Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka – Life Imitating Art

Before we get to the entry today, I have to speak out on what's happening in the United States (and really, around the world) right now. I've always aimed to keep this blog positive and apolitical, but it's reached a point where saying nothing is complicit with the racists. Black lives matter. Here in Canada we also need to acknowledge that Indigenous lives matter. As a white person, I need to use my voice to amplify and uplift the voices that are being silenced at a terrifying rate. Things need to change. The police need to stop killing black people indiscriminately for perceived offences while privileged white folk walk free after documented atrocities. If you're at a loss for ways to help and can't attend rallies or protests, please visit Black Lives Matter for information and resources, and consider donating to the NAACP or the ACLU. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you feel the need to argue this, tell me it was unnecessary, or tell me that "all lives matter", please unsubscribe and unfollow.

Way back before the flood in my room, COVID-19, and my life (and the whole world, really) going sideways, I found this beautiful little drawing entitled 海の日, Umi no Hi, or Sea Day by Emi Nishizuka and realised I had quite similar pieces, especially my beloved octopus obi. Right away I knew I wanted to try to do the first entry in a new featurette here on the blog, where I plan to reproduce kimono ensembles from artwork. Now that I’m back into the swing of things, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot.

The pieces aren’t exact; the water on the kimono is from a different perspective and less saturated, the obi is purple instead of black, but as a whole I think I did a good job of emulating the mood and feel of the coordination quite well. Also, I’d somehow never noticed before but this kimono is a five-crested houmongi. All my other houmongi are either uncrested or have only one crest. I wonder what sort of event it was intended for.

Doing this coord was a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing more of them. I won’t make any promises or stick to time frames, because I know that’s a surefire way to turn me off from something, but keep an eye out for more of these in the future!

One final note; I have officially lost my job for good. I worked at the same small specialised toy store for almost thirteen years, but unfortunately it has become a casualty of the economy and the coronavirus shut-down and will not be reopening. So for the time being, you will be seeing a lot of older, familiar pieces being reused in new and hopefully interesting ways. My budget is a little tighter than usual so I can’t run around buying new pieces.

I’m back!

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your patience, support, and faith in me. It’s been a very long few months. As you may know, my bedroom flooded a few months back. Mercifully, my kimono are stored in a separate room upstairs, so they were safe. But my life got turned quite upside-down while my room was being renovated and restored. Then the holidays hit, and as I’ve mentioned before, I work in a toy store so things get very hectic around then. To top things all off, I somehow forgot to put my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication in my pill organiser at the end of December. If anyone’s gone off anti-depressants cold turkey, you know how rough it can be. I did that without even realising what I’d done wrong, so January was a very, very hard month for me.

Thankfully, that’s all behind me now. My room is complete, work has definitely quieted down, and my medication is stable again. I knew it was time to get back into the swing of things and start blogging properly again.

I received this gorgeous kimono as a birthday gift from Sophie back in November, and I think it was the perfect piece to use to celebrate my return. I love the variety of colour and pattern, and I’m always a sucker for black-based kimono that aren’t kurotomesode. It came with the red date-eri already attached, so using more red accessories was a no-brainer. I felt that the orange and gold obi had a similar showa-fabulous vibe, and the colours are very harmonious. It’s not a risky or adventurous coordination by any means, but it works well.

Honestly, I was worried I’d be rusty and out of practice, but kitsuke really is like riding a bicycle. After a few minutes, the muscle memory just takes over.

I also have some exciting news to share. Costume-Con 38 is taking place here in Montreal next month and I will be doing three panels; two kimono dressing workshops and one lecture on the history and evolution of kimono. If you’ll be attending, I’d love to see you!

Thank you again if you’ve stuck around during my little break, I really do appreciate the support. <3

Items used in this coordination

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

As much as people love to mock the trend of pumpkin spice everything, there’s a reason it’s so popular. It’s comforting and familiar and warming, and utterly perfect for this time of year. So when this kimono arrived in the mail, I knew I had to do an orangey-peach monochrome look with it, despite the orchid motifs being quite out of season.

The kimono is stunning; big blousy cattleya orchids in white and all shades of orange. They’re outlined in black in such a way that they feel like ink drawings. I don’t have a single other kimono painted in quite this style, and I freaking love it. I paired it up with the orange and white hakata side of one of my favourite chuuya obi, some peach accessories, and a new obidome I got recently. It’s a little ivory phoenix, and I love the final little punch of white it adds to the whole ensemble. I didn’t use a decorative haneri because I liked how the plain white echoed the big white orchids of the kimono. Overall, I’m really really happy with how this one turned out.

If these photos look a little off to you, I apologise. Firstly, my camera was giving me grief and I ended up taking these with my phone, and on top of that, the peach base colour of the kimono is nearly impossible to capture properly. I tried to do my best to balance everything but in reality the peach is more vibrant and the obi is much more orange, almost carrot-like and a perfect match to the orange in the kimono’s designs.

Items used in this coordination

Fall’s Bounty Ikebana

I guess all that complaining about how summer was sticking around actually accomplished something, because it’s wonderfully crisp and cool out now. It seemed like a good time to share this last of the triad I created from that one big bundle of flowers my mum brought home a while back.

The lilies and the greenery forming the horizontal grounding of the arrangement harken back to the end of summer, while the carnations and chrysanthemums scream autumn to me. Unfortunately the piece does end up feeling a little cluttered, in retrospect, and I might have been better off just foregoing the orange lilies entirely. Oh well, you live and you learn, right?

I’d also like to take a moment to thank any regular readers for their patience. My schedule at work and life in general have been a little out of whack for the past few weeks and I’ve found it hard to devote time to blogging. But things are back to normal now, so I should be back to two entries a week or so.

Second Summer Ikebana

Isn’t it supposed to be autumn this weekend? The trees are still green, the weather is still warm… It definitely feels like a second summer is sneaking back to us. Blegh!

This more traditional-looking sparse arrangement is another one made with the same bundle of flowers as the last one, but it feels quite different I think. The roses make me think of the sweltering heat of mid-summer, but their colour absolutely evokes autumn foliage.

I am definitely ready for it to actually stay cooler and crisper now! Can summer just go away properly, please?