Basho, bunnies, and a buzz cut!

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

Black kofurisode and purple hakama

Today I went to a mini-convention to raise money for the Red Cross for Japan relief efforts and I figured it would be a great time to wear my new purple hakama. I’ve had this kofurisode for a while, but no hakama to wear it with, so I decided to pull them together with the yellow side of a new obi and a gorgeous purple shibori haneri Naomi sent me years ago.

I knew I’d be walking around a fair bit so I decided to forgo tabi and zori and wore a pair of comfy mary-jane style shoes instead, but I think it worked quite well.

The outfit got a very positive reaction, lots of people asking what I was wearing and taking my picture. I actually also got suckered into going on stage during the costume contest. Since my outfit was not actually a cosplay, and it was not handmade, I was not eligible for a prize but I got to explain what I was wearing and the audience gave me a good reception, so I am happy! I also got a few professional portraits taken, but I do not have them yet. If I get copies, I will post them.

I really love the hakama. It’s amazingly comfortable and hides a multitude of sins. It was a great choice for a convention, it gave me much more freedom of movement than just the kimono would have. I’d love to get more of them eventually.

Purple embroidered hakama

Hakama, those pleated skirt-like garments worn over kimono, are one of those things I always sort of accepted as something I would never own. The standard modern lengths for hakama are between 91 and 97 cm, and I’d need at least 102cm to fit me properly. The few pairs that were long enough that I’d seen were incredibly, terribly out of my budget, and also usually a boring black or navy.

In rushes Kansai_gal to the rescue. She found these for me and sent them to me, and I am absolutely smitten! They’re a gorgeous rich purple colour, a wonderful washable synthetic, and have charming embroidered mums, pinks, and bellflowers on the hem. The best part of all, however, is that they are a whopping 103 centimetres long. Almost too long for me! Amazing!

Hakama are a wonderful solution to kimono that may be a bit too short, or don’t wrap across the hips properly. They’re also a lot more forgiving than a standard kimono and obi might be. They’re generally considered fairly youthful and casual, but as I’ve said time and time again I am hideously immature and tend to dress younger than I should.

A quick note about these photos – no, I have not repainted my wall pink. This shade of purple is notoriously hard to capture with digital photos, so I had to colour correct the photos to make the actual item accurate. The wall got distorted in the process XD

Purple embroidered hakama

Purple embroidered hakama Purple embroidered hakama Purple embroidered hakama

I am very excited to get to wear these, hopefully to a small local convention this weekend with my black kofurisode.