Shichi-Go-San

Shichi-Go-San (七五三) is a milestone event that celebrates the health and well-being of three, five, and seven year old children.  Traditionally, three-year-old boys and girls, five-year-old boys, and seven-year-old girls celebrate this event, however many parents nowadays will get all their children dressed up in kimono at the same time regardless of how old they are to get family photos.  The children get dressed in kimono, take photos, and visit shinto shrines.  The actual date of shichi-go-san is November 15, but children often get dressed up and take photos in the month before this date.

For more information on how to dress a child for shichi-go-san, click here.

Kimono Diary September 28-October 4 2015

Hello again!  I hope you all had a good week.  My week didn’t start off all that great.  I’m collaborating with a friend to create a kimono based video for youtube (she’s a fantastic video editor).  While I was casually flipping through my notes, my heart sank.  I realized that I had used the wrong word to describe a garment.  What a goof on my part!  It only got worse when I messaged her and she said she no longer had the editable versions of the section in question.  AHHHH!  However!  When we got together on Friday, we found the autosaved edits on her external harddrive.  Thank you Adobe gods!

I managed to post about a couple of new motifs this week too.  I’ve decided to expand my geometric patterns section, so I added asa no ha and same komon to the list.

I also got together with my kitsuke teacher to practice dressing children for shichi-go-san.  In two weeks, my weekends will be taken up by helping my sensei dress small children for shichi-go-san for a local photo studio.  We started off by practicing on a small, child-sized mannequin lent to us by the photo studio to practice on.  And after that, I got to practice on my teacher’s grandchildren who are just the right age and size to practice on.  And they were so patient with us too!  Until it got too hot that is!

Photos or it didn't happen, right?

Photos or it didn’t happen, right?

Finally, I went kimono shopping with a friend of mine and managed to grab the steal of the month!  I gorgeous kimono bag in great condition that was originally 120,000 yen, and I only paid 700 yen.  I was really lucky that I spotted it before my friend.  One of us would have gotten it in the end.

Have a good week!

The bottom is a separate compartment for your zori.

The bottom is a separate compartment for your zori.

In the top half, there is a built in hanger for your kimono.

In the top half, there is a built in hanger for your kimono.

Kitsuke Dressing: The Performances

One yukata.
One kendo set.
Two men’s kimono.
Three hakama.
Six women’s kimono.
Ten obi.
Fifteen chances to dress people in kimono.
Hundreds of himo, korin belts, tabi, and other accessories.

This has been my life every Saturday and Sunday for the past three weeks.  I wrote about this experience earlier here.  Basically, the foreign community in my area put on an annual English musical, and this year I was the official kimono dresser.  I raided my kimono closet to dress ten people in kimono.  Five of those people I had to dress twice during each show, with the shortest turn around time being two minutes.  It was exhausting, stressful, but a also a great experience that I’d love to do again.  It was great experience in dressing others, and I got really fast at it too!  I just wanted to share some of the photos that various people took during the past few weeks.

Working on tying hakama.

Working on tying hakama.  I was half dressed myself when people started to finish with their makeup, so I had to stop dressing myself and start dressing everyone else.

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She's so small I have the opposite problem to what I usually have, too much fabric!  I have to tie the waistbelt around her ribcage for the ohashori to end up in the right place.

She’s so small I have the opposite problem to what I usually have, too much fabric! I have to tie the waistbelt around her ribcage for the ohashori to end up in the right place.

The Daimyo and his bodyguards.  I had to learn how to tie a hakama pretty quickly to dress these three.

The Daimyo and his bodyguards. I had to learn how to tie a hakama pretty quickly to dress these three.

I love those hakama!

I love those hakama!

Four of my kimono people.  The three ladies I dressed in eight minutes just before this photo was taken.  The hems are a mess, but I'm happy with the collars!

Four of my kimono people. The three ladies I dressed in eight minutes just before this photo was taken. The hems are a mess, but I’m happy with the collars!

Celebrating after a successful show.

Celebrating after a successful show.

These are only a few of the photos I have.  The rest of them are on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/readysetkimono

Sodo Kimono Contest

Sqeeeeeeee!  Today I watched the Sodo School of Kimono (makers of the biyosugata) preliminary round for Shikoku and Chugoku.  A few of my friends were competing in the contest (I decided not to due to an extremely hectic work schedule) so I had people I was cheering for!

The itinerary was women’s furisode (using the biyosugata to create a plump sparrow bow), women’s tomesode, women’s casual, men’s category, children’s category, foreigner’s category, and the team category (think synchronized swimming but with kitsuke).  Contestants in each category had eight minutes to complete their kituske, but the fastest kistuske of the day was 2:19! He was a 16 year old who practiced three hours a day.  He ended up winning the men’s competition!

The opening ceremony.  I mentioned it in a previous post, but privacy laws are strict in Japan.  I could only get permission from a few friends to post their photos so I have to censor everyone else's faces to protect their privacy.

The opening ceremony. I mentioned it in a previous post, but privacy laws are strict in Japan. I could only get permission from a few friends to post their photos so I have to censor everyone else’s faces to protect their privacy.

The women's furisode competition.

The women’s furisode competition.

The women's tomesode competition.

The women’s tomesode competition.

The women's casual competition.  The judges are examining their obi.

The women’s casual competition. The judges are examining their obi.

The men's competition.  This is the first place winner.  He's only 16 years old, but he practices three hours a day!

The men’s competition. This is the first place winner. He’s only 16 years old, but he practices three hours a day!

The children's competition.  Contestant #2 wasn't having anything to do with it.  The organizers eventually had to come out, dress her, then take her off stage when she started crying.  She didn't win, but she stole the show!

The children’s competition. Contestant #2 wasn’t having anything to do with it. The organizers eventually had to come out, dress her, then take her off stage when she started crying. She didn’t win, but she stole the show!

These four and five year olds were some of the first children to finish dressing.  The first completed kitsuke clocked in at 3:32.

These four and five year olds were some of the first children to finish dressing. The first completed kitsuke clocked in at 3:32.

The team competition.  Everyone dressed in sync, and at the end, they all checked each other to fix any tucks or wrinkles that may have been missed.

The team competition. Everyone dressed in sync, and at the end, they all checked each other to fix any tucks or wrinkles that may have been missed.

Kimono and hijab work really well together.  This team is from one of the local universities and I think they're from Indonesia.

Kimono and hijab work really well together. This team is from one of the local universities and they’re from Malaysia.

The foreigner competition!  I focused on my friend here because I can actually show her face and she was placed right in front of me so getting photos was easy!  Here she is tying her obi with the biyosugata.

The foreigner competition! I focused on my friend here because I can actually show her face and she was placed right in front of me so getting photos was easy! Here she is tying her obi with the biyosugata.

lining up the eri.  All the competitors had to turn to the side to avoid flashing the judges.

Lining up the eri. All the competitors had to turn to the side to avoid flashing the judges.

Adjusting the ohashori.

Adjusting the ohashori.

tying the obiage after putting on the obi.

Tying the obiage after putting on the obi.

One final check before going to the judges.

One final check before going to the judges.

Second person to finish!  This is my other friend, the only man in the foreigner competion.  I wanted to get more pics of him,  but he was on the other side of the stage and my camera couldn't handle the distance in a dark theater.  Sorry!

Second person to finish! This is my other friend, the only man in the foreigner competition. I wanted to get more pics of him, but he was on the other side of the stage and my camera couldn’t handle the distance in a dark theater. Sorry!

Getting interviewed.

Being interviewed.

Getting interviewed again.  It's really nerve wracking and easy to forget your Japanese when EVERYONE is looking at you!

Being interviewed again. It’s really nerve wracking and easy to forget your Japanese when EVERYONE is looking at you!

Getting the obi judged.

Getting the obi judged.

After the competition, before they announced the results, there were a couple of demonstrations.  First was, I kid you not, dancing while putting on kimono.  Synchronized kitsuke to the max!  A friend of mine managed to film it in two sections.

After that, there was a demonstration of obi tying in the shape of flowers.  Absolutely stunning!

kiku obi!

Kiku (chrysanthemum) obi!

Momo/peach blossom (I think) obi

Momo/peach blossom (I think) obi

 

Finally, the results.

Guess who got first place in the foreigner's category?  CONGRATS!

Guess who got first place in the foreigner’s category? CONGRATS!

She'll get to go onto the national competition in Tokyo next year.  Good luck!

She’ll get to go onto the national competition in Tokyo next year. Good luck!

The is the kimono queen, the grand prize winner of the contest accepting her prize.

This is the kimono queen, the grand prize winner of the contest accepting her prize.

 

 

 

Thrifting Part 1

Today I went to my all time favourite secondhand store in my city.  This place is dangerous to my wallet.  It’s only a fifteen minute drive away and the prices are very, very, cheap.

The best known chain of secondhand stores in Japan is the “-off” series of stores.  Book-off, Hard-off, Hobby-off, and Home-off all buy their stock at unbelievably low prices (five yen for a piece of clothing) and sell them at a jacked-up price.  Kimono that are sold at the “-off” chain go for a range of prices from 1000 yen to 50,000 yen.

These kimono are expensive when compared to my favourite store, The Sun and Green Recycling Association.  This store is actually a non-profit recycling center.  It exists in order to give people in the community with developmental disabilities a place to get some work experience.  They only take donations and they sell things for ridiculously cheap.  Kimono there sell for anywhere from 300 yen to 4000 yen.  I have yet to see anything priced higher.  I have to be careful every time I go in there or I’d buy out the place!

Here’s what I got today.

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A hitoe kimono in Halloween colours. I think I’ll try a Halloween kitsuke next year.

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A lovely autumn haori with Korin giku on it.

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Three beaded haori himo, price tags still attached.

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A brand new kimono apron. Shorter than I’d like, but at the price I paid, I’m not complaining!

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A men’s Hakata ori kaku obi. I’ve been wanting to add one to my collection for a while.

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A reversible kinchaku purse.

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An incredible, brand new, men’s hakama. I still can’t believe this wasn’t snatched up before I got there.

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Everything all together.

 

Total damage to my wallet?  drum roll please!

 

4400 yen.  Even I couldn’t believe it when the register finished adding.  I love this store!

 

For more information on The Sun and Green Recycling Association, check out their website http://www2.ocn.ne.jp/~t-midori/

 

Don’t sweat the small stuff!  But if you’re interested, check out my facebook, twitter, and instagram for the small, spur of the moment ideas, articles, and activities that I find and do related to kimono!

http://www.facebook.com/readysetkimono

http://www.twitter.com/Readysetkimono

http://www.instagram.com/readysetkimono