Bebe Taian: November 2012

November 29, 2012

An Obi Revisited

Back in February, I sold a stiff metallic obi bolt, likely intended to make a tsuke obi from. Almost a year later, I find out the fate of that unfortunate obi. It's been made into a series of awesome purses!

This is what that obi looked like before it was a set of purses. I’d say the purses are probably the best thing that could have ever happened to this obi! You can see from the right side here that it isn't merely folded untidily. That fabric is supporting it's own fold lines that way... because it was packaged that way and wouldn't un-bend. It was difficult to get photos of the obi without the bends affecting how the embroidery showed up in places.

You can also see from the second photo that the te was meant to be folded in half and then worn, but that proved also to be nearly impossible! Surely, it was a sadist who made this fabric into an obi.

Originally, I bought this obi to match a fantastically bright, bold kuro-tomesode with red, purple, green, gold, and orange details. When I got it, though… ara! As I've said, it was so stiff, I could barely unfold it just to take photos! x.x Seriously, I couldn’t tie it at all, and once it bent, the fabric would STAY bent- usually in the places I didn't mean for it to bend at all!

I considered cutting it to make a pre-tied obi, but getting through that fabric would require a denim needle… if that didn’t break. At least it would look perfectly smooth without an obi-ita. But I never got around to it, and I came to terms with selling it. And look how awesome and useful it is now! <3

Yoboseiyo, this is great. A purse is perfect for that fabric- especially since those are the sort that need to retain their shape! (And good luck getting them out of that shape, once in. LOL.) There are others still for sale, it seems! Check them out!

Photo belongs to Yoboseiyo at ObiRevisited

November 26, 2012

New Books!

I bought a small pile of books on Ebay for a couple dollars apiece to read and review. Although, I confess that I never did get around to reviewing most of last year’s list. I try to acquire new books every Christmas, or borrow them from the library, but my local library has shut down for the next two years to be rebuilt. So, Christmas splurge it is! Can’t wait to read them all… and review them. I’ve read all the ones I bought last year! Some of them several times. I just never did review them. x.x Gomen nasai…

There is one book that I don’t think I can review anytime soon:

The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan

“The World of the Shining Prince, Ivan Morris’s widely acclaimed portrait of the ceremonious, inbred, melancholy world of ancient Japan, has been a standard in cultural studies for nearly thirty years. Using as a frame of reference The Tale of Genji and other major literary works from Japan’s Heian period, Morris recreates an era when woman set the cultural tone. Focusing on the world of the emperor’s court-the world so admired by Virginia Woolf and others-he describes the politics, society, religious life, and superstitions of the times, providing detailed portrayals of the daily life of courtiers, the cult of beauty they espoused, and the intricate relations between the men and women of this milieu.”

I couldn’t finish it. I wanted to! I’ve picked it up several times, started it, restarted it… I’m sure it’s an excellent book, but it is written for people intensely interested in the mechanics of ancient court life. There are sections that I’ve managed to successfully wade through, but this is on my list of books to conquer still. “1984” by George Orwell was another on that list. I managed to read it… twice. And I still have to re-read it to get everything out of it. “The World of the Shining Prince” is the same. I can’t focus partway through the beginning, or I end up falling asleep (since I do most of my reading before bed). And until I read it all the way through, I can’t review it properly. When I do, I’ll do my best to give it a fair shake. <3

November 23, 2012

Nov. 23rd, A Double Holiday!

November 23rd is a double holiday in Japan! Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America, and today is Labour Thanksgiving Day in Japan! Here's a quick breakdown of today's holidays:

勤労感謝の日 (Kinrou Kansha no Hi):

This is the nationally-recognized holiday on this day. It was started in 1948, following the signing of the post-war Japanese Constitution. The Japanese Constitution is a document that sets forth human rights guidelines, especially regarding labour and the rights of individuals. For this reason, some cities have Labour Festivals to give thanks to social servants such as police, paramedics, and many others for their hard work! It is a day focused on thoughts of human rights, the value of a person's work, and grateful attitudes towards those who are perhaps not receiving as much as they are worth. There is a separate Labour Day on May 1st for trade unions.

新嘗祭 (Niiname-sai):

The original holiday on this day, no longer officially celebrated. Niiname-sai is an ancient Shinto harvest festival celebrated as far back as the mythical Jinmu-tennou, although it was the later Tenmu-tennou (667-686CE) who is credited for formalizing the event. The festival centres around thankfulness for a year's worth of hard work, and the dedication of crop yields to their respective gods. For example, Inari-sama is the god of rice, whose origins may stem as far back as the 5th century (the 600s, Tenmu-tennou's time). This harvest festival centres on six crops: rice, barley, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, proso millet, and beans. It is said that the Emperor still celebrates this day privately, likely as a matter of ritual. On this day, he will taste the years' "first rice".

November 22, 2012

小雪: Little Snow

I know it's late tonight, but here in America, it's Thanksgiving Day. Regardless of my personal feelings regarding this holiday's history, I was happy to spend it with friends and family. <3 But even so, it's time to get back to regular posting (when I can...)!

Shousetsu (小雪) means "little snow". November 7th marked the beginning of Winter, but now it's starting to get cold enough for a little of the wonderful white powdery snow I look forward to every year. Japan is beautiful in winter! It's a world of blues and greys.

In these days, "rainbows are concealed from view". The idea comes from the Chinese, where rainbows were thought to be yin and yang energy mixing, but winter is too yin for rainbows to appear. Although, it seems to me that the world of maiko and geiko is bright and beautiful no matter what the season!

Mamehana, 11-18-2010 - Onihide

November 21, 2012

For Sale: Men's Yukata, Zori, Women's Jewellery

This has been a tough week. I've been working more than ever, but making less than ever, while expenses are piling up! Ack! I think in order to make some Christmas money, it's time to sell off some of my private collection, and the things I bought for Night in Tokyo. I also have some jewellery from NigatsuBebe that is looking for a new home! I've discounted some of it, so it's cheaper than ever to get quality handmade jewellery that you won't see on anyone else. <3

Men's tatami zori w/ black velvet straps + rubber textured soles

These casual zori are perfect for any yukata, and were worn only once for the Night in Tokyo show! They were purchased brand-new just for the event. Zori are 30.5CM long and 12CM wide.

Like most Japanese shoes, the straps are rather "flat" meaning that they don't have much 'height' above the sole the way Western flip-flops do. From photos of the shoes being worn, it seems the straps are meant to be held on with the front of the toes, instead of 'put all the way on' the way they are here. If you have high arches, these might not fit well.

November 18, 2012

Mega Post: No Islam in Japan?

I received an e-mail last week that I had intended to post for Mannered Monday (on 11/12), but I got waylaid this week. And I just can't. ... just... no. How about no. Reposted in the original horrible HTML multicolour f*ckery.

I'd like to note that I welcome letters from any Islam practitioners residing or formerly residing in Japan!

TW for racism and xenophobia.

November 15, 2012

Time Off... Again.

It's been busy lately, dizzyingly so. I'm rushing off from one place to the next, from one job to the next interview, from friends to grocery stores, and all kinds of things, trying to keep up. My goal this week was to list a lot of new things on Perthro's for sale, since I'm clearing out my kimono collection, but it looks like I have to take time off from the blog again.

Destiny is in the hospital again.

She hasn't been responding well to medications, and... well, the deck is pretty much stacked against her, and always has been. The doctors are still trying to decide whether or not to put her on the transplant list. So... who knows. But it's worse than ever now.

I was going to rent a car today and go over there, but they said no visitors. So, someone may give me a ride tomorrow to see her. And... I can't function very well right now. I intend to put more things up for sale so that I'll have some income (hopefully) while I take time off of work to see her, but other than that, I'm at maximum capacity.

 I have several pairs of koshi himo up for sale, which I listed a few days ago. I bought them for the Night in Tokyo show, but ended up not needing so many. They are silk, with shibori technique throughout, in various shades of hot pink, soft pink, white, and pale yellow (almost white, but not quite). According to the seller, they are handmade, but I don't know the date of production. They are beautiful!

But why shibori for something like koshi himo? It's a time-intensive, labour-intensive dyeing process, highly valued for intricate detail and puckered fabric... I suppose you can't wear shibori with everything, so why not something 'secretly' shibori? It's the epitome of having the understated
look with a huge expense.

Fortunately, these koshi himo are not incredibly expensive, and I ship using Priority Mail + insurance. I also combine shipping with other items, so if you are looking to get something special for the holidays, check out my store!

November 13, 2012

Makeup I Love: Short Reviews

Today, a look at some of the things I wear most frequently. I do wear makeup every day, although not usually a full face. In Florida, it's important to wear sunscreen (still finding one that doesn't make my face break out) all the time. Because of my difficulties with skin/makeup products, I compromise by using SPF makeup as often as possible. Because I have oily facial skin, mineral makeup works very well to control shine, while still having an SPF. If I need redness coverage, I use a liquid foundation with an SPF, but it's worn as a rarity. The every day products are always lip products though- my lips crack constantly. x.x When I feel like it, eye shadow is my go-to medium for bringing colour into my day. And believe me, I've tried LOTS of it over the years. Once I find something I like, I stock up!

Main issues:
- crappy skin. x.x Hello oil! And chronically dry lips! At the same time!
- allergies! yaaaay! Most products cause itchiness, redness, and breakouts. Mascara is especially prone to cause swelling, tearing, and itching. A product which is firmly out.
- Weird colouring. My natural blonde hair is slightly browner than my skin tone when I tan, which is easily. I have a yellowy skin tone, but my face has a constant red cast, like a permanent sunburn.
- I don't want to spend a fortune on makeup. It's just going to wash off at the end of the day.

So, what do I wear? 

November 10, 2012

J-Club Fest: A Night in Tokyo 3

I was totally going to post about this on Monday, but the city is brilliant and chopped the underground FIOS cables while doing roadwork of some kind. I was out of internet for daaaaays! At first, I thought maybe I didn't pay the bill correctly, since I have issues with my account online, but then a neighbour with the same service said she couldn't get on and asked us if we could fix her connection. Ahhhh. Not just us. I see. No server connections past the building. Roadwork outside. And a team of very pissed reps who then had to spend a week digging and drilling to replace cables running between three stoplights. I guess that's *technically* job creation, right? Heh. So, no posts for last week. I guess I'll cover the 'missing' ones next year...

But Sunday was so, so busy! I packed up everything on Saturday and carried it downstairs, including the cart I had to buy to haul all this stuff around. I got on the bus by 10AM Sunday morning so that I could make it to the meeting by noon. After getting off the first bus with all that stuff, about seven complete outfits worth plus extra things just in case, I walked the rest of the way to the university, a little over a mile. I found the room pretty easily, having been to the Student Centre so many times lately, so that was awesome. And they have elevators, so no stair-climbing with that cart for me!

SP, VP, SY, KH, + KW
I even got my own set of tables to unpack and organise at. <3 The makeup and hair team piled in soon and set up, and someone else from the J-Club team brought in pizza. I also scored a doughnut, which was great because I hadn't eaten yet that day. SY offered to help me set up. I couldn't wait to see her in the Taisho-era kimono I'd set aside for her. Now I wonder if I should have put her in the hot pink one, but I think teal worked for her really well. I ended up dressing five of the six models that day, with some level of success. I improvised some items such as obi makura, since I only had two; t-shirts rolled tightly in obi-age worked fairly well for some musubi. I still haven't mastered how to get the tateya obi to stay diagonal instead of horizontal; I need to work on that!

November 3, 2012

Bunka no Hi or Meiji-setsu?

As some of you may recall, Emperor Meiji was a man infatuated with the wonders of Western culture. It was during his reign that you could see fashionable women and men wearing Western Victorian and Edwardian clothing, and some women would blend traditional kimono with the new imported fashions. Even geisha, the ever-fashionable entertainers, began to experiment with gowns and ballroom dancing, pianos and high-heeled boots.

November 3rd was a past Tennou Tanjyoubi (Emperor's Birthday) holiday, which was celebrated all over Japan until his death in 1912. In 1927, his birthday was re-named Meiji-setsu, as the current Emperor (Showa) had his own birthday as a national holiday. Tennou Tanjyoubi is always held on a different date, depending on the current reigning Emperor.

 In 1946, Japan was forced to sign America's Japanese Constitution after World War II, and 1948's Bunka no Hi was instituted on November 3rd to celebrate Japan's native culture in a sort of attempt to regain a sense of one's own culture, lost after so many years of war and adoption of foreign habits.

文化の日 (Bunka no Hi) is now a day of celebrating traditional Japanese culture. Many exhibitions are held to show antique kimono, instruments, and other relics of days gone by. Traditional classes like chanoyu, odori, and instrument practices might also be held. In your city, you might see festivals, parades, and award ceremonies for distinguished local artists! What an excellent time to be out and about!

November 2, 2012

Kinyoubi Kimono 11

Previously, "Your biggest kimono inspiration."

11. My kimono collection.

I have a fairly vast collection, and it's changed a lot over the past ten years. I still have the first two kimono I ever bought, although they are in need of repair. I do not have the ume kakeshita, my first obi (a brilliantly embroided purple and gold Nagoya), some haori, or a few other things. There are also many items I bought purely to resell, most of which I couldn't wear.

Currently, I have two sets of plastic drawers, three drawers high, both completely filled. I also have another large storage bucket and two bureau drawers packed with kimono items. My goal is to have one piece of furniture that everything fits in, or a closet arrangement built to store everything properly. But, that will have to wait until we have more than one closet between my husband and myself!

I have piles of obijime, even after selling about 15 of them earlier this year... My obiage are actually very few, relatively. I have maybe 10 of them, at most. Haneri are severely lacking. I have five or six juban, but I need to get some that fit the kimono I have. As for kosode, I probably have forty or so. Six or seven haori, one michiyuki, and a few pairs of shoes. I had more, but they've broken from old age or years of use. I ALWAYS need more tabi socks! I swear, I go through socks far too often. I have no idea how it happens!

Occasionally, I'll run a series called "Private Collection", which showcases outfits that I own (often without juban, since the layers can be heavy to hang). I hope to catalog more of what I own before I sell some of it off this month!

Next: "The Evolution of My Kitsuke."

November 1, 2012

Bebe Taian's 2-Year Anniversary!

This is BebeTaian's two year anniversary of being a blog. I've been so busy this week, I'd almost forgotten!

I spent the day running around doing errands, cashing cheques, paying bills, sleeping off my friends' Halloween/Birthday party from the night before... all in all, a good day. The USF show, A Night in Tokyo, is rapidly approaching. I have only a few more days to finish the koshi himo I made and make some accessories, like obi makura, and sew a few collars to the juban I have laid out. Then, ironing and any repairs that need to be made before the show. I also have to look for work and go to the job that I already have! Eeek! I'm really nervous, and in a way dreading the day of the show... will I have what it takes to get my part done? I'm always worried about this. But, I think when it's over, I'll find that I've taken myself too seriously, and that things will have turned out fine.

What was I writing about this time last year?

It looks like I was working. :P The Orlando Japan Festival was on the 6th, and the lead-up to that was intense! Pricing, signage, getting a ride... I've decided that my car just doesn't like Fall months. It always seems to be broken down this time of year. And then in Spring, I'll have the money to fix it... until the next Fall. Heh.

Before the show, I was also talking about cultural appropriation and racism in Halloween costumes, and about various yokai and obake, the same way I did this year.

It seems I didn't get much writing done at all last year! A habit I hope I've corrected in this past year, and one that I hope to continue in this coming year. I want to find something interesting to write about every two or three days. I already have most of the next year's posts planned, something I've done with the help of my awesome agenda. Of course, there are probably an endless line of things I'll want to write about spur of the moment in the coming year, but that's why I have to learn to be more open to change, right? ^_^

Of course, it helps to know what you'd like to hear about. I have a poll on the side of my page open for the next 20-something days so that you can tell me! I'm not in Japan, so I can't easily provide an 'everyday life' experience, but I'd like to talk about 'daily' stuff like recipes and books and Japanese movies more. I'm going to try to do more book reviews on culture books, and also on manga and fiction by Japanese or Japanese-descent writers. I love reading, but then I forget to leave reviews! Ack! But this time, it's my goal for next year. Especially if I can buy a scanner!