My obi met her mother

Freehand Yuzen dyeing artist, Yogestu Ozaki (originally from Kyoto and now in Hyogo).had an exhibition in Tokyo.
I visited her exhibition with her obi. She was so pleased to meet me and my obi, saying ‘like I meet my daughter again!’ Although she has so gentle and sensitive look, her works yokai ghost series are creative and impressive.
If I would wear her ghost obi sash, where should I visit!?


My kimono tansu (chest of drawers) is from a prison

Kiri / paulownia chest of drawers is the best for kimono. Good kiri woods make inside vacuum and keep kimono from humid. Even it would be fired, inside kimono wouldn’t be burned. (I just heard. I haven’t tried it though).
But it is expensive! Usually it is inherited but my mother is still using hers. And hers is too big for my small tatami room. So I ordered it to a jail where trains prisoners to be a traditional craftsmen.
It is a small chest of drawers so I can keep half of my stocks. In winter, it keeps my summer kimonos. In summer, winter’s. A bit annoying but it urges my koromogae seasonal cloth changes like a mother!
I put nioi bukuro sachet Japanese incense in it. It keeps kimono from worm eaten. Especially silk and wool are risky.


Two ways of tying a sash to show different front designs

From Nagamochiya, --Nagamochiya is a kind of commission based kimono shop. Tons of unused nice kimonos offered from non-professional individuals. If they wouldn’t be sold in 3-6 month, they would be returned to the owner. So every time you visit, you can see new ones, --I bought Edo bingata dyeing on zenmai tsumugi weave Nagoya obi. It still has tacking on it. Why your ex-owner didn't use you? Although you have such a special weave and dyeing!
Front designs are, one-side mostly plain violet and the other side pretty flowery pattern. So I tried to show both designs with different kimonos. Although I always tie obi sash as anti-clockwise.
To tie sash with clockwise is called Kansai (western Japanese) maki. Tying anti-clock wise is called Kanto maki (eastern Japanese). I don’t know why we call so. Kyoto women are tying clock-wise?

With nice assistance by my kitsuke helper, I could complete my first Kansai maki trial. Thanks god we didn’t have quarrel!

Kanto maki
One layer komon kimono
Violet gauze cotton-linen kimono under
Violet gauze collar (same cloth with kimono under)
Violet sash scarf
Violet-silver sash belt

Kansai maki
One layer Zenmai tsumugi kimono
Violet gauze cotton-linen kimono under
Violet gauze collar (same cloth with kimono under)
Violet sash scarf
Violet-silver sash belt

MMM other than kimono, all the same. I need more creativity…
Gray grid pattern komon kimono was from an antique kimono shop Ikeda. The sleeve is too long as you see. At the next kimono laundry, I will ask to make kimono unfasten and re-sew for my size. Yellow zenmai tsumugi was originally tailored lined. But because of its color and Tokyo’ s town heat, I remade it one layer. I am sure this was a nice idea!


Japanese style party in Asakusa

We had a party in Asakusa at traditional Japanese inn Sadachiyo.

Shamisen player and Hokan comedian showed their performance just in front of us. Although we had to give lots of wrapped offerings (of money)to them, it was a great fun! Hokan comedian is also called Male-Geisha. But his performance was totally different from ladies-geisha’s. Everything was blue joke. Mmm…


Shamisen Yukata Zarai, three-stringed Japanese guitar recital with Yukata

All pupils played by rotation on the red carpeted stage to show what we studied for this year. Professional singers sung with our play. How honor it was.
Lots of fun to see all of us wearing yukata. This red obi lady’s yukata was awesome. Both side printed indigo dyed cotton cloth. Each side had different pattern. She said she custom ordered it to a wholesale in Ningyo cho near Asakusa.
I think this is the Edo (=Tokyo) Iki chic which is in contrast with Kyoto Hannari gorgeous.


Evacuate to Hokkaido

Since Tokyo is too hot because of the town heat, we escaped to Shiretoko Peninsula, the north-east of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Shiretoko is 16 degrees C. How comfortable…
Japanese inn serves yukatas (cotton casual kimono) for the guests but they are always too tired and too short. So I brought my own. Even mine was only a few thousand yen at Yahoo kimono auction, I like this design.
Violet dragonfly and white stripe yukata
Violet and blue Hakata Hanhaba obi


Torture? No, summer kimonos

Who makes Tokyo so hot? Everyday, the temperature is over 30 degree Celsius, 90 Fahrenheit.
Wearing kimono in Tokyo is now a kind of torture. Because of obi sash. You must wind up your waist with 3-4m long sash and tie! Man’s sash is easy because it’s only 9cm wide. Woman’s is about 15cm.
I won’t give up though. It’s a season of light, thin and sheer kimonos made of cotton, linen and hemp. They look so cool. I love them.

Tamasaburo and Ebizo play together on July Kabuki. Don't miss it!
I wore light colored kimono to Kabuki-za. It was Natsu Oshima. Very light weaved silk, shari-shari (please imagine) touch. Obi is my summer best (but only for early-summer because the motif is the morning glory) Genji Monogatari.

Cotton kimono with silk fukuro obi (left), hemp kimono and hemp obi(right)
Hemp is cooler than cotton yukata and much sophisticated I think.


New summer obi from yahoo japan auction

New obi just arrived. 100% silk, brand new, rasha tsumugi. The issue is, although I get this for my yellow Zenmai tsumugi, obi’s seasonality is just for mid-June to end of August. Tsumugi should be after Sept. they won’t match! Since obi texture is too summery. I found it when I received it. Pictures on auction didn’t tell it…
+ = I had thought perfect match


Kimono for the rainy season

It's rainy season in Tokyo now. I wear thin wool or cotton kimono in this season. No silk. I like these cotton / wool kimonos because these are easy to wear and washable. Any water drops are profitable for the silk. Even your sweat or drops of beers!

With Ama zori, rain sandals from Hasegawa in Asakusa and Ama coat, rain coat from Yahoo kimono auction.


Iromuji at sea

I wore Iromuji Kimono for the formal night of my cruise travel at Mediterranean Sea. I love cruise, ship and sea as well as kimono. So why don't I cruise wiht kimonos? This is my highest ranked kimono robe and obi sash for formal dress code. Iromuji with my family crest (kamon) on the back. Although nobody on the ship cares for the rank of my kimono, I put date eri (two-layer collar ) also since this is our traditional formal dress code.

this is my first trial of date eri (two-layer collar).
Today's Kimono
Iromuji (dyed up in one color) kimono with one family crest and two-layer collar
Traditional motif (flower?) sash with gold stitch work
White kimono under
Two layered collar with laced purple and yellow
Yellow sash scarf
Yellow sash belt


My master's model play Nagauta Shamisen Ayame Yukata

I can't play as quick like him though....
You can listen not only his play but also his lecture about this music at the end (in Japanese).

Mr. Kineya Yakichi, Shamisen Player and my teacher



A happy new year!

My new year kimono (means my recent favorite)

Edo Komon (stencil dyeing) kimono
Yuzen dyeing Princess Violet sash
Pale pink silk kimono under
Lacy white collar
Violet sash scarf
Violet and silver sash belt