A Prayer for the Amazon

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As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Amazon is burning. This is an unprecedented tragedy of incomprehensible proportions. Indigenous peoples and native animal species are dying, and what is essentially the lungs of our planet is shrinking dramatically every day.

I know it doesn’t make a lick of difference, but kitsuke makes me feel better in overwhelming times like this. I’ve done it when people I’ve admired have passed away, and I did it when Notre Dame burnt and that didn’t have nearly the global significance these fires are having.

Green would have been the obvious choice, and my initial instinct; but then I thought of the lush, gorgeous foliage on my basho-leaf houmongi. I went with more bright pinks and then a green-leaning turquoise because it feels joyous and hopeful, something we all desperately need right now.

If, like me, you’re feeling scared and helpless and looking for a way to help, I urge you to consider donating to one of the charities working on the ground in the Amazon. After some research and checking with the Charity Navigator, I feel comfortable suggesting any of the following groups. If you know of any other reliable charities, or have information that these may not be ideal to donate to, please leave a comment.

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Gofuku no Hi, a day late and a dollar short.

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Yesterday, May 29, was  着物着ます (Gofuku no Hi), or Wear Kimono Day. It is a day to encourage kimono enthusiasts around the world to get out and wear kimono and have fun. Unfortunately, yesterday was an absolute no-go for me. I had work, I wasn’t feeling well to begin with, and it was incredibly hot and humid. So I decided to dress Tsukiko today instead.

I have been dying to pair this basho (banana leaf) houmongi and kikyou hakata obi for years now, and just never found the right opportunity until now. This kimono is one of the few that actually still fits me properly, but it’s still much more comfortable for me to dress the mannequin. I absolutely love the hints of icy blue in the leaves on the kimono and decided to accessorise in the same colour, to emphasise the cool feeling. I love how this outfit turned out, nearly monochrome but with the hits of blue for punch.

Basho, bunnies, and a buzz cut!

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Hello! I’m back, sort of! As some of you know, I had a cranial decompression back in April. I won’t elaborate because it’s a bit creepy and involves my brain meats, but feel free to ask me about if you are curious. Suffice to say it went very well, and my health is improving in leaps and bounds, but until recently I have not had the energy or stamina for kimono.

Earlier this week, Katsura Sunshine, the only foreign rakugo performer in the world, was on the local news discussing his upcoming performance at the Montreal Botanical Gardens Japanese cultural weekend. Queue several days of me getting very excited, planning an outfit, and being generally annoying.

One thing I was certain of, I wanted to wear my hakama. I’m still quite a bit heavier than I used to be, I tire easily, and I was going to be tromping around in a garden. The hakama would cover a multitude of sins. I then decided that since I’d be surrounded in foliage, it would be an excellent opportunity to wear the bizarre basho-leaf houmongi I bought eons ago and never had the chance to coordinate. I realised my bunny geta matched the colours in the houmongi quite nicely, so I went with a bunny haneri to tie things together. I was so excited. The whole outfit has a very soft/girly feel to me, all in shades of pink and purple with pale blue accents, so I decided to wear my pink lace tabi too.

This morning rolls around, dark and drizzling. I started having misgivings about going, but I figured it would be a good excuse to get out of the house. Until I checked ticket prices. It’s nearly thirty dollars a person to enter the Botanical Gardens, plus an estimated $15 to $20 for an afternoon’s parking. My father was going to accompany me, since I am not allowed to drive and was not up to spending an hour on the subway in a kimono. That would have been quite an expense, only to end up getting rained on.

Undaunted, I decided to put the outfit on anyway and take some photos in the yard of my lovely next-door neighbours. Their pear tree is bearing fruit, and was a great place to pose. All in all, I’m glad I decided to get dressed. It was wonderful for my morale.

Kimono and buzz cut, an excellent combination! You can see the charming hole in my head here, or at least what’s left of it… Thanks for looking! Hopefully now that I am starting to feel less sick all the time, I will be posting somewhat regularly again.

Items used in this coordination

Going Bananas!

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I’d been trying to abstain from buying anything new, honestly! I was just idly browsing ebay when I found this beauty. I need to learn not to Windows-shop, it just leads to me spending money I don’t have!

Basho, or banana leaf, is a bit of a weird motif. I’d associate it with summer – tropical muggy climates and whatnot, but since it’s not native to Japan I keep getting conflicting information about seasonality. It’s lined, so definitely between fall and spring. I plan to just wear the hell out if it whenever.

The leaves are yuzen-dyed in vivid shades of pink – from a deep raspberry to a pale cotton candy, with some icy blue accents, all highlighted subtly in gold. The sleeves are deliciously long, almost two feet. Taisho length, but it’s definitely a more modern piece. The lining is pale cream, with dark pink around the edges.

I’ve got no idea what I am going to pair it up with yet, but you can bet there will be photos when I figure it out!