Kimono Diary: December 2015

Yes, it’s been a while.  It’s also been a very, very busy December for me with lots going on.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the Twelve Days of Kitsuke video series that I’ve been posting in the meantime.  Here’s what been happening with me lately.

First, I got to help some friends move into a new home just before Christmas.  The house is a large, traditional style Japanese house with tatami flooring, sliding doors, and everything else you would expect to find.  The last owner died around five years ago and the family now lives in the Kansai area.  They have no interest in the house or contents and have been generous enough to let my friends (and me!) take what we want from the house.  This is hue to me because between tansu and closets, there are around 100 kimono scattered throughout the house.  I’m currently sorting them into three categories.

  1. Are you sure the family doesn’t want this valuable/possibly sentimental piece?  Maybe you should double check before I give it a new home?
  2. These are incredible pieces that I would love to add to my collection!
  3. These are really common pieces that I already have or I can’t wear because they’re too small.

My friends have asked me to help them choose kimono as gifts for family back home, so once the sorting is done, I’ll give them first choice from category two before I go to town!

Next, I got to wear kimono for Christmas!

And I forgot to take photos of it!

Blah.

Oh well.  I was going out for Christmas dinner with some friends and I had some restrictions I had to think about when I was choosing my outfit.  First, I knew that smoking was going to be an issue at the restaurant.  As would strong food smells.  I didn’t want to wear silk just because I couldn’t wash it afterwards to get all the smoke and food smells out.  That limited me to my polyester collection.  I also had to balance between wearing enough layers to be warm on the walk to and from the restaurant, but also so that I wouldn’t overheat while I was in the restaurant.  Well, I succeeded on the second goal, but I kinda failed on the first, especially on the walk home when it got really, really cold.  With these restrictions in mind, I couldn’t put together an outfit in appropriate Christmas colors, so instead I decided on Japanese celebratory motifs and chose an obi with shochikubai (pine, bamboo, and plum) on it.

Just after Christmas, I went to Tokyo for a few days to renew my passport.  And of course, I couldn’t resist some kimono shopping.  I got some incredible pieces and I was very, very grateful for the second bag that I took with me.  As I get them co-ordinated, I’ll post photos of them!

Finally, I had a quite New Years at home with my husband.  At midnight, we walked up to the local temple and rang the bell.  On New Year’s Day, we went to a local shrine to offer a prayer for the new year.  My prayer never changes.  Good health.  I figure, if you have your health, everything else will eventually fall into place.

Of course, I wore a kimono that day.  And I took pictures this time!!!

Waiting in line to offer a prayer.  I was the only person in kimono, and I felt more conspicuous than ever!

Waiting in line to offer a prayer. I was the only person in kimono, and I felt more conspicuous than ever!

This shrine normally doesn't have any attendants, so I suspect these miko are local college students earning some extra cash.

This shrine normally doesn’t have any attendants, so I suspect these miko are local college students earning some extra cash.

This cute omikuji (a prediction of your fortune) was in the shape of a kimono!

This cute omikuji (a prediction of your fortune) was in the shape of a kimono!

Lunch!

Lunch!

Me in my kimono in front of the shrine.

Me in my kimono in front of the shrine.

This kimono happens to be a houmongi with a bamboo motif.  It's difficult to see, but there is silver embroidery subtly placed among the dyed design.

This kimono happens to be a houmongi with a bamboo motif. It’s difficult to see, but there is silver embroidery subtly placed among the dyed design.

The back of the kimono has a single crest, embroidered in silver thread.

The back of the kimono has a single crest, embroidered in silver thread.

I love this obi!

I love this obi!

This obi has so much going on!  I can only wear it at New Years.  the lobster is an auspicious motif that has ties to the special food served on New Years (osechi).  The bamboo and cranes are also auspicious.  The kanji is "kotobuki" and it means celebration or a long life.

This obi has so much going on! I can only wear it at New Years. the lobster is an auspicious motif that has ties to the special food served on New Years (osechi). The bamboo and cranes are also auspicious. The kanji is “kotobuki” and it means celebration or a long life.

 

Finally, I made some New Year’s resolutions.  Well, some are resolutions, and some are goals.

Resolution #1: Use what I have.  I will shop for kimono and accesories with what I already have in mind instead of buying things that are pretty.  I am trying to save more money this year, and I admit that most of my disposible income goes towards kimono.

Goal #1: Keep working on long term projects and building this website.  I have some ideas in mind, but they haven’t been planned out yet, so I won’t say what they are just yet!

Goal #2: Keep working on my Pop Culture Kimono series.  I have only completed one video in the series so far, but I want to do more!  I’ve already chosen the media I want to talk about, I just have to write a script.  Oh, and do the recordings.  Oh yeah.  I need to edit it together too.  Guess I better get to work!

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu everyone!  I hope you have a wonderful 2016!

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