Fun with kimono dolls!

Have you ever had the urge to make a kimono outfit or play around with coordination, but didn’t have time? Or perhaps your collection isn’t big enough and you don’t have a lot of pieces to play with? Maybe you’re just too tired, and want to do something fun and relaxing! Fear not, the internet’s come to the rescue again! There are plenty of very fun little interactive kimono dress-up dolls out there to play with.

Wabitas Simulator - Fun simulator with tons of colour and pattern options for the juban, kimono, and haori. Solid colour choices for obi, no options for obiage, obijime, or zori.
KainoaTec - Cute modern furisode simulator. You can choose the furisode, obi, obiage, obijime, date-eri, zori, and hair accessory. Hairstyle and face are not customizeable. There are also three different poses available.
DollDivine Kimono Maker - Slightly ukiyo-e stylized geisha simulator. You can choose the juban, hikizuri (long trailing kimono), haneri, and obi as well as tons of customization options for the hairstyle, face, and accessories. Plenty of skin tones, and lots of hair and eye colours, both natural and fantastic.
Yukata Girl - Modern yukataHIME style, with lots of crazy hairstyles, footwear options, three lengths of yukata, and plenty of customizable patterns you can layer for even more personalization.
Kimono Girl - Adorable chibi-style simulator, with tons of kimono options, as well as obi, obiage, obijime, footwear, and hakama! Skin tone, hair, and face options too.
Kimono Maker - Design a kimono. Choose the base colour and then choose patterns and accent colours. Doll itself (skin, hair, makeup) is fixed.

Have fun, and if you make any awesome outfits using these, please share! 🙂

Montreal Matsuri Japon 2010

I went to the annual Matsuri Japon last year and really enjoyed it, so when I found out it was happening again this year I was eager to head out. I wore my black ume yukata and blue and white hanhaba hakata obi to work all day, and after my work day was over my mother joined me and we drove down together. Since there are so many photos here, I’ve put smaller versions than usual in the post, please click on them to see bigger versions 🙂

Unfortunately, the festival had changed locations this time around, and it was in a much more cramped location in the middle of the busiest and most tourist-filled area of the Old Port of Montreal. The traffic flow was not ideal and the stage where the taiko drummers were was virtually impossible to get to. I was a bit let down. However, there were plenty of lovely yukata to see and photograph, and a few great bargains to be had.

At first I didn’t realize that the festival had moved, so I tracked down a guide and asked them where to go. This lovely gentleman then came up to me and asked me where to go, he was as confused as I was! After posing for a photo at my mother’s insistence, we headed off to the new area together.

At the gate, I saw the always-radiant Akane, who I generally run into at these sorts of events. She’s such a sweetheart.

And in the long-standing tradition of goofy photos of me with food in my mouth (if you have me on Facebook you’ve probably seen some others) I found some takoyaki! It was yummy.

This lovely young woman had the most luscious raspberry-red yukata with great shibori all over it, and a really pretty obi with some urushi-like flowers on them, she looked great!

Another beautiful young woman who was doing custom calligraphy.

She made me a very nice interpretation of Tsuki and Hana (moon and flower), on some beautiful Japanese paper.

Three little dolls looked absolutely adorable in their yukata and heko obi! Love the hats, too.

A beautiful family! The young boy on his daddy’s shoulders had the cutest “Chip & Dale” jimbei!

There was not much in the way of kimono to purchase, thankfully. However, I did manage to find some very cute obijime for a steal, $5 each!

And I couldn’t pass up this adorable origami crab jewelry! I will probably turn the pendant into some sort of obi-kazari, as I always wear one of my pearl necklaces, but I couldn’t pass it up!

There are plenty more pictures in my Flickr Account, if you’d like to see! I’d also like to give a huge thank-you to my mom for taking a lot of these photos!

From the Archives – retro-style wool komon coordination

Okay, this is kind of a cheat. This is an outfit I wore quite some time ago, but I quite liked how it turned out. It’s murderously hot out, so I thought maybe an outfit for the fall would remind me of the lovely crisp weather in early spring, and cool everyone down.

It’s all over the place formality-wise, and not really correct with the gloves and boots, but I was going for an overall look, feel and style here, not perfect Sodo kimono regulations. I was aiming for a sort of subdued 20s style, and I think I kind of pulled it off. I’d love to wear some sort of little cloche hat with this, but I look like a total doofus in any sort of hat so let us never speak of that again.

I paired up my great black, white, and red wool komon with my red tsuke-obi and red synthetic haori. A green kasane-eri, green shibori obiage, and round green obijime hold everything together and add a bit of pop. See what I mean about mixing formality? For those of you who aren’t familiar with the rules, I’ve put cocktail-level formal accessories with a “running grubby errands” kimono. And then, if that wasn’t enough, I’m wearing high-heeled black leather boots and black opera gloves! The scandal!

Chidori-ble! Chidori irotomesode.

Yes, that title was an attempt at a play on chidori and adorable. Sometimes my witticisms just kind of.. fail. Please accept it.

This is another one of those sort of beginner fluke things. I’ve always loved the chidori, or plover, motif. I think they are pudgy and adorable and quirky. When I saw this, I was struck by how cute and graphic it is, but didn’t really think more into it than that.

It is an iro-tomesode, a formal short-sleeved kimono primarily for older women. Usually they are far more subdued, and have simple soft floral type motifs, they’re worn for weddings and whatnot. It’s rare to see one with such a vibrant, graphic design, especially one that comes up so high. It does allow a great view of the goofy little birds though!

It was Erica who first suggested it may have been a stage item. It had never occurred to me because it is actual silk, not synthetic, and it’s fairly short, obviously not meant to be worn trailing. However, it may have been intended for a woman in a stronger or more manly role, I don’t know. One thing that does support this theory is that the kamon on it, a form of stylized tachibana, are apparently the kamon of a dance school in Kyoto. If anyone has more information about this, I’d love to know!

As for wearing this piece, I’ve done something a little different. At first, I wore it “normally”, pairing it up with a pale cream tsuke-obi and my awesome wrought-iron haori. Please forgive how I look in these photos, I’d just spent 20 minutes chasing a hornet out of the living room before I took them!

Items used in this coordination

Quite some time later, however, I decided to see if I could live up to the stage-y nature of the piece, and dressed in an intentionally boyish style. Padded my tummy, tied my obi low on my hips, the whole nine yards. The obi is actually a hakata hanhaba obi folded in half to emulate the look of a man’s kaku obi. I had way too much fun styling myself for this one.

Ladies, lock up your daughters!

Items used in this coordination

Koinobori, No boring!

So I have been slacking with the cataloguing. Today I am going to feature another favourite obi of mine. Interestingly, it was a gift from the same dear friend who got me the blackbird obi I mentioned in a previous entry.

This obi has another quirky, relatively unique motif, koinobori.

The motif is koinobori, or koi flags/banners.

From Wikipedia

Koinobori (鯉幟, Koi-nobori?), meaning “carp streamer” in Japanese, are carp-shaped wind socks traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Tango no Sekku (端午の節句), a traditional calendrical event which is now designated a National holiday; Children’s Day[1].

The obi is technically very seasonal, because of this, and shouldn’t really be worn aside from the first week of May, when Children’s Day is.

Luckily, this year I went to my work’s toy convention on the first weekend of May earlier this year. It’s a day filled with superheroes and fantastic tales, a great place to celebrate Boy’s Day. I paired it up with a purple tsukesage and minty green and purple accessories.

I suspect this obi is quite old. It is very soft, the silk worn thin in a few places, and it’s very short. Unfortunately, because of this even with an obi-tying aid, I still get a relatively small otaiko from it. I still love it though.

And just for fun, a girl in a kimono kicking butt with a lightsaber. I do love my job.