Let’s Celebrate the New Era of Reiwa!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new era in Japan. Emperor Akihito abidcated the throne at the end of April, paving the way for his son Naruhito to ascend to the throne. This ushered in the end of the Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. There will be a week of celebrations of all sorts, but when I saw that they had announced a special colour palette for the event, I knew I had to do a coordination to celebrate. The three celebratory colours are ume (plum), sumire (violet), and sakura (pink).  They  were  chosen  because  they  are  all  traditional  spring  flowers,  and  also because  they  are  mentioned  in  the  Manyoshu,  Japan’s  oldest  recorded  poetry  that  served  as  inspiration  for  the  new era’s  name.

I knew right away that my beloved peony furisode would be absolutely perfect for this outfit, since it features all three colours already. A white-based obi with delicate pink accents gave the outfit a bit of visual rest, since the kimono itself is quite busy and bold. I chose more pink and purple accessories to reinforce the theme and went with a classically feminine but modern styling.

To me, this outfit is the perfect way to usher in what will hopefully be a new era of peace, cooperation, equality, and prosperity for Japan.

Items used in this coordination

Silk Peony Ikebana

Last year, I made an origami ikebana arrangement as a gift for a friend. This year, I wanted to make something for my aunt that would coordinate with her decor and last a long time.

Everything here came from Michaels. I started with the gorgeous, bold red peony that I knew would be the focal point of the whole arrangement. Typically I’m not a huge fan of faux greenery, but these monstera leaves had way more substance and punch than most fake foliage, and since real monstera leaves are quite shiny and waxy anyway, these look much more realistic than most. All I needed after that was a something with height and airiness to balance the earthy, heavy quality of the flower and leaves. My father actually found these very thin branches with pretty silver beads on them that work as the perfect finishing touch.

Of course, I needed some sort of vessel, and I spent a fair bit of time rummaging around in a few different aisles until I found this one and fell in love with it. It’s an almost-perfect match for my aunt’s wall colours so I knew it would coordinate well and while it’s simple enough not to compete with the flower, the bit of texture makes it very earthy and interesting.

Typically, ikebana needs to be done with live, fresh, seasonal flowers. However, there are always acceptable reasons to deviate from the norm. Overall, I think for a silk flower arrangement this was very successful. And my aunt seemed to like it, which is the important part!

Autumn Vintage

As fun as the Disney Princess Kitsuke Project was, I was definitely ready for something a little more straightforward. I lucked into a day off today, so I figured it was high time I did something with this amazing komon I got from Sayumi of Kimono Bijin. It’s a gorgeous vintage piece, really soft silk with a fantastic pattern of shishi and arabesque vines. Unfortunately, it’s also showing its age. A few of the seams are loose, and the lining is quite worn, but it’s so beautiful that it’s easy to overlook those problems. It’s a very tiny piece and I know it would never fit me even if I were to lose half my body weight, so after I take it off the mannequin it’s going to Naomi; she is much smaller than I am and loves all things magenta and teal and vintage and shishi, so I know it will be very loved.

My initial plan was to coordinate it with a black-based obi so all the attention would be on the kimono itself, but that choice felt very safe and a little bit boring. Then I remembered I had this gorgeous gold vintage obi with flowers, particularly some large botan. Shishi and botan are a very traditional pairing and the obi also has a really punchy Taisho/Early Showa feel to it, so I knew I’d found the perfect match. I did gravitate to black for the accessories though, which helps anchor the whole outfit and keep it from feeling too loud or clashy. I think it works.

Items used in this coordination

Lush Peony Ikebana

It’s been incredibly hot and muggy and rainy out here lately. While it’s not particularly fun for me it’s been fantastic for the garden! I managed to catch this vivid pink peony at the ideal time; it’s blousy and open without a hint of decay on it yet. I knew I wanted to balance it out with some foliage, and decided to keep it all to things I could get from the garden. The hosta leaves provide a sense of grounding, and the little white flowers feel sweet and fresh. I will be honest, I don’t know what they are. The vessel is one I found at a thrift shop a few weeks back, and felt cool and refreshing, perfect for a heady, humid arrangement.

Whisky-a-go-go

Well, would you look at that? I’m not actually dead! Summer here was insufferably hot and damp, intolerable kimono weather, and my health hasn’t been great lately. I’ve been less than motivated to do anything kimono-related recently, but I’d been kind of itching to wear this particular blue tsukesage since it arrived.

The perfect opportunity showed up when I bought tickets to the Montreal Pipes and Drums Whisky-Tasting fundraiser. At first, it might seem a bit incongruous to wear a kimono to a decidedly Scottish event, but the Quartermaster for the band is my friend Nick, who shares and encourages my silly kimono enthusiasm. He specifically requested I wear kimono, and who was I to say no? Initially I’d wanted to wear my tartan komon, figuring it would be much more appropriate, but it’s too narrow in the hips to comfortably wear out to an event, especially one where I’d be sitting in a western-style chair at a tiny bar table. So I finally got to bust out this blue beauty.

Inevitably, I got a few “what are you wearing?” and “I like your costume!” comments, but the response was overwhelmingly positive nonetheless. I think the best question I got was from the (very attractive) bouncer at the venue, who came up and said “Can I ask you a question?”. I cringed, expecting the usual “what is that?” or “geesha girl” type question, but instead, he said “Do they have a Japanese Whisky back there or something?” which made me smile.

Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. Here are the pictures! The angle of these ones is a bit funny, since my tripod attachment is MIA so my father kindly held the camera for me.

It wouldn’t be a Kimono Tsuki entry without a visit from my two favourite furry photobombers, now would it?

Items used in this coordination