Delightful dolls, delayed

Hina-matsuri (雛祭り, doll’s day) was this past Thursday. In the past, I’ve made my own dolls for display but this year I just didn’t have the time to do much of anything, since I work all week now. However, I did want to do a little something, even if it’s technically too late.

I knew I wanted to use this ningyo obi, despite the type of doll not being the typical dolls used for this festival. One day I will find a piece with proper hina dolls on it and I will use that, but until that happens this is what I’ve got.

This kimono may have seemed like an odd choice, but if you look closely there’s bright red accents in the beautiful embroidery. They actually coordinate quite well, I think. Also I think the pink, pastels, and adorable bunny are all ideal for a holiday that celebrates girls.

It’s been a long time since I’ve used my beloved blue and red shibori obiage or my mint and reddish-orange obijime so I was thrilled to have an excuse to pull them out again. A pretty floral haneri in shades of pink with turquoise foliage was a nice finishing touch. As well as featuring dolls, this outfit feels like a great bridge from winter to spring, perfect for early March.

Hina-Matsuri 2021

Typically for Hina-Matsuri I do a somewhat thematic coordination or DIY a set of dolls. This year, however, my motivation hasn’t been where it should be, and I was worried I’d let the day go by without anything. But then I remembered that somehow last year I managed to get not one, not two, but three separate sets of Obina & Mebina dolls! I’ve posted some of them on Instagram previously but this seemed like the perfect time to share better photos and details.

First, I have this lovely traditional hakata ceramic set. These were totally unexpected – I found the Emperor on a shelf mixed in with the other “decorative clutter” at the local Goodwill-owned thrift store. I nearly didn’t take him, since he was alone, but then it occurred to me the Empress was likely somewhere nearby so I went hunting. I found her a few shelves over and I’m so happy I was able to reunite them and give them a home where they can be appreciated and treasured. Unbelievably, they were only $1.50 each! I don’t think they’re particularly old or “valuable”, but they’re incredibly charming and were such a treasure to find.

Next up is this cute (and slightly ridiculous) cat set by Decole Concombre. They’re quite tiny and made of resin, so they’re nothing fancy and not particularly elegant, but they are adorable and I love them to bits. Like all of Concombre’s figures, they look a bit like they only have one brain cell to share between them, which only adds to their charm, I think. I also have a kimono-clad bride and groom set that are very similar, and I think if I were ever to get married, they’d make a hilarious cake-topper.

Last, but certainly not least, my favourite anime power-couple, Haruka & Michiru (Sailor Uranus & Sailor Neptune). I actually ordered these quite a long time ago and had them shipped to Keith’s, so I was finally able to get them when I went a few months back! They were absolutely worth the wait; they are too cute for words. It’s my first time seeing a lesbian couple as Emperor and Empress, but it totally works with these two! Their outfits are accurate to typical hina dolls, but include references to their characters and Sailor Senshi powers which is a really nice touch. I also love that they also came with the little raised dais and byobu screen backdrop.

I know you guys want more kimono coords, and I promise I’ll have one sometime later this week!

Mini-Review – Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san (Kiyo in Kyoto) Anime

If there are three things I love in my media, it’s slice-of-life, food, and kimono. I got a good dose of all those while watching Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi and then all three of them with bonus drama while watching Watadou, and now there’s a new anime out to fill that niche even better! Only one episode is out so far, so this won’t be any sort of an in-depth review, but I’ve been anticipating this anime ever since I found out the manga (which I love) was being adapted.

Kiyo preparing a huge lunch for the maiko – All images courtesy of NHK

Known in Japanese as Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san and in English as Kiyo in Kyoto, this is the story of Kiyo, a teenager who moves to Kyoto and becomes the live-in cook for an Okiya (maiko residence) where her friend Sumire is in training to become a maiko. One of the things that makes their dynamic, and the whole show really, so wholesome is how supportive of Sumire Kiyo is. Initially they were training together, but it’s explained that Kiyo was too clumsy and not graceful enough, so she is taken on as the cook. Rather than be jealous that her good friend is en-route to become a very popular geisha, Kiyo is her biggest cheerleader. It’s sweet and charming and we need more positivity and happiness like this right now.’

Sumire and Kiyo in the kitchen – All images courtesy of NHK

The girls all dressed up for work – All images courtesy of NHK

There’s a broad range of kimono in just this one episode, from the day-wear of the maiko while they’re out running errands to the more elegant outfits of the Matron and dance Sensei. And of course, there are the elaborate, colourful outfits of the maiko which we see only briefly but I’m sure will become more of a central visual element as the show continues.

Squid Mince, an Aomori comfort food – All images courtesy of NHK

A cute segment is where Kiyo and Sumire discuss their “dish of the day”, a dish or food tradition mentioned in the show. There were several in this episode, and they do feel a bit filler-ish and repetitive, but they’re still informative and interesting so I don’t mind them yet. That might change after multiple episodes though XD. I’ll likely be doing a follow-up on this series (and a few others I’ve been meaning to share) in an Anime with Kimono Eye-Candy entry sometime soon.

You can watch the first episode of Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san/Kiyo in Kyoto in Japanese with English subtitles and occasional English narration explaining culture and traditions of the geisha district on NHK World right here!

 

Picrew.Me Kimono Avatar Creators part 3

It’s that time again! I’ve gone through literally hundreds of avatar creators on Picrew.me to bring you ones with kimono! Sadly none of these are kimono-specific, but they all have kimono hidden within their depths, typically with options to customise styles and colours. You can, of course, also use them to make non-kimono avatar, but where’s the fun in that?

If you need instructions on how to use the interface, I have a detailed breakdown in my first Picrew post.

https://picrew.me/image_maker/112551

The yukata in this one is the veeeery last option available, but it's got a bunch of cute patterns! The base is also very customiseable, so it's great if you're like me and enjoy making avatars of yourself.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/296093

A modern art style that I really enjoy. I also appreciate that this particular Picrew was not made by a Japanese creator, but they included reasonably accurate wafuku nonetheless. It also has hanbok, cheong sam, and sari options!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/332867

Neko-musume (catgirl) maker! I like that this one has kimono and haori options, and the little cats paw kamon is just too cute.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/196270

I will say up front, there's only one kimono option with three colours here (this pattern, solid, and white) and the collar is a bit weird. But it makes really cute portraits so I decided to included.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/190588/

A fun androgynous maker! There's only a few patterns of kimono but there are options for wearing it one-shoulder and some over-layers and things that make it a lot more fun.

https://picrew.me/image_maker/28224

A soft almost watercolour style avatar creator. This one is very soothing and pretty, and has both solid and patterned kimono options. It also has kimono worn in a more masculine style, and you can create some fairly androgynous characters with it.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/137904

Another cute one with a wide variety of traditional Eastern clothing. Only a few kimono options, but it let me recreate my actual undercut hairstyle so I'm biased!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/186583

How adorable is this one?! There are only two options, white feminine style and black masculine style, but I couldn't resist including it because it's just so damn cute.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/395214

I cannot express how happy it makes me when I find a Picrew avatar maker that includes hearing aids! This one only has a few kimono options, but the inclusivity absolutely made it worth sharing. Also I really want boba now...
https://picrew.me/image_maker/549603

This one stands out because of the fun, vintage-feeling pixel art style. Again, there are sadly not many kimono options, but I felt that it was unique enough to include.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/579735

Aaaaa! Full body sitting chibi avatar! Cuuuute! In all seriousness though, this contains a variety of colour options for the kimono as well as a hakama ensemble with multiple colour options. And the faces are so expressive!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/1695

This one is listed as a "ninja maker". It's a very simplified little avatar with a very stylised kimonoish outfit. Just included this one because it made me smile.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/45252

This one is technically a "witch" maker, but nobody ever said witches can't wear kimono, right? Bonus points for the really pretty traditional-style background options too.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/177583

Another charming one with a bunch of traditional Eastern clothing options. There are several colour and pattern options for kimono already, and several blank slots so I imagine they're in the process of adding more.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/388945

The faces on this one just make me laugh! Not a lot of options for the kimono itself, but the avatars are really charming.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/399481

There's both casual and wedding kimono for both avatars in this creator and you can change the colours for all of them! It's the first one I've seen that allows for a couple in kimono. Technically it's male and female, but a lot of the options are androgynous enough that I think it would be possible to make a variety of couples.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/165901

This couple is more obviously two women based solely on the outfits. Unfortunately, there's also only these two options for the kimono, but there are plenty of other clothes so you could do yourself in wafuku and your girlfriend (or sister, or bestie) in yofuku, or even the two sides of your own wardrobe!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/166256

Make your own bento lunch! You can choose everything here, from the tabletop to the drink to the garnish on the rice. Playing with it made me incredibly hungry and now I am craving kara-age. Maybe don't check this one out if you're already hungry.

As always, I hope you have fun with these and I’d love to see what you create with them.  😀

Halloween Pumpkin!

When Kimono Stylist Sala Okabe shared this picture, I was smitten! She didn’t post instructions, but it looked fairly straightforward, some variation on an otaiko musubi and I decided I really wanted to give it a shot. I haven’t been in much of a state to do kitsuke recently; not only am I still feeling worn down mentally, I also took quite a tumble down some stone stairs a few weeks ago. I tore up my legs, twisted my wrist, and bruised several of my ribs quite badly. However, I’m feeling a little better and thought Halloween would be the ideal time to put this together!

The orange hakata side of this chuuya obi was the obvious choice. I paired it with green accessories to look like the leaves and vines of the pumpkin plant, and went with a small-patterned black and white kimono to keep with the “spooky season” colours without being distracting. I would have loved an orange haneri but I don’t own one, but this mustard yellow one is pretty darned close and still fits with the autumn theme.

I also decided not to pleat the obi like Sala Okabe did, because this one is so soft and floppy it’s hard to get it to hold a shape. But I think the woven design does an excellent job of looking like the ribs of a pumpkin! Overall, I think I managed it quite well, considering I had to guess at the obi musubi construction and I’m still not totally feeling like myself. Hopefully my motivation will come back properly soon.

Items used in this coordination