wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing
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Another Christmas approaches.
I don’t know where the year went; suddenly the end of it is upon us. The past few weeks have been rather hectic. After years of feezing my rear off in my little cottage each winter, I had a new and more efficient boiler put in three weeks ago, when my old one died, and had three big windows double glazed to try to keep some of the heat in. Both jobs caused much upheavel so my house has been a complete mess, with stuff stacked all over the place to allow the workmen to lift floorboards, rip out windows etc. and the house ended up with a thick layer of dust covering everything inside. Having failed to expect this, I hadn’t covered much, so everything has needed washed and I’m far from finished that task.
I have also, thankfully, been very busy with Christmas orders. It was ‘fun’ getting through the snow to the Post Office with heaps of packages, some of which sat in the Post Office for days as this little town was snow bound.
I’ve also been helping my daughter and her fiancé to lag under the floorboards of their new flat in Glasgow and will be helping with that again this weekend, weather permitting. Talking of which, I really hope the snow doesn’t block the roads this coming week, so my daughter can be here for Christmas.
Above, you can see a photo I took of a lovely uchikake that my daughter has hung in her bedroom. It’s an odd one, a child’s uchikake. An uchikake is a wedding kimono, worn by a bride, rather like a trailing coat, open over a kimono, so it is somewhat strange to have a child’s one. I haven’t been able to find out why such a thing exists. It would fit a girl of about 7-10 uears old but girls of that age do not marry in Japan and it is not an antique or anything, so not from a time when children might marry. Someone suggestied it might be for a play or something like that but it is a very high quality garment and must have cost a huge amount originally. I can’t make sense of it but it is a beautiful thing and much easier to display than an adult’s uchikake, being much smaller. Below, you can see the faric close up. The entire backgound of the fabric has gold woven through it, so, when the light hits it a certain way, the entire kimono shines gold. The bouquets of flowers and the trailing cords are embroidered.
The picture below shows it closed, as it hangs on my daughter’s bedroom wall, above the bed, though the photo isn’t very good quality and does not do it justice at all.
This is Vicky Barton, telling me that she loved the kimono she got from me. She sent me the photo you see below, of her wearing it. Vicky kindly said I may add the photo to my blog, so you can see her below in a very Japanese style garden, holding a very menacing Japanese katana (sword). The kimono Vicky is weraing has lucky mallets and lines of kanji (Japanese text) all over it.
This summer there were some Japanese people visiting my mother. In the next photo, taken that evening, we are holding an embroidered obi. I am very petite, just under 5′ 2″, although my tabi boots do have 2 inch heels, but you can see how petite the Japanese lady is; it’s quite a novelty to me to stand beside an adult who is smaller than I am. The kimono she is wearing is a cotton yukata kimono. Yukata kimonos are casual kimonos, worn in summer, particularly as robes at home and at summer festivals; any time in summer when one wants to dress casually. The obi worn with a yukata is called a hanhaba obi and is narrower than the more formal obis and much easier to tie. When wearing geta or zori shoes with a yukata, one wears them with bare feet, not with tabi socks. With more formal kimonos, one would always wear tabi.
A tomesode kimono, with fishing village scene.
A girls’ red kimono, for Shichigosan celebrations. (Update – this is the one they chose for the article)
A ko-furisode kimono, with sakura fubuki (shower of cherry blossoms; as they fall from the tree), with gold lacquer detailing
A black silk haori, with a striking, red itogiku (spider chrysanthemum, also called rangiku).
A black, silk haori, with stunning, metallic urushi (lacquer coated silk thread) mountains and mist.
I wish you all a happy Yuletide.