Wafuku is having a SALE!

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

I’m having a SALE!

On my website I am giving 20% off all items priced between £55 and £350, until 14 May, 2017.

Choose from 2 ways to get your discount
1. you can have your discount as cashback, refunded to you before your order is mailed.
2. you can email your order to get an invoice with the 20% already deducted, just email your order instead of using the site’s shopping cart.

If emailing an order, give the item’s code (see example under picture below) and don’t forget to include your name and address too. I will then send you a PayPal invoice to pay for your order. NOTE* You do not need to have money in a PayPal account to pay, you can simply use PayPal to pay safely with your bank debit card. PayPal does not share your bank details with me, it keeps them safe and secure.


Postage costs are on the site; if you use the site’s shopping cart it will charge full postage for each item, if you purchase more than one and they can be sent in one package, I will refund excess postage and packaging payment.

Now is the time to consider that fabulous, genuine, Japanese kimono or to treat yourself to a gorgeous, pure silk, hand tailored haori kimono jacket. So why not check out my website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables, while this offer is available?

Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


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. 


Appliquéd Kokeshi & Winter Kimonos

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Kokeshi Appliqué Waistcoat.
Back in the 70s my mother bought three appliquéd, quilted waistcoats while on a trip to America. She loves them and still wears them, so last Christmas I made her a grey one with silhouettes that represented her garden and the wildlife in it, then I made her another for this last Christmas, with chickens on it because she used to have chickens back in the 1960s and I remembered that, when I was a child, she painted little cockerels onto all her biscuit tins, so the waistcoat is a memento of those things. It will be her 96th birthday next month, so I made her one more, this time it represents my love of Japanese things. I bought a pattern for a small quilt from The Gourmet Quilter and adapted some of the appliqué items from that for my mothers new waistcoat.

Kokeshi doll waistcoat


kokeshi front.jpg

I also bought a couple of inexpensive kokeshi brooches for myself, as mementos of making her the waistcoat.

Yukata Times Magazine.

I wish this magazine was easily available in the UK. Yukata are ultra-casual, summer kimonos that are still very popular in Japan and worn by many to summer festivals etc. Further down this page you can see some fabulous, less informal kimonos for winter.


Tasuki are used to hold the long, swinging kimono sleeves out of the way while working wherever they might be a nuisance if hanging loose. You can get tasuki clips, like the beaded one in that picture (available on my website), which threads through the obi and clips onto the sleeves, providing a very elegant option to hold them out of the way, or you can simply use a koshi himo (soft tie) to do the job, as you see in the diagram. I was sent the diagram picture by a friend, so don’t know who to accredit for it.



Winter Kimonos
Check out all the wonderful kimonos in this site’s display of winter kimonos – HERE. I particularly love the three below but there are many more at that link.




Want to see some stunning kimonos and fantastic kimono styling? Check out the Akira Times blog.


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

Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


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. 

More Celebrities In Kimonos

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

I found more photographs of celebrities in kimonos.
These are in addition to the celebrities in kimonos I also have HERE.

Everyone loves a kimono, regardless of gender, status or era.

John & Yoko Lennon



Gwen Stefani.
Ever gorgeous. I love that ichimatsu obi.

I suspect her tag was meant to say #pricelessjapan


Shirley Temple.

Looking cute in a shichi-go-san kimono.



Culture Club, with Boy George.
George wears a colourful kakeshita kimono while the other band members go for monochrome patterned cotton yukatas.



Evelyn Nesbitt.
She is wearing a kimono that cost $3,000 way back in 1900. Evelyn Nesbit was a popular American chorus girl, an artists’ model and then an actress. She lived a life of controversy and died in 1967, aged 82.



Audrey Hepburn.
Wearing a lovely houmongi kimono .



Michael Jackson.
In kimono and hakama, complete with katana.



David Bowie in kimono.
He seemed to have a great liking of Japanese Kimonos and, of course, his Ziggy Stardust tour costumes were designed by a Japanese designer, Kansai Yamamoto. I think his short kimono type garment in the photo below is by Kansai Yamamoto.



Marlene Dietrich posing in a very beautiful, Japanese furisode kimono, with striking design of Japanese cranes. Cranes signify loyalty and longevity.

Did you know that Japanese, red crowned cranes dance for each other. Not just to win a mate, they mate for life and continue to dance for each other. It is such an endearing trait.



Gene Simmons from Kiss.
I posted this in a previous post but feel he should be in one that lists kimono clad celebrities.



Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


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



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. 

Kimonos, Cats and Cords

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog in another magazine feature.
My website and I were part of a feature in the How To Spend It, the FT magazine, a few months ago, in their fashion edition.


Huge Kumihimo.
I have two of these huge kumihimo; they are enormously long, hand braided, silk cords, each with a loop at the centre and lovely tassels on the end. They are unused and the tassels are still wrapped in paper. I have no idea what they are for . I think they may have been made for a Buddhist or Shinto temple, because they very thick and long, pure silk, hand made, rather special and must have been exceedingly expensive to produce. They are really rather lovely and, when you move the cord about in your hand it has that lovely sound that silk makes, like footsteps in deep, crisp, new snow.
In that photo my daughter is holding just one of them.



Contemporary Take On Kimono.
This floaty, contemporary kimono is by Hayami Mariya.


Pretty Kimono.
Although this will fit an adult as a beautiful robe, it is actually a girls’ kimono but girls wear them with a big tuck in the shoulders and at the waist, which reduces the size of them a lot. They are always made big so tht these tucks can be inserted, so, without the tucks, they can fit adults surprisingly well. My adult daughter, whom you can see holding the kumihimo in a photo above, wears this size of kimono a lot. She especially likes them because they come in bright colours with vibrant patterns


Here she is again, wearing a kimono of same type and size. She is not a tall woman, so it is ankle length on her; on a tall woman they would be shorter.


Feline Fabulous.
Check out these great cat obis. I would love these.



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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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. 

No Posts For Months, Then 3 Come Along At Once

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

Three posts in a row.
Suddenly there is no stopping me. It’s mostly, I suppose, that I had too much to put into a single post, so have divided it into three. I find it hard to get started again when time passes but I’m on a roll at the moment and want to add the last of my current thoughts to the blog.


Interesting shoes.
While browsing online the other day I came across these wonderful, leather shoes on a Japanese website called Sou-Sou. They are hand made to order, so the prices of about £275 to £350 ($390 to $499) per pair doesn’t seem that bad, even if a good bit higher than I pay for my shoes.







A pair of my own.
I own this pair of shoes, not actually Japanese but from Irregular Choice’s Japanese influenced range. I have only worn them once so far, though have had them for years. I so rarely wear heels nowadays but I love an unusual shoe. These ones are suede and canvas.



One of my kimonos featured in Beyond Magazine.
This is one of my antique tomesode kimonos, which was requested by Beyond Magazine for their World In Seven Objects feature. It is a lovely magazine, with beautiful photography and graphic design.

Beyond kimono

beyond cover


A bit more quilting.
My 94 year old mother owns and wears 2 boxy, quilted waistcoats she bought at a craft fair in America way back in the 80s. They are very simple in shape and comfortable to wear. She has one with poppies and wheat, a couple of butterflies and a little mouse appliqued on the back and one with a large moon, a hills and a frog. The applique is done in a mix of plain and small patterned fabrics. She is very difficult to select gifts for, so I decided to make her a new quilted waistcoat as her Christmas gift. The simple shape was easy enough to make a paper pattern from; there are no darts or sleeves or tricky bits to deal with.


I thought of something colourful, then opted for neutral, to go with almost anything, so I made the waistcoat grey and the applique black silhouettes. I chose things that relate to her own garden, her love of hollyhocks (though she only likes the single ones, not double blooms), the foxes and badgers she sees visiting her garden at night, the many, many crows of various kinds that nest in her trees and are fed by her, the owls we can hear at night (and are in the family coat of arms) and, of course, the squirrels. My mother lives in an ex-farmhouse, which has a decent sized garden and a 5 acre field. The top section of the field, visible from her kitchen window, was a solid mass of rosebay willow herb. It is a very, very tall weed with a pinkish purple spiked flower and fluffy, wind borne seeds. When it dies off in autumn, the tall, brown dead stems remain. It can be quite pretty when in flower but it is invasive and takes over and we grew to hate it. We also hated the week or so each year of the air being thick with its fluffy seeds. It is one of those opportunistic plants that grows anywhere, you see it on every piece of waste ground, every vacant lot, in every corner and crevice it can find and in roofs and drainpipes of tall, old buildings. When not in flower it is just ugly.  A few years ago my brother decided that, on his visits a couple of times each year, he would dig out the rosebay and turn that area into a wildflower field. It took him years to get rid of the stuff and the couch grass that tried o take over in its place. There are still the occasional bits of rosebay and tough grass being found and removed but in 2015 it finally came to fruition and was a mass of wildflowers for months. Mostly tall white daisies and yellow ones, with poppies, cornflowers, red campion and various others mixed through it. It was quite lovely. He and I have added loads more seeds, including hundreds of thousands of poppy seeds (I especially love poppies), so it should be even better this year. So, the cow parsley on the waistcoat represents my mother’s field because it has always grown in the field and a few bit hang on in among the wildflowers. She really doesn’t enthuse about gifts but she did enthuse about her new waistcoat, which was pleasing. She seemed to genuinely like it and its associations.

Above you can see it appliqued and layered with wadding and backing, ready to be trimmed and sewn together. It is the first time I have ever done applique.




The finished garment.


My brother at the edge of the wildflower field and my daughter in it modelling Japanese garments for my website.






Another of my kimonos.
This lovely furisode style, silk kimono has a wonderful pattern of butteries on it. It has been a very expensive kimono and they have gone to the added expense of including some butterflies on the inside of the lower fronts, even though they really aren’t seen. It is a kinsai kimono, which means it is embellished with metallic gold or silver; this one has gold lacquer work clouds. I really like the flowing water pattern in the weave.


20151218g 150

20151218g 136


Finally, since David Bowie died this month, much to the surprise of most of us, I thought I’d post a photo of him wearing a Japanese yukata kimono. Sadly I was unable to find a picture of the actor Alan Rickman in a kimono, who also died this month.

bowie in yukata


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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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. 

Pacchiwaku – Japanese Textile Quilts

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

Japanese Textile Quilts
Having taken up making patchwork quilts last year, I have now decided that I am going to use some of the many bolts of unused, traditional Japanese textiles I have, to make a range of quilts and cushions in Japanese rustic style.

A bolt of fabric for a kimono is called a tanmono (often shortened to just tan) and is always made in one specific size, roughly 35cm  by 11 metres. I have kimono bolts in cotton; woven for casual yukata kimonos, in silk; woven for more formal kimonos, and in wool; mostly made for men’s kimonos. Each type of textile will make wonderful quilts and, perhaps, a few matching cushions.


I am quite excited about creating a range of Japanese textile quilts. I have about a dozen bolts of indigo dyed, Japanese yukata cottons, in lovely, traditional designs. I also have a few other yukata cotton bolts, with floral designs. As well as those I have several yukata cotton sample books that I can use. Three of the sample books are quite old, although still very strong, good cottons, with white backgrounds and a variety of great, simple designs on them. The rest are much more recent cotton samples and are florals, mostly with black backgrounds, they too are vintage but only about 10 to 15 years old.

Japanese Cotton Textiles
Here are the indigo and white bolts of yukata kimono cotton, these were woven for men’s kimonos.

Chainlink designs are a very popular, traditional print in Japan




A woven lattice with geisha on senmen (the paper parts of folding fans)




The next one is a woven bamboo design.



A shaded chainlink mesh.


I especially like the bamboo pattern on the next bolt.




The next one has hanabishi dotted among a grid pattern hanabishi are diamond shaped flowers




This last bolt is rather like tatami matting.


I have done a few quick mock ups. I really ought to leave that for later and get some other sewing done first.






Japanese Yukata Cotton Sampler Books

1a (1)

1a (3)

2a (3)

4a (3)

5a (1)

The sample books above each have 5 different prints, each one metre long and folded in half lengthwise. The samples in the three books below are about half a metre each.

ebaysou20150109a 142

ebaysou20150109a 105

ebaysou20150109a 106

ebaysou20150109a 165


Japanese Wool Textiles
I have, as I mentioned, numerous unused bolts of extremely high quality wool textiles, a few more colourful ones intended for women’s kimonos but most for men’s wool kimonos. Men’s wool kimonos tend to have traditional, small, subtle patterns woven into them, they will produce fabulous quilts in a variety of muted blues and browns, very rural in style, like old farm-style, country quilts. The fine wool textiles will be extra warm and cosy.

Three made for women’s wool kimonos.







Now five for men’s wool kimonos.

sou20160107g 288

sou20160107g 280

The hexagon popular motif, based on the pattern of the turtle shell. It represents longevity.

sou20160107g 249

sou20160107g 256

sou20160107g 290

sou20160107g 294
sou20160107g 238

sou20160107g 239


In addition to all those I also have many unused bolts of kakebuton textiles, most with ikat weave pattern. Kakebuton are quilts made especially for Japanese futons and these bolts are woven specifically for making those quilts. These have traditional motifs and patterns that have been popular on kakebuton for over a century. Most of them have some ikat patterns; ikat is when the yarn is died with sections of it bound to block the dye, called resist dying because the yarn inside the tied sections resist being dyed. It may be dyed once, in which case it is most often indigo dye that is used, or it may be retied and dyed repeatedly, allowing it to bave more than one colour. When this thread is woven, with the undyed sections cleverly lining up, a pattern emerges. because the pattern is from the weaving of the threads, it does not have hard, crisp outlines. Ikat’s primary characteristic is that the designs have slightly fuzzy, soft edges. It is widely seen in kasuri kimonos, in cotton or wool, the style worn by farm workers, but it was very popular in the past, especially from about 1920 to 1950 when it was fashionable to wear meisen silk kimonos that had an ikat weave. Meisen is a sort of taffeta like weave silk and the patterns usually have that fuzzy edge too. I was also popular in the early part of this century in textiles wove for kakebuton.

Japanese Kakebuton Cotton Bolts

tc zabouton cotton (6)

tc zabouton cotton (2)

tc zabouton cotton (28)

tc zabouton cotton (8)
tc zabouton cotton (21)

tc zabouton cotton (25)

tc zabouton cotton (18)

tc zabouton cotton (20)

tc zabu1


Japanese girls lying on a futon under a kakebuton (futon quilt)


Silk Bolts.
I have some silk bolts too. It will be nice to make a few silk quilts. These Japanese bolts are fabulous quality silks and any quilt made from them would be very special. I have a few more than shown here.


sou20160108i 136







As with all my previous quilts, I will go for simplicity and use large pieces, letting the fabric do the talking. These Japanese textiles will make fabulous rustic style quilts that really echo Japan. I have enough Japanese fabrics to keep me cutting and sewing for a few years..


Pacchiwaku is the Japanese word for patchwork, made up of pacchi – patch and waku – frameset. It is pronounced pack – chee – wakoo. When I build up some stock of my Japanese textile quilts and cushions, which will take me a good few months, I will make them available on Etsy, probably with Pacchiwaku as my Etsy shop name, although I am also considering the name Tanmono because it simply means cloth, as well as meaning a bolt of kimono fabric.


I’m now way too tired to proof read this, so I will risk posting it and try to get back to check it tomorrow. It’s almost time to get up, so I must go to bed now.


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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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. 

Time Has Flown

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog


Time Flies
It feels like just last month that I made my last blog post here but it has actually been much longer.

Tabi pumps
I found these Irregular Choice, hint of tabi toe pumps. Aren’t they sweet?




Odori kimono
This fresh green kimono is one available on my website. It is an odori kimono, and one of the few kimonos that I have more than one of. They were made for a traditional, Japanese dance troupe (odori means dance) and are a lovely, crisp green with simplified, painterly kiku (chrysanthemum) design. It is made of synthetic textile, so is conveniently hand washable. Odori kimonos are often made of washable textile.




Three months have been filled with looking after my daughter. I moved to her flat to do that. She had a pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung. She actually had four, as the lung kept collapsing, and, in the end, had to be operated on to fix it.


The first attempt to deal with it was done using a wide bore needle. This was to let out the air in the cavity that was pushing the lung flat. It only worked temporarily, after a couple of days of feeling better she steadily deteriorated and within the week had to go back and have that done again. Once more that failed to give lasting improvement, so she spent time in hospital with a chest tube. Even this wasn’t fully relieving the symptoms and, when removed, her lung soon collapsed again. It was decided that an operation to mend her lung was necessary, so another test tube was inserted for several days until she was moved to another hospital to have the surgery.


The Victoria Infirmary

The first hospital was the old Victoria Hospital in Glasgow, it was awful. Run down, wards with lots of patients, many senile. It opened on St Valentine’s Day 1890. The staff, I’m sorry to say, were rather inept and very unhelpful. The night she was admitted and had the chest tube put in, the doctor had omitted to say that she should have had strong pain killers through the night. She was in agony; awake, crying and whimpering all through the night but the night staff would give her nothing for the pain other than a couple of paracetemol. The doctor on rounds the next day was horrified. She had an important, time sensitive blood test to be done, arranged prior to the lung problem, and for days she tried to get the ward’s nurses to find out about arranging it while she was stuck in hospital. They kept saying they would but it was just lip service and the essential day came and went and it wasn’t done. She also had another prior appointment that she was not going to be able to attend, in a department in that same hospital. She asked nurses to cancel it so someone else could use it, since she couldn’t attend it. Each one said they would but not one did. She managed to find the phone number on the day of the appointment, called herself and learned that no one had bothered to tell them.  My daughter was told that she would be transferred to The Golden Jubilee Hospital for the operation, a hospital that specialises in heart and lung conditions and in orthopedics too. Two or three days before she was due to be transferred she mentioned something about it to the ward nurse, who then told my daughter that it might not be the Jubilee at all, it might be another really old hospital in Glasgow instead. Right up until she was put into the ambulance for the transfer, we couldn’t find out for certain where she would be going. It was so frustrating and she was more and more stressed by this. She was scared and the Victoria Infirmary was awful in so many ways but her one consolation was that her operation would be done in an excellent, well appointed hospital by a lung specialist.

I was also waiting to hear where she was being taken, so I could go visit her there as soon as she was transferred. The staff in the ward told me they’d phone me when she was to be moved. When she was being put onto the gurney to go to the ambulance, she asked a nurse in her ward to phone me, to tell me where she was being taken. The nurse said, “you just do it yourself”. She had to phone me from the ambulance, so relieved to be leaving the Victoria Infirmary, it’s awful staff, its inedible food, its weird, unfamiliar, creeping insects, it’s big ward full of other people and its complete lack of privacy or quiet. She was very relieved to learn that she was going to the Golden Jubilee hospital after all.

The Golden Jubilee Hospital

You can see the Golden Jubilee Hospital above, though it is only part of that huge building, the rest is the hotel and conference centre. Compared to the Victoria Infirmary, it was like chalk and cheese; The Golden Jubilee Hospital provided spaceous, private rooms with en suite toilet and shower room, efficient, helpful and pleasant staff and the best of modern equipment. Not only that, the food was out of this world. Food we’d happily pay well for in a restaurant. Her room provided a television and free wifi. The only thing that had made her previous hospital endurable was a cheap, crappy tablet I have, with a crack in the corner of the glass, which allowed her to watch films and tv shows and shut out the rest of the ward, her pain and her fears. The Victoria Infirmary had provided no television and no wi-fi. I had regretted buying that tablet some time back, because it wasn’t good quality and I didn’t really need it anyway (I’d bought a very cheap one just to see if I would actually use one) but I was now so glad I had it because it kept my daughter sane during her two or so week stay in the Victoria. It had cost only £69 and had suddenly become a very useful purchase. When the nurse got her into bed at the Jubilee, he asked if she wanted her television switched on. She declined, saying, “I’m getting enough pleasure just seeing that there actually is a tv in my room”. Shortly after that I got a text from her saying that they gave her a cup of tea in a real, ceramic cup! She was struggling to breathe, in pain but her spirits were raised and she now felt cared for and a bit less scared. By the time I got there, she was groggy and getting oxygen; her operation would be the next day.


My daughter had been warned that the operation was a very painful one, post op, because, as you can see above, the talc causes the lung to become inflamed. She had a camera inserted into the chest, into the cavity around the lung, then whatever they use to for the keyhole surgery, then a wide tube was put in through her ribs at the bottom of the lung and attached to a small machine that she carried when she was eventually able to briefly get up. In the Victoria the tubes were connected to portable jars containing water and they looked for bubbles, in the Jubilee it was a very fancy machine with digital read-out, various electronic sounds and lights. This tube was even larger than the previous ones and caused much pain. She had a button that released painkiller but she had rather overdone it before she found that out she shouldn’t just keep pushing that button. It reduced the pain a lot but did not get rid of it, so she was pressing it every 15 minutes. She now knew what they meant by saying it was a painful operation and it remained extremely painful for a very long time.

She got home from hospital the evening of the day after the operation because she had someone available to look after her full time. I drove her home as slowly as I could because the tiniest hint of a bump was agonising. Once home, she couldn’t do anything, weeks of recovery were required. I moved into her flat and cared for her for several weeks. Her fiance cared for her at weekends and took time off work now and then, so I’d go home at those times, but most of the time he had to be at work during the day, so I stayed at their flat. She is not quite 100% yet and a tiny bit of her lung has not re-inflated but she has been told that is inconsequential. There is still some healing to be done, some swelling to go down and she has damaged nerves causing severe discomfort down the  right side of her chest,which happened during the first treatment she got at the Victoria Infirmary (insertion of a wide bore needle, then a tube) and no one knows if that will ever go away but the lung is apparently fixed. Good news, since there was a 5% chance that her lung would collapse again after the operation. It seems unlikely the repair will fail now.

Southern General Hospital – Glasgow

The Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow is now closed. The Southern General Hospital at Braehead has been rebuilt (see image above) and is now huge, incorporating four Glasgow hospitals, the other three of which have now been permanently closed. Not a moment too soon as far as the Victoria Infirmary is concerned and no doubt those other ancient ones too. Some newspaper recently printed a complaint, by someone in England, that Scotland had got this big, new hospital but they didn’t take into account that this is one that was rebuilt and three others were shut down. Those three were also old Victorian buildings, with severely run down, now unsuitable buildings and old, out of date equipment.this new one isn’t an additional hospital, it one new one in place of four very old ones.

The Royal Jubilee, where my daughter’s operation was done, is a fantastic hospital but that is sheer luck. It is part of a building that is a hotel, a conference centre and hospital. It was built in 1994, as a private hospital, built by Abu Dhabi Investment Company. The initial cost was £180 million. The venture proved unsuccessful in private hands and the hospital was purchased for the National Health Service, at a vastly reduced cost of £37.5 million in 2002. I think the kitchens may prepare food for the hotel, conference centre and hospital, which is why the food is so darned good.


Ally Hilfiger Haori
I was watching something on television about Sears in the USA. It showed Ally Hilffiger, daughter of the American clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger, wearing a vintage Japanese haori.


Ally Hilfiger




I also spotted pictures of Daphne Guinness wearing a kimono and a haori.



Daphne Guinness in a Japanese haori
Worn with an ultra-deep belt


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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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. 

Kimonos Are Not Only For Japanese Purists

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

Mr Selfridge.
I was watching that television show (ITV, UK) and noticed a lovely furisode kimono in the window display. The picture is poor quality, as it is a screenshot from the ITV iPlayer and they reduce quality for streaming but it does let you see the kimono. The show stars Jeremy Piven as Mr Selfridge, the man who opened the store Selfridges that still exists in London. He is good in it, just as he was very good in his role in Entourage.



Are kimonos only for the purists?
I read a comment on Reddit the other day, in which a Japanese woman said she felt that only Japanese people should wear kimonos and only those who applied all the strict Japanese rules about how they are worn, with obi etc., and wearing the correct kimono for the occasion and person’s age. She felt that no one other than a purist/traditionalist should be allowed to wear them, particularly those wearing them as house robes; she even said it was offensive (her word) to see the pictures of Rita Ora wearing one of my kimonos or to see anyone wearing one as a robe like that. The woman who said this is the only  person I have come across to say this, all other people I have spoken with or read comments by, including many Japanese people, do not think that way at all, in fact, quite the contrary. Needless to say I did not agree with her. To me, what she said is exactly the same idea as saying that women should not wear trousers because they were originally designed only for men to wear.
I felt she should also bear in mind that haori were originally meant to be worn only  by men but, many years ago, geisha broke that rule and started wearing these men’s jackets, after which, they became popular among other women and only then did haori start to be made specifically for women, so you now get many women wearing them. If that rule had not been broken, the women of Japan would not have haori to wear over their kimonos. If that rule could be broken in Japan, there is no reason not to break other kimono wearing traditions, especially when they are worn in The West, where kimonos are not worn as day to day, outdoor clothing and haoris not worn over them.
Since kimonos are rarely worn the same way in The West as they are in Japan, with obi or as outdoor clothes, it seems very pedantic to think that they should not therefore be worn there at all or that the Japanese traditional rules, dictating the styles and patterns for certain ages or occasions, should be adhered to by absolutely everyone who chooses to own and wear one either in or out of in Japan.
As you can see in the two pictures below, this Japanese man, in Japan, wears a kimonos with braces on top, attached to the obi, giving the traditional kimono wearing a slightly more contemporary look (photos from Akira Times). If Japanese people like him may break the rules and do that, why may others not just wear a beautiful kimono as a house robe, regardless of tradition? Why restrict them to only those who wear them the traditional way, with obi, and applying the strict age, occasion and colour rules?

The woman also thought that, if worn as a robe, it was appalling that it meant that the kimono would be worn frequently and the silk would touch the skin and therefore need cleaned more frequently than one that was rarely worn and only worn the traditional way on top of a naga-juban, so not touching the skin. She seemed to insist that they only be cleaned using the araihari method, which is a traditional one of completely dismantling the garment, cleaning the individual pieces, then remaking it, traditional method that resulted in rarely cleaning them, whereas I believe that careful dry cleaning is an acceptable alternative for a kimono that is used frequently as a robe.
Most vintage kimonos would become nothing more than moth food or be cut up and destroyed or would just sit in a box and never see the light of day and be appreciated if many were not re-purposed as robes or worn in some other non traditional way. Their being worn has to be a good thing, regardless of how they are worn, rather than all of them being hidden away, unappreciated for the majority of the time simply so they don’t get worn out or dirty.

Without a doubt, that woman would not approve of haori being worn in The West over yofuku (clothing that is not traditionally Japanese), such as you can see in the picture below. What a loss that would be. The haori is such a gem when worn with western world clothing.


Even in Japan nowadays, young people are sometimes seen to be wearing kimonos in deliberately non-traditional ways. The traditional rules are fine for kimono purists but I do not believe it is fine to say that they may only be worn by the purists and in the ways the purists dictate. I am very glad the old kimono rules are still maintained in Japan by some, whom I admire for doing it and keeping those traditions alive, but that should not be allowed to stop their use by those who choose to not follow those rules. I really do admire any person who abides by all the strict kimono wearing rules in Japan but do not feel they should be reserved only for them. Kimonos are clothing, not religion, not part of only some private club, so should be worn and enjoyed whatever way one chooses, as long as they are worn and loved and their beauty seen and enjoyed.

No doubt she would be utterly horrified to see my sister wearing a girl’s kimono open over western clothes, as a pretty evening coat, or, as you can see below, my daughter wearing this child’s antique kimono as a dress.


There is room for both purists and non-purists to wear wafuku (traditional Japanese clothing). It does not matter how one chooses to enjoy wearing it, it only matters that one does choose to do it and that their beauty and the work of the skilled Japanese artisans can be seen and appreciated.



Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, all so they can profit. What we have now will slow to a crawl, sites taking forever to load unless we pay a premium to get extra speed. This is what cable companies are pushing the government to give them.

FIGHT THEM now or regret it forever. It is up to US. Click here to take action.



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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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. 

Randoseru Schoolbags and the Met’s History of Kimono

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA) had an exhibition called, “Kimono – A Modern History”.
It ended on 19 January 2015 but you can read about it on their website HERE.

On that page there is a long and very interesting video, full of information about kimonos and their influence on the West. As I said, though, it is long, 1 hour and 22 minutes long, so get comfy and soak it all in. It is worth the time.

The video is full of examples of how Japanese kimono influenced western fashions, such as this coat by Worth in 1890, with its slightly westernised version of Japanese textile art.


And it mentions these clothes made from kimono textiles, from 1875 and 1880 (images from the Met’s video)

met kimono dress

There is lots more information about kimonos and their influence on the West in the video HERE.


The latter half of that video shows how the obi is tied on some different formal types of kimonos (houmongi, furisode and shiromuku – white bridal kimono). The picture below is a screenshot from the video. The camera work doesn’t show the process as clearly as one would hope but you get an idea of how to tie this style of obi.


The finished fukurizume musubi (puffed sparrow knot).

fukurizume met

She also shows one like a huge flower, a more standard square, taiko knot and a bride’s bunko style knot and accessories.

She explains why the standard obi knot is called a taiko knot (otaiko). As I mentioned a long time back in a post here, most people, including the Japanese, say it is so called because it looks like a taiko (a Japanese drum) but that has always infuriated me because it is not the reason at all. It was named after the Taiko Bridge where, at its opening ceremony, some geisha tied their obis in this brand new, never before seen style and, as was usual with anything geisha wore, it immediately became the fashion among all women, so the knot is named Taiko after the bridge, and it has remained the most popular obi knot ever since. It is really more folded than tied but we still call it a knot, the Japanese call it a musubi, so it is a taiko musubi.

The screenshot below shows the examples in that Metropolitan Museum’s video.



There is also an interesting  Metropolitan Museum of Art blog post called, “Waves, Waterfalls, and Whirling Water on Japanese Kimono”, HERE

The New York Times had an article about the Met’s kimono history exhibition, which you can see HERE

The bottom of that article has a link to a previous article they did on Kimonos, in mid 2014, mostly about Western, contemporary takes on the kimono but it also featured a photograph of Rita Ora wearing a kimono from my own website,, taken in 2014. It is the black and white image in The New York Times’ trio photo below, where Rita Ora is wearing a vintage, pure silk, Japanese kimono; it’s a furisode style kimono, with those wonderful, almost ankle deep sleeves.

It was quite a surprise to just chance upon one of my kimonos on The New York Times’ website and find that it had also been shown in the July 3, 2014, Fashion & Style section of the The New York Times print newspaper, with the headline, “For Spirits That Can Only Be Tied Down by a Sash”.


Randoseru Schoolbag
I weakened and bought myself a traditional, Japanese schoolbag backpack, known as a randoseru. Mine isn’t real leather because leather ones cost a fortune. The one I really want costs around £300, plus delivery and import tax, so this one, which was by no means cheap, will have to suffice. Randoseru have this very specific shape and are generally well made, long lasting bags. I like backpacks as my ‘handbags’, with the choice of carrying in my hand, over my shoulder or, for any long time, on my back. I haven’t seen it up close yet, it is still winging its way here from Japan.

Red is the traditional colour for girls randoseru and black for boys. Nowadays a big variety of colours and two-tones are available, though many of the more conservative Japanese schools dictate the colour to be used.

This is mine…


I found some information about Randoseru on Wikipedia

The use of the “randoseru” began in the Edo era. Along with a wave of western reforms in the Japanese military, the Netherlands-style rucksack called “ransel” (Japanese: ランドセル randoseru) was introduced as a new way for the foot soldiers to carry their baggage. The shape much resembled the “randoseru” bags used today. In 1885, the Japanese government, through the elementary school Gakushūin, proposed the use of a backpack as the new ideal for Japanese elementary school students. At Gakushūin, the practice of coming to school by cars and rickshaws were banned, promoting the idea that the students should carry their own equipment and come to school by their own feet. At this time, the bag looked more like normal rucksack. This changed, however, in 1887. The crown prince of the time was given a backpack upon entering elementary school (at Gakushūin). To honour the soldiers of the country, the shape of the backpack resembled the backpacks used in the military, in other words a “randoseru”. This quite immediately became the fashion, and the shape have continued to become the “randoseru” used today. However, at this time most of the Japanese people could not afford such an expensive bag. Until the dramatic rise of economy in Japan in the past-WWII period, the main school bag in Japan was simple shoulder bags and furoshiki (square folding cloths).

It is a popular saying that the metal clip on the side of the “randoseru” was used in the military to carry grenades. However, this is not true. The metal clip was introduced in the past-WWII period, as a means to carry lunch boxes, change of clothes for P.E., etc.


Most randoseru production is carried out by hand. A randoseru is constructed of a single-piece body and around 200 fittings, a combination of die-cut materials and urethane backing plates. Assembly involves crimping, machine-sewing, walnut-gluing, drilling each shoulder strap, and riveting. The bag’s materials and workmanship are designed to allow the backpack to endure the child’s entire elementary education (six years). However, the care usually given to the randoseru throughout that time and afterwards can extend its life and preserve it in near-immaculate condition long after the child has reached adulthood, a testament to its utility and the sentiment attached to it by many Japanese as symbolic of their relatively carefree childhood years.

A typical randoseru measures roughly 30 cm high by 23 cm wide by 18 cm deep, and features a softer grade of leather or other material on those surfaces which touch the body. When empty, it weighs approximately 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds). However, due to demand for a lighter, more robust randoseru, as of 2004 approximately 70% are made from the synthetic leather Clarino. Also, in response to Japan’s revised curriculum guidelines from the fiscal year 2011, there is a growing demand for bags large enough to hold A4 standard paper files without bending. Manufacturers are divided as to whether to support an increased bag size or not.

The randoseru’s durability and significance is reflected in its cost.

This site sells the ones I like best. I would love to own one of those, possibly the pink or a lime green one. They make them to order, out of high quality leather.

randoseru best

And their two tone Randoseru are gorgeous.




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


One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora



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.