Kimono Winter (Awase)

December 18, 2016

December Kimono 2016

December 2 (Fri): Katsuo-shima mawada tsumugi awase kimono and Bingata-esque cotton Nagoya obi


December 3 (Sat): Hemp leaf motif yuuki awase kimono and "The Pillow Book" Hassun obi


December 5 (Mon): Purple awase kimono and Hassun obi



Dec 8 (Thu): Camellia motif cotton obi and hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 9 (Fri): Ooshima awase kimono and haori, hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 10 (Sat): Hemp leaf motif yuuki awase kimono and Hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 12 (Mon): Katsuo-shima mawada tsumugi awase kimono and hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 15 (Thu): Kumejima tsumugi awase kimono and hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 16 (Fri): Benkei plaid Ooshima awase kimono and kenjo pattern hanhaba Hakata obi


Dec 17 (Sat): Kumejima tsumugi awase kimono and hanhaba Hakata obi


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August 29, 2016

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko's Olympic Kimono 小池百合子のオリンピック着物

Who does not love to see Japanese women in beautiful kimono?!

However, in Japan, it became a bit of a scandal about the money spent on the kimono, and it possibly being ruined in the rain.




An excellent blog article on Koike-san's kimono:
【リオ】小池百合子 東京都知事の着物を賞賛すべき8つの理由
8 Reasons why Governor Koike should be praised for wearing kimono at the Olympics

She wore a formal, three crest iro-tomesode kimono [and it was very pretty]

Appropriate for the grand closing ceremony

3.着物の柄は「琳派 群鶴図(りんぱ ぐんかくず)」。
The kimono design was Rinpa-style cranes
[Cranes are auspicious, and Rinpa is one of the traditional and beautiful Edo period schools of artists]

The bold design and perfect coordination of obi made a refined ensemble

She chose a kimono to put Japan on the world stage

Koike's manner of dress and the 1924 Tokyo Summer Olympics kimono problem
[This section is really interesting about how the Tokyo Olympics lead to kitsuke (kimono dressing) rules]
*You may or may not know, that Japanese women, particularly those who don't wear kimono themselves, are very persnickety about how others wear kimono.

Japanese, of all people, should appreciate why Koike-san wore three crests for the ceremony
[details on kimono formality issues and their appropriateness]

She wore kimono even in the rain!!
Dealing with rain is the most difficult thing for the kimono wearer. Many people just avoid wearing kimono on rainy days, and will change into Western clothes even for a formal event. A drenched silk kimono will have to be taken apart, each piece of the fabric separately cleaned and dried by hand, and then sewn back together. This is VERY expensive. Even so, Koike-san wore her kimono in the rain for the ceremony. Surely, this deserves great praise indeed!

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auberginefleur at 09:05|PermalinkComments(0)

January 15, 2016

First Tea Lesson of the Year 2015-1-11

Purple komon awase kimono
Fukuro obi (which I actually bought for this kimono)
Michiyuki kimono coat
Fur collar knit wool shawl

2016-1-11 Hatsu-keiko

auberginefleur at 12:58|PermalinkComments(0)

January 06, 2016

Yesterday's Kimono 2016-1-5 (Tue)

Purple Stripe Awase Kimono 紫筋袷
Meisen Butterfly Nagoya Obi 銘仙の蝶々柄名古屋帯
Ginza Musubi Bow 銀座結び


2016-1-5 f

2016-1-5 b-l-ed

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December 30, 2015

AF’s Kimono Calendar DECEMBER 2015

Kimono 2015-12-DEC-JPEG

Kimono 2015-12-1 e

Kimono 2015-12-5 e

Kimono 2015-12-8 a

Kimono 2015-12-5 d

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auberginefleur at 15:53|PermalinkComments(1)

November 30, 2015

AF’s Kimono Calendar NOVEMBER 2015

Kimono Calendar 2015-11 NOV JPEG

Kimono 2015-11-1

Kimono 2015-11-24 e

Kimono 2015-11-28 f

Kimono 2015-11-28 d-ed

Kimono 2015-11-30 e

Kimono 2015-11-27

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October 31, 2015

AF’s Kimono Calendar OCTOBER 2015

Kimono Calendar 2015-10 OCT JPEG

Kimono 2015-10-22

Kimono 2015-10-25

Kimono 2015-10-Halloween

Kimono 2015-10-30

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February 08, 2015

Kimono Conundrums: Valentine’s Day 2015

I am totally stumped trying to think up a kimono ensemble on a Valentine's Day theme, based on what I have with me in the US.

Event: Kimono de Jack NY キモノでジャックny
Valentine's Day Jack on SUN, February 15, at 2PM
-2PM Meet in front of LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, at 6th Ave & 55th St. Take a group photo.
- 3PM Have Sweet afternoon w/ delicious chocolates at La Maison de Chocolate at Madison Ave & 78th St. Take a group photo.
*12:00PM- Lunch at Cha-An (230 E. 9th St, 2nd Fl) CANCELLED

The last time I did an ensemble for Valentine’s Day was in 2009.

Valentine’s Day: What I Really Wore バレンタインデー着:結局の着付け
Valentine’s Day Kimono Conundrums バレンタインデー着付けのなやみ

I know I bought an adorable pink and red rose hassun obi a few years ago that I had planned to pair with a purple kimono, but never did, and in any case do not have it with me.

My first thought was this (below) Pink Ojiya Tsumugi (小千谷紬) Awase Kimono with one of these three obi:
1) I can do fun musubi with;
2) has roses which reminds me of Valentine's;
3) butterflies (kind of like hearts?)

Then I thought maybe this cotton stripe obi might be more fun, paired with the kimono above, but then I am not sure I have it with me.

Now I am thinking maybe I will just wear my Bingata Kimono with the Butterfly Obi, but not sure I am willing to wear this kimono on the NYC subway.

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February 05, 2015

AF’s Kimono Calendar JANUARY 2015

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December 31, 2014

AF’s Kimono Calendar DECEMBER 2014

Between Thanksgiving weekend extending into December and the Christmas year-end holidays, I only got to wear kimono three times this month, and never did wear a really Christmasy ensemble. Now I see I could have worn the Dec. 12 hassun obi or the Dec 17th Butterfly Nagoya obi with my green Ryukyu Kasuri Kimono (seen left) and it would have been more Christmasy; next year, I guess.

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auberginefleur at 13:59|PermalinkComments(0)

November 30, 2014

AF’s Kimono Calendar NOVEMBER 2014

November: JAPAN!!!
Nov 8~10 Kimono Salone in Nihonbashi @ Coredo (きものサローネin日本橋 オフィシャルサイト)
Nov 11~13 Hundred People, Hundred Colors Ensembles @ Yuito (100人100色のキモノコーディネイト展示)
Nov 15 Japanese Association for Clothing Studies Symposium: Edo Period Summer Kimono as Seen in Ukiyoe Prints (日本衣服学会でAFの「浮世絵に見える江戸時代の薄物」発表)
Nov 16 BORO~Shabbily Beautiful~ @ Amuse Museum in Asakusa (アミューズミュージアムの特別展「布の絵画BORO〜美しいぼろ布展〜」)

Oct 28 Kimono Tuesday (?!) @ IMA

20141028 LM & AF


Nov 1 Kimono Saturday (?!) @ IMA


Nov 7 Dressed for Torihachi @ Home

Nov 8~10 Kimono Salone in Nihonbashi @ Coredo (きものサローネin日本橋 オフィシャルサイト)

Day 1 (SAT)
Oshima black with red flower kimono
Red Hassun Hakata Obi

Nov 11~13 Hundred People, Hundred Colors of Kimono Coordinates @ Yuito (100人100色のキモノコーディネイト展示)

Day 1 (TUE)
Dressing My Mannequin

Day 3 (THU)
Me & My Mannequin

Nov 15 Japanese Association for Clothing Studies Symposium: Edo Period Summer Kimono as Seen in Ukiyoe Prints (日本衣服学会でAFの「浮世絵に見える江戸時代の薄物」発表)

Nov 16
BORO~Shabbily Beautiful~ @ Amuse Museum in Asakusa


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auberginefleur at 02:52|PermalinkComments(0)

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

auberginefleur at 05:58|PermalinkComments(0)

AF’s Kimono Calendar OCTOBER 2014

From Hitoe (unlined) to Awase (lined) kimono
Color of the Month: Maroon

20141028 LM & AF

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May 31, 2014

AF's Kimono Calendar: April-May 2014

Kimono Calendar 2014 May Word 2-photo_ed

OR, my kimono life in the US-of-A

So, as many of you (FB friends) already know, I am in the US for a year on sabbatical from my university, doing research on summer kimonos and yukata in American collections.

I arrived here on April 1st and between the issues involved in renting an apartment and buying a car—I have no income in the US (since I have a fellowship from my university) so just image what all the agencies involved thought of that—anyhow, initially I had no leeway to get myself in kimono. Although, perhaps, if I had just showed up in kimono either all and sundry would have thought I was even weirder than they already thought, or maybe they could have understood my situation better and made the whole thing less of a hassle, but most likely the former…

Once that was all settled, I had planned to wear kimono every Friday—you know, “dress-down-Friday” or “casual Friday,” but it rained, EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY. So, it’s now “Kimono Wednesday” at the museum that is hosting me for my sabbatical.

2014-5-7-wed-7So, my first kimono day turned out to be the last Wednesday in April. The next Wednesday I also did an introduction to kitsuke (how to wear kimono) for those at the museum who were interested. Three people owned kimono, all in the conservation department. I dressed two that day and another on the next day because she had been out the previous day.

I had meant to bring seven kimono the first time around (I later sent 23 more to myself in the US from Japan), but apparently brought six: Sakura motif awase (lined), Purple stripe awase, Pink Ojiya awase tsumugi, Taishō era light teal awase, Blue bingata awase, and Beige and blue plaid hitoe (unlined) tsumugi. Probably the seventh didn’t fit in the suitcase in the end. (I also packed several obi and two nagajuban and had to bring some Western clothes, lol). My lily hitoe I sent in the box later, and apparently gave up on bringing my purple yūki kasuri tsumugi hitoe, and how could I have left out my pink bamboo hitoe…

In all honesty, leaving Japan is like ripping my soul from the fabric of my life in Tokyo, and if it not for bringing my kimono to console me, I could never have done it, which explains why I spent more time planning what kimono to bring than anything else…

* All the images below are taken in a mirror, hence they are reversed. Don’t worry, I am wearing my kimono properly left-over-right.
* すべての下の写真は鏡で取ったので、左右が逆になっていますが、ご心配なく、着物は左上を間違いなく着ています。


2014-05-07 front n coord

2014-05-12 front n back

2014-05-07 collar n coord 2

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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


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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

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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)

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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

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January 09, 2014

Obi Conundrums: First Tea Lesson of 2014

Taisho-esque Kimono Coordinations

I am thinking of wearing this (above) Taishō-esque maroon awase (lined) kimono on this coming Monday for the first tea lesson of the year. Because, Tea-Sensei said that the design looks like shuttlecocks, and is appropriate for the new year since a battledore game is traditionally played by young girls on New Year’s.

The issue is what obi to wear with it.

Of the pictures above, personally I like Maroon-1 and Maroon-5 the best, but they are not especially NewYear-ish, and I feel like wearing something else anyway. I do really wish I had a more NewYear-ish theme obi, but anyway I don’t…

Maroon Taisho-esque Kimono Detail

Besides the main color of maroon, the other colors in this kimono are Taishō-esque dusty pink, aqua-blue , and off-white.

Nishijin Nagoya Obi
Choice One: Nishijin Nagoya Obi

Personally I think this is the best bet, but I really can’t tell for sure until I put the two together in real life. This obi has basically the same colors of the kimono with squares in light blue and pink and dots in green and sherbet-orange.

Choice Two: Semi-Formal Yūsoku Pattern Nagoya Obi

The colors of this obi pretty much match the colors of the kimono, but I think the obi is just a too formal for this kimono, albeit perfectly appropriate for the first tea lesson of the year.

Koppori Geta Motif Nagoya Obi
Choice Three: Koppori Geta Motif Nagoya Obi

Koppori geta kimono clogs somehow do make me think of little girls (who would be playing battledore for New Years), but although the colors do match, again I think this obi is too formal for the kimono.

Green Batik Nagoya Obi
Choice Four: Green Batik Nagoya Obi

And now for some different colors…

I already did blue, pink, and maroon above. This green Nagoya may or may not match in real life, but if I were really going to wear it with this kimono, I think it would work better in late spring towards the end of the awase season to welcome in early summer.

Black Nagoya Obi with Suzu Bells
Choice Five: Black Nagoya Obi with Suzu Bells

Besides that the Suzu bells on this obi remind me of Christmas tree ornaments, and although this obi might work with a different kimono for Doll’s Day, I think a black obi is just too dark for this kimono.

Maroon Genji Incense Motif Nagoya Obi
Choice Six: Maroon Genji Incense Motif Nagoya Obi

Since this maroon Nagoya obi matches this small-flower motif maroon kimono, it would also match the Taishō-esque maroon kimono at issue here. But, somehow the Genji incense motif just doesn’t seem very NewYear-ish to me…

Maroon Genji Incense Motif Nagoya Obi
And now for something completely (?) different…

As it turns out, I wore this same Taishō-esque maroon kimono last year for the first tea lesson of the year (see here), so perhaps I will wear this small-flower motif maroon kimono instead, with a blue butterfly-motif Nagoya obi.

* And indeed I did, for result see here 1/13 First Tea Lesson of the Year

Blue Butterfly Nagoya Obi

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December 31, 2013

AF's Kimono Calendar: December 2013

AF's Kimono Calendar Dec 2013

Black Oshima & Snow Obi

BLACK Ōshima Awase Kimono
Umbrellas in Snow Nagoya Obi
Teal Green Obijime cord
Crimson and Grey Obiage sash
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

I wore this ensemble for the University end-of-year party, and tried to dress as chic as I possibly could. (The picture, BTW, is taken in my office mirror.) I totally fell in love with this obi a few days before I wore it here. I love the colors and I love umbrellas, and the metallics and feel of the obi, plus with the snow is perfect for winter! The obi depicts umbrellas from above walking along a stone path, perhaps to a temple. If the obi is wrapped around in one direction, the front shows the stone path above and a single teal-green umbrella below off-center to the side (as seen here). If the obi is wrapped around in the other direction (as I wore next), instead of the stone path, a pinkish lavender and a teal-green umbrella appears instead. I chose this side of the obi here for this event because I thought it was more chic. What do you think?

Blue Oshima & Snow Obi

BLUE Ōshima Awase Kimono
Umbrellas in Snow Nagoya Obi
Crimson Obijime cord ?
Green? Blue? Obiage sash with crimson shibori dots
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

December 24 (Tue)
Much to my annoyance I had to attend a meeting for the National Center Entrance Exams on CHRISTMAS! So I could not visit my parents and brother’s family for Christmas this year. Instead, to console myself, I went to kabuki on Tuesday to see the Genroku Chūshingura play staring Kichiemon. I go nearly every year, but this time I made my reservations too late, so couldn’t sit in the seat I always do, but maybe the seat I got just by luck was actually better than my normal one, being on the other side of the hanamichi.

Anyway, this time I wore my blue Ōshima kimono and umbrellas-in-snow obi, but as I recall, I reversed the colors of the obiage sash and obijime cord; this time wearing a bright crimson obijime and a light green obiage with minute red dots in shibori. I went out after the play, and forgot I hadn’t taken a picture of the ensemble, and unfortunately only remembered after I had already taken off the obiage and obijime.

Purple Tsumugi & Mum Hanhaba Obi

Purple Nishijiin weave stripe tsumugi
西陣織縞紬 鳩羽紫色
Hanahaba Silk obi with chrysanthemum motif
Egg-shell white Obijime cord
Nagajuban with Purple Shibori collar

December 31 (Tue)
The last day of the year, I ended up going out to dinner with a friend, and wore this purple tsumugi with blue stripe kimono. I had recently purchased this obi, and thought this was probably the last chance to wear it this season; chrysanthemums not being particularly seasonal come January.

Mum Hanhaba Obi Bow

Purple Tsumugi

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November 30, 2013

AF's Kimono Calendar: November 2013 - PART 2

AF's November Kimono Calendar

pink tsumugi kimono
Nov. 23 (Sat)
Crimson-Pink Tsumugi kimono
Synthetic Hassun Nagoya Obi with Embroidered Leaves
(probably kudzu or grape leaves)
Tanuki Fur Edged Shawl

I do believe I bought this kimono the week before, the week I didn’t wear any kimono. I was in Kagurazaka on Monday the week before (see here), saw a kimono I liked at went back for it, but it had been already sold. However, I fell in love with this one at first sight, and the shop staff confessed that this kimono was much nicer than the one I had seen the week before. Luckily it was not only on sale, but since I also bought the yellow Nagoya obi with chrysanthemum pattern the kimono was paired with, I also got a set discount. Nice! I couldn’t wait to wear this kimono, so when a friend came to visit me from England I wore it to meet her and walk around Ueno.

* Note to self: Should try wearing Vanilla-chan Hakata obi with this pink tsumugi next.

Pink Tsumugi Back
Synthetic Hassun Nagoya Obi with Embroidered Leaves
Tied in the Tsunodashi Bow (角だし)
Sherbet-orange obijime
Blue, or possibly green, obiage with crimson shibori dots

Since this kimono is too small, and the sleeves ridiculously short, I wore the nagajuban I had resewn to fit my too small recycle kimonons. Nevertheless, the sleeves of this nagajuban were still too long for the kimono, so I had to pin them up.

* The shop staff thought there was no way I could wear a kimono this much too small for me and at first resisted letting me try it on. But I insisted sure I can wear it; I am used to too small kimonos, and sure enough, I can just barely wear it, but will eventually have the sleeves lengthened.

Blue Oshima & Hanhaba Hakata
Nov. 24 (Sun)
Blue Ōshima Tsumugi Kimono
Synthetic Hanhaba Hakata Obi
(came as a freebie with my hōmongi shibori yukata)
Blue & Periwinkle Obijime from Awai
Purple Shibori Collar Nagajuban

The next day the two of us visited the Nippori looking for fabric pieces and I ended up buying a much of buttons, and yet another cotton kimono, this time plain light blue. I do believe I have more than sufficient cotton kimono now. But, they are so great in the hot weather spring and fall in Tokyo, because you can just wash them!

We had dinner at the robataya in Asakusa, and also ran into some friends of mine there from Mejiro. It was quite a surprise indeed!

* This kimono was also a bit too small originally, but I did have both the body and the sleeves lengthened since I wear it so often. Although it is, obviously, possible to wear too-small kimono with a bit of contrivance, it is much faster and easier to wear a kimono that is the right size.

**This picture is in front of a house in my neighborhood, walking back from the coffee shop where we had breakfast.

Blue Oshima & Awai Hakata
Nov. 26 (Tue)
Blue Ōshima Tsumugi Kimono
Awai Hakata Nagoya Obi
Awai Blue & Periwinkle Obijime
Lavender Chirimen Obiage

Awai Blue Omeshi Ensemble

Above I am copying this Awai’s coordination (for the details of the Awai ensemble, see here). But, instead of a blue Omeshi kimono, I am wearing a blue Ōshima, and at the last minute, instead of a two-color Awai obiage (mine is grey and crimson), I changed my mind and wore a lavender chirimen obiage to “pop” the lavender stripes in the obi.

* Below is the event I dressed up for that day.

Kitsuke Dressing Contest Nov 2013

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November 10, 2013

AF's Kimono Calendar: November 2013

AF's Kimono Calendar: October 2013

* A word on the colors of the calendar: The russet, old, and persimmon colors represent the colors of autumn leaves, and the blue represents the clear blue
skies expected in November in Japan (even though we haven’t seen much of them due to the many typhoons this year). It is either sure happenstance, or at least completely unconscious on my part, that the color schemes of my kimono ensembles match the calendar, LOL.

Blue Plaid Tsumugi
2013-11-02 (SAT)
Blue Plaid Tsumugi with Purple Mari-balls Obi

For my first ensemble of November I meant to wear something in continuation with a late October Halloween impression morphing into a fall-leaves November ambience. I had planned to wear this blue plaid tsumugi awase with the owlish cat Nagoya obi, and a sherbet-orange obijime and blue or green shibori-dot obiage.

Blue Plaid Tsumugi with Mari-balls Obi
However, due to rain, I wore this purple synthetic Nagoya obi with a motif of giant mari-balls tied in a tsunodashi bow, but with more or less the same accessories as previously planned. Out of playfulness I added a obi-kazari decoration of a suzu-bell and obi-ogre mask, still continuing over from Halloween, and perhaps to express my annoyance with the rain…

Blue Oshima with Autumn Nagoya obi
2013-11-04 (MON)
Blue Ōshima Awase with Purple Autumn Motif Nagoya Obi

Out of the blue, I was invited to join the Ikebukuro walking-about-in-kimono event, to walk about in Kagurazaka on Monday. I thought I could finally wear my blue plaid tsumugi with the owlish cat obi, but then thought that being with an older crowd likely with more conservative ideas about kimono, I should dress a bit less playfully. Because it was raining, I thought an Ōshima kimono would be the best bet, and dithered about whether to wear my brown Ōshima or this blue Ōshima, but since I couldn’t remember wear the brown Ōshima was, I went with this blue one. I love this blue Ōshima and used to wear it so often, I finally had it re-sewn so that it was long enough for me and also had the sleeves lengthened, but hadn’t worn it since its alteration quite some time ago. I t was like be rejoined with an old friend, but this kimono has never been completely taken apart, washed, and then re-sewn, so it is still quite stiff, unlike my brown Ōshima which is like butter.

Blue Oshima with Autumn Obi detail
As I recall, I accessorized it with the crimson and grey Awai Obiage sash, and periwinkle and dark blue Awai Obijime cord. I wore my lavender lace wool scarf-cum-shawl and rain geta clogs, and brought along a kimono raincoat, just in case the rain really got bad, but luckily the rain stopped after a bit and the sun came out. I also wore my nagajuban with the purple shibori collar, even though I thought I should wear a more appropriate white collar, but was just too lazy to get out another nagajuban.

Blue Pliad Tsumugi with Owlish Cat Obi
2013-11-09 (SAT)
Blue Plaid Tsumugi Awase with Purple Owlish Cat Nagoya Obi

Finally, I got to wear the blue plaid awase with the owlish cat obi! A kimono friend invited some us over to her house in Meguro for dinner on Saturday. So I did a rapid kitsuke (kimono dressing) after class for the event. BTW, S-san is a wonderful person and her husband is a fantastic cook, and all looked wonderful in their kimono ensembles, but we were so busy talking about kimono together, I forgot to take pictures!

I wore my favorite purple-strap geta in case of rain and brought a raincoat, but wore this newly purchased tanuki-fur collar shawl for warmth. It wasn’t so expensive but is very warm, and wow does it look great (or at least I think so), and it is long enough in back to cover and protect the obi.

Purple Tsumugi with Blue Stripe
Now for the rest of the month

Now what to wear for the rest of the month? Or, back to purple! I am thinking of wearing my lavender tsumugi with blue stripe (left), with a off-white with leaves Hassun obi (below left), or the same obi with the Kusagi tsumugi kimono. It is also time I wore my brown Ōshima again, let alone my grey Ojiya tsumugi (perhaps paired with the pink Pillow Book Hassun obi), also I have a dark burgundy polka-dot kimono paired with a black suzu-bell obi for a Christmas theme…

Off-white Hassun Obi with Leaves

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July 22, 2013

Kusagi Tsumugi Awase Kimono


These are images taken of my for the University brochure (a few months back).

Kusagi Tsumugi (草木紬) Awase Kimono in graduated purple and green plaid.

Purple shibori han-eri collar and purple nagajuban under-kimono.

Nagoya obi from Kururi (probably), with rose motif in multi-colors.

Mint green obiage sash with red dots in shibori from Isetan (I’ve since bought a light blue version as well).

Lavender obijime cord bought some time ago, with cut-glass Edo kiriko (切子 or 切籠) obijime bead in blue.

Lavender Haori that looks like it would be a sakura motif (especially knowing me) but is actually some arabesque abstract floral motif.


And now for a mischievous facial expression…

デコ薔薇の帯 Deco Rose Obi

Detail of obi (paired with different kimono)

auberginefleur at 13:02|PermalinkComments(0)

March 04, 2013

The month in kimono: January 2013

Coordination Choices

Maroon Komono with Pink Tsujigahana obiMaroon Komon with Pink Tsujigahana obi

At the beginning of January, I had two different maroon komon kimono out, trying to decide what to wear for the first lesson of the year, which in the end was cancelled due to snow. I also had this pink tsujigahana obi out and about because I had just purchased it along with the Broken Check Blue Tsumugi Kimono (紬 紺鼠色 変わり格子風), and found that these two looked surprisingly good together. Trying to make my coordination more interesting from my ordinary set pattern, I asked all and sundry for advice. As I recall, choice ONE and THREE were the most popular, and choice FOUR was my first idea. I went with choice ONE, and accessorized the obi with a fluorescent yellow obijime from Kururi and blue and yellow obiage from Awai. I wore my lavender nagajuban with purple shibori collar, black and red kimono cape and pink rabbit fur scarf, and mostly likely my custom-made weave zōri from Awai.

Tsumugi Awase Blue StripeBlue and Purple Stripe Tsumugi with Pink Tsujigahana obi

Next up was the Kimono de Ginza, which is every second Saturday of the month. Here I wore the same pink tsujigahana obi, with this stripe tsumugi kimono, with the same florescent yellow obijime, and also the same blue and yellow obiage. Lots of purple in this ensemble, with a purple shibori han-eri collar and purple fur-edged shawl. I also wore my much warmer custom-made woven zōri with Hakata straps. NHK International was there that day and interviewed many of us, but it took so long that by the time they got to me, I was shaking with cold. There was also several young girls there dressed in adorably cute retro kimono ensembles.

Maroon Komono with Blue Obi Maroon Komon with Blue Floral obi

The next tea lesson (actually the first because the earlier one was cancelled) just happened to be on the same day as a lecture on kimono at the NHK culture center by Nagaoka-sensei, who curated the “Kimono Beauty” exhibition at the Chiba City Museum. Oh, coordination woes… I wanted to wear something a bit stylish and retro, but not too flamboyant, and also something not completely inappropriate for tea lesson afterwards.

This is probably the only kimono I have that is even remotely Taishō or even early Shōwa-esque. It is hard to see in the photo but the motifs of the kimono are in Taishō-esque pastel shades of pink, blue, and cream. I thought a blue obi would brighten the kimono, and obi with large flowers would be in keeping with the retro style. I accessorized it with the Awai crimson and grey obiage and fluorescent yellow Kururi obijime. In retrospect, I think a bright green obijime would have been better, but since I don’t own one… Since I was going on to tea lesson afterwards, I wore a simple pale silk nagajuban with a plain white color. You can see the pink of the nagajuban at my sleeve opening.

Tea sensei loved the kimono, saying it was quite appropriate for January, since the stylized design resembles the shuttle-cocks for the battledore traditionally played for the new year. On the other hand, she didn’t think my coordination was appropriate for tea, but I explained that I was dressed playfully for the kimono event, and then had continued onto the tea lesson in the same ensemble, which seemed to mollify her. Since I knew I would be going on to tea lesson, I wore my more formal grey and silver zōri, which I hadn’t worn in a while, and was surprised how cold my feet were in them. For warmth, I wore my black and red kimono cape and grey rabbit fur collar. Looking back now, I am surprised I didn’t wear my brown boucle wool kimono cape.

Black & Blue Curvy Stripe YuukiBlack & Blue Curvy Stripe Yuuki Tsumugi with Lavender Hakata obi

And now for something different…
(or maybe not?)

It is amazing how I always seem to stay with the same color scheme per month; it is partly just serendipitous because I leave the same kimonos and accessories out for a month and just mix and match, until I put them away and start with a new batch for the next month.

The next event was to go with Sheila to the “Kimono Beauty” exhibition in Chiba. We both wanted to see the exhibition, and Sheila wanted to hand-off the Travelling Kimono to me. I do believe, it turns out we both went in black and blue Yuuki tsumugi kimonos, but hers had a faint purple cast to the blue. I wish we had gotten a photo of the two of us together that day. The Hakata obi I am wearing was also a present from Sheila (thank you!), and I accessorized it with a white crepe obiage with red flowers in shibori, and a black and red obijime cord.

Komon Taisho-esque maroon

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February 17, 2013

Travelling Kimono in Asakusa 2013.02.10

Or, what I really wore…
(For my earlier conundrums on the coordination see HERE)

ensemble detail

The background
The project of the “Travelling Kimono” is one kimono is selected to travel all around the world sent from one kimono enthusiast to another, and each wearer creates an ensemble representing her or his own personal taste and style, takes photos of the ensemble against the background of a major landmark of the locale, and then sends the kimono off to the next person. The photos are then shared on both the website and the Facebook page. This is actually “Travelling Kimono” Round Two, which started with Sheila Cliffe’s kimono in Harujuku, the center of modern fashion in Tokyo. The next stop was me in Asakusa

The kimono
This kimono is so outside what I normally wear, I really had no idea what to do with it. I had pretty much set my mind on wearing the bright red synthetic obi, even though Sheila had warned me she really didn’t think it would match, and indeed it didn’t. I addition, the kimono is far more beautiful than can be garnered from the photos.
In Sheila’s words, “This kimono actually started as a role of checked meisen cloth, only 6 metres. It is not enough to make a kimono. So I asked a kimono dealer to find another piece of cloth to go with it. She found the stripes and I had it made up, to fit. It is totally unique, and I have had some wonderful compliments on this kimono.”
The kimono was a wonderful soft sheen, the fabric itself is very soft to the touch, it is also very light in weight, and easy to drape and dress in. The yellow and green squares are the Meisen fabric, and I suspect the stripe portion is a “yatara-jima” (矢鱈縞) tsumugi fabric. I think Sheila was very generous to offer this very unusual and precious kimono for the project.

Sensoji and pagoda The ensemble
At a complete loss as to what obi to wear, at the very last minute, I decided what the heck I will wear my dark blue sakura obi; it doesn’t match, but it doesn’t clash either. Interesting, I think this obi is dark blue, but Sheila insisted that it is a dark purple. Later in the day, I stopped off at the Tobu department store in Ikebukuro, and asked the staff in the kimono section what color my obi was, and he said “hana-kon,” which I guess is a purplish dark blue or a blue-ish dark purple. Anyway, turns out the contrast of the obi color and the yellow and red stripes, which appear orange from a distance, made for a winning combination. The graduated greens, yellows, and browns in the obi’s motifs also complimented the colors of the kimono nicely.

Taisho coffee shopThe next problem was the obiage and obijime. Before I came up with a solution, I had nearly my entire collection of obiage and obijime out to find a combination that would go with BOTH the obi and the kimono. I finally decided on a light lavender obiage with purple “rindashi” (輪出し) shibori flowers. I started out on this very cold day with a purple sakura-motif lined winter haori, lavender Pashmina and silk shawl, and fur collar. As the day warmed, I gradually reduced the layers, and then later on in the day, I ended up in a different haori…

Inner Gate of SensojiThe Route
I had wanted to get to Asakusa in the very wee hours of the morning, but neither Sheila nor I were up to it. It was freezing cold and I wanted to stop in somewhere to warm up and Sheila was desperate for some coffee, so our first stop in Asakusa turned out to be a retro coffee shop I often frequent there. This coffee shop is in a very old original building, probably established in the Taishō or early Shōwa era, and may have even possibly survived the war, unlike most of the rest of Asakusa.

* There is also an anecdote for the coffee shop. As we were getting to leave an older man came in and the young waitress asked if he smoked, “tabako wo suimasu ka?” And, he said, “nomimasen.” And she repeated the same question, and he repeated the same answer. As I walked by, I whispered to her that “nomu” can be used with “tabako.” Apparently, the older man walked out, saying he was leaving because she couldn’t understand Japanese. I don’t think she was a foreigner, just too young or inexperienced to know the alternative way to say “to smoke.” In retrospect, I wish I had said to her as we paid to leave, “Don’t pay too much mind, he was probably just having a bad day.” The poor thing was very upset by the incident, but if you work in Asakusa, you probably need to know how the older Asakusa folk talk.

Then I insisted we take a picture in front of Arizona, a Western style bar and restaurant frequented by the author Nagai Kafū (Geisha in Rivalry). Then we continued on to Sensōji, the temple of Asakusa, starting at the main hall and inner gate, instead of the famous kaminari-mon gate at the entrance to the temple lane.

Retro Antique ShopNext we walked along the back streets of Asakusa looking for photogenic scenes, and ran across an antique shop known to Sheila, very literally named the Kobutsu Shōten (古物商店), where Sheila spotted a retro Haori and insisted that it was so me, that I did indeed buy it and wear it for the rest of the day.

Walking back to Sensōji, we inadvertently picked up an old Asakusa guy who trailed behind us murmuring “kimatteru,” (決まっている), which in this context is quite a compliment meaning something like “really stylish.” He then invited us for tea, which is a standard pick-up line among the older Japanese crowd, but I think he just wanted a chance to talk to us. I felt kind of bad for turning him down, also in the standard response of we already have plans. Then he turned away with a sad, dejected face… I so wish we had thought to ask him to be in a picture with us.

Kaminarimon GateBack to the main gate of Sensōji, then a picture of the Kamiya Bar established in the 1880’s and famous for its “Denki Blend” electrifying alcoholic drink, a shot of the Sky Tree in the background, the beloved “Golden Turd” sculpture, which is purportedly suppose to be a flame, and the Sumidagawa river complete with a yakatabune boat in the background, finally ending the day with a beer and some cheese and sausages at the Asahi beer hall.

Sky Tree and Golden TurdMiscellaneous Other

The bridge over the river Sumidagawa.
Sheila loved the colors in this shot; the taxi, the red fence, and the kimono. Sky Tree in the background, Golden beer hall with what is supposed to be beer foam at the top, and the Golden Turd next to it.

Below the Golden Turd
Beneath the Golden Turd
Many thanks to Sheila for spending the day with me and taking the photos. I think she had a very tough time; the sun was so bright it was difficult to see the screen of the camera, but she did a wonderful job, and we had a ball! At the end of the day, she really started to get inventive with the photos; I really love this one in particular.There were so many wonderful shots, I can’t post them all…

Sumidagawa with Yakatabune Boat
I like how you can see the three layers of collars in this shot; the purple shibori han-eri, the kimono, and the haori collar. (Click photo to enlarge)


Saying Goodbye at Ueno Station
Sheila and I actually travelled together all the way back to Ikebukuro, but as we transferred at Ueno station, we ran into this character and took a photo. The character is the Iwate prefecture “wanko-soba” mascot called “Kokutchi.”

Ueno Station

Sheila's EnsembleSheila’s Ensemble
Sheila wore Western clothes this day because she thought it would be easier for taking photos. Her ensemble is just as amazing in Western dress. She is wearing her cashmere kimono jacket, and I love the fur collar with it too! And the touches of red… Altogether, just wonderful!

Thank you again, Sheila, for a wonderful day!

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