A Questionable Success

Sometimes being really obstinately determined to accomplish something is the worst way to go about it. I’d been wanting to do something with the flowers from the trees in the park near my house since the forsythia started blooming about a week ago. However, the timing just never seemed to work out.

Last night, I was insistent. I’m still not feeling great and I’d had a long, painful, irritating day at work, but still I was convinced that stopping in the park and getting some branches was absolutely necessary. The forsythia are just beyond their prime and the crab-apples are about to burst open, so it was really the last time I’d be able to pick both of them and have them be workable at the same time.

As you can see though, I was not in the right state (either physically or emotionally) to try to do a decent arrangement. The branches fought me every step of the way and rather than pull back and take a moment to rethink my concept, I just pushed forward and made the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Not the best mindset to do ikebana in, really.

In the end I got an arrangement that feels balanced, at least, and I don’t hate it. But it certainly doesn’t feel as harmonious as it should, and I think honestly I’d have been better off just waiting it out and focusing on some other type of flowers when I was feeling better. Let this be a lesson to you all; sometimes pushing forward and forcing yourself is good but sometimes it’s the world’s way of telling you to take a break.

Taisho Turquoise, Take Two

How’s that for some terrible alliteration? I know the last coordination I posted was with this kimono, but I just love it so much I couldn’t bear to take it off the mannequin yet. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I also had plans for a more subtle coordination with it, and since I’m feeling a little under the weather (this allergy season has been horrendous) simply changing up the accessories rather than re-dressing her from the ground up seemed like a good idea for today.

While the first outfit I did focused on bright contrast, this one is much more soft and harmonious. The white and silver obi echoes the white parts on the hem of the kimono, and I got to use the pink and turquoise obijime that matches so perfectly. Isn’t it interesting how changing up the obi and accessories can give such a drastically different mood to the same kimono?

Items used in this coordination

Let’s Celebrate the New Era of Reiwa!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new era in Japan. Emperor Akihito abidcated the throne at the end of April, paving the way for his son Naruhito to ascend to the throne. This ushered in the end of the Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. There will be a week of celebrations of all sorts, but when I saw that they had announced a special colour palette for the event, I knew I had to do a coordination to celebrate. The three celebratory colours are ume (plum), sumire (violet), and sakura (pink).  They  were  chosen  because  they  are  all  traditional  spring  flowers,  and  also because  they  are  mentioned  in  the  Manyoshu,  Japan’s  oldest  recorded  poetry  that  served  as  inspiration  for  the  new era’s  name.

I knew right away that my beloved peony furisode would be absolutely perfect for this outfit, since it features all three colours already. A white-based obi with delicate pink accents gave the outfit a bit of visual rest, since the kimono itself is quite busy and bold. I chose more pink and purple accessories to reinforce the theme and went with a classically feminine but modern styling.

To me, this outfit is the perfect way to usher in what will hopefully be a new era of peace, cooperation, equality, and prosperity for Japan.

Items used in this coordination

Pastel Pearl-fection!

I bought this pearl ribbon thing a while back with the intention of using it in kitsuke and somehow never got around to it. When I was looking for an inspirational jumping-off point for today’s outfit I remembered I still had them and decided to work off that.

Pearls, to me, needed a really sweet and feminine outfit, so it was time to bust out this gorgeous blue furisode with pink accents again.  I went with the solid deep rose side of my sakura chuuya obi, and decided to use the pearls as something between an obijime and a pattern itself. I really like how this looks! I also covered up a pink embroidered haneri with more pearls because sometimes more is more. The obi provides a bit of visual weight to an otherwise very light and airy kimono. Previously, all the coordinations I’ve done with this piece have been with white or silver based obi, and it’s pretty cool to see how different it feels with something richer and more colourful.

I also had fun improvising the obi musubi, it sort of looks like a cross between a fukura suzume and a han-darari. It feels very sweet and youthful, and took advantage of this soft, floppy obi well I think. A few more rose and white accessories just pulled the whole thing into a really pretty, girly, cohesive outfit.

Items used in this coordination

The Finnish-Ing Touch

Recently, a friend posted that she was going to be de-cluttering her collection and generously giving some of her pieces away. I fell in love with the rich green colour and charming, almost naive design of this houmongi, and somehow managed to claim it before anyone else did. After nearly a month in transit (what is it with me and mail delays lately?!) it finally arrived safe and sound, and I couldn’t wait until I was able to do something with it.

I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, because of where I got it, but there’s something that genuinely feels very Finnish to me about it. It reminds me of some Marimekko designs, or possibly the background of something drawn by Tove Jansson, Can you not picture a Moomin hiding behind one of the trees?

While it will definitely look wonderful with a more classical, elegant coordination (I’m looking forward to pairing it with my gold Tokaido fukuro obi in the future), I knew that initially I really wanted to play up the fun and quirky quality of it. This tachibana obi seemed like a good choice, since it’s got an almost naive, storybook style to it. Pink accessories made the light pink trees in the hem pop, and a gold kasane-eri was the perfect finishing touch to break up all the heavy green up top. I really love how this all came together, and I hope Jenni thinks I did it justice!

Items used in this coordination