Last Few Days

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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There are a few days left to grab yourself a beautiful, genuine Japanese kimono, haori kimono jacket or all manner of other Japanese garments and other Japanese things from my  website because right now there is 15% of everything on the website but only for a few more days.



Buddhist Items

Children’s garments for wear or display

and lots of lovely haori kimono jackets.

…15% off absolutely everything on, not just the clothing, still available for the last few days of this month.


You can check out my website, providing a wonderful range of 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. 

Grab A Beautiful Bargain -15% Sale on

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

Now is a great time to grab yourself a beautiful, genuine Japanese kimono, haori or all manner of other Japanese garments and many other things from my  website because right now there is 15% of everything on the website.

Womens’, Men’s and Children’s kimonos…





All types of footwear…






All obis…

All haori kimono jackets…


Cozy jackets…

More kimonos



…and 15% off absolutely everything else on the, not just the clothing.


You can check out my website, providing a wonderful range of 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. 

5 vs 4, New Furoshki and Kawaii Buses

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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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.



New Furoshiki.
I have added lots and lots of furoshiki to my 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.


on my website.


A few furoshiki tying examples (lots more here).


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.


I especially love that particular cat and the steam train.



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



Even Thomas The Tank Engine made it to Japan.



A nice variety of animals.



You don’t get more kawaii than Hello Kitty.



That whale is great.



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



There had to be a bear.


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.


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 its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Forgotten Kimonos, Yakuza Hanten & Japanese Manners

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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So many kimonos I had forgotten I had.

When I first started buying kimonos, not realising that I was going to get addicted and buy so many, I didn’t think to keep all the information about each one, such as measurements, age, if that information was known, how much it cost me etc. I didn’t keep any information about the first few hundred garments I bought but eventually it dawned on me that I should, so I started to do it from 2006. Stupidly, I had been saving the information for some months before it then dawned on me that I should also keep the photos provided by the kimono seller.  It took me even longer to think of also printing the information for each and putting it in beside the kimono or whatever it was and yet longer to think to add one of the photos to that printed slip, so I could see what was in the bag without having remove it and unfold it to see that or try to remember what it looked like from just the text description. This means that, on my computer, I have a folder for each year, each containing 12 folders for the months, each containing a folder for virtually every days of the month, each containing numerous folders with information about a garments I bought on that day.  There are thousands of these folders now.

I was searching through those folders recently, way back in the 2006 and 2007 ones, trying to find something specific. Idon’t think I did track it down but I did see many kimonos that I had long forgotten I bought that have been packed away in boxes upstairs since I got them. I have no idea which boxes they are in, sop no idea when I might come across the actual kimonos and add them to my website.

Here are a few of the ones that caught my eye as I searched through those folders.

Colourful Peacock Tomesode Kimono

colourful peacock tomesode

Close up detail

colourful peacock tomesode detail

He may actually be a phoenix but, judging by his body feathers, I think he is a peacock. They tend to be very similarly drawn, with long tail feathers with the ‘eye’ on them.


Gold & Silver Peacock Tomesode Kimono

gold and silver peacock

Detail of the embroidered peacock. The areas that look blue are actually silver.

embroidered peacock detail

This one is definitely a peacock


Spectacular Ships Tomesode Kimono

big ship kimono

Detail of the ship

big ship detail


Cute Print Kimono

This next kimono is not in the boxes, it is one I gave my daughter, but I came across these pictures during my search. It is a kimono in a colour and pattern I have never managed to find again. The pattern, which, at a glance, I initially thought was stylised bunnies, is actually pokkuri (high soled, wooden geta shoes worn by girls and maiko, sometimes called okobo or koppori). The only other time I saw this same design it was on a light blue backgound and on a kimono worn by a maiko (trainee geisha). This is one of my daughter’s and my favourite kimonos. It is a lovely silk crepe.

green zori kimono

Detail of the design

green geta kimono detail


I also found these pictures of a baby boy’s kimono, from the 1950s, that I have kept for myself. It has a very American theme, which was popular in Japan back then, with a cute Wild West design, with Cowboys & Indians (nowadays called Native Americans). It is quite a collectable one.

cowboy kids 1

Details of the design

cowboy kids 2

cowboy kids 3

cowboy kids 4

The back of the kimono

cowboy kids 5


Shimizu No Jirocho Hanten

This next item isn’t one of mine. I couldn’t afford this one. It is a hanten jacket but what makes it unusual is the design on it is that of  Shimizu No Jirocho (1830 – 1893), who was a Japanese gangster (Yakuza). Born in Shizuoka, the adopted son of his uncle Jirohachi Yamamoto, who was a komedonya (middleman-merchant dealing in rice). Although his real name was Chogoro Yamamoto, he was called Jirocho,which was short for Jirohachi’s Chogoro. He took over the komedonya after his uncle’s death but soon turned into a gambler. He built up his following and extended his influence, fighting over territories relating to the Fuji River and maritime transport. In the first year of the Meiji Era (1868), he was appointed Dochutansakugata by the Government-General of the Eastern Expedition. In the same year, the warship Kanrin-maru, of the old Edo Shogunate, was attacked by new government troops while lying at anchor in the Shimizu harbor. Jirocho treated and buried the dead with sincere condolence and became acquainted with Tetsutaro Yamaoka, Takeaki Enomoto and others. After the Meiji Restoration, he engaged in development around the foot of Mt. Fuji and marine transportation business.

The birds on it are chidori (plovers), which tend to flock over the seashore and river beds, and the mon (crests) are katabami (wood sorrel). Below the text there are rolling waves.


A photogtaph of Shimizu No Jirocho

Shimizu No Jirocho photo


I like all sorts of vintage things, not just Japanese ones, and I recently went through old clothes of mine with my daughter. Things I used to wear 20 years ago. She went home with the last of my 1950s dresses, having got most of my other vintage clothes some time back, and among them I found a 1980s dress I used to wear that I had put vintage buttons on. Neither of us wanted the dress, so I removed the buttons; I have no idea what they will be put on next. They are made of painted wood, with metal loops on the back, and are in the shape of black gloves with a light blue edge to the cuffs. They used to be my mother’s when she was young (she’s now 91) but she can’t recall where or when she got them. They always made me think of Schiaparelli (1890–1973) and her Surrealists inspired designs. I think Schiaparelli used glove shaped buttons. I particularly remember her fabulous shoe shaped hat and her Lobster Dress, with the lobster on the sash painted by Dali. Here is a photo of my buttons.

vintage hand buttons


A television show I particularly like is The Big Bang Theory. Every so often I have noticed that the character Penny wears trousers that look as though they have been made from vintage kimonos. I spent absolutely ages trying to get a screenshot of her wearing some. The best I could manage was the one below.


The Big Bang Theory Penny


In Japan, it ‘s considered very rude to talk on a phone, play noisy digital games, eat or drink on public transport. It is also considered very rude to so those first two things in a cafe or restaurant and very ill mannered to talk on a mobile phone or to eat or drink when walking in the street. The Japanese are very well mannered and considerate people and abide by this public etiquette. There are exceptions to the no eating rule, though; on long distance trains one can eat and the stations even sell special bento box meals for these journeys. The sign below shows two examples of what not to do – play a noisy game or eat.

transport etiquette



Where Did The Time Go?

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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.

Haori Worn With Style + Hanami – Japan’s Cherry Blossom Viewing

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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.

osaka castle hanami

Osaka Castle

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.

enjoying hanami

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.

Enjoying Hanami
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.


More Kimonos

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The kimono below is one of the newly listed ones, though not in the Bargain Box. It’s a lovely, deep magenta one, with little geishas on it.

I have so many more to do but it takes such a lot of time. I try to keep a steady trickle of new items on the site

Another parcel to Europe has apparently gone missing, losing me about £130, so I am now having to make mail insurance mandatory for addresses outwith UK


Samurai Doll, Odori Kimono & Origami Cranes

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Below you see an antique, Japanese, samurai doll head. This beautifully crafted head has a gofun face; gofun is made from powdered oyster shells and has a finish very like porcelain. Nowadays, plastics are used instead. The face is hand painted, the eyes are glass and his purple band is silk. This head was intended to make into a doll but the rest of the doll was never made



Orizuru: Origami crane. Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been endowed with meanings often drawn from legends and stories that have endured over many generations. For the Japanese, the crane (tsuru) is considered a national treasure, appearing in art, literature and folklore. The Japanese regard the crane as a symbol of good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. It also represents fidelity, as Japanese cranes are known to mate for life. Over time, the crane has also evolved as a favorite subject of the Japanese tradition of origami.

Shortly after the end of World War II, the folded origami cranes came to symbolize a hope for peace through Sadako Sasaki and her story of perseverance. Diagnosed with leukemia after being exposed to radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako became determined to reach a goal of folding 1,000 cranes in hopes of being rewarded with health, happiness, and a world of eternal peace. Although she died before reaching her goal, the tradition of sending origami cranes to the Hiroshima memorial has endured, as a symbol of the wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace. Today this tradition of folding 1,000 cranes represents a form of healing and hope during challenging times.