Japanese Fairytales & Love Love Umbrellas

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Japanese Fairytales. There is a lovely book called Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairytales, with gorgeous illustrations, available to read for free online here, provided by The New York Public Library.  The  illustrations are by Warwick Goble. The a scanned copy at that link is of the first edition of 1910, which had 40 color plates; later editions only had 16 plates. Two illustration plates are missing from that scanned edition (opposite pages 50 and 142). The NOTE in the book says…

about the book

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You can see a few of the book’s lovely illustrations below.

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 I really like rats and am especially charmed by rats in kimonos.

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Here is the book cover.

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The illustrations remind me a bit of Arthur Rackham’s works.

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Japanese Lovers draw an Ai Ai Gasa. Ai ai gasa means ‘love love umbrella’. Here in the West, lovers draw a heart containing their names, sometimes carving it into the bark on a tree trunk. In Japan the expression of love that couples draw is an ai ai gasa, like the one below.

Ai-Ai Gasa -Love Love Umbrella

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Ama Geta Cruet & Aloha Shirt Origins

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Ama Geta Cruet.
I bought this cute cruet set on eBay, from a seller in the USA. How could I possibly resist salt and pepper pots in the shape of ama geta? As you can see, they were a little dusty when they arrived but they have cleaned up nicely.
Geta are Japanese shoes, usually made from wood, and ama geta are ones with toe covers, which are usually removable and held on by tying or with elastic, to keep feet warm and dry during rain or snow. The back of the foot is protected by the kimono, so only the toes need to be covered. There are different types of Japanese geta, all of which you can find information about in my Japanese Footwear post on this blog (you can use the blog’s search to find it).

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Hawaiian shirts began with kimono textiles.
Hawaiian shirts, also known as aloha shirts, were originally were shirts worn by children in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantation workers, mostly immigrants, made clothing, including kimonos, with imported textiles, in order to supplement their extremely low incomes. The colourful shirts that they made from leftover scraps for their children then became a fad among teenagers on Hawaii in the 1930s and many tourists who saw them wanted to take one of these bright, summery shirts home, as there was nothing like them available anywhere else, so the tourists got the local Hawaiian tailors to make them one.

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Ellery J. Chun, after gaining an economics degree at Yale, went to work for his father, Chun Kam Chow, in Honolulu because his father’s dry goods store was not doing well during the depression and, after a short while in Hawaii, Ellery realised that these colourful, short sleeved shirts were ever popular with tourists, so he hired a tailor to make them for the store. There were no authentic, colourful Hawaiian textiles in those days, so he imported the most brightly coloured and boldly patterned textiles he could find from Japan, ones that the Japanese produced to make kimonos. He displayed the shirts in the window of his father’s shop and they sold extremely well.

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In time his  sister, Ethel Lum, started designing prints for the shirts with pineapples, palm trees, tropical flowers, exotic birds, ukuleles, and other motifs associated with Hawaii. These shirts with the new designs sold for 95 cents and sold even better than the original ones. The shirts gained interest in other countries when the tourists went home, in turn creating interest in Hawaii and likely adding to its tourism. The Hawaiian shirt was clearly more than just a passing fad.

Many famous figures were to be seen wearing them, both in their films and in their private lives, adding to their popularity.

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Tom Sellick, as the character Magnum, revived the popularity of the aloha shirt in the 1980s.

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Many designers can’t resist the Hawaiian shirt or its influence and it crops up now and then on the catwalk.

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Elvis helped make them high fashion in the 50s.

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This is an interesting twist on a Hawaiian shirt, one I bought for a friend, with a great Che Guevara motif. It is a nice mix of Hawaiian style and a motif that was especially popular during my friend’s hippy youth and still is a bit today.

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There are some great Hawaiian shirts out there and Hawaiian style shirts. Below you can see a Tommy Hilfiger one with hibiscus flowers, a very typical Hawaiian motif.

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A typical island print, with palm trees and hibiscus.

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Loud and leafy

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Planet Hollywood got in on the act of the Hawaiian style shirt too.

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Mambo is a brand that does great, loud, lively and quirky designs like these next two.

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Bold and bright with orchids, palms and parrots and a surf board, as it is a shirt popular with surfers too, as is Hawaii, a great place for surfing..

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Below, wearing an aloha shirt, is a very young Tony Curtis

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Leonardo DiCaprio and others in the stylishly designed production of Romeo & Juliet

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Dennis Quaid

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Jared Leto, who seems to greatly favour the Hawaiian shirt and has many of them

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and all this started commercially with Japanese kimono fabrics.

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.
I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Tomesode & Tiger Bags

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Coastal Scene Tomesode.
I have been looking through some photos of kimonos I bought in 2012 and this is one of them. I wish I could remember which box it is in.
It has fabulous textile art, displaying a coastal scene. One has to have beee rich and extravagant to have commissioned a kimono with lavish and high quality artwork like this one.

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Huge Tiger and Lion Backpacks.
I fell for these huge, great, dramatic backpacks when I saw photographs of a few people in Tokyo’s Harajuko area with them. There’s a brown tiger, a white tiger and a lion. I tracked them down and got just a couple of each to make available on www.wafuku.co.uk and got a brown tiger one for myself. I might keep one of each.

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Bamboo on Purple.
This is a silk Nagoya obi I recently added to my website. It is such a glorious colour and the bamboo is just lovely.

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

haorisweeritao

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.
I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 

Rita Ora Models One Of My Kimonos In Elle Magazine

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Rita Ora Models Wafuku.
The May 2014 edition of Elle Magazine (UK) features the singer, Rita Ora, whom you can see modelling one of the silk kimonos from my www.wafuku.co.uk website.

Rita Ora in a Wafuku kimono in Elle.

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Here it is in colour (not on Rita).

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In the beautiful, hand applied textile art there is this gorgeous mandarin duck. See the touches of gold Japanese lacquer  (urushi) detailing too, there is a lot of that on this kimono. A brand new silk kimono like this can cost as much as a new car, being a vast amount of silk, with hand applied textile art and being entirely hand tailored, so a vintage one is a real bargain and they are often in virtually perfect condition or, if flawed, with minor, inconspicuous flaws.

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This kimono is a furisode kimono, which is the type with these exceedingly deep sleeves. It will have cost quite a few thousands of pounds when new

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In the magazine it says, “Silk kimono from Wafuku”, which is my website at www.wafuku.co.uk, where the actual kimono that Rita’s wearing is, at time of writing, currently available

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Peony Beauty Kimono.
This is another of my many, many kimonos. At the moment a friend is trying to decide she wants this one or a girls’ one, which would require slightly less wall space, to display in a bedroom with a dark orange carpet, in her new house. If she decides on one of the smaller ones, I will make this one available on my www.wafuku.co.uk website

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The hand applied textile art is of magnificent peonies.

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Kimono silk frequently has one pattern in the weave and another printed or painted on it. The pattern in the weave of the silk of this kimono is known as cypress fence, a lattice motif that represents the woven cypress wood fences popular in Japan.

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Kabuki Kimono Dress.
The kimono in the photos below is actually a child’s one but my adult daughter wears it as a dress. It has wonderful kabuki characters on it.

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Sometimes she wears it with black trousers, which makes a gorgeous outfit.

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Sometimes she wears it open like a coat. Because kimonos are worn with a big fold-over at the waist, which shortens them a lot, and children wear them with big tucks loosely stitched onto the shoulders, they are bigger than one might expect when these tucks and folds are not in place, allowing them to be worn in a variety of ways by adults. This one is probably actually made for about a 6 year old, believe it or not.

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Another of my many Japanese Haori kimono Jackets.
This one has a beautiful design of trees. Haori are made to be worn over a Japanese kimono and are not usually worn with a sash or obi but they look fantastic with Western World clothing (known as yofuku), both belted and unbelted. This one is currently (at time of writing) on my www.wafuku.co.uk website too.

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Ran-giku Design Kimono.
Another of my website’s kimonos. I particularly love Japanese textile art incorporating ran-giku, a trailing petal chrysanthemum that is much prized in Japan, sometimes called spider chrysanthemum. This is a lovely example of a ran-giku print kimono, in lovely, soft silk crepe. A real gem.

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There are some very tiny, inconspicuous marks on this kimono; nothing terribly noticeable. It is a very old one and in wonderful condition, the fabric strong and bright, with many, many years of life in it. Kimonos are so expensive that the Japanese take exquisite care of them.

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One of the antique Japanese haoris on my website.
Haori of this age tend to be made of extremely soft, supple silk, are extra long and have extra deep sleeves. They frequently have red linings too, as do many antique kimonos. Tis one is a glorious purple, which the camera would not do justice to, and is in wonderful condition. You’d never realise from the condition that it is an antique and it has many years of wear in it.


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One my favourites of the haori on my website.
The hand applied (yuzen) textile art is a delight of flowers, on a thick, high quality black silk. It is fully lined and, like all line haori, the seams are hidden, so you don’t see any raw edges or such if you turn it inside out. It is, like most kimonos and haori, entirely hand sewn by the kimono tailor.

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The big white stitches you see on the edge of the sleeve are only temporary. It is called shitsuke and is put in to keep the edges neat during long term storage. These garments are so expensive when new that they are carefully cared for, so they last for generations. The are often more expensive than haute couture equivalents.

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The textile art is exquisite. Many traditional Japanese garments are wearable works of art.

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In the picture below, you can see it worn open.

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Finally, more girls’ kimonos worn by an adult.
This kimono is a synthetic textile one, intended for a 7 year old girl to wear at shichi-go-san (7-5-3), celebration held annually in Japan, when boys of three and five and girls of three and seven, celebrate childhood and a Shinto shrine. Although most of this type of girls’ kimono is made of synthetic textile, they are nonetheless very, very expensive, so parents tend to hire them for the day, rather than pay hundreds or even well over a thousand pounds to buy one. Nowadays this is the case with most kimonos worn in Japan, they are so expensive to buy that many just hire one for a special occasion.

These kimonos are worn by girls with the kimono length shortened by a big fold-over at the waist and narrowed at the shoulders by big, loosely stitched tucks. With no tucks or fold-over, it is this size on this petite adult. The woman in these photos is a petite 5’1″ and a size 8UK, so these kimonos would be shorter on someone taller. My taller sister wears them as ornate, summer coats, usually wearing them open.

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Teal above, pink below.

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Red with flowers, Imperial carriages and lots of gold

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Pretty plum blossom detail on the red kimono.

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Burgundy with masses of gold flowers and big, colourful good fortune wheels.

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Spotty Dotty, Trompe-L’œil & Kimono Cleaning

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Cotton Kimonos.
Here are two of my cotton kimonos. The first is one with a slightly op-art spotty pattern that I love, with kanzemizu (swirling water) in the large, grey spots, and the second kimono is an odori yukata, a cotton kimono that would be worn at an odori matsuri (dance festival), with a motif of traditional Japanese 3 stringed instruments called shamisen and some bachi, which are the huge plectrums used to play shamisen.

The spotty cotton kimono.

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The shamisen motif cotton kimono.

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Hand Washable Kimono.
The next kimono is made of synthetic textile and is hand washable. It is unlined and probably made for dance, as traditional Japanese dancers often wear synthetic kimonos because they can be washed and unlined ones to keep them cooler as they dance.  It is a nice bright green and a very painterly design. Green is a colour that relatively few kimonos come in; you do get green ones but there seem to be fewer of those than most other colours.

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I have just added these three kimonos and several more to my website.

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More haori.
Here are three haori that I added to my wafuku.co.uk website this week.

The first has a nice trompe-l’œil print that looks like red lace on a light blue ground. It is silk but, surprisingly, is of a weave that feels rather like cotton. Silk, of course, can be woven into many textures and feels. This haori also has cute little Daruma on the silk upper lining.

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The next haori has houndstooth check (sometimes called dogtooth) made up of stylised cranes. 

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The third haori has  a kanzemizu (swirling water) design on a bokashi (shaded) background.

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Cleaning kimonos, haoris and obis.
The traditional method of cleaning a kimono is called Araihari. It involves unpicking all the stitches and taking the kimono apart entirely. Each piece of kimono fabric is then stretched out and cleaned, then slightly starched and allowed to dry. Once dry, the kimono has to be sewn back together again. Obviously this is a very time consuming and very, very expensive cleaning method but if your kimono or haori has cost thousands of pounds, as silk ones tend to, or even tens of thousands of pounds, which is not unusual, it is a wise and worthwhile investment. Araihari is still done but many people nowadays have their precious kimonos cleaned instead by specialist dry cleaners.

To have a kimono cleaned by arhairi, if one does not want to do it oneself, one uses a shikkai. Shikkai is a place where they do a variety of kimono aftercare things, such as araihari (dismantling and washing), maruarai (washing a kimono just as it is, not first disassembles), shiminuki (stain removal) and kakehagi (invisible mending), sumpo naoshi (alterations), somekae (re-dyeing) and mon-ire (applying a crest or family crest -kamon).

After araihari cleaning, as it dries, the kimono fabric has to be stretched to keep its shape and to smooth it. You can see, in the pictures below, how flexible rods called Shinshibari (a type of bamboo needle)  are used to do this. The fabric is held by wooden clamps at each end. Araihari requires a lot of space too. I was given the pictures by a friend, with no details of whom to attribute them to, so, if you know, please let me know.

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Sometimes the textile is stretched out on very long boards (note, from the front hem all the way up and over the shoulder, then back down to the back hem is one very long piece of fabric, as kimonos have no shoulder seams).

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Here are the required tools.

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Here is a large art installation, called Obi, by Yanda, which is a huge screen, with its design based on an obi being cleaned using araihari, for the exhibition of AODJ, which sends Japanese creativity worldwide. You can see the giant shinshibari (stretching rods) clearly.

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You can also see shinshibari (stretching rods) used here to keep a length of silk taut while a textile artist paints a design on it for a yuzen kimono.

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Here is a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849), called Two Beauties of Spring. The women are cleaning a kimono using the araihari method. Katsushika Hokusai’s best known work, which you will have seen, is  The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

5 vs 4, New Furoshki and Kawaii Buses

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Sets of 5, not 4.
Have you ever noticed that, in Japan, they offer sets of 5 things not sets of 4?

Here, in the West, a set of 4 of anything is common but, in Japan, it is much more likely to be 5 of that same item, such as the 5 pairs of chopsticks below. The reason for this is that the word for the number 4 is pronounced as “shi” but the word for “death” is also pronounced “shi” and this connection with death means that it is considered bad luck to have sets of 4 things.

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New Furoshiki.
I have added lots and lots of furoshiki to my wafuku.co.uk website. Most are contemporary ones, some with  images such as Hokusai’s Great Wave & Fuji and his Red Fuji print, some with charming bunnies, a range with a black & white cat in typical Japanese settings and many other delightful designs. There are also some bigger, vintage old stock furoshiki just added and another mixed variety of vintage ones to be added soon.

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths. Instead of wrapping paper, these cloths, which come in various sizes, are wrapped around objects and tied in specific ways. The Japanese are, of course, renowned for their clever and specific ways of folding tying things and they have developed a myriad of ways to use and tie furoshiki. I previously wrote a blog post about furoshiki, showing many, many ways to tie them. You can check out that post and the diagrams here.

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on my wafuku.co.uk website.

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A few furoshiki tying examples (lots more here).

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Kawaii Japanese school buses.
Some Japanese school buses are a joy to see. Wouldn’t going to school, or anywhere, be much more tempting if you could get on a Hello Kitty bus or a Catbus or something bright, colourful, cheerful and fun? In Japan they revel in the joys of kawaii (cuteness). They don’t feel it is too childish or feminine for anything or anyone, so you see it everywhere, from toys to transport to advertising to traffic cones to logos and mascots, even their police forces have kawaii mascots. They know it can lift the spirits and get across a message well. Seeing these cute buses on our streets would lift my spirits a lot, despite my lack of youth.

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I especially love that particular cat and the steam train.

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I really like the character Doreamon (the blue bus above the lion bus)

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Even Thomas The Tank Engine made it to Japan.

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A nice variety of animals.

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You don’t get more kawaii than Hello Kitty.

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That whale is great.

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Pokemon was inevitable and the plane is very effective, despite having no wings.

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There had to be a bear.

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bus5Catbus looks a little dangerous to drive with that big head attached to the front. Catbus is from the sweet anime story, “My Neighbour Totoro”. Check out the colour of its tyres.

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Signs of Spring & the Beauty of Blossom

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Signs Of Spring.
Spring has arrived, although here in my part of Scotland, no one told the weather. Plants, however, are coming to life. The crocus lawn is a carpet of purple and white, with occasional bursts of yellow crocus too. Snowdrops are everywhere, primroses are out and primula add a cheering splash of colour in the bleak, pretty bare garden. Anemones are also popping up here and there. The clematis and honeysuckle have visible signs of leaf growth too.

In Japan, one of the signs of spring is ume, which is plum blossom, also known as Japanese apricot. The plum tree is associated with hope and longevity because it is the first tree to flower, while winter still holds sway, and it is the longest-lived fruit tree. The flowers on the trees come in shades of white, pink and red. In February and March, depending on the area, they have Ume Matsuri (Plum Blossom Festivals) in Japan. The plum blossom in Japan is not like the blossom that my plum tree produces, which is sparse coverage of tiny, barely visible, white flowers. The plum blossom in Japan that I speak of is glorious, richly coloured, fragrant, plump and colourful flowers with long stamen. Ume is a very popular motif in Japanese fine art, graphic design and textile art.

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In Japanese art and in Japanese mon (crests), the flowers are often simplified and stylised and three different flowers, in particular, can look very similar in Japan: plum blossom is drawn with rounded petals and often, though not always, it will also have the long stamen, cherry blossom has a little indent at the top of each petal and balloon flower has a little point at the top of the petal. You can see what I mean in the following examples of Japanese mon (crests).

Ume (plum blossom).

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Sakura (cherry blossom).

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Kikyo (bellflower. Sometimes spelled Kikyou).

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Ume patterened haori (Japanese kimono jacket)

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Simplified ume design on a black silk haori.

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Stylised ume on a silk kimono.

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Hanami.
Hanami means flower viewing and from the end of March to early May the Japanese celebrate the beauty of the many, many ornamental cherry trees in Japan. The range of time is due to the fact that the blossoming time for cherry trees varies, depending on where in Japan you are.  Japanese people celebrate hanami with picnics  and parties under the blossoming trees. The flowers are a sign of spring and their extreme beauty is greatly appreciated and prized in Japan as is the ephemeral nature of it all.

The cherry blossom is the flower of the samurai, so chosen because it is strong and beautiful in life but that life can be short and the blossom dies gracefully while still young and seemingly in its prime, as samurai had to be prepared to do. Samurai strove to understand the nature of life and death by meditating on the blossom of the cherry tree. Its blossom is, “strong within, but gentle without.”

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Hanami was originally plum blossom (ume) viewing, during the Nara period (719-794)  they were actually the preferred flower in Japan, but cherry blossom (sakura) took over and by the Heian era (794–1185) it had come to always mean sakura. The appearance of the cherry blossom was used to calculate the year’s harvest and the time for rice planting.

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There are many complex rules to kimono wearing, including what designs may be worn at certain times of year. Cherry blossom may be worn just before the trees come into blossom and, once the trees are in flower, one should no longer wear cherry blossom pattern but can wear a pattern of blossoms with falling petals. The design on the clothing should show what is imminent, not be competing with the real thing. When the petals are falling, one no longer wears cherry blossom design on the kimono. This is the case with many flowers, though there are just a few and a few combinations that one may wear all year round.

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Sakura motif kimono

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Falling sakura petals

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Palace Hanami Party by Chikanobu Yoshu

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Hina Matsuri – Japan’s Dolls’ Day

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Just a quick post about Hina Matsuri, since 03 March is upon us again.
Hina Matsuri is Dolls’ Day (it used to be called Girls’ Day) and is an annual doll festival in Japan. It is celebrated each year on 3rd March. Platforms covered in red are used to display a set of  dolls representing the Emperor and Empress, attendants, musicians and, two ministers, all in Heian era clothing, plus specific accessories. Many displays do not show the full set of figures and accessories, some may only have the Emperor and Empress.
Hina Matsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi (doll floating), in which straw dolls were set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them.

The magnificent set below is in a picture from www.tokyoezine.com

Hina-Matsuri-Japan-Dolls-Set

I rather like these bunny versions

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and this cute rat Empress (rats are often thought more kindly of in Japan and I rather like most types of rodent)

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and whatever the celebration or motif, you will find a bento version

hina matsuri bento

You can find out more about Hina Matsuri on Wikipedia, here

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Origami & Miniature Wafuku

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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I found some nice origami online.
It is by Sipho Mabona, from Switzerland. He has plans to fold a life sized elephant but, in the meantime, there is some of his work from here. I especially like the spectrum of carp.

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And here is a quite different style of paper folding.
These are by Kota Hiratsuka. I’m not so fond of these works but it is interesting to see a different style of paper folding.

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Next we have folded metal, rather than paper.
This work is by Joel Cooper. You can see more  here.

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I recently watched the television series M*A*S*H again, having previously seen it in the 70s.
It took me way back. I am still fond of the character Radar O’Reilly and, when that character left the series, it brought a tear to my eye.  The characters in that show sometimes went on leave to Japan, so, now and then, kimonos or happi were seen on them. I grabbed some pictures…

I do love purple kimonos.

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A burgundy beauty.

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Even Corporal Klinger couldn’t resist.

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Hotlips in a happi.

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The Major, in striped silk.

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I thought I would show you one of my many, many obis.
This one, a Nagoya obi, is made of a beautiful, rich red, rinzu silk. It has a lovely sheen and a woven design of grapes and vines.

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You can see the fabric in detail here.

graperinzuobi2

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Below is one of my silk kimonos.
This is a komon kimono, which means it has an all-over, repeat pattern and is intended for everyday wear. From afar, it looks quite unassuming but, close up, it has a delightful pattern of interiors and nobles.

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Japanese textiles.
I have quite a lot of Japanese textiles. The first one below is a bolt (tan) of very fine wool textile, for making a woman’s kimono. It has a lovely, simple but striking design of pines, a very popular motif in Japan.

pinewooltex

This next one is a bolt of silk, for making a naga-juban (underwear kimono). The painterly print of blue pandas is very sweet.

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Miniature hifu.
This is a miniature hifu that I have. I don’t know if it is a tailor’s sample or made for a doll. It is only 26cm from top to bottom. It is beautifully made, complete with lining. This miniature garment is very old, though I don’t know an exact date. Its two press studs are rather tarnished and some of the thread has perished on each press stud, though the hifu  itself and its stitching shows no signs of perishing.

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A hifu is a garment of the type a young girl would wear over her deep sleeved kimono. You can tell it would be worn by  a young girl because they wear kimonos with extra deep sleeves and they have tucks stitched into the shoulders of their garments. Many modern hifu are sleeveless. You see them on 3 year old girls the Shichi-Go-San celebration each year, a celebration of girls aged 3 and 7 and boys aged 3 and 5.

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I wish I could read the text on that label but I cannot read Japanese, however, a Japanese lady translated it for me, saying, “Girl use, Yotsum (how to make), Hifu (over coat). It also has the name of the Japanease dressmaker, Masako Ito,  and a mark of inspection proof to show it is a garment that has passed inspection”. The lady who translated it for me says she believes it is a hifu for a high quality ichimatsu doll, which seems very likely.

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I also have some some tiny hakama. I have two red hakama, in woman’s style…

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and a few in men’s style too.

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I also have some miniature, cute, ornate, girl’s pokkuri geta.

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Pretty Things & Helpful Tips

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Does anyone know why my blog layout is confined to the left side of the browser window?
When opened to full screen in Chrome browser, my layout only covers 50% of the window width and in Firefox it is just around 60% of the width, with just plain black background on the right side. I don’t know why this is and I can’t find anything in the WordPress options to make it spread over the entire window. I want the menu strip down the extreme right side and the body of the blog to entirely fill the rest of the width. If anyone has the answers, please let me know via a comment.

blog layout problem

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How to tie men’s haori himo
I want to start this post with this instruction diagram because I was asked for it by someone. My previous one had Japanese text but this one can easily be followed with no text. It also shows how a himo can be attached to the little loops on the haori but men’s himo are more often hooked onto those, with little S shaped metal hooks. This means the himo only has to be tied once, since it is unhooked to unfasten it, not untied.
Women’s haori himo are tied differently from men’s ones and are normally untied to unfasten the haori. A man’s himo can be threaded into the haori loops and tied each time it is worn, if one has no hooks, and some women’s himo, often ones that are a string of beads or a decorative chain, are hooked on and off instead of tied.

If you have no hooks you can make some out of a hairgrip, using pointed nosed pliers to cut and bend it into two S shaped hooks. I needed two pairs of pliars, one to hold it and one to bend. You may need to file the cut end to smooth it off so it doesn’t catch on things.  You can see the proper hooks in the picture below. Sometimes a necklace clasp is attached to each end and used to clip the himo onto the haori’s loops.

himohook

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I thought I would show you this antique haori from my website.
It is the longer length, with the much deeper sleeves that these older ones have. I like the lovely soft blue colour of the silk. It is shown being worn by a UK size 8-10 woman and she wears it gathered at the back and with the front edge folded back, lying open at the front, held by a wide belt. Although haori are designed to be worn on top of Japanese kimonos, they do look fantastic with western world clothing.

antiquebluelong

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Shibori Long Haori.
Here is another longer length, antique haori, also with the much deeper sleeves. This one is shibori (tie dye) silk and has a cute upper lining with ships on it. The external design is kiku (chrysanthemums). Shibori silk is highly prized in Japan because it takes a long time to produce when it is hand done, as this haori is. Because it takes a lot of time and skill, it is also very expensive. It is often seen on obiage (obi scarves), as this was a way to have some shibori without it costing an arm and a leg, since it was only on a small item. It still made the shibori obiage much more expensive than one with none on it, of course, but shibori clothing could be out of many people’s reach.

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The ships on the lining are rather nice.

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Here is the front…

longshiborihaori3

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I have a handy tip for mobile phone owners.
The cable on phone chargers is notoriously bad for splitting where it enters the end fittings. This is because that is the point that most often gets bent and that splits the plastic coating and eventually breaks the wires. To stop it happening, you can take the spring from a ballpoint pen and wind it around the cable, making sure to hook the end over the thicker part on the cable, to hold the spring in place. This spreads the stress on the wire so that it is no longer all at that very end point and causing it to weaken and possibly split. You can see what I mean from the picture of mine, below.

springguard

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Kansai Yamamoto Yukata Kimonos.
Below are two Kansai Yamamoto kimonos from my website (I have some of his geta too). Kansai Yamamoto is the Japanese designer who designed David Bowie’s costumes for the Ziggy Stardust tour many years ago. He still designs clothing and does a range of different types of kimonos and Japanese footwear.
These kimonos are folded and stitched closed, so I can’t show them opened out, but you can see the patterns on the cotton.

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The ball on it is called a temari (sometimes just written as mari). Temari are traditional, Japanese, decorative balls, often quite large, which are bound in different coloured threads to create the designs. You can see a closer view of it in the next photo. It has some nice, delicate, gold outlines, as do the stamens of some of the peonies.

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This next one is a darker one, in colouring very popular in yukatas just now.

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Closer view…

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Some Kansai geta too…

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and another…

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Temari.
As I mentioned above, temari are Japanese, decorative balls, with a pattern created by covering them in thread. Traditionally they were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day and were often made from the thread of old kimonos. I only have one or two temari, though not the ones in this picture, which were made by an 88 year old woman. Flickr user, NanaAkua, photographed this large and beautiful collection of temari created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s.  Click on that picture to open a page where you can see 500 of the temari she made.

temari

and a few more pictures here.

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Noren.
I’ll finish off today’s post with some noren. The first (blue) one isn’t one of mine, the second one (with puppies) is.
The blue one has Japanese text on it that says “iki”. Iki means understated elegance or quiet elegance. It is considered an art, an admirable trait to be iki.

ikinoren

This next noren is very cute, with the back view of a pair of puppies enjoying hanami (the annual cherry blossom viewing).
Noren are split curtains, hung at doors but sometimes, nowadays, used as room dividers or hung on the wall to be decorative. They are often hung from shop doors and you see them at the doors of tea rooms and geisha houses etc. Two strips is usual but you sometimes find them with more. you part the strips as you walk through. Both of these are two strip noren, roughly 85 x 150cm, split up the centre.

puppynoren

Here are the puppies close up…

puppynoren2

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You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk

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Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me.

I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it.