May 27, 2012

Haru Matsuri

My son and I went to Haru Matsuri, an event put on by the Japanese Student Association of Seattle University. We had a good time, the students did a great job and had a good event.

I wore my bold green and black yukata with a wide yellow obi and yellow flower in my hair. I was surprised by how much I like this look! I'm normally drawn to more girly and pink patterns, but this style seems to suit me!

This has become my standard hairstyle when wearing kimono and yukata. On my Facebook page, I revealed that is is fake! The curly ponytail is a clip-on hairpiece. It is very easy!

For some added sparkle, I used a charm necklace as an obi kazari. I attached the necklace around my datejime before tying my obi. 

Baby Bryan wore his dinosaur yukata! He was very popular at the matsuri, girls called "kawaii~~<3" when he was walking around! My obi-ita is peeping out in the picture - when I picked up baby, he put his sandal on my stomach and pushed down my obi a little bit. It is very hard to hold a child that is wearing yukata! 

When we arrived at the festival, I was greeted by a gentleman, he said "Hey, it's Kimono Life!" I was happy and told him it was funny because that is the name of my blog. He said "I know!" Wow! I didn't think I would run into someone who knew about my blog! He recognized me from when we went to Kodomo no Hi. Wow, I'm sorry I sort of stuttered and didn't know how to respond. I was just really happy that someone recognized me, it made my day. I love going to these events and sharing my experiences, now I am more motivated to go to more events and share my love of matsuri and wearing kimono and yukata.

We arrived towards the end of the festival. I think they may have done a kendo demonstration (I didn't get to see it) but I saw them showing some of the students how to hold a katana. I liked watching the concentration of those who wanted to hold and pose with the katana. I think some festival goers took photographs of themselves posing like samurai~

Calligraphy. I wanted to write something for my son, but he didn't want to sit still, so I just took pictures.

Many people have done a good job trying calligraphy!

Students could try on yukata and take a picture. There were many people walking around in yukata, I was very happy to see!

These two were very cute, both are guys taking a fun "couples" photo together. All of the girls were screaming "kawaiii~~" when he wore a pink yukata.

This is one singer we watched (sorry I didn't take full video). I think his name is Takuya Mochizuki. He was a good singer! My son enjoyed watching the guitar playing.

There were a lot of these paper flowers decorated on the floor, very pretty. They did a good job making these decorations. I felt bad because my son tried to run through the "field" of pretty flowers. Thankfully I caught him before he trampled too many of them..

The students are working on folding 1000 paper cranes (senbazuru). I hope their wishes reach those affected by the tsunami and Fukushima disaster.

I also folded some cranes. I handed one origami crane to Bryan and explained to him (simply) what it was and that we want to send our prayer to Japan with the senbazuru. He held the paper crane gently, and then he tried to attach the paper crane to the strands of cranes that had already been completed. He tried many times to add his crane to the others, it was very sweet!
He wanted to help add cranes to the senbazuru strands! I picked him up and let him drop the cranes I had folded into a box where they were collecting paper cranes.

We bought one of these origami balls. There were also smaller ones that were made into earrings.

We took a break and ran around outside, after getting a water balloon yo-yo.
He runs very fast! His hair and obi blowing in the wind. I am glad that I wore my comfortable geta!

Wearing yukata doesn't slow him down at all!

Toddlers are difficult to photograph, so much energy!
(I take a lot of pictures...)

Inochi Taiko performed at the festival! I didn't know they would be there. We saw them play at the Cherry Blossom Festival, it was my family's favorite part of the festival. My husband didn't come with me to this festival, but I sent him a text message telling him "Inochi Taiko is here!!" and he regretted not coming to Haru Matsuri! We like them very much. I bought an Inochi Taiko t-shirt at the festival.

We had fun! I look forward to the next matsuri~!

May 25, 2012

Weekend Plans

Memorial Day weekend, there is no shortage of things to do! I found out yesterday through the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington that there will be a Haru Matsuri this Saturday. It is a 1st annual event being put on by the Seattle University's Japanese Student Association.

I am going to go to the event dressed in yukata with my son, it is a great opportunity for him to wear his dinosaur yukata! I am going to wear a very simple yukata in very bold colors.
Black, lime green, and yellow. I haven't decided yet if I will wear the green or red geta. The green ones have vinyl straps, so I may go with the red geta for the sake of comfort. I don't plan of bringing a stroller with me, so comfort is key since I will likely be carrying my son the whole time!

It has been a long time since I have been to a student ran event. It sounds like the Japanese Student Association is having a good time with preparations. I know it is last moment, but if anyone in the Seattle area wants to check out the matsuri, it is at Seattle University, Student Center 160, from 2-6pm on Saturday, May 26th. It is $6, and that includes $2 worth of food and game tickets.

There will be food: yakisoba, yakitori, dango, and andagi. I have never had andagi, but it sounds delicious! There will be performances, including Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Taiko. I wish I knew when the Okinawa taiko will perform, my son loves it, but I don't think we will arrive at the matsuri until around 4pm because of naptime and the long commute. I hope we don't miss the taiko!

The SU JSA's Haru Matsuri promo video.

There are other events going on this weekend in the Seattle area. Most notably probably is the Folklife Festival at Seattle Center. This is one of the largest free music festivals, and it is supposed to be even larger this year since it coincides with the 50th anniversery of the Space Needle. There will be performances representing a variety of international and folk music. I recommend seeing Inochi Taiko, they will perform at 4:30 on Monday. Northwest Taiko is performing today at 4:30.

Also going on this weekend is the Seattle Japanese Garden's Children's Day event. It will be from 1-5pm on Monday. There will be performances and hands-on activities for kids, including taiko and a puppet show by Mimibunko. I don't know if there will be dance performances this year, it doesn't say on the website. I don't think we will go since we've already gone to one Children's Day event this month, although the giant koi fish at the gardens are great to watch! I think we will try and go to the Japanese garden during Tanabata celebrations this year.

Alright, I hope to take pictures tomorrow at the Haru Matsuri! Everyone, enjoy the weekend!

May 19, 2012

Dinosaur Yukata!

I finally got around to sewing my son's dinosaur yukata!

It took me a little less than a week to make, but my sewing efforts had a few... obstacles. Here is obstacle #1:

Matrix took every opportunity he could to play with the fabric. He likes it very much.

Matrix and Bryan playing on the unfinished body of the yukata. Maybe they think they are helping mommy. They certainly found my project fascinating. I told my cat that if he keeps laying on it I would dress him up in it.

Oh, I feel like I discovered a sewing magic trick! Originally, I was going to sew the entire yukata by sewing machine, but I didn't like the look of the stitching around the sleeve openings on such a tiny yukata, so I decided I would sew around the outside edges using an invisible stitch by hand. But, since I had already sewn on the fabric with the sewing machine, there were pin hole lines in the fabric after unpicking the stitching. I learned that you can erase the pin holes by rubbing the holes with a damp cotton swab. I had never heard of this trick before, so I thought I would share!

Before and after:
Here you can see the pin holes on either side of the crease.

Ta da! The holes are gone after rubbing with a damp cotton swab. Useful trick!

Front view of the yukata after basting the tucks in the shoulders and waist. It is now ready to wear to the next festival, maybe Tanabata or Obon!

I wanted to try it on Bryan and take pictures, but he is still getting over a cold and not feeling well today. So, I dressed it on his stunt double, Mr. Sock Monkey:

"Hey! I thought mommy made this for me, why are you wearing it??"

May 06, 2012

Kodomo no Hi Festival

Yesterday was Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day), and today we went to a Kodomo no Hi Festival! The Festival is held by the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington.

 Bryan, ready to go to the festival! Wearing a newspaper origami kabuto, his Kintaro harakake, and with his koinobori toy.

The JCCCW's Kodomo no Hi banner

Banners for Tango no Sekku

As we arrived at the JCCCW, we were greeted by Hello Kitty wearing paper yoroi armor, and Lori Matsukawa, co-anchor of Seattle tv news station, KING 5 News. Bryan was interested in what Kitty was wearing. You will get paper yoroi too, Bryan!

There were many koinobori hanging everywhere.

As soon as we arrived, Kaze Daiko began playing in a small room. It was very crowded, but we managed to watch from the hallway.

Bryan watched the taiko drums from on top of daddy's shoulders.

There were several displays and activity stations for the kids.

These look like they would fit on Bryan's feet!

A miniature koto? It is very small. I don't know enough about instruments to know if this is a toy or a real playable instrument. Regardless, the small size makes it very cute!

Children could try on a set of yoroi, samurai armor. My son is too small, but this boy was very happy to try on yoroi!

There were two ro kimono hanging, this one and the pink one in the background of the previous picture with the yoroi armor dress up. They both look very refreshing.

Gogatsu ningyou display

Children's karate demonstrations

There were many things there that we didn't or couldn't participate in, my son is so young. There was kamishibai story telling, but Bryan would not sit still long enough to enjoy it. We tried some coloring, but he was not very interested.

Bryan likes wearing yukata, but has never had someone else dress him other than mommy. Even Pikachu wears yukata!

Mommy just relaxes and takes pictures for a change!

He is being very patient, leaning back against daddy.

The heko obi was first tied in front, so the yukata became messy when trying to turn it around.

He immediately tried to run away! I'm sorry Bryan, you can't keep this yukata, it is only for playing dress-up!

"It's okay, baby, you can wear your own yukata at home. Don't cry!"

Time to undress and return the yukata.

Girls trying on yukata and jinbei

Bryan was given a manju. It is too sweet for mommy, but maybe Bryan would like it?

Nope! He didn't like it! Oh well...

Wearing his paper yoroi we made at the festival. We had a good day, and enjoyed Kodomo no Hi!