O-Hanami & Taiko at the Montreal Botanical Gardens

On Sunday, a few members of the Montreal kimono club got together at the Montreal Botanical Gardens to have our own little O-hanami. The climate here isn’t ideal for sakura, but we’ve got lots of crabapples which look almost as lovely and are almost as transient and ethereal.

I had a blast. We met lots of awesome people, posed for a bunch of photos, and generally had a great time. Although it was slightly marred by me tripping at one point and pulling the hanao out of my zori. I spent the bulk of the day walking in tiny awkward steps, gripping my shoe with my toes to prevent falling off. Eventually I just gave up and walked around in my tabi, since they’d gotten dirty when I tripped initially. A bit gauche, I know, but better than spraining something. Especially since I’m still recovering from falling down the stairs a few weeks back.

This post is going to be incredibly image-heavy, because everything was lovely and also we’re a bunch of silly people who like to ham things up. Click through for kimono, taiko drumming, and a lovely ikebana show!

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Kurotome & Jacket Experiment

Last October, amazing and modern kimono stylist Akira put out Akira Times – Wafuku Anarchist, a book of his work. On the cover is a gorgeous woman in a fantastic, punk-feeling kitsuke with a leather jacket over top. Needless to say, I fell in love immediately. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but somehow never got around to it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by Nichole Fiorentino, who also does some utterly gorgeous and aspirational kimono styling, when she posted older photos of her doing a similar kitsuke with holographic accessories and a holographic leather jacket. I knew the time had come for me to do a kurotme & jacket experiment of my own!

Amusingly enough, the jacket itself came from another dear friend named Nicole, and it’s one of my favourite things in my wardrobe. I knew I wanted to use it, instead of a plain black one, so I chose this vintage kurotome because of the similarities in colour accents, and the flower motifs. I figured since I was already doing something “wrong” I could just throw caution to the wind and have a little fun. I pulled out some really bold accessories, and went with the narrow band of my hakata tsuke-obi since the back would be hidden anyway, and it helped to reduce bulk under the jacket.

While I can’t say whether or not I’d ever be confident enough to wear something like this out in public, I do think the experiment was ultimately very successful and I’m glad I did it!

Items used in this coordination

(and one epic jacket!)

Kiltmono for Robbie Burns

Yesterday, January 25th, was Robbie Burns Day, a celebration of the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Traditionally, a Burns Supper is held, an evening filled with bagpipes, haggis, poetry, whisky, and laughter. A few weeks back, a family friend came over while this outfit was on the mannequin, and he jokingly asked if it was for Robbie Burns. It got me to thinking, how could I combine the two, and this “kiltmono” is what I came up with! I’d intended to do it yesterday but this flu season has been kicking my butt over and over again, and I could barely get out of bed. Thankfully today was better.

I hiked the kimono up quite high, to what would be roughly the length of a kilt. The white obi is to echo a crisp white dress shirt, and the black haori calls back to the formal black jacket typically worn with a dress kilt outfit. I chose the red accessories to tie together the red accents in the haori and in the tartan of the kimono. The sporran is my father’s, as is the sgian-dubh (dagger). Traditionally, the sgian-dubh is worn tucked into the sock with a formal kilt outfit, but it reminded me of the traditional kaiken dagger worn by Japanese brides, so I tucked it into the obi. The shoulder fur is reminiscent of both traditional fox fur kimono shawls and a pelt that would have been worn for warmth in the Scottish highlands.

Honestly, I’m kind of shocked at how well this whole experiment came together. As much as I love traditional kitsuke and “proper” kimono coordinations, I also really love demonstrating how modern and versatile these garments can really be. When we stop viewing kimono as rigid, regimented garments with strict prescriptive rules, and start remembering that they are first and foremost clothing and were once worn every single day, we’ll all be able to have a lot more fun with them while still remaining respectful.

Pieces in this coordination

Giveaway Time!

I’ve been working on this for quite some time now, and it’s finally ready! I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate reaching one thousand fans on the Kimono Tsuki facebook page. I actually started assembling things way back last spring, but I had to wait to actually hit the milestone and then make sure I had everything I wanted in each kit.

Each package is arranged by theme – if you like things bright and vibrant then Bold is for you, if you’ve got an appreciation for all things cute and pastel you’ll love Sweet, and if your style is elegant simplicity the Classic is calling your name. The prize packages are essentially the same, featuring a wooden box hand-decorated with Japanese tape and a clothespin kokeshi doll both by yours truly; a maneki neko charm, a sweet little pen with a maiko on it; a padded device sleeve courtesy of FoofShop; a gorgeous obidome/brooch handmade with love by Naomi no Kimono Asobi which aren’t yet available for sale anywhere; and a lovely custom tsumami kanzashi piece by Tiaras ‘n Teakettles which are some of the last pieces she ever made before she stopped making them. I’d like to give huge thanks to everyone who donated things to help make these packages awesome for you guys.

To participate, please head over to the Facebook post, and be sure to follow the instructions there. The contest will run from today until January 23, so you’ve got two weeks to participate. Good luck to everyone!

Happy Otsukimi!

Today is Otsukimi (お月見), the autumn full-moon viewing festival! It’s incredibly overcast here and they’re predicting thunder storms all evening so I won’t get to enjoy the moon here. I have some mochi waiting for me at home, thankfully. However, earlier today Kornelia of Kanzashi Yume shared a link to an utterly adorable little mobile game and I had to check it out and share it with you all.

The game is called (unsurprisingly) Otsukimi, and it’s a straightforward brain-teaser game where you have to solve little puzzles in order to escape from a room, but everything is Otsukimi-themed. Plenty of rabbits and mochi for everyone to enjoy, regardless of where you live or whether the moon is visible in your sky. It’s a very sweet, relaxing sort of game. There is no time limit, nothing to frustrate you. Just simple fun puzzles and beautiful graphics. It will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how quickly you solve the puzzles, but you can take as long as you need to. Once you’ve finished the primary objective of escaping the room, you can play a much shorter second mini-game, finding the hidden rabbits in the room. It’s an incredibly sweet and charming little game and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a nice way to relax and unwind while celebrating the Autumn full moon!

Otsukimi is available on Google Play for Android devices as well as the iOS Store for Apple devices. Please check it out!

The company who developed this, Jammsworks, has many other similar escape games including one called Hakone which takes place in a beautiful Japanese house and garden, and Obon which takes place in a beautiful summery field of sunflowers. You can bet I will be checking those ones out soon as well.