April 28, 2012

Kimono Shopping in Seattle

Today I went kimono shopping in Seattle with Shannon. We decided it was a good time to wear kimono! We had a good time and found some great things!

My kimono I wore for the shopping trip. It is too short for a ohashori, but still comfortable to wear.

The first store we visited was Hosekibako ( Jewelbox) Resale Shop. Hosekibako is a shop that is run by the Japanese Culture and Community Center of Washington. The items are donated to the store, and the proceeds support the JCCCW's programs and operations which benefit the community. There are many beautiful items that can be found at Hosekibako, including many kimono and kimono accessories. I was very much tempted to buy a gold tsuke obi and several obijime. I will definitely be back! Please check out Hosekibako, they are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays only, I've included their link above with address information. While you are there, please check out the rest of the Japanese Culture and Community Center. They hold many fun events through out the year.

You can also follow them on Facebook


Hosekibako's kimono rack

Happy shoppers

Is it kamidana?? I do not know for sure, it is very ornate!
(edit: thank you anonymous commenter for letting me know this is a house for hina dolls. I had never seen a house like this for a hina matsuri display.)

Hina dolls

We found many accessories: geta, obi ita, many obijime, some obi, susoyoke, and koshihimo. The one thing we could not find is obiage.

The next place we went to is Kyoto Art & Antiques. It is a warehouse sale that is only open for a few days, twice a year! Internet reviews of this warehouse sale describe Kyoto Art & Antiques as being a secret gem of an event for interior designers looking to purchase unique Japanese furniture and decor at extraordinarily cheap prices. This is true, but it also became clear that the kimono section attracted the most action, with women digging through racks of kimono and bins of fabric looking for something to cut up and use for quilt making and other crafts. There is good reason for all the frantic action at the kimono section, because most of the kimono were only $10!

Kyoto Art & Antiques is located in a very, very old warehouse.

As you are walking in you are greeted by this very large wooden elephant. I wonder what the story is with this elephant, hmn. Oh no! We should have taken our pictures next to this! Maybe next time..

The kimono racks. Most of the kimono were $10, mostly iromuji and komon. Houmongi were around $20-40, and furisode were $100-240. There was also a boy's kimono set for shichi-go-san from the Edo period. I don't remember the cost, but it was very popular with the customers despite it's simple designs.

Several of the women asked us questions about kimono, since we were dressed up. We answered some questions, and convinced a pair of women that a long michiyuki would look lovely as a dress - they were in love with the idea. As we were leaving I noticed several more of the women that were shopping had started trying on the kimono and attempting to coordinate an outfit using the few obi that were available!

Obi and fabric bolts

We found another wooden elephant! Just a head this time. I seriously wonder about the elephants... Perhaps it is because I didn't have any coffee this morning, but the elephants were such an oddity to me.

I am in love with this tansu. It is so big!! I wish it would fit into my tiny apartment, and my tiny budget. The pattern in the wood is so lovely!

And the top shelves inside are wonderful.

At the warehouse sale, we ran into Mrs. Akemi Sagawa, who we first met at Kimono de Jack. She recognized us immediately, and we chatted just a little bit before continuing our shopping. She directed us to this tansu as being perfect for our kimono. If only I had saved up more money than I did..

Home after a long day of shopping!
I had a very small budget (I emptied out my coin jar), but I did manage to get two lovely kimono for $50.

Burgundy colored komon. I was told that this is a good color on me, so I am glad to have another. My husband really likes this one.

The fabric is very soft, almost satin-like.

Of course I couldn't wait to try it on, even if I don't have an obi for it yet.

Even though I am almost 30 years old, I couldn't resist this furisode for only $40!

Now I just need to find a nice obi for this furisode. I don't think I have anything that would work. I'm almost tempted to wear it for my 30th birthday (30 is a big milestone, why not be flashy!!), but it is in August and I think I would overheat. I hope to convince my niece to wear it someday.

April 25, 2012

Kodomo no Hi Display

Recently I've been posting some of the papercraft things I've been making for Kodomo no Hi. I decided it was time to set up the display.

This is in my son's bedroom. The koinobori hanging from the window was a gift, we do not have a full set. I would have liked to fly a full set of koinobori outside, but my apartment manager does not allow it. Almost everything is handmade - the only things that are not handmade are the large koinobori and a small samurai doll.

These were the more complicated papercrafts I did: Rilakkuma models. You can download them at this blog (Japanese only). Left to right: Rilakkuma sleeping in a koinobori, Korilakkuma dressed as Kintarou, Kiiroitori with koinobori, and Rilakkuma eating kashiwa-mochi.

 These are not real irises. I made these iris flowers using silk, in a class I took to learn making zokei bonsai (fake bonsai trees). The koinobori and kendama toy are both made out of paper.

In the center is a kabuto kazari (samurai helmet display). This one is tiny! I may make a bigger one, but I made this one because it looked nice and took the least amount of time to make. Tiger and koinobori links here.

Closer view of the kabuto kazari. I also have links for other kabuto kazari papercrafts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

My son's Kintarou harakake is currently being worn by his crocheted sock monkey that grandma and mommy made for him (grandma crocheted, I embroidered the face). Sock monkey is also protecting this koinobori toy so that it doesn't get played with too much before Kodomo no Hi!

I've made various other toys for my son to play with. For now I am keeping them up on the tallest dresser next to his mawari-dourou (revolving lamp). The lamp is made by one of my husband's customers (my husband works for a paper company).
Some links for the toys: Panda den-den-daiko (my son LOVES this), Kazaguruma (windmill), Taketonbo, Taketonbo (string powered, but I can't get mine to fly..), Koma (spinning tops), Tiger toy, Retro paper airplanes, and origami kabuto.

For those wondering, I use cardstock for all of the papercrafts, except for the Rilakkuma models and paper airplanes I use regular printer paper.

This is going to be my family's first Kodomo no Hi, so I am a beginner! I would appreciate any advice, such as if I've made a big mistake with the display! Even if it is not such a traditional way, at least I want to feel as though I didn't break any rules!

I don't yet know what we will do for Kodomo no Hi, other than play with toys. I would like to get some kashiwa-mochi, but it is a long drive to the nearest Japanese sweets shop. I don't know if frozen kashiwa-mochi is any good. We would also like to do shoubu-yu, bath with Sweet Flag leaves. I will have to look around to see where I can find the correct leaves for shoubu-yu.

There are many events in my area for Kodomo no Hi! I wish I could go to all of them, but the drive is very long. My local Shinto shrine is doing kodomo no oharae (prayer) during the month of May, but it is at least a 2 hour drive. There is a Kodomo no Hi festival on May 6th, with martial arts and taiko, food, yukata dress-up, and paper yoroi armor. I don't know if my son is too young to appreciate it, but we may go. Also, the Seattle Japanese Garden is celebrating Kodomo no Hi later in the month. I hear they usually do dance performances, a puppet show, and crafts. My son is probably too young to appreciate those things, but he would definitely enjoy seeing the giant koi fish at the gardens!

My previous posts on kodomo no hi:
Momotarou kimono
Kintarou Harakake
Update: This koinobori toy has already been destroyed! At least he had fun playing with it, maybe I will make another one.

April 18, 2012

Kintarou Harakake

I made a Kintarou harakake for my son to wear on Kodomo no Hi.

I made it out of a red handkerchief, because it was cheaper than buying cotton fabric. I didn't realize it wasn't completely square until after I finished it, but that is okay because it isn't noticed when he wears it.

April 16, 2012

More Cherry Blossom Fest pictures

The Hyogo Business and Cultural Center shared some of their photos from the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, many of which were from the yukata dress-up station. Their photographer is certainly much better than I am, with my cheap camera and cell phone! I wanted to share some of my favorite shot, you can see the rest of their photographs here.

I love this artistic shot of the geta. I have a large number of geta, and have been meaning to take a picture of them lined up like this.

I believe this is Okinawa Kenjin-kai. My son enjoyed watching them at the New Years celebration, I wish we were able to see them at the Cherry Blossom Festival. They get the audience up and participating in the dance.

Artist shot of the chiyogami dolls.

April 15, 2012

Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival

Today my family went to the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, this year's festival seemed to be much smaller than the last time I went, in 2010. Many of the booths and attractions were spread out among various random buildings and there were almost no signs or useful directions to get to things. We spent a good deal of time bumbling about trying to find our way.

We weren't able to see any of the stage performances, simply because we couldn't find any, because the main stage looked like the performances were scheduled one at a time at least an hour or so apart. We didn't have the patience to sit there and wait with a fussy toddler. I would have loved to see some koto or dancing, but sadly I didn't see anything anytime soon on the schedule. It used to be that there would be an emcee on stage announcing the performances one after the other - I wonder what happened this year.

The Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival association really needs to release their schedule beforehand so that festival goers can plan their visit. I see that most other cherry blossom festivals do this. I just now found out that there was a special performance of a rare Japanese instrument called kugo that I would have loved to see.

But, despite that, we enjoyed going to a festival together as a family, my son's first time going to a Japanese matsuri.

My son, Bryan, and I dressed in yukata. It was very warm today, so we were very comfortable!

Mommy and baby's yukata! I don't know the main flower on my yukata, but there are also small sakura on it, and my geta have sakura pattern. I wore a zinnia flower in my hair, and the bag has a flower that I don't recognize.
I made this bag about 12 years ago, when I was still in high school (geez I feel old). It is made from the pant leg of a 1970s ladies embroidered polyester suit set. I liked the bee embroidery very much and wanted to reuse the fabric into something I would use.

The cherry blossoms are almost gone in my town, but an hour north in Seattle we found that the trees have more blossoms.

First order of business when we got to the festival was to get food! The main food attraction this year was yakisoba from Fujinomiya Yakisoba, visiting from Shizuoka Prefecture. However, I had to get my favorite meal, gyudon.
After we ate, we looked at the displays. I apologize for the blurry pictures, my digital camera is temperamental.

Yoroi, samurai armor

Chiyogami dolls by Kuniko Mancini.

I always look forward to visiting my former zokei bonsai instructor, Setsuko Evans, at festivals. Zokei bonsai are fake bonsai trees made of rice paper, silk, drift wood, and other items. The zokei bonsai she displays at festivals are the ones that are created by her students. She showed me several new trees and some of the new techniques the classes have been learning.
My camera would not take a good picture :-( A double cherry blossom bonsai.

This isn't a bonsai, but uses the same zokei techniques. The intricacies of the chrysanthemum petals is really impressive! I wonder how long it took to cut and shape each silk petal~

You can see the zokei bonsai that I've personally made here at my old blog. There is one bonsai tree missing from the photos, a camellia tree. My former instructor still has it from borrowing it years ago to show at a festival, and every time I see her at festivals she reprimands me for not taking it back from her! Oh gosh, I keep forgetting to schedule a time to pick it up, I'm sorry!

There were a few kimono displayed on dress forms. I was too slow to get a picture of the furisode, she had just begun to undress it.

Dressed in uchikake

Display uchikake.

Tree branches decorated with origami kusudama. This green and red one is very cute!

Mizuhiki zaiku by Haruko Shimizu. I love this kabuto! You can purchase her book on Amazon.

Mr. Tatsuhiko Konno is a sword polisher and martial artist.

After seeing the displays, we went outside so baby Bryan could walk around some. I love this picture of him holding hands with daddy, I wish the shadows weren't so harsh.

He sat down and took off one of his sandals. He has such a mischievous grin while daddy fixes it for him!

Baby Bryan was able to see some taiko drumming! When we went to an Asian New Year event, Bryan watched an Okinawan Taiko dance performance, and he loved it. Today, he watched the taiko performers with great interest.

This is Inochi Taiko. They were really good, I hope we get to see them again!

More pictures of baby.

I was approached by people a few times to have my picture taken. A man that works at the University of Washington asked me to stand here for a photograph under some blossoming trees. I hadn't realized the Space Needle was directly in the background!

My obi didn't fair too well at the end of the day.

We stumbled around some more, sort of bummed at the lack of things to see or do. Then we happened upon another building at random that had more taiko performers and a small handful of booths.
I found two other girls wearing yukata! I felt like I was the only person wearing wafuku (except for someone doing tea ceremony). I don't know if they wore their own yukata, or if they got the yukata from the dress-up station inside the building we were outside of.

The yukata dress-up station. Blurry pictures, geez I need a new camera..

I tried to get a picture, but it turned out blurry. I really liked the pearl and crystal decoration dangling from the center of her obi.

Ikebana displays. I don't know anything about flower arrangement, but I do like the shape of this one.
I think this one is cherry blossom.

Another taiko group, this one is The School of Taiko.

Baby knocked out after a long day!