Bebe Taian

June 28, 2014

Sold! One of a Kind Beaded Haori Himo

I sold a few haori himo in the past two weeks! Very exciting since the festival was fun, but 0 profit... and well, it ended up costing money to prepare and go. But even so, it was very fun! I even re-found the tea canister maker! <3 His products are way superior to the cans sold at places like Teavana, and for the same price range. I can't wait to have some spending money to get a few.

But back to the haori himo. I made a pile of them because... well, I could make bracelets, but I like haori. >D Maybe I should try to make dual-purpose items? They're both 7-9" long... something to think about.

This one was made from discontinued Blue Moon leaf-shaped beads, metal spacers, and AB crystal-cut glass. My favourites are the late-Summer, mid-Fall dragonfly beads. Here in FL, there are mosquitoes all over the place, year-round, but they get bad especially in the damp, humid Summer and Fall before it starts to cool. Dragonflies come out from everywhere to eat them, as many as they can. It's pretty rare for me to see a red one, but a lot of dragonflies I find are green or blue, or black/gold with tortoiseshell wings. It'll be especially lovely on any Summer or Fall-motif haori, like the one it was photographed with! Congrats to the new owner.

This himo was bought by the same person who purchased the himo above. Another himo made with discontinued glass. You can't tell by the photos, since it's difficult to capture, but the red glass has golden frost in the centre which becomes brighter when the light shifts, matching the metal spacers and faceted glass beads. Somehow, gold clasps just didn't fit, though- or at least, I thought so at the time. Maybe to make the beads stand out more? Bronze was used instead.

Faux coral haori himo with plastic, glass, and metal gold-toned spacers. This was made from a vintage Japanese-made necklace that was just beyond repair. I wanted to re-use as many of the beads as possible to keep with the spirit of the original.

The benefit of plastic over almost any other material is that it's lightweight enough to use on older or more fragile fabrics without the weight breaking threads or pulling/tearing fabric. And because of the more traditional look, it's prime for any Taisho or war-era piece! Even though no one wore beaded himo then, it's a way to keep simplicity and style in line with the fashion of the times. I'm sure if there were such things as these during the 1920s, Japanese women would have taken to them as they did obijime and other accessories.

Anyways, I'm excited that these have gone. I expected to be a little sad, but I'm not. I'm really happy that they will (presumably) be worn and cared for. There are lots more up for sale if you want your own! And of course, I can do custom commission if you're trying to match a particular outfit.

Come see the others on BebeTaian.etsy.com

June 13, 2014

New things for Natsu Matsuri!

Some new things I bought for Natsu Matsuri, and later for Etsy. <3 A preview of what everyone else will get to see on Saturday!

Silk obiage with firework-like patterns in shibori, appropriately dyed a super-saturated highlighter green. This shade of green almost hurts to look at. Good thing an obiage is halfway hidden! A very bold pop of colour for a daring wearer.

One of four obiage I have for sale right now... I'm waiting on others to arrive. x.x Hope they get here soon!


 Another super-saturated piece, this silk/synthetic woven summer obijime is bright, intense royal blue. For it's weave it actually feels a little stiff. Most of the braid is silk, but the very thick cords are synthetic. The whole cord has a starched feel to it. Still, summer pieces aren't always easy to come by, and with the heat increasing in Florida, I have a penchant for pulling as many ro, sha, and ra pieces as I can into my collection. I may start wearing hitoe all year round! Surely anyone who lives here will feel the same...

A mofuku set meant for funerals can be awfully depressing to some, but here, I see potential. Black obijime really aren't fashionable for anything but funerary wear, but with an added thin obijime cord of a bright colour, perhaps that will change. I have a few myself in purples and blues which are only maybe half a centimetre thick to pair with wider obijime!

As for the obiage and shoes, the shoes are my favourite. Plain black zori are terribly inexpensive on their own; it's when you dress them up that they become unique and fun! In this case, a little lace, some beading, and some knowhow, and you have a gorgeous, unique pair of Lolita-like zori for gothy kimono fashion. The obiage can be embroidered with silks along it's existing pattern, or over it with another appropriate theme, which adds some versatility.

I hope more comes tomorrow! It's the last day I get to prepare before the show. I get two tables this time, since a friend is lending me hers. Also, I found this gorgeous silver and peach nadeshiko brocade fabric to use for a table runner! Of course, that's for sale, too... where would I keep it the rest of the year? So hopefully, I'll have enough to cover both tables. I've sold a lot in the past year... time for something new. ^_^

June 7, 2014

Natsu Matsuri 2014 is coming!


Hi everyone! It looks like I'll be heading to the annual Natsu Matsuri festival, after having missed Haru Matsuri at USF this year. As usual, I'll be bringing kimono, vintage Japanese dishware, accessories, jewellery, etc. but this year I'm making some fun, inexpensive "extras":
ukiyo-e magnets, washi cards, bookmarks, and gift tags, otedama sets, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff. <3 

If you're in the Tampa Bay area (Florida, USA) come out and see us- but come early, since the rains usually start around 1, we close up around noon. It's a kid-friendly, free event! Plus, lots of traditional and modern shop booths to visit. Usually we have a tea shop, a pottery booth (all handmade), and my favourite, a taiyaki stand. Mmmmmm bean paste fishies.

May 6, 2014

Notable Japanese Women: Yanagihara Byakuren

柳原白蓮 (Yanagihara Byakuren) 1885 - 1967

Byakuren was born Yanagihara Akiko, a first cousin of Emperor Taisho, daughter of an unnamed geisha and Count Yanagihara. She is perhaps best known outside of Japan for her push for women's rights instead of her poetry.

Her first marriage was at 16 (women were considered adults between 14-16 then), when she was sold to an aristocratic family and forced to marry their son. After five years, she fled back home, where her elder brother put her on house arrest and again forced her to marry, this time to Itou Denemon, a wealthy coalmine tycoon 25 years older than she. Such an arrangement was called a "Golden Marriage"; the newly-wealthy person gains social status, the wife (and more importantly, the wife's relatives) gains access to greater financial sway.

Itou was 52, an illiterate former coal miner with children and several mistresses. Byakuren was 27 by this time, middle-aged by standards then, and the daughter of aristocracy. It was a scandalous marriage that was purported to have caused outrage regarding social standards in the 'vertical society'. Tokyo Asahi Shinbun reported in 1911 that Byakuren's brother was in financial straits and needed the wealth from Itou in order to increase his own social standing. Her 'bride price' was proof of her position as chattel in her world.

It was during this second marriage that she began to develop herself as a poet, with writing as her escape. "Trodden Images" (Fumie), her first published poetry collection, was printed in 1915. Fumie is a heavy reference to the punishment of Christians during the Tokugawa and even Meiji governments, when suspected Christians were forced to recant their faith and trample images of their saviour, or face execution. Surely, faced with a sham of a marriage to someone she resented so strongly, and a society unwilling to allow for her right to leave, she felt this choice as strongly as the religiously oppressed.

Yet, as with celebrities around the world, interest in this woman might have died if not for a scandal involving her husband's mining operation in 1918. Reports of bribery rocked a country with an increasing gap between the poor and the wealthy, when resentments on both sides rode high. But even that might not have been enough to maintain public interest in her works, which were few before 1920. The real uproar didn't come until three years later, when she'd finally had enough.

Her divorce announcement was published in the Asahi Shinbun on Oct. 22, 1921, an act simply not done by 'respectable' women. That letter would spark a firestorm of conversation and public demonstration regarding the treatment of women and the female role in society. Byakuren was lucky- it was her influence, established works, and a wealthy social network that held her up upon leaving. A 'normal' woman would scarcely be able to dream of having that kind of freedom. Not only was her divorce of Itou public, but it was known that she herself had a paramour, and had run off with him. During Taisho era, a woman who runs off with another man could be punished with two years in jail; a man would be given a minor sentence, and only if that other woman was already married. Byakuren's behaviour was unheard of, and her story only brought to light how unequal women were in her society.

Stripped of her royal title, Byakuren lived with Miyazaki Ryuusuke, her chosen husband, until she died in 1967. She had two more children with Miyazaki. Her poetry and writings did not cease after her newfound happiness. She lived out her life as a celebrity author, and throughout her fame, even had a serialized newspaper fiction which (although not based on her life) was widely understood to be about Byakuren and other women like her. Many parallels from the two stories can be seen, which is an essay in itself.

During her entire career, with the swirling change of the world and rapid industrialization of her country, her one letter became the symbol for the need to change. Right-wing groups used her divorce, as well as movies and other stories of the time, as evidence that morals were in decline and chaos would surely ensue. Left-wing activists took this as an opportunity to say that women should have their own lives and should be free to marry of their own accord, not to be bought and sold like objects. The Modern Woman was someone 'unrestrained' and 'morally corrupt', wanting independence and rebelling against the Yamato Nadeshiko image of the 'perfect' woman: quiet, refined, submissive, cute. Byakuren was seen as outspoken, in control, even sexy. Despite losing so much, ultimately, she gained her happiness and satisfaction in her life.


THE TWO HOLY OCCASIONS
There were two moments when I meant
Ne'er to allow the slightest touch
Of dust to settle on this heart:
Once when I prayed; once when I loved.
(Fumie, 1915)

SOURCES:
AsiaWeek on CNN
Toshima-ku Tokyo Tourism Guide
Asia: Journal of the American Asiatic Association, Vol. 20 (Jan. 1920)
Japan Review 24 (2012): 105-125

ADDITIONAL READING:
An online catalog of Byakuren's writing, including some digitally published works.
Byakuren on Wikipedia Japan (in Japanese; sorry, the G Translate makes no sense.)

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.