Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Obiage Haul!

My first post-Christmas kimono purchase is a set of obiage - brightly colored, might I add! I have been really pleased with the coordinations by 着物屋くるり (Kimonoya Kururi). They ooze Tokyo style, and mostly involve very subtle kimono and obi but with bolder obiage and obijime. I have been playing on this idea somewhat myself for a little while, but I am lacking in certain colors, so I am happy to have found many along the right lines at one shop. I would love to purchase direct from Kururi (you can do so here if you are an English speaker), but the prices are often a little rich for me. Finding the raspberry tone in the exact same shade as their かきつばたいろ ("kakitsubata") color has been near impossible, but I believe I have come close enough with this obiage.

It also came with a lovely round obijime, so no arguments there! There were two photographs the seller posted that show the obiage under different lights. The other photo (not posted here) shows a more purplish tone, but I believe that either way, it captures nearly the same effect. I would much prefer chirimen like the Kururi product, as I feel it ties and sits better, but for the price, I went ahead and bought this rinzu one.

The other obiage I chose were a bright green and a sky blue:

Both are lively colors that I hope to use in coordinations in the coming months. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Green Kikyou Hikizuri

For anyone who has been collecting kimono for sometime, you've likely had a "this-is-too-good-to-be-true" moment. That is exactly what happened with this hikizuri, and I didn't dare post about it until I had it in my hands. Not only am I in love with the color and design (kikyou!!!), but it's a generous 210cm long with a 145cm wingspan. I have a couple taller hikizuri, but this one is the best fitting by far. I'd venture to guess that this was a dance piece, for several reasons: 
1. It has double padded hem and padded sleeves. Since kikyou is a September motif, those kimono would typically be hitoe, sometimes ro/sha. 
2. It has been greatly lengthened. Not that this is never done to geiko hiki, but it is much rarer.
3. It has a faux red sleeves sewn into the actual sleeves.
4. The date-eri is sewn down, and the fabric matches the lining.

Monday, November 24, 2014

More October-November Purchases

Bad me bought more things...

But at least they're not just for me this time! I found two more kimono for my husband. He has been begging for grey and brown, and I found them on the cheap in his size.

Here's the two I found for myself:

The first is a gigantic synthetic ro komon. It's 175cm long and has a 148cm wingpsan! I think this may be the first time I have put on a kimono and the hip size was too big! I can adjust that more easily though, so I'm not worried.

The second piece is a hitoe tsukesage with a house-in-the-woods motif. I'll need to take a close-up photo because I can't seem to find the seller's photos (other than this one) at the moment. It's 167cm long and has 144cm wingspan, but the hips are little tight on this one. I'll have to look into letting it out at some point. But the fabric on this one is amazing. It has a super soft touch!

Friday, October 10, 2014

More giant zori!

I bought some 26.5cm zori a couple months back, and today, I bought more of the colors!

They're sort of mirrors of each other, huh?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Navy and Grey Houmongi

I'm so excited to have bought this houmongi last night! It was one of those pieces that I didn't hesitate for even a moment about. It's very much my style ^_^

Everyone I have spoken to about coordinating this kimono has wanted me to go with a very bright obi. Subdued is sort of my signature style, so I'm unsure about what I want to do right now. I will likely have to look at several obi options in person to decide...

Also, any ideas what the white and yellow flowers are? I know the black leaves on the bottom half are kaede, but the others with the buds have me stumped...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kimono Buys Over the Last Several Months

I've been bad about not sharing my new acquisitions over the last several months. Here's a quick summary of some of the ones I forgot to post!

 Grey colored line pattern hitoe komon

Navy and white yukata

Pink sakura pattern furisode

Brown lattice pattern komon

Black zakuro pattern ro komon

Grey striped ro men's hakama

Burgundy ro men's kimono

Bingata tsumugi nagoya obi

Chain pattern odori obi

Geometric pattern hitoe komon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shamisen Performance at 2014 Memphis Japanese Festival

Today, I'd like to share a video of my performance from the Memphis Japanese festival on September 13. It's not a perfect performance but overall, I'm happy with how it all turned out. My husband had to hold my music down even though I had already weighted the pages because it was so windy! You'll also notice that a train comes by about half way through, so it may be harder to hear those parts. Nothing ever goes 100% as planned, but I'm coming to terms with that!

For this performance I played two songs: one traditional and one more modern. The first was Yachiyo Jishi, a celebratory song whose long tegoto (instrumental part) depicts a lion in a wild, frenzied dance. The second piece was Nihon Min'yoshu, an instrumental collection of folk songs from all over Japan.

I hope my performance makes you smile! m(_ _)m

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jiuta Shamisen Resource and Blog Project

Hello everyone! I wanted to share with you a project I started recently: Tsukiko Shamisen.

I have been playing shamisen for over 3 years, and I was disappointed by the lack of English resources for shamisen. The ones that do exist are mostly focused around tsugaru style - which is quite distinct from the very traditional jiuta. The project is a blog and resource, written in English, for jiuta style specifically. While my highest recommendation is to find an instructor, this resource will be available for those who cannot find an instructor and want to know the basics or for those with an instructor who would just would like a reference in between lessons. Much of the information will be things that may seem simple, but the instructor may not necessarily teach you - like how to read the packages of strings to know that you're getting the right size and gauge. I also will talk about reading music, instrument care, etc. And I hope to document any milestones in my own playing.

If you are at all interested in shamisen, please take a look!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Immortal Geisha Forum Closure

It was announced today that the Immortal Geisha forum will be closing soon. =,(

I understand and respect Mrs. Hormozi's decision for closing the forum, but it will be missed nonetheless. She did state that it will still available in an archival format and will hopefully be eventually incorporated into the IG Wiki. I am glad that so many people have been able to add to the international body of knowledge on kimono and geisha over the past 12 years.

I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without all of the wonderful people of IG. I found the forums after seeing the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. I was fascinated by what I saw on the screen, and the people of IG really helped to separate the fact from the fiction! As a result of my interest in geisha, I became enamored with the idea of getting a kimono. When I joined the forums in 2008, I was looking at those polyester costume kimono and thinking that was a legitimate thing. IG to the rescue! I was quickly put on the right track to finding what I needed. The whole thing began as the purchase of an orange tsukesage, and now look where we are! Interest and research into kimono and geisha got me into dance, shamisen, and tea ceremony. These hobbies have gotten me out of my introverted shell, and my life is much fuller and richer than it ever would have been otherwise.

I am eternally grateful to Immortal Geisha.

どうもありがとうございました!  m(_ _)m

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July Kitsuke

I finally got a chance to wear this semi-custom pink ro komon with a kikyo design. Honestly, I don't own very many obi that I think are a decent match in color and style for this kimono, so I went with an all pale color ensemble by using this lavender hakata obi and mint accessories.

The only bright color in the ensemble are the teal zori. I had to throw in a little curve ball.

As an extra touch, I wore this cute uchiwa kanzashi. I figured better now since July is almost over. ^_^

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yabane and Kikyo Yukata

I said no new yukata this year... I failed myself... (^-^*)

Most of the designs from my favorite sellers this year have been too bold for me, but this one struck a chord with my sensibilities. Oh, and there's kikyo on it...

I think I may pair it with my kingyo hanhaba obi. This yukata is nearly monochromatic and doesn't pack much of a punch, but that obi sure does! Without seeing them side by side in the same light, it's hard to tell just yet if the colors will be ok together, but since they play off orange tones, they may be a decent match.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tea ceremony with Dr. Sachiko Matsushita

On Saturday, we had a special tea ceremony class led by Urasenke master Dr. Sachiko Matsushita. Matsushita-sensei actually founded our group (The Way of Tea in Tennessee) back in 2008. She returned for a visit this past week. I was so lucky to be able to learn from her! I wish I had a better picture of Sachiko-sensei's kimono and obi. She is currently living in China and could not bring her own kimono with her, so she borrowed these from another member - but that other person did not have any undergarments - so Sachiko-sensei wore the kimono without a nagajuban. The kimono itself is one that the untrained eye may not recognize as beautiful - or expensive. It's an asa komon with a kasuri weave - truly a splendid piece! The obi is a bingata dyed design - gorgeous! Even without proper undergarments, she wore it with the elegance that I can only hope to attain with as many years of wearing kimono as she has!

Kentaro-sensei, Sachiko-sensei, and myself
Ichigo daifuku and blueberry daifuku prepared by Kentaro-sensei's wife
I will hopefully have some other pictures to add to this post later!

UPDATE 7/21 - Finally, I have more pictures! There's a few kitsuke pictures and then just ones of tea ceremony. (My husband took these from the chair where he was propped up; he had surgery only a few days before but was determined to make it to the class!)