Montreal Japanese Language Centre Spring Matsuri

Today I went to the Montreal Japanese Language Centre Spring Matsuri. Of course, I used the opportunity to wear kimono. I decided to pair up my new dusty pink iromuji with a gorgeous burnt-orange obi with irridescent pastel flowers Naomi gave me. The flowers feel like tulips to me, so it seemed appropriately spring-like. I know they’re probably something else, but shush! It was a little too warm for a haori, but too chilly for nothing, so I borrowed a cute shawl from my mother. I think I look like a dope in these, and a little rumpled, but they’re the only full shots of my outfit, so there you go.

I told my friend Nick, who I mentioned in this entry about it, and he came to meet me there along with several other friends. He wore his yukata again, and looked snazzy as always.

While there, I ran into Akane, a lovely young woman I met last summer at the O-Bon Matsuri. She’s always wearing beautiful, feminine outfits and always looks elegant and effortless. She actually remembered meeting me before, and I was quite chuffed about that! Isn’t she photogenic? Also, check out those great red high-top Chucks in the corner!

Here’s the photos of her from last summer – they were taken before I started this blog.

I also met a lovely woman named Serene and we chatted kimono for a bit. She had on a lovely komon and had a great personal style. She made her own obi, and it was adorable applique-work and I wish I’d thought to take a photo of it!

The festival itself was more like a garage sale than anything! Lots of tables with cute little things for sale. Sadly, no kimono or related items, but I did pick up a little fiction book with no relation to anything Japanese and a little handmade bag with a fish on it that I’ll probably wear with a kimono later. I also had a delicious hamburger bento, some umeboshi onigiri, and the most delicious strawberry mochi I’ve ever had, with half a fresh strawberry inside it!

Aside from the vendors, there was a great performance by Arashi Daiko and demonstrations of Aikido and Nunjutsu.

I tried to capture a video of the performance, but my phone is miserable. Watch at your own risk!

And a few photos.

New kimono and obi

It’s difficult to get everything I own catalogued when I keep buying new things! Nothing terribly exciting to see here, just posting reference photos of some of the new komon and hakata obi I’ve acquired recently. I also got a new iromuji not long ago, but since I haven’t catalogued my other iromuji yet, I plan to just do them all together.

Taisho Pink Ume Komon


This is a gorgeous vintage piece. It’s covered in thick ume branches and sweet flowers, a few of which are outlined in gold and silver. I snagged this for an amazing price, due to a few unfortunate water spots on the front. They’re not terribly visible, and I’m going to look into removing them eventually.

Purple Lamé Komon


This is the kimono I wore here, so yes, if you’re a regular reader (thank you!) you’ve seen it before. It’s a bit of a weird thing, being heavy lined synthetic, but covered in high-summer motifs. If you can’t be warm, at least you can think warm!

Striped Mauve Komon


This is the kimono I wore here. It’s a nice, big, synthetic piece that has an old feel to it. Cute multi-season designs of kiku (chrysanthemum), sakura (cherry blossom), and yukiwa (snow crystal design).

Pink and White Hakata Obi


A sweet pale pink and white hakata fukuro obi that I got for a steal, due to a few spots of rust discolouration on the ends. I figure so long as it’s tied in something other than otaiko musubi, it won’t ever be visible. Haven’t worn it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

Reversible Red and White Hakata



Two, two, two obi in one! One side is a gorgeous, dramatic white-on-red hakata, and the other is a great versatile bright red with gold, silver, and white diamonds and various designs. I’m shocked this didn’t sell for more, and thrilled that I won it.

Home sick kitsuke time

I’ve been wanting to put this outfit on for a while, since I bought the haori on my birthday and today I was feeling under the weather and didn’t go out, so I figured it would be a good time to see how it all looked together. BIG MISTAKE. Kitsuke and a fever do not mix, especially not when the obi is made of the skin of Satan himself. This obi is beautiful, but it’s synthetic and brand new, which means it’s both very stiff and very slippery. It would not stay put, and I ended up cheating on the obi a bit, since I knew I was not going out today.

Overall I am very pleased with the coordination of this outfit. It’s almost as though the haori was made specifically with this in mind.  I pulled out the pinky pastel tones with a pink obiage and pink and silver obijime, and then tied it all together with silver zori. However, my kitsuke (and the look on my face in the photos) makes me cringe. My ohashori’s a mess, my collar’s all over the place, and if you could see what I did to make the obi stay put I’d be hideously embarrassed! But let’s pretend everything is fine, and just admire the coordination some more.

So let that be today’s lesson – if you’re feeling like refried death to begin with, don’t try wrestling with kimono for no good reason.

Blackbirds singing in the dead of night

This obi is one of the most beautiful and frustrating things in my collection. It was a gift from a dear friend – I saw the strange black birds and fell in love, but was short of cash at the time.

When it arrived to me, the black silk backing was rotting away and leaving dust on everything, so it has been removed.

The strangest thing about it, however, is the proportions. The designs are evenly spaced every 24″/60cm. The obi itself is 133″/338cm, which is short for a full fukuro. The oddest bit, however, is that it’s obviously meant to be tied in niijudaiko, the formal double-layered musubi.

The last set of blackbirds is upside-down, and has less embroidery on the wingtips than the second-to-last set. However, the obi is so short it’s barely possible to tie it in standard otaiko musubi. I realize I am wider around the midsection than the average Japanese woman, but not to such a significant extent. Also, when tied in any normal manner, no birds end up anywhere visible on the front.

I do love the obi, and the fact that it was a gift makes it even more special to me, so I am seriously considering cutting it up and making it into a pre-tied obi, because I doubt there is any other way I could ever wear it.

I would love to hear suggestions as to what to do with this, and possible other musubi it may work with.

Edit: It turns out this may be a relatively obscure form of obi known as hikinuki obi, they are a form of stage wear that is meant to be tied quickly in front and moved to the back. It would explain both the pattern layout and the unusual motif. I will have to try tying it in this manner and see!

Update: I have finally repaired this obi. See the how-to and finished product here.