


These shows should all be available for purchase by this point.