wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing
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Haori Kimono Jacket – Worn With Style
Susie Lau Wearing a Japanese Haori
Style Bubble’s Susie Lau can be seen above wearing a Japanese haori kimono jacket, with a pattern of little flying cranes all over it, over a light blue jacket and a striking dress and with amazing shoes and Bebaroque gemstone tights. That mixing and wearing together of different patterns is a very Japanese thing. She looks extremely stylish.
This may give you an idea of the length of haori jackets and the look of their swinging, kimono sleeves. Haori jackets are very useful garments, striking when dressed up, such as Susie is, and fabulous when dressed casually in jeans or the like. Some haoris are patterned all over like Susie’s one, many have a dramatic design on the back on an otherwise plain background and some are simply self coloured with no pattern other than one in the texture of the weave of the silk. The variety is amazing and they tend to be very beautiful and eye-catching.
You can also see lots of photos of other haori being modelled, in my haori photo shoot post.
Hanami – Japan’s Cherry Blossom Viewing.
The sakura blooms briefly, then scatters to the winds
Hanami means ‘flower viewing’ and refers to the annual tradition of cherry blossom (sakura) viewing in Japan. Originally it was plum blossom that was viewed this way in Japan but, in time, cherry blossom succeeded it and Hanami is now always cherry blossom viewing time.
The geographical location is the main factor determining blossom blooming time. The milder the climate, the earlier the blossom.
On Japan’s southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa, cherry blossoms open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they bloom as late as May. In most major cities in between, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the cherry blossom season usually takes place around the end of March and early April.
The blossoming time also differs from year to year, depending on the weather. If the weather preceding the cherry blossom season is mild, blossoms will open early. If it is cold, blossoms will open later. From year to year, the start of the blossom season can vary by as much as two weeks.
Cherry blossom season is relatively short. Full bloom (mankai) is usually reached within about one week after the opening of the first blossoms (kaika). Another week later, the blooming peak is over and the blossoms are falling from the trees. Strong wind and rain can cut the blooming season even shorter.
How Do They Know When Hanami Will Take Place?
Not every tree in an area opens on the same day, as trees in shadowy places, for example, bloom several days later than trees in sunny places. For this reason, a set of representative sample trees is selected to define the date of kaika (the opening of the first blossoms) for each city. In Tokyo, the sample trees are located at Yasukuni Shrine. A chart is produced showing the average time of the first opening of the blossom in each area.
Cherry Blossom Kimono
Once cherry trees are in bud, it is too late in the year to wear a kimono with a cherry blossom buds design on it but one can wear a pattern of them in full bloom. When the trees are in full bloom, one can wear a design of falling cherry blossom petals. Once the petals have fallen, one stops wearing cherry blossom design until shortly before the next cherry blossom season. The pattern must stay at least one stage ahead of the blossom.
In some places the blossoms are lit up in the evening, which makes a glorious sight. From a distance, the trees appear as beautiful clouds, while the beauty of single blossoms can be enjoyed from close up. Hanami can be just a stroll in the park, but it traditionally also involves a picnic party under the blossoming trees. Hanami parties have been held in Japan for many centuries.