Bebe Taian

April 15, 2014

Cleaning Up - The Whirlwind Week

Still working lots of days and long hours, although I've been getting a few days off for the past week. Which is nice! I can catch up on physical therapy, going to the gym, cleaning, and clearing out stuff to sell. Dante and Lovecraft both have cat colds, and Bebe needed to go to the vet after her diabetes flared up and made her really sick. Joys upon joys.

On the plus side, they'll be okay soon (I hope; I'm keeping an eye on Lovie), and I got to see a friend safely into his new residence after his roommate decided to evict him on 0 notice. Luckily, he knew it was coming (since he was leaving at the end of the month anyways) and had a place to go. The move was beautiful, like a military operation. Just seamless and organized. <3 And his kitty is a lil fluffball of luv, so I got to pet him too for a few minutes. Plus, today, I packed three pounds of herbs for the shop... and I have about seven more to go. But I ran out of bags until Wednesday. So I decided, hey, I'll print labels! ... and then after one sheet, my ink ran out. x.x Aaaaaugh!

It's that kind of week. No gunshot wounds, just repeatedly stubbing a toe on every step.

After packing herbs and getting labels and all that, I spent nine hours today getting photos of some of the sale things and listing new items. ::phew:: I can finally close up an old storefront and work towards consolidating everything into one shop. I can't run multiple storefronts anymore! Goodbye to ShopHandmade, Zibbet, Wix, and soon, Weebly. I can't take all this online clutter! I can't handle the in-person clutter either, but I do have to try to make something off of it... these vet bills aren't cheap, and they're very necessary visits. I'm fortunate that my vet consults on the phone and only schedules appointments when necessary so he can get to the really sick animals first. He does things like emergency surgeries in office, so it's pretty critical to do so, I think. But when I do go it, it isn't free. So I need to sell off all the clothes I don't wear, the books I don't read, just about everything. And then when I sell enough off, I can get rid of furniture, too.

I just can't do it all. I'm trying, but... I think there isn't enough of me, or enough hours in a day, or enough days in a year to accomplish everything I feel like I need to get done. I'm swiftly putting myself in burnout mode again, and... there's little I can really do about it. If I keep going, burnout. If I stop, I risk losing everything: the apartment, the car, the cats, just... everything. So I keep trying.

Ganbaremasu. <3

March 31, 2014

Weekender 6: Stuff + Things

THESE PAST FEW WEEKS:

I got a few days off last week! ... because the restaurant was shut down to move. I spent them sleeping, going to Drs. appointments (still doing physical therapy after the car accident in October), listing things for sale, and catching up on a month's worth of laundry. Also, I got a new desk this week! <3 It cost a little under $100 off of Craigslist, but it has doors on it (computer armoire style) and shelving. With an internal riser, I'll have even more space for my equipment and office supplies! It also means I can print things immediately from my laptop, now that I have a space for my printer/scanner, instead of getting DH to log off of his and using that computer... which in itself doesn't even have a power supply powerful enough to support things like the external hard drive and such. x.x So... yes. Increased productivity! I'm still working seven days this week at the restaurant, though... only one 12-hour shift this time! The others are 6-7 hours a day.

WEEKEND STUFF!:

- I'm on an organisation spree... or I would be, if I had any time off. I'm trying, though! 5 minutes a day helps me keep things in line.
- What I wouldn't give for a tansu or three... for my kimono, for really anything. I'd keep it all cat-free, and protect some of my more precious books and things from light and dust that way. Strangely, I've also found these on CL a few times, usually for under $500!
- Kimono Couture shows have been a big thing this past week, it seems. Here is one model for the GLE Fashion Show!
- And if you want more eyecandy, bookmark GLEshima on Tumblr. So worth it. WARNING: You may lose several hours of your free time at this site. And forever lament not having half of those kimono.

No survey this week, since it's already 2am on Monday! <3 And I get up in just six hours or so for a 12-hour shift. Oy. x.x

March 26, 2014

Becoming Jimae Geisha Now Subsidized!

From Asahi Shinbun, 25-03-2014

Keeping Tradition Alive: Geisha to Get Subsidies for Clothing
Tomoyoshi Kubo

KYOTO--Young geisha starting out can easily splurge as much as 10 million yen (nearly $100,000) on exquisite kimono and accessories in their first year as a free agent.

Not surprisingly, the ranks of geisha, called "geiko," are thinning.

Alarmed at the dwindling number of professional geiko plying their art in Kyoto's Gion and other districts of the ancient capital, the Foundation Ookini, a Kyoto organization for promotion of traditional performing arts, decided to subsidize kimono expenses for young independent geiko from April.

Officials said their aim was to ease the women's financial burden so that the venerable geisha tradition will continue.

According to the foundation, eligible geiko are "jimae-san"--independent free agents, so to speak--who are in their early 20s.

The subsidy will cover 50 percent of clothing expenses, or up to 500,000 yen, between the three months prior to the time leaving her geisha house and the five years after becoming independent. The foundation set a limit of one purchase per year and three purchases over a five-year period.

A geisha house will take care of clothing, food and housing for a girl from the time she joins the establishment upon graduating from junior high school until she transitions from "maiko" apprentice-level position to geiko and independence.

After reaching jimae-san status, a geiko must procure her own garments and other items. An inexpensive kimono will run between 700,000 yen and 800,000 yen while the "obi," or sash, ranges from 300,000 yen to 400,000 yen. If an independent geiko buys a new outfit for each season, her expenses can easily nudge the 10 million yen mark in her first year.

As of the end of January there were 181 geiko in Kyoto's five geisha quarters, a drop of 21 women from 2006.

Over the five years, 59 women apparently retired upon becoming geiko or jimae-san.

The foundation was established by the Kyoto City Tourism Association and the city's geisha quarters. Until now, it has provided financial incentives for veteran geiko who are well-versed in the performing arts.

An official of the foundation noted that the geisha tradition will fade without an influx of young people. The subsidy is intended "to provide some encouragement to young women who are hesitant about becoming independent."

Fumisono, 26, a geiko who has gone independent, says, "There are many cases of women quitting because they're worried about whether they can make it financially. The subsidy will help."

March 24, 2014

Sold! Koshi Himo and Satsuma Peacock Bowl

At last! My friends' Satsuma china sold! It just needed the right person to come along.

I'll be packing it tonight if possible and shipping out in the morning. A shame I just got rid of a box of packing peanuts last week! Auugh! Every time! I sit on one for months, say 'eh, it's taking up a lot of room...', throw it all out, and then...

Naturally. But my friend will be grateful for the money!

And these koshi himo were the last of the wrapped ones to be sold. The person who bought them will be attending a Japanese festival soon! How exciting! I missed J-club USF's Haru Matsuri this year, so I'm happy these will at least see a fun event. My own himo need to come out of the closet soon... it's been too long since I brought out kimono to wear for myself!

I'll have to update my G+ profile to clear out all the stuff that's gone! There's so much left still...

March 23, 2014

For Sale: Indie Makeup, Books, Beads

I'm destashing more and more of my life since I'm downsizing everything. Plus this job is on shaky grounds, and I haven't managed to land a new one yet. x.x But the good news is that I might be getting a desk soon, right? I haven't had a desk in years!

The first thing I'm destashing is a lot of unopened makeup, mostly from indie brand Shiro Cosmetics! Yeah, yeah, I've posted about her before. I have some discontinued Spinarak and Beta you won't find anywhere else (they work very well together, actually), and some of the really gorgeous new stuff from the Hobbit and Game of Thrones-inspired lines. I bought a lot of different shades from her, but it's official: I just don't do blues very well. x.x But these haven't been opened, so I don't mind passing them on for a discount! Also, there's an unopened sample if BareMinerals super-expensive mascara, and a new Benefit highlighter. If the auction ends, it'll be renewed.

Bunches of cat books! =^.^= The Silent Miaow, The Stanyan Book of Cats, and The Cat Who Went to Paris. There are so many more, but omg, I inherited piles of cat books!

Most of them are vintage, almost all in pristine condition, like they've been read twice if at all. I need to get out the shelf full and start listing again!

Check my store this week for assorted lots of cat books, especially inspirational pet books like "Furry Logic" and "Zen for Cats".

More beads are starting to pile up as well. I just took a massive lot down to the Upcycle Trading Company, a local store that takes in new and used craft supplies for store credit. They had a vintage man's haori there! But it was in a little bit of rough condition and had been resewn a few times, so I passed on it. Would make for excellent fabric for someone's project though, especially that beautifully subdued lining. And yet, somehow there was another box of stuff I missed!

Bronze fan charms!

March 13, 2014

Private Collection: Kyoto Bridges Obi

Sometime around Christmas I bought myself a new obi/obijime set. I've been working hard enough,
right? And I paid all the bills first... but it's my last kimono purchase for a long time. Even though it's very much out of season right now, I can't wait to wear it!

The iromuji is one I've had for awhile. The gold iromuji my mother bought me years ago, with pampass grass patterns and subtle shifts from khaki to a very slightly orange-toned tan. You can almost tell in the large version of the photo. In bright lighting, it's very difficult to see. Only in dim teahouse lighting can you really see it's true beauty! This kind of serene kimono was made for subtlety. 

The bright obi is rokutsuu-fukuro, 60% patterened with white/gold towards the end. There is a repeating pattern of Kyoto during the fall woven into it. The colours seem so much more brilliant in person. Really, it seems too pretty to wear with a simple otaiko knot. The green/white obijime with rolling patterns is the perfect highlight to the bright green in the leaves here! But should I wear it with the white or the orange obiage? The white is white and gold matsu-pattern, where the orange is shibori crosshatch with woven clover (although, you can't see the clover when it's tied). Eggplant-purple collar? White? Deep chocolate brown with some gold?

I can't wait for October!

March 5, 2014

Coveted Kimono: Indigo Tsumugi

I'm feeling sedate and super-casual today, keeping to greys, black, deep blues. I wish I had a day off to wear kimono like these! ... well, I guess for that, I'd need kimono like these first...

This grey-blue kimono is tsumugi weave, like an ikat. It's soft and floral, even though the silk is a comfy nubbly texture. Super-casual and perfect for the hot days of Florida Spring, when it's 75F+ during the day. Can you see it with this obi, maybe with a pair of wooden geta with yellow hanao?I was thinking maybe the colourful paper patterns would bring a little life to the kimono, if 'cooled down' with a pale blue or yellow obiage.

Kimono - Obi

I suppose the last obi would work with this kimono as well, but who could resist another dark asanoha kimono? Certainly not me. And the rabbit obi! <3 <3 <3 How to choose? ... Okay, I'd pick the rabbit obi if I could only have one.

But from far away, I think the black and white pattern of the asanoha kimono would look almost grey, deep and rich like the rabbit obi. Plus, with a large, bold pattern of the rabbit obi counters the small repeating pattern of the asanoha. With soft colours like silver, white, and blue as pale as the halos of a full moon,  it could be perfect for a moon-viewing party. Bring sake!

Kimono - Obi

March 2, 2014

Weekender 5: Overworked But Grateful

THESE PAST FEW WEEKS:

I have been working 40-60 hours a week for over a month now. February had 28 days; I worked 26 shifts. I got a day off for my car accident trial (yes! He got ticketed! First step in the grueling process), and two 'general' days off. I spent those with friends to catch up and doing errands. I haven't gotten more than a few pages of reading done, and when I have time to read, I'm usually so zoned out that I can't focus on anything. Plus I inherited piles of books and other household items to resell, so I have to sort through those, list them, or take them to local dealers (such as in the case of the books) and see if I can get cash or store credit for them. They're all beautiful, and most of them brand new or like new, not even read. But I really don't have much shelf space right now. It's driving DH crazy!

So much to do, so very little time for anything.

WEEKEND STUFF!

- I'm on a makeup kick, esp. since I got my hair cut recently. Shiro Cosmetics released more new stuff and retired a lot of my favourites (always happens!). New shade: Jareth's Tight Pants.
- Speaking of makeup, looking at traditional Japanese makeup/hair stuff is maddening. But if you're not into oshiroi (and let's face it, how many of us are going around in something no one wears?), try Hakuhodo. Top-line brushes that last forever with proper care! Okay, they have a top-line price, too... for now, I'll stick with my EcoTools.
- I kept wondering what these wooden tray things were for. Japanorama has solved my mystery! I bought my bekko combs from him before. I can't wait to come back!
- For guys who think that wanting an Asian girlfriend is "just a preference", educate yourself. Analyze. Why is having an Asian girlfriend so important to you? Because the next guy who says "You love me long time!" when I'm out in kimono is getting punched.
- I want to do photos like BikaBika one day!
- I made a few more things! <3 And they're going up for sale today... before I head back into work.

Beaded Haori Himo - BebeTaian.etsy.com

WEEKEND SURVEY:

Did you make anything this weekend? 
Just a few himo and assorted pieces of jewellery for the shop. I made a lovely tiger eye/rose quartz/bronze bracelet, and a few pairs of bone/bronze/aventurine or agate earrings. I wish I'd gotten photos of them! Maybe I'll make a pair of citrine/dragon's vein agate for myself.

Do you have a current hobby fixation?
Hard to have a hobby when I'm working, thinking of work, sleeping, or doing 'life stuff'. ::sighs:: But the spare few minutes I get to make something, I at least like to look at my supplies... 

Do you ever wear kimono out? (Did I ask this before?) Where did you go? 
I haven't gotten to wear kimono in awhile, but I did wear my black Gion haori the other day! I went to get sushi someplace that isn't my job. >D

How do you store your makeup, if you have any?
Currently isn't mostly in one big makeup bag, separated into three pockets, plus a bead tray repurposed for loose shadow. I need a better solution!


Did you make anything this weekend?
Do you have a current hobby fixation?
Do you ever wear kimono out? (Did I ask this before?) Where did you go?
How do you store your makeup, if you have any?

February 9, 2014

Weekender 4: Yay! ... and Ouch.

THESE PAST FEW WEEKS:

I got exactly what I wanted, so I shouldn't complain. Be careful what you wish for, and how you wish for it! I always get in trouble with the second part. I'm never specific enough since I never think anything good will actually happen to me. This time, I asked for more money made at work, since of course I need to pay the bills. Things are so much more expensive for me after the car accident, and more effort is put into getting around since it takes 2-3 hours to get somewhere by bus that I could have driven to in 20mins or less! So much lost productivity! And the stress of creepy guys in public. Uuuugh. But I've gone from 12 hours a week, to racking up over 40-50 hours per week at work, plus the extra 45mins each way for the bus, and I often have to arrive half an hour early because of the bus schedule. The next bus would mean getting there late, so I sit around for awhile with not much to do. Usually I catch up on paperwork, write, or sometimes read (but carrying a book means extra weight, which can be painful). Plus "life stuff", like the doctor's visits, laundromat, grocery shopping, etc. This leaves very little time for writing in the blog I've wanted to dedicate myself to so much! I'll keep trying though! Gomennasai~

WEEKEND READING?

- It might be old news by now, but Hayao Miyazaki has some strong opinions on why anime quality is on the decline. I can see his point, especially after buying certain "how to draw manga" books. (Has this guy even SEEN a real woman before?)
Asahi Shinbun Feb 9. 2014
 - Thyroid cancer increasing. Record levels of strontium. Massive exposure at the TEPCO plants (we discussed this a few years ago in the Dowa article). TEPCO... posts PROFITS of 190B yen?! What on Earth?!
- In innovative technology news, former skier Taniyuki Yuki is creating a special product to help the skiers of Japan win the Sochi Olympics! It may not be profitable, but it isn't about the money for Taniyuki. I wonder if his name is written 雪? 雪 (yuki) means 'snow'. How appropriate! I hope you will get your medal this year, Taniyuki-san. <3

SURVEY:

Are you paying attention to the Sochi Olympics?
Somewhat. The whole thing is a mess, and I really question the judgement of whoever decided to hold the Olympics in the backyard of Chechnya. And now everyone's surprised about terrorist threats. ::sacrastic drawl:: Really? ::facepalm::

Do you have a favourite anime? 
Depends on my mood. Some days, it's slow-moving and gothic; Witch Hunter Robin days. Others, it's jazzy and spunky, so Cowboy Bebop. Most days, it's xxxHolic, where I feel like I'm schooling a dozen Watanukis. Sometimes it's MPDPsycho, and I have no idea what's going on but it's over before I figured it out.

Any books on Japan I should be reading next? What are you reading now?
I'm between rereading sections of the funeral history of Japan and Prohibited + Permitted Desires. I'm finding it hard to commit anything to memory lately. I think I should start taking notes!

Do you have a favourite sushi place? What do you always get?
Strangely, I still really prefer it at my old job! Black hijiki, when it's made sweetly with mirin, and a salmon skin or eel roll are favourites, although sometimes I'll indulge in something completely American, like bagel tenpura (smoked salmon, cream cheese, green onions, wrapped in rice and deep-fried). Dip that in eel sauce (they make it with real eel!) and I'm pretty much in heaven.


Are you paying attention to the Sochi Olympics?
Do you have a favourite anime?
Any books on Japan I should be reading next? What are you reading now?
Do you have a favourite sushi place? What do you always get?

January 28, 2014

Aaugh! Must... Clean... Everything...

Must... clean... everything!

I worked Sunday, then had jury selection duty yesterday and wasn't able to post anything substantial... x.x But I still haven't gotten the photos from the last geisha show either! This one was really low key. We had a raised platform that we partially covered in reed mats, with a small kotatsu that I ended up sitting on to raise me higher for the rest of the audience to see me. The show before this, we had a full scene with screens, furniture, antiques, etc. set up, but for this event, it was really small and short (maybe an hour? hard to tell).

I've discovered that since the structure was very different this time, I need to come up with an organised list of things to touch on, in an arrangement that kind of flows from one topic to the next. So I'll add that to the list of things to do! Until I get those photos though, I can't really post about the whole day, can I?

But wow, I'm piled under clutter in the apartment again. This happens pretty easily. I run the online store, have been helping a friend clean out her dad's house, and going through piles of legal/insurance paperwork resulting from the car accident I was in. But underneath all that somewhere is a pile of things I want to scan in for this blog! Ofurisode advertisements from ten years ago (Disney ofurisode, anyone?), kimono accessory photos, so much stuff. Can't wait to get it all out, scan it in, and start posting!

January 22, 2014

Coveted Kimono: Hikizuri Edition

Since I'm going to be doing the geisha show today, I'm coveting plenty of kimono I wish I had... like hikizuri. Which might actually be long enough to trail behind me properly... if they were made in the past few years. If they're the vintage style I love, I can wear them as 'normal' kimono with an alluringly deep neckline.

 I'll be honest; I have nowhere to wear such a formal piece. It's like the black tie event dress in Western equivalent. Black hikizuri are so common on the market, however, and are usually in excellent condition- likely because there are relatively few occasions to wear them on. A couple of festivals like Hassaku, some formal events upon request, and outside of that, they can become outdated fairly quickly. And a geisha can't possibly go outside in outdated clothing, can she? What on earth are people paying her for if she's walking around in old clothes?

Nope, they get cast off after a few passes around. So some fantastic beauty like this can become ours... if you happen to have about $550.

The red lining in the kimono gives away it's age, and sadly, it's in great disrepair. Maybe it can be used for a display piece to illustrate past designs of geisha kimono, in some museum or in a private collection in a home without animals, but otherwise, I wouldn't buy this one. And yet, how wonderful it must have felt to dance in it...

The scene is of a Gion festival, naturally. The parade of people is a lively scene on such a dark and somber kimono. The colours are muted- is it to preserve the formality of the garment, or is the fade alluding to faded, dim memories of festivals gone by long ago, as seen by the maker of the kimono? A shame there aren't journals (that I know about) written by the makers of kimono like these... I would have loved to know the thought process behind deciding which scenes to paint. Naturally, Ichiroya is the seller of this piece.

A bright, lovely piece from Shinei is a refreshing blue and misty golden-white. You can almost feel the worn black lacquer lamp, hear the trickle of water into wooden buckets, smell misty air and grass, can't you?

Hagi, kikyo, and nadeshiko prove this one to be a summer kimono before you examine it closely to see the gauze weave. It's an ethereal feeling, otherworldly, to be in a garden in the twilight hours at dawn or dusk. The wet smell and slight sinking of your steps in the soft earth, rustling of leaves and occasional crack of a small twig, while crickets sing and (if you're lucky) fireflies light by. A black obi repeating firefly or lamp patterns would be ideal with this hikizuri, I think.

If you are thinking about buying from Shinei, you should know that when they were on Ebay, they had thousands of positive feedbacks (including quite a few from myself)... however, there were and sometimes still are some significant issues you might want to know about before deciding to use their services. Undeniably, they sell some gorgeous kimono, but it's a bit of a roulette scenario.

January 21, 2014

Geisha Show Tomorrow!

A Japanese-run group here in Florida hired me again for an educational and fun show for a private company. It's a fairly small venue, but I like small gatherings better than huge ones. Much more intimate and personal, a 'closed world'. I expect this one will be much like the last one, so I'm very excited!

The show involves geisha/maiko henshin (and it's naturally made clear that it's a performance, not actual geisha/maiko), with an open-ended skit. Set up on a stage, there's two or three of us dressed in kimono with various articles of furniture and folding screens, chatting away as if we are on a day off in a residence. We introduce ourselves and talk about what geisha do, some of the history of geisha, banter between each other a bit, and answer questions from the audience. I'm usually the cheeky apprentice (although that isn't so much an act as it is real life...), but maybe I'm a little less trouble since I can dress myself. At least, I hope I'm less trouble than I think!

I try to avoid questions regarding most politics, especially regarding American involvement in Japan. It's a pressing issue even today, but it isn't the sort of thing that gets you invited back when you ruffle feathers. If asked about something, I try to refocus it on how it affected geisha, the economy in Japan, and the survival of every-day people... especially in front of women-predominant groups, probably. I think issues women face largely depend on culture, and cultural views of outsiders who have more sway in their countries than the natives do. So especially when it comes to Western views of mizushoubai, the "water trade", attitudes need to be checked and gently corrected.

Since the details are basically set, now I have to decide what to wear tomorrow. Something subdued, given the location? Something flamboyant (even though geiko generally wear subdued outfits) as it's a stage production? Something vintage and beautiful? Something synthetic and rather plain, so it can be washed? I'm definitely leaning towards synthetic and new, considering the damage to my kimono last time. So that leaves me with a choice- something red and bright, like this outfit, or the purple cloud iromuji with either the red plum blossom obi (seasonally appropriate) or a bright green shousou-in/karabana pattern?

I think the peachy-pink kikko obi, while pretty, might be too 'quiet' for an entertainment production, so it's probably out, but I think I'll still use the purple and orange accessories if I go with the bright green shousou-in obi. I'm not sure what I'll use if I go with the red plum blossom obi. Maybe soft pinks, white, more seasonally-appropriate colours to 'quiet' such a bold obi on such a pastel kimono.

What should I do? Well, I only have maybe 15 hours to figure that out, but even so...

Red iromuji, gold obi, white/red accessories?

Purple iromuji, green obi, orange/purple accessories?

Purple iromuji, red obi, ??? accessories?

Hnnn January is so difficult. Because now is plum blossom season... a few months ago, the choice would be easy: my black fukuro with winter motifs of shouchikubai. But the pine and bamboo pattern is out of season now! Even though they won't know, I will, and likely the coordinator will, since she used to work in Japanese textile manufacturing. Muzukashii dosu e...

And naturally, if anyone has ideas about these types of shows or would like to offer some guidance, always let me know. I'll do my best!

January 20, 2014

大寒: Great Cold

Here in Florida, as in Japan, we are actually getting Daikan ("Great Cold") season! The polar chill is here again, and it seems like everyone is breaking out coats that we shouldn't even own as Floridians!

Saturday, I spent my day at the flea market, in two layers of thermal socks while my toes lost feeling. I pulled them off to put them under the bathroom's hand dryer and noticed that my nails had turned bluish-purple. It was really that cold! I was in two shirts, jeans, and a thick jacket too, and still freezing. Normally I like cold weather, but Florida has kind of a wet cold that creeps into the bones. It's very different from cold up north! I was actually warmer in waist-deep snow one year in Michigan than I am down here in 50F chill. Strange, isn't it?

But now is the time for snowy plum blossoms! Bamboo is receding, and branches of early spring flowers and grasses are starting to show. Wear greys, pale pinks, mouse-browns, and plenty of shades of pale blue. Flowing silk in two layers, thicker silk obi, and pretty black lacquer or kiri zori.

Fortunately, it is the very last before Spring starts! Winter is ending at last!

January 19, 2014

Watch "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" for Free!

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" is a documentary about the 85-year old sushi chef, 小野 二郎 (Ono Jirou), a man who lives to perfect the art of making wonderful sushi in his 3-star restaurant. But it is also the story of his sons, both sushi chefs, obligated to take over their father's restaurant after his demise. Jirou-san watches his customers intently, constantly pursuing perfection in his work, looking for any sign of delight or displeasure, looking for any improvement... but everyone's taste is different, isn't it? So what one thinks is amazing may not be liked at all by another... so is this all in vain? Is there such a thing as perfection in food? Does he have unrealized dreams? Do his sons wish for another life?

Watch "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" for free on PBS until Jan. 22! Just two days left to see this amazing documentary without having to pay anything. <3 Netflix usually also features this documentary, so if you miss the deadline and have Netflix anyways, you can watch it there too.

January 18, 2014

The Weekender, Vol. 3

THIS WEEK:

I found my old stash of bookmarks from many OS-reinstalls ago! <3 Reorganizing them has been a challenge and a thrill. I was sad to find that a website once focused on LGBT resources in Japan has since been bought by another Japanese company which has since erased any mention of the history of the site.

I did break out the kanji cards I made myself! I may start taking 10-15 at a time to work each week and studying in our downtime. <3 Writing them myself instead of printing them took forever, but I think I'll remember them better if I write them myself. You can make some too!

Check out Wikipedia's list basic kanji. You can copy these characters to Paint if you have Japanese support installed. I use Paint on a 700x1000px bitmap so that I can print as many as possible on a standard sheet of paper. Then I printed them out, cut them into squares, and used clear packing tape to affix them to 1/2size flash cards. On the back I wrote info from Denshi Jisho to define each one. I started with 100 that I thought I'd learn quickly, and included some that are very similar to each other to quiz myself on the difference. I'll probably start like my Japanese teacher did- 10 a week, make a list of what 10 in English, then at the end of the week look at the list and have to write the kanji from memory. Grade myself and be honest about rotation and ability to remember. Repeat!

WEEKEND READING?

- Hamasaki Ayumi's "GAME" made it back into my playlist this week! It's a blast from the past, circa 2004, but it's a fun video for such an emotional song.
- An article from 2012 is circulating it's way around Tumblr again, and it's always worth re-reading: Female game designers of Japan. A reminder that the idea that women don't play video games and don't do computers/programming/design is a lie. We rock, and we need more opportunities to show it!
- Yamatoku Kimono has undergone a massive redesign and now offers bulk kimono for wearing and for crafting. If you do both, be sure to check out his listings! Yamatoku has been around a long time and was one of the first sellers I bought from on Ebay.
- Surviving in Japan looks like a handy guide to getting around and doing things 'right'. If your interest is daily life in Japan, and your Japanese is still rusty, this might help you!

SURVEY:

Who is your favourite J-pop artist? 
Hnnn always a toss-up. I like Ayu always, because she was the first J-pop artist I was introduced to, and she has so much grace and style when she messes up on stage. She's human like us! Even if I sometimes think her voice is a little too high-pitched for my taste...

Are you teaching yourself another language? What language?
I don't know about teaching myself. >D Obviously Japanese, but it's pidgin Japanese at best. I need a real tutor!
 
Did you celebrate Seijin no Hi this week (even if you're not in Japan)?
Nope, way too old now. :P Besides, it's only for 19-20 year olds, so there's a really narrow range to celebrate unless you're the parent of someone that age.
 
What kind of crafting do you do? 
Sewing, crochet, papercrafts, jewellery-making, candle-making. I diversify, since I always want to learn something new. Maybe this year I'll take another stab at sashiko. (Sashiko= "little stabs", taking a stab, yeah? I kill me.)
 
Who is your favourite kimono designer?
Hnnn Mamechiyo wins for inventive and fresh, but I prefer some of the unnamed designers who made my favourite antiques. Taisho Roman will never be out of style for me, even though their names were lost to time...

Your turn!

Who is your favourite J-pop artist? 
Are you teaching yourself another language? What language?
Did you celebrate Seijin no Hi this week (even if you're not in Japan)?
What kind of crafting do you do? 
Who is your favourite kimono designer?