Bebe Taian: September 2013

September 29, 2013

Re-working Mofuku for Wear

With Halloween coming, I thought I'd go over a topic I've been working with myself recently. I mentioned before that I bought a mofuku obi for conversion to a chuya (night/day) obi, but I never went into what mofuku was or why to convert it into anything else.

What is mofuku clothing?

Mofuku is a very specific type of kimono not used for anything but a close friend or relative's funeral service. There are many rules regarding how much black one can wear to a funeral, based on how close your relation is to the deceased, and naturally, this class of kimono cannot be worn for any other event. To do so is disrespectful at best. Like in the Victorian era, the amount of black mofuku clothing you wear also indicates your stage of mourning, so to wear a solid black obi with anything can mean you are in the second stage of mourning. For this reason, mofuku clothing is ubiquitous and dirt-cheap from any secondhand retailer. If you want something unique and very inexpensive, and you'd like to start on an epic craft project of your own, consider using mofuku for something!

There are many iromuji black kimono on the market which are not mofuku. Mofuku kimono are strictly all-black kimono with 1, 3, or 5 mon (crests) on the shoulders. Mofuku obi are not the black obi with heavy embroidery or yuzen dyeing intended for formal kimono; mofuku obi are the black-on-black woven obi with no colours of any kind. One black is usually shiny and one matte so that there is distinction in the pattern. Mofuku obiage and obijime are both solid black, although whether or not these are appropriate in other contexts is debatable. The juban and tabi for mofuku are both white, but the shoes are also solid black. For more rules on what is and isn't mofuku, please see this page.

September 25, 2013

Depression is hard.

Mostly getting over burnout, I think. But... depression is hard. Bleh. It's just this constant guessing of whether or not anything is worth trying for, if I'm really good enough at doing basic things to be worth employing, if I can handle keeping a job once I get a better one, etc. etc. Every little tiny mistake seems like a tidal wave of bad news, and one big success never seems like it's good enough, or the joy is short-lived because something else horrible will happen.

I've posted on Tumblr a few times about my own projects, not just reblogging everyone else's photos. I've kept busy these past months. I'm converting a mofuku obi, slowly but surely. I've worked at least 25 hours on it so far, hand-stitching everything, with only an ironing board for a workspace. I took apart and re-sewed part of my black sha kimono with the damages to make it into a katsugi.

The fabric on the right will become the other side of the mofuku obi, to make a chuya obi. The green side will have black borders, made by using as much of the edges of the black obi as possible. Currently, the hardest part is tacking the interfacing back in. It has to be done at intervals 6" apart or so or else it will shift inside the obi while wearing it, giving it a distorted and ugly look. There is a panel of fabric I will need to cut where the taiko side was folded up. I may keep it for another project.

I have plans for many more hand-made kimono items. I will finally finish a padded datejime that I started as a scarf years ago. But really, it's perfect for cold weather. I have many pairs of worn-out, stained pants that could be given new life by chopping them down and dyeing them with turmeric and coffee, and embroider the pieces with gold after sewing them together. I've started keeping a section of my agenda for doodles like this...

I've sold off some items and traded others for some new things! That was exciting. I haven't gotten to wear everything yet (actually, I've only gotten to wear one new outfit so far...) but I hope to do another this weekend. I'm trying to remain in high spirits, but right now, I feel like there's nothing I can do. They say the heart will follow the hand...

I might wear this kimono this weekend. It's a bit too short, but I might make that work for me. It's a very bright kimono! Maybe it'll make me feel bright, too. I'll break out my momiji-woven obiage in royal blue, or maybe my shibori dark purple one. For the obi... the plain yellow-tan? Or the pink/teal one? The pink/teal is pretty busy in pattern. Would they compete? Or should I go with the plain solid-colour one?

Things like this... it doesn't make the depression go away... but it helps a little, I guess. I don't know. I used to have so many ideas, and more talent, and it's like the more I try to get something right, the more wrong it comes out, when it comes to creative stuff. But I'll keep trying...

Although, my husband says I should try releasing a book based on my sci-fi/horror fear-based dreams. Some of them are pretty cool, I guess. ^_^ So, there's that.

September 9, 2013

J-club Meetup at Kalesia Teahouse

I was picking up DH from work when the actual meeting started, but I made sure to get to Kalesia's for the meetup afterwards! The J-club at USF has a weekly meeting to talk about various aspects of Japanese culture as well as club activities. Each week has a theme, like "Different Regions of Japan" or "How to Do Origami". So unlike most university "Japanese clubs", it doesn't feel like a weeaboo anime group. I'm not a USF student yet, but sometimes I'm invited to the events too.

Naturally, on one of the last days to wear summer kimono, I had to dress up... a shame I didn't have a ro kimono that fit! So instead I wore sha in serene blues and gold. The obi turned out to be a perfect match! With deep aubergine openweave obijime and a white obiage (I need a summer one! But this one had woven white-on-white momiji), I think it came off rather nicely! I need a ro or sha juban as well. I can see why they only seem to come in white these days. And why is it that every time I get photos, I have bad hair, and when I have freshly-dyed fabulous hair, no one wants to go someplace to do photos?!