February 29, 2012

Search for the Post

Today I went on a search for the local Japanese newspaper, The North American Post, because there may be an article in it about the Kimono de Jack. The reporter told me it would be out today. I drove to the closest Uwajimaya (50 min drive) only to discover the papers haven't been delivered yet today. Oh well, I did some shopping. My sister wanted me to get her some mochi.

I had heard that the Uwajimaya stores had set out their hina displays for the upcoming Hina Matsuri. I was actually looking forward to seeing it, but disappointed to see that it was covered in plastic wrap.

They had lovely chirimen wallets and zipper bags for sale, and I almost bought a sakura bell cell strap, but I was good.
Maneki neko and daruma for sale. I have one of the big maneki neko with the smaller multi-color nekos attached. I had never seen a black daruma before so I had to look it up. I knew the different colors of maneki neko meant different things, and now I know it is similar with the daruma. The black daruma wards evil. I think I want a black daruma keychain to protect me from inconsiderate drivers. (source)

Uwajimaya sells "kimono", but they just sell tourist robes. The sales people will try and convince shoppers that they are the real deal in order to justify the excessively large price tags. The selection at the Renton Uwajimaya is small compared to the Seattle store. The Seattle store does however sell some authentic kimono accessories, like tabi and hadajuban, but they are not very affordable. I will admit that the sea foam green robe in this picture is lovely fabric and I wouldn't mind having a real yukata with that color!

The cashier gave my son a koi nobori! I don't know if it was a promotion they were having or not, but she said he needed one for kodomo no hi.
I don't know why, but it feels strange having just the one carp. Normally these are in sets? I read that the black one represents the father, the next smallest is red and represents mother, and then the smallest is blue representing the son (and then smaller ones in different colors for additional sons). I'm thinking about making the other koi nobori to complete the set. It is just cotton. Maybe I can paint the koi with fabric dye, but I've never painted fabric before. I don't even know if my landlord would allow me to fly the koi nobori outside. If all else fails I can just hang it in my son's room.

I later tried looking for the newspaper elsewhere at the Korean markets that are closer to where I live. They had another Japanese newspaper, but not this one. My husband's workplace is closer to Uwajimaya, he said he will try and get it tomorrow during his lunch break.

On a completely different note, I saw this heron today at my sister's house. Apparently it likes to sit above their fish pond. I wonder if he's snacked on some of their goldfish? I forgot that there were heron in the Seattle area, as I had never seen one in the suburbs.
He was very shy and flew away when I moved away from the window. I hadn't seen one so up close before, it was windy and his long chest feathers were fluttering. I've seen one up close one other time at the Seattle Japanese Garden. It was struggling with eating a bull frog, it was very funny to see and a highlight of my visit there. Maybe some day I will wear a heron kimono to the Japanese Gardens in homage to that memory.
I like this one:
Most heron kimono have white herons, but this one looks like herons that we see in the Pacific Northwest (Great Blue Herons, I believe). But perhaps a koi ensemble would be more appropriate for the Seattle Japanese Gardens, since their giant koi fish are a main attraction.

February 28, 2012

Upcoming: Free Events - Nihon Buyo!

This is for people south of the Seattle area, but I wonder if there are similar events being held in your area. Many places are doing a large number of Japanese events in March in memorial to last year's great earthquake and tsunami, and in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the internment of Japanese America citizens. Please check out your local websites for events in your area: Consulate General of Japan, Japan America Society, public libraries, Asian Cultural Centers, Nikkei Associations, and Japanese church/Buddhist groups are all great resources to check out.

Pierce County libraries are doing a series of free Japanese and Chinese activities in the month of March. You can see the full information pamphlet here, but I thought my readers would be particularly interested in this event:

Japanese Dance and Music with Mary Ohno of the Kabuki Academy
The Kabuki Academy teaches a wide variety of Japanese arts, from kimono dressing, Nihon Buyo, shamisen, and Japanese makeup. If you've been wanting to look into the Kabuki Academy and the courses they offer, this is a great opportunity to meet the instructor and get information, and try out Japanese dance to see if you would wish to pursue full instruction.

March 11, 2012, Sunday, at 2pm
University Place Pierce County Library
3609 Market Place W. Suite 100
Tacoma, WA 98466

Kabuki Academy website
Library Event Pamphlet
Facebook Event Page

Here are some more of the Japan related free activities you may be interested in:

Treasure Trunk
Japanese relics presentation by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. This sounds interesting, I wonder what kind of things they will show. Maybe museum or cultural items? I may go to this just to see what it is about.

March 10, 2012, Saturday, 11am
Buckley Pierce County Library
123 S. River Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321

Asia Pacific Cultural Center's page regarding they Treasure Trunk Program
Library Event Pamphlet
Facebook Event Page

Tea Ceremony
Appears to be about learning the history of tea ceremony, but there possibly may be a demonstration. They require registration for this event.

March 10, 2012, Saturday, 2pm
DuPont Pierce County Library
1540 Wilmington Dr.
DuPont, WA 98327
Click here to register
Current availabilly as of 2/28/12: 9

March 13, 2012, Tuesday, 6:30pm
Lakewood Pierce County Library
6300 Wildaire Rd. SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
Click here to register
Current availability as of 2/28/12: 17

APCC's page of other Asian tea events
Library Event Pamphlet
March 10th Facebook Event Page
March 13th Facebook Event Page

Taiko Drumming
with One World Taiko! One World Taiko does a lot of events in the Seattle area, and all over the world. I recently saw them when I participated in the Seattle Kimono de Jack, they performed in the lobby as guests left the concert hall after the Celebrate Asia concert.

March 31, 2012, Saturday, 2pm
Longbranch Improvement Club
4312 Key Peninsula Highway S.
Lakebay, WA 98349

One World Taiko's website
Library Event Pamphlet
Facebook Event Page

Check out the pamphlet for more activities, including origami and sumie ink painting.

February 27, 2012

More Photos from Kimono de Jack Seattle

The Japan America Society of Seattle has shared some of their photos from the Kimono Jack at the Celebrate Asia concert!

Me, Jenn, Shannon, and Yumi

Very cute picture of Yumi!! She had asked me to help fix her hem because the lower panel was slipping. She was on the phone when she spotted the camera man snapping a pic with my hands up inside her kimono!!

The Seattle Japanese Queen, Rica, socializing.

And here is the group photo I've been waiting for! About 25 ladies dressed up at the reception, but I saw several more at the concert.

There are a lot of great pictures they took of the Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Taiko group that I wasn't able to get good pictures of.

I really enjoy watching the Okinawa taiko groups. I saw another Okinawa taiko performance at the Bula Asia Pacific New Year celebration, and my family enjoyed watching them very much.

Very cute girls in hanbok!

The Seattle Chinese and Japanese queens

What a magical night! I'm keeping my eye out for the North American Post, I'm looking forward to reading their article about the event. I will be sure to share it! I'm sure they will continue to make the Kimono de Jack an annual event, if you get the chance to go next year, please do!

(pictures source)

February 25, 2012

Upcoming: March Events

Here are some upcoming events in the Seattle area for March.

March 3, Saturday 10-11am
Japanese Homestyle Tea Service
South Park Community Center - 4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA
I'm not exactly sure what homestyle tea service is, but it sounds like a casual way for some socialization. Presented by Ms. Anita Nakayama
Facebook event page

March 4, Sunday 11-3pm
Seattle Japanese Garden First Viewing
$10, $5 for kids 6-17, college students with ID, seniors, and disabled $5
Originally scheduled Feb. 12th, rescheduled due to water main break.
12 noon: Shinto blessing by Rev. Koichi Barrish of Tsubaki Grand Shrine.
1 - 2:30: Drop-in calligraphy workshop by Meito Shodo Kai
Facebook event page

March 10, Saturday 5-6:30pm
Sunset Vigil, Memorial of Hope for Tohoku Japan
March 11th marks the 1 year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku. As the sun is setting on March 10th on the shores of the Pacific Northwest, the sun will be rising on March 11th on the shores of Japan. Gather by the bonfire on the Golden Parks beach at 5 followed by a water blessing at 5:30. Seattle Kokon Taiko will lead a procession with drums and flutes to the shore for silent prayers at 6pm. Please come dressed for the weather rain or shine.
Facebook event page

Kimono de Jack Seattle

Last night was the Kimono de Jack at the Seattle Symphony's 4th Celebrate Asia concert! Oh, what an amazing night! There was a huge turnout. I was told there were almost 60 people dressed in kimono at the event!! WOW! Not all of them joined in the Kimono Jack reception. There were many photographers, and they were able to take many photos of everyone all lined up at the reception. It was a small room for the number of people there so the photographers had a hard time getting everyone in the photographs. I couldn't get photos of everyone, but let me share my experience with you!

I started out the morning getting all prettied up for the big event. I set my hair in curlers, much to the amusement of my neighbor's daughter who shared a giggle with me as I was loading stuff into my car. I did my nails. I used Japanese sakura nail seal stickers and sealed them with 2 layers of clear polish, but the flowers still ended up getting rubbed off after dressing in kimono and all the adjusting. Oh well, they were pretty while they lasted.

I tried to get a decent picture of my hair. Its big curly and poofy in the back and side bangs. I had my peach flower corsage on one side and black kanzashi on the other. I still had a curler in my hair until after I was completely dressed and ready to go. The curl was being stubborn.
"cheese!" Don't mind me, in my kimono underwear...
My much loved flower corsage.

I didn't get fully dressed at home. I was taking my son to grandma's house after he woke up from his nap, so I dressed in my juban and covered up with a kasuri coat and finished getting dressed at my mom's place. My mom and brother watched me dress in my kimono, asking questions and making comments.

All dressed and feeling fancy!

My son wanted to be in pictures too!!

It is a long hour plus drive to Seattle, and it was pouring rain. As I was getting into the busy part of the highway into Seattle my phone froze up on me, I noticed it when I figured out my navigation wasn't giving me directions! I nearly broke all my nails off trying to rip open the back of the phone case to take out the battery to reboot it, and I had to do that twice before my phone eventually started up again. Luckily I got it started just in time for the navigation to tell me to exit the highway. And then I had car trouble. My car has been dying on me lately, and it died on me 3 times while driving through Seattle.

I didn't get any strange looks from pedestrians walking around the city, but as I pulled into the parking garage the attendant managed to stumble out the words "oh..! my gosh..! you look GORGEOUS~!" I think I blushed twenty shades of red.

Ladies dressed in kimono slowly trickled into the reception area.

I rushed into the reception kimono adjustments area because I was supposed to meet with Yumi to help her into her kimono. I felt so bad for being late, but thankfully others had arrived and Shannon (starlitsoul) dressed Yumi. I helped Yumi later on with minor adjustments.

I met soo many wonderful people! I feel bad for not remembering everyone's names. On the left is Yumi and on the right is Shannon. I don't remember Shannon's friends name ~ you'll have to remind me!!

Shannon in the teal kimono made her kimono herself! Both her and her friend had their obi tied in gorgeous musubi! I had a picture, but I didn't realize it was blurry... Their obi were admired by many of the women at the reception!There were so many beautiful kimono at the event! And a variety of different kimono ranging from formal to informal. I even saw a lady in a nice yukata, but she wasn't at the Kimono de Jack reception.
Everyone enjoyed some food at the reception. It was mostly sushi and egg rolls. There was also sake and bottled tea. I only ate a dorayaki and a bit of Calpico. I should have eaten more. I don't know if it was the excitement or my obi tied too tightly and compressing my stomach, but I couldn't bring myself to eat more. I regretted it, because my stomach started growling during the second half of the concert.
Yumi's friend Kayoka asked me to help adjust her obi, Yumi secretly snapped pictures!

Yumi and Kayoka

The Seattle Japanese Queen, Frederica, showed up to the Kimono de Jack reception! She looks so beautiful in her stunning furisode!

Akemi Sagawa of the Japan America Society Seattle. She has such a stunning smile!

We posed for more pictures at the reception with the Seattle Japanese Queen, Frederica.
Kayoka, Frederica, me, and Naomi Minegishi of the Asian Art Museum.
Yumi, Frederica, and me.
There were a lot of photographers there, and a reporter from the North American Post. The reporter, Rie, was very nice. She interviewed many people, but I think she took interest in the small number of us gaijin. I was interviewed many times. I let it slip to her that I had a rather... sizable kimono collection... eep! That question always generates many gasps followed by many more questions! I forgot that she was a reporter until she suddenly pulled out a a notepad and pen and I thought "oh shoot, what did I just say?!" Rie and I ended up chatting a lot through the night as we ended up being seated next to each other at the concert!

The Seattle Japanese Queen getting ready to go to the pre-concert performances. We were led in small groups to be escorted through the building to elevators to go to the main lobby of Benaroya hall. This was wonderful because we only had to go outside for a brief moment, otherwise we would have had to walk around the outside of the building in the rain.

In the lobby were pre-concert performances. It was rather dark so pictures were very difficult.
The first performance was the Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Taiko.
Then there was and Indian music performance, followed by Balinese Legong Dance.
Then there was a Chinese Lion Dance, which lead the way into the concert hall.

I tried to get video, but it was very dark and crowded.

The concert was great. I haven't been to a concert since I was in high school!
During intermission there were more photographs taken! Everyone was looking for a chance to get pictures taken with people dressed in all the different Asian clothing. All through the night I felt like a celebrity of some sort. I don't know how many people requested to pose for photos with me. I managed to only request a few.
Me and Eunju Kim, Korean community leader.

After the concert we entered to lobby to see One World Taiko performing on the upper balcony. It was a wonderful night! I think the Japan America Society is looking forward to doing this again each year!