April 18, 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar: March 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar 2014 March

March was a busy month finishing up university work and preparing for my sabbatical, but I did manage to get myself in kimono four times this month despite everything. I really try to wear kimono at least once a week, usually on Saturday or Sunday. When I don’t manage to, I go into kimono withdrawal symptoms, and my kitsuke (kimono dressing) really shows too if I am without regular practice.

March 2nd (Sun)
At the end of last month (Feb 27), I went to a kimono event with the theme of purple (Murasaki no Kai), and one of the kimono wearers there had an obijime cord decorated with beads, which I thought was supper cool. While walking through the Seibu department store, no doubt collecting necessities for my trip to the US, I spied a bead store with two strings of purple pearls, and then searched for a white obijime to sew them on to. This is the photo of the work in process, and I later wore this beaded obijime to the university Shaonkai party.

2014-3-3March 3rd (Mon)
I visited the Awai kimono shop to order a washable asa (ramie) nagajuban for use in the States. This is a wonderful kimono shop run by a husband and wife couple – I am always so envious of them, what a wonderful couple who get to work together doing what they love, a very rare and precious happenstance. Their shop is a bit pricey but has many beautiful and practical kimono accessories, not to mention also kimono and Hakata obi. Almost everyone I know who works professionally wearing kimono has one of these asa nagajuban. And, Onoe Hiromi’s wonderful wafure brand lingerie, which she designed based on her own experiences, is basically designed to wear under this type of nagajuban.


March 8 (Sun)
I bought the new issue of Utukushii Kimono magazine and it came with a free bag with a design of tachibana (a type of aromatic citrus fruit).

2014-3-9-nanohana ed



2014-3-19-4-kimono-n-yofuku 2


*Click Blogmura logo for other blogs (in Japanese) on Kimono
(and increase my ranking there!)

にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物着付けへ

* Ads below courtesy of Livedoor, and I do not make any money off of them!

auberginefleur at 03:59|PermalinkComments(0)Kimono: My Collection Etc. | Kimono Winter (Awase)

April 12, 2014

Space Cherry Tree Blooms Years Earlier Than Expected


via rt.com

Cosmic bloom? Early blossom for cherry tree after space trip
Published time: April 11, 2014

A four-year-old cherry tree grown from a pit that orbited the Earth for eight months aboard the ISS has burst into blossom in Japan far earlier than usual with very interesting flowers, a riddle that is perplexing local scientists.

The ‘extraterrestrial’ cherry tree was expected to blossom in six years, in 2018, as normally it takes at least 10 years for similar sorts of tree to bear their first buds.

However, in April the ‘space cherry tree’, already grown to around 4 meters tall, suddenly produced nine flowers, reported local media. The blooms’ form was also unusual as each had only five petals, while on the parent tree from which it was taken there were about 30 petals.

The wonder pit was one of around 265 seeds that were harvested from the fruit of the famous 1,250-year-old ‘Chujohimeseigan-zakura’ cherry tree in the compound of an ancient Ganjoji temple. The tree is a variety of the ‘yamazakura’ wild cherry species, and until now, the attempts to grow any sapling from its fruit have been unsuccessful.

The cherry seeds were sent to the ISS in November, 2008 with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, now commander of the ISS. They were returned to Earth eight months later in July, 2009. A selection of seeds was soon successfully planted by Japanese botanist Takao Yoshimura near the ancient Buddhist Ganjoji temple in Gifu, central Japan. (MORE)

auberginefleur at 03:26|PermalinkComments(0)Japan News Briefs | Flowers & Festivals

April 11, 2014

AF's Favorite Enka (Songs) Series

Tsugaru Strait - Winter Scene
Tsugaru Kaikyō - Fuyu-geshiki | 津軽海峡・冬景色

Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki – Sayuri Ishikawa (1977)Ishikawa Sayuri(石川さゆり), singer
Miki Takashi (三木たかし), composer
Morioka Ken'ichirō (森岡賢一郎), arranged
Aku Yuu (阿久悠 ), lyrics

The single was released on 1st of January, 1977 by Nippon Columbia. Together with “Amagi-goe,” the song is Ishikawa’s most popular from her career. (wiki)

To me, this song is about equal parts defiance and pathos. The refrain is, colloquially, “So, goodbye you, dear. I’m going home!”(Sayonara, anata. Watashi wa kaerimasu.) However, her musings and all she sees on the way home are clearly melancholy.

The protagonist of the song has no doubt been rejected by her lover, and is returning to her hometown in Hokkaidō. Her journey is from night to the wee hours of the morning, cold, dark, and gloomy – with the cold night winter scene in hazy monochrome. Ueno station was the central station to set off from Tokyo to journey north, and the station itself has a great deal of associations. One had to transfer at Aomori to cross the Tsugaru channel to Hokkaidō, until 1988 when a tunnel was built. The Tappi-saki cape is the last bit of land to be seen off the main island Honshū, and she failed even to catch a glimpse of it before leaving for good. "So goodbye dear, I’m leaving you, and going home…"

Here's my translation:

When I stepped of the night train that left from Ueno,
The Aomori station was in the midst of snow.
The group of people returning to the north were all silent,
Just listening to the sound of the waves.
I too boarded the ferry alone,
Crying as I saw the seagulls looking like they’re freezing.
Ah〜ah〜, the Tsuraga straight, winter scene.

“Look, the Tappi-saki cape, off in the north!”
Said strangers as they pointed.
I wiped the window fogged with breath,
But all I could see to the far distant was haze.
Goodbye, my dear. I am going back home.
The sound of the wind, makes me weep at heart.
Ah〜ah〜, the Tsuraga straight, winter scene.

Goodbye, my dear. I am going back home.
The sound of the wind, makes me weep at heart.
Ah〜ah〜, the Tsuraga straight, winter scene.

The lyrics:

うえ の はつやこうれっしゃ お とき
上野発の夜行列車 降りた時から
Ueno hatsu no yakou ressha orita toki kara

あおもりえき ゆき なか きた かえ ひと む
青森駅は雪の中 北へ帰る人の群れは
Aomori eki wa yuki no naka, kita e kaeru hito no mure wa

だれ むくち うみな
誰も無口で 海鳴りだけをきいている
Dare mo mukuchi de, uminari dake wo kiite iru

わたし   れんらくせん の
Watashi mo hitori renraku-sen ni nori

      かもめみ     な
こごえそうな鴎見つめ 泣いていました
Kogoe-sou-na kamome mitsume naite imashita

ああ 津軽海峡冬景色
Ah~ ah Tsugaru Kaikyou fuyu geshiki

       たっぴみさき きた
ごらんあれが竜飛岬 北のはずれと
Goran are ga Tappi Misaki, kita no hazure to

みし   ひと ゆび いき     まど
見知らぬ人が指をさす 息でくもる窓のガラス
Mishiranu hito ga yubi wo sasu, Iki de kumoru mado no garasu (glass)
ふいてみたけど はるかにかすみ見えるだけ
fuite mita kedo, harukani kasumi mieru dake

     わたし かえ
Sayonara anata, watashi wa kaerimasu

かぜ おと むね      な
風の音が胸をゆする 泣けとばかりに
Kaze no oto ga mune wo yusuru nake to bakari ni

ああ 津軽海峡冬景色
Ah~ ah Tsugaru Kaikyou fuyu geshiki

          わたし かえ
さよならあなた 私は帰ります
Sayonara anata, watashi wa kaerimasu

かぜ おと むね      な
風の音が胸をゆする 泣けとばかりに
Kaze no oto ga mune wo yusuru nake to bakari ni

ああ 津軽海峡冬景色
Ah~ ah Tsugaru Kaikyou fuyu geshiki

auberginefleur at 16:07|PermalinkComments(0)Arts & Entertainment | Tsurezure Misc Notes

March 28, 2014

AF's Favorite Samurai (Jidaigeki) Movies 4

I decided to post my favorites, in no particular order.

Sword of Desperation (必死剣鳥刺し Hisshiken Torisashi)
*Sorry, only trailer available.
** Then again, try this http://www.firedrive.com/file/53E138080E7A1DF2

Hisshiken Torisashi(2010) From IMDb imdb.com

Sword of Desperation (必死剣鳥刺し Hisshiken Torisashi) is a 2010 Japanese film directed by Hideyuki Hirayama.

A talented but troubled Edo Period swordsman, Kanemi Sanzawmon. Three years earlier, Kanemi killed a woman, Renko, the corrupt mistress of the powerful daimyo Tabu Ukyou. Unexpectedly, Kanemi received a lenient sentence for his crime and is allowed to return to his clan after only one year of imprisonment. Following his return, Kanemi is faced with the death of his wife, Mutsue. Thereafter, Kanemi lives with and cares for his wife's niece, Satoo, who has secret affections for Kanemi and expresses them by helping change his bleak outlook on life. Meanwhile, Kanemi's develops his unique "bird-catching" sword technique which he will soon put to test in battle for the first time against the fearsome swordsman, Hayatonosho Obiya.
- Written by Dr. Jay Trotter

auberginefleur at 17:27|PermalinkComments(0)Japan TV and Movies 

AF's Favorite Samurai (Jidaigeki) Movies 3

I decided to post my favorites, in no particular order.

The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei たそがれ清兵衛)
*Sorry, only trailer available.

The Twilight Samurai (movie) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org

The Twilight Samurai or Tasogare Seibei (たそがれ清兵衛, literally "Twilight Seibei") is a 2002 Japanese film directed by Yoji Yamada. Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the Meiji Restoration, it follows the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking samurai employed as a bureaucrat. Poor, but not destitute, he still manages to lead a content and happy life with his daughters and senile mother. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the turbulent times conspire against him.

The Twilight Samurai was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Awards, losing to the French Canadian (Quebec) film Les Invasions Barbares. The Twilight Samurai also won an unprecedented 12 Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.

auberginefleur at 17:14|PermalinkComments(0)Japan TV and Movies 

AF's Favorite Samurai (Jidaigeki) Movies 2

I decided to post my favorites, in no particular order.

When the Last Sword Is Drawn (壬生義士伝 Mibu Gishi Den)

When the Last Sword Is Drawn From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org

When the Last Sword Is Drawn (壬生義士伝 Mibu Gishi Den) is a 2003 Japanese movie directed by Yōjirō Takita loosely based on real historical events. When the Last Sword Is Drawn won the Best Film award at the 2004 Japanese Academy Awards, as well as the prizes for Best Actor (Kiichi Nakai) and Best Supporting Actor (Koichi Sato). It received a further eight nominations.

The film tells the story of two Shinsengumi samurai. One of them is Saitō Hajime (played by Kōichi Satō), a heartless killer and the other is Yoshimura Kanichiro (played by Kiichi Nakai), who appears to be a money-grubbing and emotional swordsman from the northern area known as Nambu Morioka. The main storyline is set during the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, but it is told in a series of flashbacks as two characters reminisce. The themes include conflicting loyalty to the clan, lord, and family.

More than just a story of swordplay, it is the story of a man willing to do anything for the good of his family, even if it means never being able to see them.

auberginefleur at 17:05|PermalinkComments(0)Japan TV and Movies 

AF's Favorite Samurai (Jidaigeki) Movies 1

I decided to post my favorites, in no particular order. Here's one:

After the Rain Japan Samurai Movie 雨あがる Ame-agaru

After the Rain (film) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org

After the Rain (雨あがる Ame agaru) is a 1999 Japanese film. The story is based on the last script written by Akira Kurosawa and is directed by his former assistant director of 28 years, Takashi Koizumi. It was awarded a Japanese Academy Award in 1999. It was chosen as Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony.

A group of travelers is stranded in a small country inn when the local river floods. As the bad weather continues, tensions rise amongst the travelers trapped at the inn. A traveling ronin (masterless samurai), Ihei Misawa takes it upon himself to cheer everyone up by arranging a splendid feast. Unfortunately he has no money and in order to pay for the feast he visits the local dojos and challenges the masters there for payment, termed in the film as prize fighting. Later, after breaking up a duel between two young retainers of the local clan he receives an offer of employment as a sword master from the local lord, Shigeaki. He has a tense interaction with the lord and his retainers, revealing his prowess at their expense. The film also shows the tender relationship he has with his wife, Tayo, and provides insights into the way of life of a ronin's wife.

auberginefleur at 12:14|PermalinkComments(0)Japan TV and Movies 

March 14, 2014

"Kimono World" Short Video Series with Sheila Cliffe

"Kimono World,"with Sheila Cliffe is a fresh look at Japan's sacred garment. A leading kimono expert, and Englishwoman, living in Japan, leads us on a journey into the lives, and work of modern shakers and movers in the world of kimono.

  INTRO: Welcome to Kimono World! 着物ワールドにようこそ!

  PART I: Nasu: The Color Demon

  PART II: Kimono Switch

  PART III: Kimono Shopping in Tokyo

This third episode finds Sheila window shopping in both traditional and non-traditional shops and bazaars. She profiles some great places to shop for kimono in Tokyo.

  PART IV: Chisato: Kimono's Dancing Spirit (着物ワールド4)

This final episode of the web series Sheila introduces us to Chisato Ootomo, a kimono lover and professional Nihon Buyō (日本舞踊) dancer. Sheila challenges herself by taking a dance class with Chisato.

*See also "Kimono World" on YouTube.

auberginefleur at 10:03|PermalinkComments(0)Kimono: Terms & Info 

March 10, 2014

Sakura Kimono for March

Sakura Kimono in Book

So it’s about time to start thinking about cherry blossoms, even though it is still cold and windy in Tokyo.

Anyway, I was picking up my apartment recently and happened across this photo in a book (きものの文様 ―格と季節がひと目でわかる), and thought, “Wow, it reminds me of my lavender sakura kimono.” For no particular reason, I decided to post the pictures here together.

I wore this kimono last year, first for the Shaonkai university party ostensively given by the just graduated students for their professors, then I wore it with a more causal obi for open campus day on the last weekend of March, then I wore it again, but the exact event escapes me. *Remembered, temple visit.

no title
University Shaonkai Party

University Open Campus & Sakura Festival 2013


University Shaonkai Party

*Click Blogmura logo for other blogs (in Japanese) on Kimono
(and increase my ranking there!)

にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物着付けへ

auberginefleur at 15:59|PermalinkComments(0)Kimono: My Collection Etc. | Kimono Winter (Awase)

February 28, 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar: February 2014

Kimono Calendar 2014 Feb

Between having a cold, university work, snow, and moving house, I only managed to get myself in kimono twice this month. Depressing all around – except for the new condo apartment – I like that.

2014-2-1February 1st (Sat)
I had friends visiting from the States, and they wanted to stay at an Onsen (hot springs). Friday, the day before, we visited the Mashiko pottery town in Tochigi prefecture located just north of Tokyo, and the home and kiln of Hamada Shōji, a major figure in the Japanese mingei folk art movement. That night we stayed at the Satoyama Resort Hotel in Mashiko, returned to Tokyo the next day (Sat), and finished off the evening at the Kabukiza in Ginza.

This kokeshi doll (on the left), which is probably about half a meter tall, was made in the image of the Kami-san (proprietress) of this ryokan inn. The designer Linda Kentie made a digital kokeshi doll for me, and I wish I knew where to go to have it made into a real wooden one like this one.


February 5th (Wed)
Aqua-blue komon design awase
Vanilla Hakata Obi (O-taiko bow)
Crimson and grey obiage from Awai
Pink obijime and pink coral obidome

A couple of days before the Onsen trip, probably on Thursday (1/30), I met my visitors in Asakusa, and we went kimono shopping for a friend (not present) of one of my visitors. The kimono chosen for the friend was a beautiful ¬dark brown-black Ōshima-esque (大島風) kimono, perhaps in a synthetic fabric. The obi selected was an expensive genuine Hakata obi in half-width (hanhaba 半幅). Since apparently there was only 10,000 yen to spend, and with bargaining, basically we just paid for the expensive obi, and the kimono itself was all but free.

I bought the aqua-blue kimono I am wearing here at the same shop in Asakusa. It is very short, and even with my experience in wearing too-short-kimono, it is still quite a challenge. The kimono, despite being a lined awase, is still rather thin and actually too cold for the chill temperatures of early February. It would be a good kimono to wear in late April or early May, when the temperatures ask for a lighter unlined hitoe, but tradition and formality demand a lined awase. Since I just bought it, I craved to wear it despite lack of common sense, and came down with bronchitis the day after. And then it snowed…and not just a little bit.

2014-2-14-1February 14th (Fri)
Artist: Isoda Koryūsai
Title: Beauty Confounded by a Snow Storm
Edo period, Tenmei era (1781-89)

Then it snowed again, and not just a little bit this time either. To mark the event in the calendar for prosperity, I added this ukiyo-e painting, not print -- BTW, a ukiyo-e painting is called nikuhitsu 肉筆 in Japanese. Someone uploaded this photo of the painting (from a catalogue to this exhibition 歌麿・写楽の仕掛け人 その名は蔦屋重三郎) into FB, and I copied it. I hope all will excuse me. This photo is only a detail; the painting actually has inscriptions by several people at the top.

I do believe this painting is now in the Okada Museum collection, but am not sure. I am interested in this painting because it shows a woman wearing an obi that looks like a Hakata weave (but could still be a Nishijin 西陣 weave), and of course because of the umbrella-in-snow motif. For more on my love of umbrella-in-snow motifs see the obi here and also Umbrellas in Snow.


February 27 (Thu)
Purple Nishijiin weave stripe tsumugi

西陣織縞紬 鳩羽紫色
Edo Bingata Nagoya obi
Crimson and Grey Obiage from Awai
Purple and white Oshare Obijime cord
Lavender obijime with blue cut-glass kiriko 切子obidome
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

AFs Kokeshi Doll ed
AF's Digital Kokeshi Doll
Designed by Linda Kentie
(see the original ensemble here)

*Click Blogmura logo for other blogs (in Japanese) on Kimono
(and increase my ranking there!)

にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物着付けへ

*Everything below in this post is an ad courtesy of Livedoor, and I do not make money off of it!

auberginefleur at 03:58|PermalinkComments(0)Kimono: My Collection Etc. | Kimono Winter (Awase)

February 19, 2014

Cherry Blossom Schedule Forecast in Japan 2014 桜開花スケジュール

weathermap sakura 2014

The private site Weathermap has the first cherry-blossom forecast up this year, but the most reliable sites are the official Japan Weather Association’s tenki.jp and the Japanese WeatherNews’s weathernews.jp. Both of the latter should be updating their sites soon.

Tokyo: 3/25日 (blossoms open), 4/2 (full bloom)
Osaka: 3/26 (blossoms open), 4/2 (full bloom)
Kyoto: 3/27 (blossoms open), 4/3 (full bloom)

(Kyushu) Fukuoka: 3/22(blossoms open), 3/30 (full bloom)
Hiroshima: 3/26(blossoms open), 4/3 (full bloom)
Niigata: 4/9 (blossoms open), 4/14 (full bloom)
Nagano: 4/12 (blossoms open), 4/17 (full bloom)
Sendai: 4/11 (blossoms open), 4/15 (full bloom)
(Hokkaido) Sapporo: undetermined (blossoms open), undetermined (full bloom)

The cherry blossoms should continue to bloom for five to six days after their peak (full bloom), depending on weather.

Several forecast maps will soon be available online so you can keep up with the moving cherry blossom front.

Cherry Blossom Flowering Date Maps:

Weather News Map (Current State Live)
* At WeatherNews site, click button "Sakura Simulator" for forecast by date. 


Mapple Net Map (Current State Live)
Run cursor over the area you are interested in.

tenki_dot_jp=sakura-expectation2012JWA Forecast Map (Forecast Prediction)

Japan Weather Agency 気象庁の桜の開花予想
(Forecast Prediction)
(Unfortunately ended as of 2009)
* See: http://hanazakura.jp/


Enjoy Tokyo Blossom Viewing

Walkerplus Famous Places in Tokyo


* EnjoyTokyo Department Store Box Lunches for Blossom Viewing

Tokyo Yokohama Information: Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots

Japan Guide: Popular Hanami Spots

All About: 江戸の名所で桜を愛でよう

* Japan Guide on Blossom Viewing in English

* See also Infoseek for more links (in Japanese):

にほんブログ村 テレビブログ 大河ドラマ・時代劇へ
にほんブログ村 美術ブログ 古美術・骨董へ
にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物着付けへ

auberginefleur at 13:56|PermalinkComments(0)Flowers & Festivals 

February 10, 2014

Sick all weekend, so no kimono in snow pictures


auberginefleur at 06:51|PermalinkComments(0)Japan News Briefs 

January 31, 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar: January 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar January 2014


1/1 NY's Sunrise with friends
Pink Ojiya Tsumugi (小千谷紬) Kimono
Synthetic Hakata Hanhaba obi (reverse side)
Purple and white Oshare Obijime cord
Nagajuban with white collar


1/3 Friday Night
Purple Nishijiin weave stripe tsumugi
西陣織縞紬 鳩羽紫色
Synthetic Hakata Hanhaba obi
Purple and white Oshare Obijime cord
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

Jan 5 Kabuki

1/5 Kabuki with Friend
BLUE Ōshima Awase Kimono
Umbrellas in Snow Nagoya Obi
Crimson Obijime cord
White Obiage sash with crimson shibori dots
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

2014-01-13- Mon

1/13 First Tea Lesson of the Year
Maroon Small-Flower Komon Kimono
Blue Nagoya Obi with Pink Flowers
White Obiage sash with crimson shibori dots
Crimson Obijime cord
Nagajuban with white collar


1/17 Friday Night
Pink Ojiya Tsumugi (小千谷紬) Kimono
Blue Nagoya Obi with Pink Flowers
White Obiage sash with crimson shibori dots
Crimson Obijime cord
Nagajuban with white collar


1/18 Saturday Night
Purple Nishijiin weave stripe tsumugi
西陣織縞紬 鳩羽紫色
Blue Nagoya Obi with Pink Flowers
White Obiage sash with crimson shibori dots
Crimson Obijime cord
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

*Click Blogmura logo for other blogs (in Japanese) on Kimono
(and increase my ranking there!)

にほんブログ村 ファッションブログ 着物着付けへ

auberginefleur at 16:35|PermalinkComments(0)Kimono: My Collection Etc. | Kimono Winter (Awase)

January 17, 2014

Hamamatsucho Stn. Boy Fountain Back


auberginefleur at 16:38|PermalinkComments(0)Hamamatsucho Boy Fountain 

Hamamatsucho Stn. Boy Fountain Front


auberginefleur at 16:20|PermalinkComments(0)Hamamatsucho Boy Fountain