Bebe Taian: January 2013

January 31, 2013

SOLD! Dusty Rose + Blue Zori

Aren't they pretty? For a serene, low-key outfit, they're perfect. And they would have looked so good with so many of my kimono... but alas, they didn't fit well. My arches are too high for flat shoes; I need bigger straps to compensate. So, to the sales pile...

And yesterday, they finally sold! <3

I hope the new owner is a perfect fit for those shoes. They should arrive shortly, I think, since I send out all kimono stuff via Priority Mail. Congrats to their new owner!

January 27, 2013

For Sale Sunday: Vintage + Antique Kimono, Dishes, Rice Bag

A reminder that I'm selling off just about everything from my collection! I know I've been bad about getting photos. Most of the issue is the bad lighting in my apartment, the broken camera, and just a general lack of time now that I have three other jobs plus Destiny to take care of, and other life stuff like housework and cats and all that. But here are some things I'm selling off, which I've reduced the price on. If buying more than one, I may be able to cut a deal!

The proceeds basically go to taking care of things like the medical needs of my sister's cats, which we've been trying to take care of (to the tune of $60/mo in food, hundreds for medicines and whatnot), making repairs to my mom's house (where Destiny lives), and general life stuff, like the Project Unmei fund, which I've set up for whatever she needs: vitamins, medication, etc. Destiny will be on anti-rejection drugs and immunosuppressants for months, some drugs for years, and the co-pays can get very expensive!

Wedding kimono come in many types and layers. The most popular, well-known one is an outer kimono called a 'uchikake', a bright, colourful, gaudy kimono that is worn over two layers of shiromuku or over a colourful kakeshita (bride's furisode). The white-only layers are shiromuku. There can be one to two layers of these! They can be quite heavy to wear after so many, but it is a fashion carried on from Heian court days, when between 3-15 layers was the norm. Only a little over 100 years ago, all fabrics were hand-woven; the number of layers a woman wore showed wealth and status.

While most older kimono are silk, this one is synthetic. It is a great benefit, as this type of kimono is made to drag the ground, and silk stains never seem to wash out! But that doesn't seem to be such a problem with synthetic fabric. How excellent for someone who uses this at their wedding, and then as a show piece!

- Pink Silk Iromuji Kimono, Showa Vintage
- Vintage Kutani Matsumise Tea Set
- Three Sets of Koshi Himo: 1 - 2 - 3
- Vintage Tokunaga Sushi Plate Set
- Vintage Orange, White, Black, + Gold Nagoya Obi
- White Nishijin Silk Obi Thread
- Antique Taisho Striped Kimono, worn at Night in Tokyo 3- see it here!
- Vintage Rice Bag from Recycled Maru Obi
- Vintage WW2-era Synthetic Komon Kimono
- Vintage Kotobuki "Longevity" Fukusa

January 26, 2013

SOLD! And Remade! - Moegi Kimono

I've talked about this kimono before- and it's finally sold! Or rather, was traded and remade into something new!

There was a real bidding war for this kimono! I had a thing for versions of lime green and moegi-iro at the time. You can see a little at the bottom edges that the interior silk is orange at the edges. I ended up paying quite a bit for it, but... you know how I've talked about the dangers of buying online.

Basically, you can't see stains very well all the time, and overseas sellers might not know to mention them or know how to explain them in English. In Japan, it's often expected that a secondhand kimono will be stained and used for crafting or display only, not usually for wearing.

That's what happened here. This photo doesn't show you the dozens of stains on the kimono! And the seller never mentioned them! In fairness, they are really difficult to capture on the camera I have, too. I did try... but they are very faint, and even though they can be seen by the naked eye, they don't show on film because of the way the camera processes greens. Augh! How difficult! And when I opened it up, it was impossible to wear. Too damaged. So back into the boxes it went, until I could figure out how to wash the stains out...

Years later, no go. So it was time to sell it to someone who WOULD take care of it, who could sew or knew about washing silks better than I did. Now after a few more years, the same woman who bought all the obijime and the stiff obi last February has agreed to trade this kimono for a few custom-made bags! <3 And they look awesome. I already know that I'm going to use the short kinchaku to store rolls of my kimono fabric scraps, so that I can remember to patchwork them later. The wristlet, I'll probably give to my sister.

January 24, 2013

Coveted Kimono: So Many Obi Choices

A long while back, I wrote about an impressive gift from my mother-in-law. It's a beautiful kimono from Taisho era, with brass-wrapped kinran (evidenced by how it's turned greenish in places), with yuzen dyeing and the original lining.

Possibly, it was an elaborate maiko's hikizuri, as there are tiny pinpricks in the sleeves at the shoulders and halfway down the sode (sleeves), approximately where tucks would be. Perhaps it was for a specific dance, which seems more likely than 'daily' work wear. But then, it's possible that like many henshin kimono, it's a Taisho-era wedding kimono that was later converted into a maiko-style hikizuri kimono...

Actually, the kimono is far more stained than it looks in the photos, but many of them are so faint that they don't show up well in photos. Still, the kimono is very long for the average furisode of the time, and it is still in beautiful condition! Someone tried to repair it before, but was a novice at best. I will not attempt to fix it myself until I am more practiced at kimono construction.

Today, I am thinking once again about the perfect obi for this magnificent work. Ideally, I'd like a period-correct maru obi, but those aren't exactly easy to find. I'll settle for a modern-made, preferably silk, maru or fukuro obi which has a complimentary pattern and colouring. I'm happy to see that I have some options!

 There are small amounts of black in the shoulders, hidden in the leaves, and lots of orange and gold. Some of the brass is still adhered to the silk, so there are metallic effects where some of the fabric looks golden yellow! Naturally, I'd want this to replay in the obi. I also enjoy maiko-style high contrast between colours, and the kiri motif in this obi makes it a winner. I love the big, bold patterns! But I'm not sure if lime green is what I'm going for here. It's a green that isn't present in the kimono, and I think it might clash, despite the other common threads...

(see what I did there? :P)
 This one I like, but does it come off as henshin-style?

Again with the high contrast, this time in the appropriate orange shade, and LOTS of bold kiri! The blues and greens are all in the kimono, too!

I'm not sure if that's a silver or gold metallic embroidery at the bottom, or if it's a muted mix of the two. The silvery appearance of some of the leaves is the only thing that throws this obi off for me, but many say that silver and gold are 'neutrals' in kimono and can be used with everything. But then, there are paler grey highlights in the kimono, which may liken themselves to the silver elements of this obi.

Even though it's very henshin-style, I think it might be my favourite!

This one, I'm not really sure about at all. It has flowing patterns in two (maybe three) seasons, indicated by the sakura, kikyo, and waves. Gold, orange, black. Large, bold patterns. But does it truly fit?

Somehow, I think with only the three tones, it doesn't work quite as well as an obi with a little more depth and colour. And perhaps the motifs are *too* large and busy. I don't want an obi that fights for attention.

... some women dress up as Western-style dolls, or princesses, or alien-fighting anime protagonists. I want to be a living ningyo. Is that so wrong?

(All obi photos courtesy of Ichiroya, where I have gotten some of my favourite kimono.)

January 17, 2013

Light and Mirrors

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Room

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama—who has notably lived in a psychiatric institution for the last four decades—has been obsessed with dots and infinity for her entire career, an inspiration she attributes directly to her hallucinations.

January 16, 2013

Tenshi Kinryouku: Fallen Angels Palette

I first found Angel Sanctuary/Tenshi Kinryouku when I was maybe 13/14. The manga wasn't available in the US quite yet (at least, I don't think it was in my area), but there was a tiny anime/Japanese stuff booth at the mall then. One of my friends bought me some posters there because it looked like me and another mutual friend, drawn manga-style. Funny! But I found out what anime it came from, and someone uploaded scans of the art books. I fell in love. I wanted to draw just like that! Then I found the OVAs on... maybe Napster? I don't remember now. It was a long time ago.

But because of that, I've bought every book in the manga series, a soundtrack CD (there are many for manga series in Japan), and one of the art books (I have to hunt down the other!) The story has plots within plots, and although it isn't necessarily true to how Qabalistic Hebrew magic or lore works, it's still an engaging story of the wars between humans, demons, angels, and those who would seek power for themselves regardless of costs. Woven in are some Buddhist notions about reincarnation, I've noticed. It's a manga that I have to read again and again because every time I reread it, I find something new, or remember something I'd forgotten about the series.

My current wallpaper on my computer is once again from TK (there's a rotation of anime, TV shows, and photos of nature or cute foxes), and I'm inspired to bring some of that beauty into my daily life. How else besides makeup? I can't wear kimono every day, as much as I'd like to, so of course it's makeup!

All eyeshadows from Shiro Cosmetics, some discontinued.
I love loose powder shadows, but sometimes the jars come unscrewed in my bag. I bought a 12-colour palette and two mini-palette starter kits to get pressing. I figure if I start with the two small ones or some extra pans as practice, I can move on to making my Fallen Angels palette. I've been using Shiro for a long time now, and I'm sad to say that I've missed out on some great colours over the years. But she always comes out with new ones, so I'll have eye shadow for the rest of my life! Truthfully, I don't wear it very often. My skin gets so greasy from restaurant work that I don't want anything on my skin, much less pretty makeup! But on days off, when I feel adventurous, I get to painting.

Top row: Spinarak/Finkelstein mixed (discontinued), Steelix (now called 'Victory Road'), Hyperbeam ('Missingno'), Spiritomb (discontinued), Kokiri Forest ('Kokiri Emerald'), and Shall Not Be Mourned (discontinued). Shall Not Be Mourned is more bronze in person, but photographs with a gold shift. It's really a stunning colour! I'll miss it when I run out.

Bottom row: Shoes for Orphans (discontinued), Temple of Time, Midna ('Twilight Realm'), Equivalent Exchange, Subrosia ('Goron Ruby'), and Unsatisfactory Mark (discontinued).

January 14, 2013

Seijin no Hi: Coming of Age Day

Today (or rather, earlier tonight by our time) is Seijin no Hi, a bright day celebrating people who 20 years old. They are now considered to be adults, and have the privileges of full members of society!

Seijin no Hi is one of the rare occasions when you can see Japanese men wearing traditional (if not modern updated) kimono, and girls get dressed up for one of the biggest days in their social lives. Furisode should be over the top! Accessories, accessories, accessories! Big hair! Fresh manicures! And of course, the fur shawl, regardless of how hot it is. Actually, today is really perfect for the weight of ofurisode and all of the layers involved: it's snowing in Tokyo! <3

Most women rent their ofurisode, I think, or have them passed down from other family members. Still, as always, there is some pressure to buy the most up-to-date, new fashions. Just as you wouldn't want to wear your mothers' prom dress from the 80s, Japanese women probably don't want to wear their mother's Seijin no Hi outfit. Secondhand kimono shops can sometimes be great places to find castoffs in mint condition, but a woman would have to be creative to make them look modern and fashionable. It can be done!

Rental services have a mix of 'old' and 'new' kimono, but vintage items I think are probably sold off to elsewhere. The great thing about kimono rental places is that the staff is often trained to fully dress a person and do their hair or provide accessories. There is even a place that can take your mother's (or other person's) vintage furisode and put a modern twist on it to update the style.

But of course, this year is marked by some sadness, too.

January 10, 2013

Missed Posts Roundup

This year has already been spectacularly busy. Between picking up as many shifts as possible at work, my online pagan supply store, Destiny's heart transplant, and taking care of my own home and trying to visit friends, I've had little or no time for Bebe Taian activities. For this and other reasons, I'm selling off almost all of my kimono items and blogging only, unless I get an educational gig (as opposed to a vendor gig) somewhere. This means I'm only just now catching up to backfill all of my missed posts! I'll try to stay on top of future scheduled posts... I really will... Ganbaremasu!

- Shougatsu: Japanese New Year!
- Kinyoubi Kimono 13
- Shoukan
- For Sale Sunday (New: every Sunday I'll try to post a new item or several new items for sale!)

January 9, 2013

Small Successes + Setbacks.

Today, I'm happy for small successes, but adjusting for small setbacks.

My sister isn't in much pain. Yesterday was probably the worst day yet for her... until a very bright nurse figured out that most of her pain was likely NOT rejection of the new heart, but rather, a morphine allergy (like the allergy I have). Take away the morphine, the pain goes away. Today, she could eat a little, and walk some. Not much, but it's progress. Because everyone at work is calling out sick, I can't risk seeing her and possibly carrying the flu to her right now. Otherwise, I'd be there a few days this week. My mom could have used the break... but, better for her to not get sick right now. I'll still try to call every day...

I've picked up as much extra work as possible and applied for another job today. That'll help me fill in the blanks. One of my goals is to make $30K this year; enough to support us both, plus the cats and a little extra for car repairs and emergencies. Small setback: needing chiropractic care. I think I popped a vertebrae in my neck out. This one needs to be put back professionally. I'm used to manipulating my own back, but the neck is kind of fragile, you know? And that will be costly!

Sold! <3 Agate + Hematite Bracelet
I've made a few sales this week. Excellent timing! I needed cat food and to pay the vet bill. The vet has been extra-nice to me and gave me a one-time chance to pay off the large bill in chunks, instead of all at once. Thing is, it was supposed to be paid by December. x.x And he STILL saw Azrael when he got sick again! I want to pay it off this month! I should also write him a thank-you card.

Next week, I'll be dropping off donations to the no-kill shelter I did a show for on Dec. 13th. I sold much more than usual, although no one who visited said they even knew about the art show at Whole Foods! I'm donating 10% of my sales (I didn't calculate out the profits; just straight sales figure), and some cat litter. It's on my list this year to talk some major manufacturers into possibly donating or giving us coupons to help feed the cats at the shelter.

Sold! <3 Green + Silver Leaf Earrings
Added more listings to Ebay, including the men's 2L yukata set + zori today, which is great. I'll be getting photos of more items as time and lighting permits. The apartment tends to be very dark, but I'll do my best!

I have a hefty list of stuff to get done this week, including ordering + inventory for Perthro's, the extra work shifts, chiropractic care, cleaning at home, and hopefully packing sales. Don't worry- I'm not discouraged yet. This is only the first week of the new year, and I need to keep it up!

January 6, 2013

For Sale Sunday: Pink Iromuji

This is one I've had for sale for a long time now. Because I've had it so long, I've reduced the price a bit. It looks so ordinary, but I must have coordinated this kimono with five or six very different obi, and even a change of obijime/obiage makes a big difference in the feel of the kimono!

FOR SALE: Silk iromuji with himo, ume, momiji, and cloud patterns.

This late Showa-era (1926-1989) or early Heisei era (1989-current) kimono is made of luxurious, supersoft silk fabric with woven patterns. The kimono is an iromuji, meaning ‘one colour’, and is usually worn for semi-formal occasions or when practicing tea ceremony. Woven patterns include momiji (maple leaves), ume (plum blossoms), clouds, and tassels. Unlike many vintage Japanese finds, this piece has no strong residual odors.

Wrist to wrist, approx. 48in/120cm
Shoulder to bottom hem, approx. 55in/137.5cm
Length of sleeves, approx. 17in/42.5cm

There are a few light stains, which are best seen in the third and fourth photo. There are some stains in the lining along the back seams that do not show through to the outside. There is a small stain that is not noticeable on the front left panel when worn. It is near the bottom of the hem, roughly the size of a dime. Please see the photos. Weight of item alone is just under 2lbs (760g). It can easily be worn.

Iromuji are most often worn with Nagoya obi, but in some situations may be worn with fukuro obi.

Unmei's Progress

I saw my sister again today. No sleep since yesterday, until I got home. She’s in a lot of pain, as to be expected. The biggest obstacle is getting her up and walking, even short distances, to help her ribs expand and shape normally. We only stayed about four hours today, but we expect to go back and stay longer when we can. No walking before we left, but we at least got her to drink some juice. The meds can make you nauseous, and they’re just generally no fun at all.

I’m an idiot though. I forgot to eat salt when I woke up, so my blood pressure dropped, and I felt like crap the rest of the day. Fortunately, she fell asleep before she saw me have to lay down. I don’t need her worrying about my heart when she’s got her own to think of! DH got me some Taco Bell, but it apparently wasn’t enough, soon enough. Ugh. Yay for making alfredo sauce ahead of time. Noodles are quick and easy to make, plus they’re good with plenty of salt.

We still need help getting gas money for all of these trips, though, plus caring for the cats until I can rehome them. It’s an hour each way to the hospital and back. If you see anything you like at my ShopHandmade store, please, by all means! I usually ship out in 1-2 business days. I’ll mail to anywhere in the world, too!

January 5, 2013

小寒: Minor Cold

In January, it is still cold in Japan. It's unthinkable, being in Florida, that the weather would ever drop to 40F for more than a day or two in the year! But in Japan, it is firmly Winter weather, with the promise of Spring on the way! This week it has been in the 40s-50s (Fahrenheit) in Tokyo, and it is expected to be just as cold next week, if not cooler. Two layers of kimono is a likely scenario, or perhaps just thicker, warmer clothes!

This is a great opportunity for hime style: add cute hand-knitted gloves, some thick stockings with interesting patterns, boots, and hike the kimono up a bit to show them off. Make sure it all coordinates! Then add a haori and maybe a hat or scarf to the mix, and you're good to go in the chilly outdoor air.

As for me, I'd probably wear two thinner kimono layered on top of one another in indigo and tan, my mothers khaki leather insulated gloves, and some long leggings with usual zori and tabi. Once I adjust to the cold, I tend to like weather in the 50s, and can wear short sleeves in it. After a week of such temperatures, it's too 'hot' to wear much else!

January 4, 2013


After over a year of waiting, and many, many months of hospitalization, my little sister just got a heart transplant. 4am, Jan. 3nd, she went into surgery. I got to see her today. I think colouring books are about her speed right now. There’s so much going on, between two jobs and helping to babysit her, I’m not sure if I can keep up on posts right now. But I’ll backfill ASAP! <3

But here’s the deal: I’m having trouble paying my own bills. I can’t help out my mom with hers, too. She’s taken weeks, months off of working without support to take care of Destiny day in and day out. So if you can, please stop by my ShopHandmade store and see if there’s anything you like. The money goes towards helping her get stuff like electricity, food, gas to and from the hospital, etc. Anything helps.

I’m going to the hospital again in a few hours with DH so that she can go home and sleep. So, all for now!

Kinyoubi Kimono 13

Previously, "The Evolution of My Kitsuke."

13. Your special kimono memory.

My first kimono set was a kurotomesode and a hitoe mofuku kimono with thin metallic silver stripes, both silk. At the time, I didn't know anything about the kimono 'rules'; I only followed what my ningyo wore and what I could put together (as evidenced by the bad kitsuke in this photo). My mother bought me that set when I was 13 or so, a staggering $75 on Ebay from one of the few sellers at that time. It was what I thought was a lot of money then. For someone who grew up having trouble just getting food, $75 was unthinkable for a dress!

Then later, the first kimono my husband bought for me was a kurotomesode, this time from the Taisho era. It fits almost like it was made for me. 

This double-memory is linked now, as they are my two favourite kimono. Even though I have few full-formal events to wear either one at, I still wear black on a daily basis. It is my uniform in and out of work, and it's the colour I feel most comfortable in. Black is casual, classy, slimming, and powerful. These things were likely the most difficult to afford, even though I have other kimono that are far more expensive now, and more unusual. The effort put forth to get them makes them special. These are two kimono that I will never sell!

Next: The Kinyoubi Kimono Roundup

They're all done! All 13! It's been quite a ride this year. Perhaps I'll do the challenge again in a few years, when my collection has had some significant changes.

January 1, 2013

Shougatsu: Japanese New Year!

This is the year of the Snake, and good riddance to the year of the Dragon! I hope this year is far better than the last for so, so many people. 新年あけましておめでとうございます!

I've written a little about osechi foods before on New Year's Day. Osechi are special foods eaten on New Years to bring good luck, ward off illnesses, and for other reasons. In Japan, New Years' Day is called Shougatsu. In the new year, many firsts are considered to be important: the first sunrise, the first letter you write, the first dream you have.  These are foretelling of the year to come! There are also lucky/unlucky ages every year, according to superstition. This year is my unlucky year, and it goes in three-year cycles, it seems. So after next year, it will be over! I will try to be careful, and to stay healthy myself, but I have so many goals... surely, I can run myself into the ground now to provide a better future for everyone I care about later? It'll work! It'll totally work! ... this is what I tell myself...

A culture blog I love and learn from, Iromegane, has a very good article from last year about the customs of Shougatsu. I recommend that anyone interested in Japan reads it!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Today is January 1st, New Year's Day by the Western calendar. Technically, by the old calendar, the Year of the Snake will not begin until February 10th, but... this is so cute, I couldn't pass it up. <3

Happy New Year - 2013