J-Okini Shop Featurette

Today I’ve got a review for you, featuring J-Okini: Products From Japan. This is a lovely little shop stocks a wide variety of beautiful gifts and accessories, focused on traditional crafts and materials. Founder Sumie Nakamura was kind enough to offer me a few items to review when I reached out to her, and I can’t wait to share this great shop with you!

The first item I chose was this beautiful pair of mizuhiki earrings. Mizuhiki is an ancient Japanese art form that involves creating tiny, tightly-wound cords out of washi paper and bending them into knots and shapes. They are often used as decorative items or tied in auspicious knots attached to gifts and cards.

These earrings are absolutely beautiful and very well-made, They arrived carefully packed in a sweet little gift box, which both helped protect them in the mail and would make for a beautiful gift presentation. What I love about these is that they will undoubtedly look great with kimono but would also look amazing with western-style outfits that need a bit of wa flair. I actually found a really great little black dress with traditional looking kiku and ume motifts on it at Wal-Mart, of all places, and these earrings will definitely elevate that dress to a more chic level! I can’t wait to pair them together.

Browse their selection of mizuhiki accessories here.

Next up is this charming tiny little zipper pouch. I can’t get over how well-finished it is for something so small. I’ve including the Canadian quarter for scale – it’s the same size as a US quarter or a 50 cent Euro coin. It would make a great change purse or a little case for a special piece of jewellery while travelling.

Despite its tiny size, it’s smoothly finished inside and out and the zipper is great quality and opens without any fuss. I love the cube shape so much, it reminds me of a large die. I tend to leave the house without my hearing aid or jewellery when I fly, because I know I’ll have to take it all off when I get to security and deal with the hassle of collecting it all afterwards. Next time, I think I’ll put it all in this charming little cube and equip myself properly once I’ve settled in at the gate.

Browse their selection of kimono fabric wallets and pouches here.

Aside from these items, they also offer a wonderful variety of teas and tea tools (bowls, whisks, strainers, etc); a huge selection of bento boxes and products ranging from the adorable (I’m in love with this Geisha set) to the elegant (like this classic kimono-inspired motif); and obiage that can be worn as elegant silk scarves, or if you’re a fellow kimono addict, can be the finishing touch to your coordination.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a gift for a loved one who is passionate about Japanese culture, J-Okini will have something for you. They are based in Europe (Malta, to be precise) so if you’re in that area they’re an excellent place to shop from. They will ship worldwide, though! It took a while for the package to get to me, but I place the blame for that squarely on the recent Canada Post strike, not J-Okini.

 I received this item from the retailer or manufacturer for honest review purposes.If you have a topically appropriate craft, product, or service you would like me to review, please contact me. 

Quick & Easy Obijime Tassel Storage Solution

Finding a practical storage solution for obijime is one of the great conundrums of kimono collecting. They get tangled, the tassels get ratty and frayed, and most of the storage options I’ve come across involve wrapping the tassels in paper which gets tedious and wasteful if you use them frequently and have to redo the wrappings every time.

I wanted to find a quicker and more practical way to store them that would also be affordable and easily accessible. After a couple of experiments, I think I’ve found the perfect solution and wanted to share it with you all – bubble tea straws! You can also find them listed as milkshake or smoothie straws, you just want to make sure they’re a wider width than typical drink straws. They’re available on Amazon as well as at nearly any grocery store, they’re very inexpensive, and they’re much more durable than paper.

To begin with, I steamed. combed, and trimmed the tassels on my obijime. For a really great and thorough tutorial on cleaning, steaming, and maintaining obijime tassels, please check out Naomi’s “Project Obijime” blog post. It’s really thorough and clear, and a great place to start.

After all your tassels are tidied up, what you need to do is cut a piece of the straw slightly longer than your tassel and then slit it up one side. Insert the body of the obijime in through the slit and then slide it down to protect the tassel. Then just store however works for you – mine are simply folded in half and then in half again and put into divided boxes by formality and shape. The great thing about using straws like this instead of paper or something else is that you can pull it off and slide it back on as many times as you’d like! No need to take the time to re-wrap them, and no waste.

The only time this feels like a less-than-perfect solution is with very wide and flat obijime, which are more common in vintage collections. Just be careful to make sure that you’ve pulled the straw down completely onto the tassel so it’s not causing the obijime itself to curl because they will stay that way and need steaming again to flatten out.

I hope you found this helpful! It’s such a simple little thing, but personally I think it makes a huge difference when it comes to storage and tidiness!

 This post contains affiliate link(s). If you choose to purchase, I receive a small rebate or commission which goes to the continued maintenance of this site. 

Review – Modern Sakura Kanzashi

Modern Sakura is a fairly new US-based kanzashi brand. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while now, and when I saw they had created a Kickstarter crowdfunding camp aign to get established, I knew I wanted to back them. The campaign was understandably successful and I chose the purple and blue Summer Breeze kanzashi.

I received mine yesterday, and I’m very impressed. The first thing I noticed was the custom mailer boxes. It’s a really nice little touch that makes receiving the product feel very special. Inside the customised box was two adorable printed glassine bags, another sweet little detail that while entirely unnecessary adds a level of thoughtfulness to the finished product.

There were two pieces in the box, which I was not expecting! The tiny blue flower clip is so adorable and subtle, and will be great for everyday wear. As far as I know, these are exclusive to folks who backed the Kickstarter.

The pièce de résistance though was the Summer Breeze kanzashi. This piece has a unique combination of ume blossoms, a charming little fan, and flower and bell dangles. Admittedly, this style is quite juvenile for someone of my age, especially with the little bells, but when has that ever stopped me before? The piece is very well-finished, even the back is smoothly covered with fabric to ensure quality and durability. There is a small metal alligator clip on the back, which was an excellent choice in my opinion, as it tends to grip even fine hair like mine. It also makes the piece suitable for a wide variety of hairstyles – kanzashi mounted on traditional wire pins are really only going to work with fairly voluminous updos but this style of clip means the piece can be worn on long, loose hair as well.

If this is a sign of things to come, I expect to see and hear a lot about Modern Sakura in the future. If you’re interested in some affordable, modern kanzashi that will work as well with kimono as they will with western-style clothing, check them out!

You can find Modern Sakura on their website, as well as their Facebook page and Instagram.

I received this item as a backer perk for a project or product that was crowd-funded (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc)

Heart Obijime Knot Tutorial

Recently, someone posted a photo of this adorable heart-shaped obijime knot in a Facebook group I’m in. I fell in love and decided I would figure out how to tie it, and it’s surprisingly simple! It works best with a slightly longer than average round obijime. The one I used has contrasting colours which looks very sweet and also makes the tutorial easier to follow, I hope.

Step 1 – Begin with a standard obijime knot (if you occasionally have trouble with this, don’t fret! A lot of folks do. This tutorial is a great place to start).
Step 2 – With the long ends of the obijime coming out of the top of the knot, tuck them down behind the cord around your waist.
Step 3 – Make loops with the long ends and bring them back up behind the central knot.
Step 4 – Bring the long tails in front of the obiime and through the loops made in Step 3.
Step 5 – Tighten and adjust the loops and tails as need be until everything is nice and snug and in the right shape. Cross the tassels over each other, and voila! A sweet heart knot, perfect for Valentine’s Day!

I hope that was easy for you to follow. If you try this knot, I would love to see it. Please feel free to post photos or links in the comments. ♥

Some new komono

Nothing terribly exciting for today, I’m afraid. I’ve just been trying to focus on buying things I need, instead of things I just want. And right now, I need more accessories. Luckily, I’ve found some great deals on really cute things lately.

Purple and red obiage
Obiage

Obiage
Kansai_gal snagged these for me, and I’m very grateful. Admittedly, I thought the purple one would be blue, but I didn’t have a casual purple one yet so it’s not the end of the world. However, I still need a blue obiage. XD

Embroidered stretch tabi
Sakura tabi
With feet my size, it’s always exciting to find interesting tabi that fit and aren’t the knit sport type. These may be subtle, but they’re adorable nonetheless.

Purple tachibana haneri
Tachibana Haneri
I love purple, and I love tachibana. What else do I need to say here? XD

Gold saganishiki obijime
Obijime
A nice, simple, dressy obijime. It’ll be good for kurotomesode kitsuke, I think.

Gold saganishiki obijime with red accents
Obijime
Similar to the above, but with hits of red. Nice thing about these is that they’re all good for obidome.

Reversible gold and green obijime
Obijime
I love the pop of acid green on the back of this, it contrasts so nicely with the fairly traditional gold and red on the front side.

Black and white check flat obijime
Obijime
I love love love this obijime. So much. Like, I can’t even express it. It was part of a bundle, including all the subsequent ones in this entry, and I bid totally just to get this one. I love the adorable country charm of it, and it also works with obidome! I also love the weird chartreuse colour on the reverse side.

Pink, blue, and brown obijime
Obijime
This one was a bit of a surprise. I thought it was simply cream, blue, and brown, but when it arrived I saw that the solid half of it is actually a really soft, charming pink.

Blue and sparkly obijime
Obijime
This was another pleasant surprise – the blue side is very cute, accented with little bumps of darker blue, but the reverse is actually white with tiny metallic blue flecks!

Putrid yellow-green round obijime
Obijime
This is… how can I put this delicately? This is definitely not my favourite one. It was part of the bundle and I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually, but it’s such an awkward, bilious colour. I might end up dyeing it, I don’t know. I can’t even imagine selling it alone, honestly.