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 is for Ikebana

Ikebana, 生け花, 活け花, traditional flower arrangement


If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you’ve likely seen my efforts to teach myself the basics of ikebana. I do feel like I’ve reached a place where I can’t really grow any more without more focused teaching and direction, but the world isn’t exactly in a state where that’s an option currently. Maybe I’ll look into it once things go back to normal, whenever that might be.

Getting fresh flowers right now isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But my lovely father, who had to leave the house to get food and fill prescriptions, was sweet enough to snag these for me from the flower-seller at the local mall. I love the vibrant contrast in them; they almost feel like an inverted Japanese flag. I went for a straightforward three-height arrangement with only a bit of greenery to anchor it. It may not be anything terribly exciting, but fresh flowers bring me a little brightnessright now, and I

Clear as Black and White

I’ve been rolling the idea of an all black and white coordinate for quite a while now. I find myself with a surfeit of free time now, due to my sudden lack of employment due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so I figured I may as well really buckle down and start doing all the kimono-related things I’ve had loosely percolating in the back of my mind for months now.

Of course, I started with my all-white shiromuku bridal furisode. The black anchor came from the homsue-hem style juban I made last summer for the fashion show. I debated removing the ruffles afterwards but decided I liked it so much I wanted to use it in other ways. I’m very glad I kept it! To balance out the black at the cuffs and hem, I went with a black obi. For the haneri and obiage, I actually used some fabric I had left over from last year’s Halloween costume, where I went as a sort of celestial moon goddess. I really love how it works here and I’m seriously debating cutting and hemming some pieces properly, to use again in the future. The final finishing touch was a beaded silvery-white obijime that echoes the sparkle of the stars on the accessories as well as breaking up the solid black of the obi.

The fun thing about this outfit is that it allows me to use pieces that would traditionally never be used outside of specific circumstances; a wedding kimono and mourning obi and accessories! But since it’s such an out-there ensemble, and the addition of the very non-traditional ruffles on the juban, I think I got away with it just fine  😉

As I mentioned up top, I have indeed (temporarily) lost my job. The store where I work is a small, non-essential business, and we had no choice but to close indefinitely. I’m incredibly lucky to share a house with my folks which means that I’m not at risk for eviction or starvation. However, running this blog and bringing you guys new and exciting content on a regular basis isn’t exactly free. Whether it be new coordinations, book reviews, DIY projects, or even just covering the cost of hosting the blog, things might take a hit if I’m out of work for much longer. I know this crazy pandemic situation is affecting everyone, so I’m certainly not expecting anything, but if you are lucky enough to be working from home and have a steady income, I’m not too proud to add a link here to my donation & support page. Thank you for reading all this!

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.

Bridal Redux

Bridal kitsuke is probably the most complex and exhausting of all standard forms of kitsuke. I’ve done it on the mannequin a few times before, but always having to improvise a little. I’ve done  fully coloured ensemble and an all-white ensemble, but when I found this red and gold accessory set for a fantastic price, I knew I wanted to do the transitional style often done for a reception. I paired the bold accessories with my flamboyant and loud uchikake but kept the demure subtle white kimono and obi. I think this is actually my favourite type of bridal ensemble.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of wrapping hikizuri-style kimono to get that lovely x-shaped drape of the hem. It’s not perfect, but I can see definite improvement every time I attempt it. The collar’s pretty mangled, but let’s not speak of that… Because this is my first real, full set of accessories, including a proper-sized bira and an actual kakae-obi, I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of detail shots. I hope you enjoy them!

It’s very satisfying to see the whole thing put together like this. Maybe one day someone will let me dress them up in the whole ensemble.

Items used in this coordination