Friday, December 31, 2010

Yukata for my Boyfriend!

I have to say, I have the best boyfriend ever! He was extremely eager (dare I say jumping at the chance) to get a yukata! I have been dying to get a guy in kimono forever, so this is so exciting for me! We ordered him a patterned yukata, navy kaku obi, and a pair of black tabi (he insisted on the tabi because he hates feeling like he's going barefoot). I already own a pair of men's geta (don't ask, lol.), so he can wear those until he buys a pair of his own. Here are the yukata and kaku obi:

It was all at a good price for a "starter set", and I will post pictures of his kitsuke when they arrive!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Helpful Hints from Tomasan

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonders of Tomasan, please let me introduce you! She has very nicely complied a comprehensive list of kitsuke techniques, for men, women, and children. And these don't just include the basic kitsuke offered by most kimono websites. She often delves into more advanced techniques and musubi. These two things I will offer to you today.

First, how to "tuck" the obiage (used with furisode):

Second, how to tie shigoki:

Good luck with your kitsuke!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spring in Winter

I got this purple kofurisode over the summer, and until today, it still had the tags on it! I felt bad for neglecting it, and despite it being winter, I decided it needed some attention. I paired it with my pale green fukuro obi which I tied in otaiko, and then I finished it off with a green obijime, pink shibori obiage, my octopus obidome, and my pale green zori. :) Overall, I'm pleased! I did the musubi in the front, and it actually didn't turn it to a total wreck when I turned it around the back! I wish my collar was a little better, but I had to use my eri sugata since I haven't gotten around to finding a nagajuban with sleeves that fit this kimono. :ohno: My ohashori is just a tiny bit too long for my taste, but I think that's just being nitpicky... XP Sorry that the pics aren't better, but my boyfriend was kind enough to take these for me, so I can't truly complain (SO much better than taking them by myself with the mirror!).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I made some obidome today from some pieces I had lying around in my crafting drawer. Since I don't own a soldering iron, all I did was hot glue on a pin backing. Couldn't have been easier and looks great!

The first one is a rose:

And the second one is an octopus/cthulhu:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Black Sesame Cream

black sesame cream-filled dorayaki

Something about black sesame cream sounds so delicious to me. Toasted sesame seeds, with their light nutty taste, mixed in a silky buttercream... Mmmmmmmm... I have seen black sesame seeds used more frequently lately, especially into the American foodie diet. They flavor macarons, dorayaki, ice cream, pudding, and many more lovely treats. This is my next food project. It will be even better if I can get all natural/organic ingredients. I think it's doable. ^_^

メリークリスマス! (Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas to everyone! If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you're having a lovely day as well!

photo from

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dango Ideas

Traditional dango. If you've had it, you know it's chewy and yummy in its simplicity. The traditional sauce for kushi dango is a sweet and salty soy sauce-based sauce. But I've been thinking: How can I make dango different? I've been contemplating adding fruit or other flavors to change the typical dango up a bit. Food grade flavorings would probably be a good solution to add a lot of flavor without a lot of liquid. If we're looking into natural flavorings though, citrus zests and vanilla bean/extract, among others, are other good choices for not adding too much extra liquid to the mix. Then there's the thought of replacing some or all of the water with juice or flower water (such as rose water). And then, instead of using the traditional sauce, coat it with a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) or roll in sugar.

Ah, I see cavities in my future.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tea Sweets: Wagashi

I have been doing a little research on the internet about higashi, dry sweets served with thin tea (usucha), after reading more books about tea ceremony lately. I have had the pleasure to try these little sweets during a tea ceremony demonstration at the annual Japanese festival at Memphis Botanical Gardens this past September. Higashi are made of a special type of sugar called wasanbon and pressed into molds. According to most sites I viewed, they almost impossible to get or make. My response to that is this: Rakuten. I typed "wasanbon" in the search box and a bunch of higashi came up, as well as wasanbon itself, of course. They range from the simple dome shape to elaborate flowers and shapes. The higashi range from about ¥525 (about $6.25) and up, depending on the variety and amount you buy. If you are feeling adventurous, you can try this recipe using either traditional Japanese molds (available at or plastic candy molds.

Namagashi, on the other hand, are a little different. These are wet sweets served with thick tea (koicha). While namagashi are supposed to be handmade and eaten usually within a day of making, you can easily use store-bought mochi or daifuku for informal situations. Also, recipes are easier to find on the internet if you feel like making some yourself.

And now I'm dying for a tea party. Anyone interested?

(Photos are from jimmie04's Flickr and Japan Foodie.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Strawberry Macarons

I have had the crazy urge to make macarons since my last failed attempt at them. This time, they actually turned out pretty well! Despite having a few cracked and misshapen ones, most of them looked decent. The recipe I used is a Laduree style recipe.

The biggest hints that I have to give for this recipe are:
1. Once you have made the macaron shapes on the baking sheet, let them sit for about 10-15 minutes. This will help keep them from cracking when baked.
2. Use a clip or rubber band on the end of the pastry bag to keep the batter from coming out.
3. Use a silicon baking mat if you have one. It will help keep the macarons from over-baking.
4. Use the middle rack in the oven only.
5. If you use the strawberry recipe, use 1/2 cup of strawberry preserves in the buttercream rather than the 1/3 cup suggested in the recipe. 1/3 cup just doesn't provide enough strawberry flavor.
6. Use slightly more food coloring than you think you need. The pastry will lighten a little as it bakes.

Good luck if you decide to take the macaron plunge!

Winter Kitsuke

It's a shame that I didn't have time to practice kitsuke much this semester, so I had to entirely thwart the fall ensembles and move right into winter! This ensemble is not perfectly winter, but the colors were the main draw for putting these things together. The nearly all black ensemble is very chic to me. The kimono is a black tsukesage with purple bangasa. The obi is nagoya style wine red with silver accented white peonies. While peonies are not winter, the colors of that obi certainly are wintery. The haori is a brand new one with momiji and ume that I have been DYING to photograph. I chose my mint and lavender obiage and an ice blue obijime to round out the Japanese part of the ensemble. I finished
it off with Western winter accessories: black boots (borrowed from my sister), a grey beret, and black knitted gloves. It was quite toasty under all of that, which was definitely a good thing because it was close to freezing outside when we took the pictures! I was pleased my kitsuke today, especially with my collars. I even had my sister take photos of them to show them off! The ohashori even looked good (for once)! The only thing I would fix is my obiage because it looked messy. But that's only one thing out of many, so I can't complain! =D

Much thanks to my lovely sister who took some very awesome photos.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ume & Sake

I just thought that this was a beautiful image and felt like sharing it:

image from

New Layout

After a long four month hiatus due to educational obligations, I will hopefully have some new posts. I did make a new layout which is macaron themed. Apparently, maracons are my new mini obsession. But how couldn't you get obsessed with them?! They're colorful, fun to photograph, and overall DELICIOUS. The only problem is that they are incredibly difficult to make correctly; however, I am bound and determined to get it right someday. I got my sister an "at-home" macaron maker for Christmas, so hopefully she'll like that and let me get involved in the making of them. She and I have been meaning to have a picnic again and keep putting it off, so hopefully when the weather warms up this spring, we'll get to it and make some lovely macarons to bring along!