wafuku.co.uk

Birthday Cakes and Surgery

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

 

A few days ago I had my gallbladder removed. I was fortunate enough to have it successfully done by laparoscopic surgery. The ability of that being done and the skill of the surgeon doing it really astounds me. I really must write a thank you letter to the surgeon and to the anaesthetist.

The symptoms of the gallstones I had me howling, wailing and begging for relief, usually for 20 to 45 minutes at a time. It is great to know that, if the surgeon managed to remove all the stones, I will have no more of those excruciating attacks. I don’t seem to be recovering as quickly as expected but I daresay it will pick up a pace.

Here are some diagrams that show the gallbladder and likely positions of stones and how they are removed via laparoscopy.

picture from health.harvard.edu

picture from health.harvard.edu

picture from surgspecswfl.com


Some of my Japanese items were borrowed by Vogue magazine for a photo shoot in their Polish edition. They took them all the way to Japan for the shoot. Here are some of them…

Chanel leather jacket worn with a Nagoya obi from wafuku.co.uk

 

Cotton spotted tabi with traditional kohaze fasteners

A golden chrysanthemum adorned Nagoya obi, from wafuku.co.uk, worn with Jil Sander knitwear


 

It was my only grandchild’s first birthday in July and my daughter’s birthday shortly after, so I baked them birthday cakes. I saw cakes by thecakeandsweet on Instagram that I really loved, so pretty much copied those, although I covered mine in buttercream rather than in the fondant icing the professional had used. I decided to make them using my favourite recipe, a very reliable lemon drizzle cake. The cake is only 6 inches in diameter but, being three layers high, gives 12 to 14 slices.

This is the first one I did.

I put the gum paste icing decorations in the oven to speed up drying, as it was too humid to dry them naturally, but I got them a touch too warm and the hedgehogs, balloon and number 1 puffed a little but I wasn’t too bothered by that. I made Italian meringue buttercream to layer and coat the cake because I find American buttercream unbearably sweet, but it is impossible to make it white. I can never work out how Americans get meringue buttercream so very white. Do they have white butter? I can’t find even pale yellow butter here in the UK, it is all pretty strongly yellow and yields this cream colour of buttercream at best. \i actually shaded this cake from green up to the untinted cream colour but should have started at the bottom with darker green, the shading is too subtle to show much. I was quite happy with the colour for this cake but I would like to have the option of white for other cakes.

My grandson didn’t actually get to eat any of the cake, as he is not yet allowed any sugar or salt, but it was for a family party to celebrate his birthday and it all got eaten.

This next picture shows the one I made my daughter, who is a massive fan of the Peanuts cartoon characters, as am I.

I have no idea how but I totally miscalculated the sizes for Charlie, Linus and for Snoopy and his kennel, all of which I made before the cake. I managed to make those things twice the size I should have. Charlie and Linus should only be tall enough to reach the top edge of the cake, with the kennel and Snoopy suitably proportioned.

For some reason I had problems with the buttercream for this one. I mixed up each colour (the blue ending up too dark because I was trying to combat the fact that the buttercream’s yellowness made it rather green) then put it in icing bags and stored it in the fridge. The following day I let them soften in the warmth if the kitchen then piped them all around the cake. I’d applied it all, ready to be smoothed out, when I noticed some of the food colouring had separated, producing water droplets all over it. I had to try to mix it back together while still on the cake, which wasn’t altogether successful, so it subsequently didn’t smooth as well as I hoped. It still tasted fine but it was annoying because the buttercream on my grandson’s cake had led me to believe this cake’s coating would pose no problems and work out equally well. It didn’t.

The Snoopy kennel was blondie brownies stacked and cut to shape, then coated in rolled icing, with icing roof panels made separately, hardened and then attached. After that, the icing Snoopy was modelled and popped on the top. Charlie and Linus were just 2D and painted with food colouring.

Despite the appearance of the buttercream and the ridiculous size of the decorations on the cake, my daughter really loved it, so it was worth the effort.

Apart from a mirror glaze cake I made a couple of years ago, I think this is the first time I’ve tried making decorated cakes, so they could have been much worse.


 

This is a ro weave silk kimono, stencilled with a slightly sparkly golden moon. I recently put this on the wafuku.co.uk website. Wouldn’t it be great for Halloween? However, in my opinion, it is great for wearing anytime.


I have been slowly but steadily stocking the new website. It seems to be working fine, although is slower to load the home page than I would like.

Other than that I am fairly happy with it. It now supports secure payment by bank cards as well as by PayPal and, so far, each method has been used equally, so I’m glad I am now able to offer payment options.

I still have so much stock from the previous site to put on the new one, I now realise what a vast amount I had available on that original version of the site, thousands and thousands of items, and it is a bit frustrating to not be able to add just new items but be having to redo ones I’d previously already done. I have an astounding amount of new things for the site too and am gnashing at the bit wanting to add more of those. I do add the occasional new thing, though, such as that stencilled kimono above. The web host (Wix) requires photos to be square in shape, in order to display them properly, and virtually none of my photos is square, so every one of the thousands of stock photos needs to be altered, making it a very, very slow process and it would have been great and a zillion times faster if I could have just used them as is, without spending time changing each one.

Here are a few pictures of some of the things I’ve added to the site since my last blog post. That post was ages ago because all my time is spent working on the site, trying to get all the stock back on it, plus regularly posting to social media, which is essential to ensure my site is ranked by Google when people search for kimono, haori, obi etc. This blog tends to drop to the bottom of the to do list.

Here’s a very elegant, black silk haori, with golden urushi coated silk thread creating the woven design.

A sumptuous silk kimono, with a gorgeous take on a diamond design.

An absolutely stunning, very long, pure silk, 1920s haori kimono jacket, with tree peonies and stripes. The upper lining has little flowers and haori are so beautifully made, with seams hidden even on the inside, that they can be reversible, so you can even wear it the other way to show off that beautiful silk lining.

When you photograph stripes you often get a moiré effect in the photo but, rather amusingly, this haori kimono jacket is actually cleverly printed with that moiré effect among the stripes as part of the pattern.

 

Here’s one last piece for now, the cream of the crop. I really love the colouring in the flowers on this kimono’s delicate shade of cream silk.

This and the garments I posted above are available at http://www.wafuku.co.uk

 


You can check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing a wonderful range of vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables. Discover the joy of wearable textile art.

 


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

haorisweeritao

Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress,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. 

 

#kimono #kimonos #vintageclothes #vintageclothing #vintage #haori #wafuku #hyperjapan #kimonodejack #wafuku

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Last Few Days

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

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 www.wafuku.co.uk  website because right now there is 15% of everything on the website but only for a few more days.

Kimonos

Hakama

Buddhist Items

Children’s garments for wear or display

and lots of lovely haori kimono jackets.

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

 


You can check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing a wonderful range of vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk


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

haorisweeritao

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.co.uk

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk 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 www.wafuku.co.uk  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…


Bags…


Cozy jackets…


More kimonos

 

 

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

 


You can check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing a wonderful range of vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.

www.wafuku.co.uk


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

haorisweeritao

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. 

Forget-Me-Nots & Beautiful Kimonos

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

Things outside are finally coming to life after the bleakness of winter. The trees are greening up and more and more flowers appearing. Where I live there is a big swathe of forget-me-nots just come into bloom. They cover a large area and look amazing. They also smell exquisite. If the weather is warmish and there is very little breeze, a beautiful, sweet scent rises up from them, sometimes wafting all the way over to the house. Last year was the first time they grew in such abundance there and the first time I realised that forget-me-nots had a fragrance. Unfortunately, they don’t look nearly as spectacular in photographs as they do in reality, photos just don’t do them  justice. There is a lawn in the garden that, in early Spring, is absolutely covered in crocus and looks amazing but it always looks pathetic in photos. The crocus are then replaced by masses and masses of daffodils all over it and again, although it looks fantastic in reality, it looks nothing much in photos. Anyway, here are a some photos of the forget-me-nots at my home.


The photos below show Satu Vaarre and her daughter wearing kimonos that they purchased from my wafuku.co.uk website, then took all the way to Japan to wear at Satu’s other daughter’s wedding in Kyoto. Satu’s black tomesode kimono has a scene with a magnificent temple in it, a temple that is also in Kyoto. Satu’s daughter’s kimono is a lovely warm brown shade of silk with painterly rocks with trees growing amongst them. Rocks, in Japan, are considered peaceful and contemplative.

They both look so natural in their kimono ensembles, as though they have been wearing kimonos all their lives. They both look fabulous.

I also rather like that the kimonos returned home to Japan once more, and were worn and appreciated again.

I was so pleased when Satu sent me these photos (and gave me permission to use them).  I have some of the nicest customers. They make me happy.


I came across this photo of one of my meisen silk haori. This was made way back when the fashion was for extra long haori with extra deep sleeves. Meisen silk is a bit like taffeta in texture. Meisen kimonos and haoris are becoming harder and harder to find in good condition and are now collectable garments.


 


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

www.wafuku.co.uk


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

haorisweeritao

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

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

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-back

kokeshi front.jpg

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


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.

yukata-times-%e2%98%86-poster


Tasuki
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 wafuku.co.uk 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.

tasuki

 


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

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

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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


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

haorisweeritao

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 www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

Wafuku.co.uk 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.

how-to-spend-it


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.

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

kimono-and-obidome-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

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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.

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

cat-obis

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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

haorisweeritao

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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. 

Cabinets, Kimonos and Celebrating the Topknot

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

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Magnificent, kimono shaped cabinets by the Californian artist, John Cederquist. His work is influenced by advertising, Japanese woodblocks and American cinema and animation. He creates vivid images using wood, wood inlay, stains and epoxy resin. These kimono shaped cabinets are from 2005. I covet them all.

Bluto's diner

Bluto’s Diner
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Big Fish

Big Fish
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Heavenly Victory

Heavenly Victory
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Double Fuji

Double Fuji
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Forrest Grows The Flying Fish

Forest Grows The Flying Fish
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Kosode That Built Itself

Kosode That Built Itself
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Mr Chips

Mr Chips
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Searchlight

Searchlight
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Skyways

Skyways
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Bluto's diner openc

Bluto’s Diner Partially Opened
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kimono cabinet open1

Bluto’s Diner Fully Opened

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Downton Abbey fans may have noticed that Lady Mary, in the UK television series, Downton Abbey, wears a lovely kimono as a robe. Whenever a show portrays the 1900s to 1930s, you tend to see a kimono being worn if a scene is called for with a woman wearing a robe.

I’m afraid my screenshots are rather fuzzy but they are the best I could capture.

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da5

da1

Another UK television show, Mapp & Lucia, based on the novels by E. F. Benson, has Lucia wearing a lovely kimono (see below). My screen grabs of it are even worse than the Downton Abbey one, as the scene with Lucia wearing it was in a room with low light, but you can see clearly enough that it is a little black beauty of a kimono. It is a lovely, old furisode kimono. Furisode are the ones with the ultra deep sleeves, a style worn in Japan by young, unmarried women on special occasions, such as to their graduation or to a wedding. Lucia’s is a lovely example of one from that era; it will have been very expensive, both when new and now.

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ml4 ml1 ml2

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Here is a handy little guide to kimono types and where they may be worn

kimono types - when to wear

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Shimada Mage is a Japanese Festival held in Shimada city around 19 September each year. It celebrates the topknot (chignon) hairstyle.

There are different theories about the origins of the Shimada Mage hair style: some say it was created by prostitutes working in the Shimada-juku inn district on the old Tokaido route to Edo, some suggest that it is the style used by the Kabuki actor Shimada Mankichi (1624-1643), others think that is the Japanese word Shimeta, in the sense of tied-up hair, became “Shimada” and others think that Tora Gozen, a native of Shimada, devised the style herself. Tora Gozen was a prostitute said to have been on good terms with Soga Juro Sukenari, the elder of the two brothers in the famous tale of Soga.
She is also depicted in Kabuki theater as Oiso no Tora, a key character in works such as Kotobuki no Taimen. In front of the Yakushiji Hall, in the grounds of Uda-ji temple in the Noda district of Shimada City, is a stone memorial known locally as “the grave of Tora Gozen”.

Shimada Mage is the most popular traditional Japanese hair style. It has been worn since the 13th century, but like the other Japanese hair styles, it developed mainly during the 18th century, as part of a wider blossoming of Japanese traditional culture.

Most of the information above is from the Shizuoka Gourmet website, where you will find more pictures and more information about this festival.

topknot kids

I wish I knew what the writing on their kimonos says.

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Above photo from Shizuoka Gourmet

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Traditional Japanese Wigs. A lovely, Japanese lady, whom I know on G+, attended a Japanese wig event, where she watched wigs being styled by a professional. In Japan, brides who wear traditional, Japanese wedding kimonos wear wigs to complete the look. Here are pictures of wigs created by the artisan at that event.

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Wax is combed through the hair, then it is tied and twisted into ornate designs.

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There are many variations of the style.

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Wigs are also worn by geisha (geisha are also called geiko in some areas). The trainee geisha, called maiko, who have very ornate hairstyles lavishly decorated with flowers and pins, don’t wear wigs but have their own hair styled and therefore have to sleep with their necks resting on uncomfortable little blocks, called takamakura (high pillow), so that their hair touches nothing as they sleep. When they paint their faces white, they leave a centimetre or so of skin pink and unpainted around the hairline. The two reasons are that it keeps the makeup and facial wax out of their hair and it reminds people looking at them that there is a real person hiding behind the doll like mask of makeup. Once the maiko graduates into a fully fledged geisha, she cuts her long hair and has wigs made instead. A geisha therefore wears her makeup over her entire face, under the edge of the wig, with no flesh colour showing around the edge, apart from the eri-ashi, which is the unpainted pattern of peaks or curves at the back of the neck. She usually has a widow’s peak at the front. A geisha can also sleep more comfortably because she just takes off her wig and sleeps with her head on a standard pillow, with no neck block required to raise the hair from being disturbed. She no longer has to go through the weekly, agonizing ordeal of having her hair restyled, she just gets her wigs regularly maintained instead.
Some geisha have a bald spot on the top of their scalps due to how tightly their own hair was pulled and tied when they had, as maiko, to keep their own hair styled. The constant tight pulling on the scalp gradually damages the follicles until, at that tightest spot on top, the hair ceases to grow. They tend to be rather proud and fond of this bald spot, as it marks their suffering for their art. Not all geisha have been maiko first, one has to be young to become a maiko, One might be a maiko for about 4 years but it depends when one starts. If older, the apprenticeship has to be shorter, if not young enough, one has to become a geisha without can become a geisha but not a maiko. Not surprisingly, it carries extra prestige for a geisha to have been a maiko first.

geiko geisha wig

Geisha in wigs

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Maiko Satoryu (left) and maiko Umesaya (right), by Michael Chandler on Flickr

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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

haorisweeritao

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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. 

Pretty Things & Helpful Tips

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Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk WordPress blog

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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.

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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.

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Here are the puppies close up…

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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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Seijin-No-Hi & Other Bits & Pieces

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu – A Very Happy New Year

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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We’ve had incredible winds here of over 100 miles per hour as Hurricane Katia reaches us here in Scotland. I hear there is even worse to come, so we’ll see. It’s frequently wet and windy in Scotland but it has been much wetter and windier than usual this year. I don’t know if it is anything to do with global warming or simply a natural cycle that happens every generation or whatever but the grey skies that have been close to constant since late summer have become depressing and make one reluctant to go outside. Scotland does not have great weather at the best of times but this has been much more severe than usual.

Below is a photograph, from http://www.sott.net, of a wind turbine in Ardrossan, not so very far from where I am, which burst into flames because of the force of the winds making it spin in the wrong direction.

Still, there has been relatively little damage, despite the roaring winds; the hut is in a bad way, a small amount of tile repair required on the roof, a huge tree came down in our adjacent little field and about 6 foot or so was blown off the tops of a few of the pines growing further down the field, where there is a small wood entirely of very tall pine trees. There are smallish branches, from the old trees surrounding the house, littering the place, the plant covered metal mesh arches have blown over, etc. but no drastic damage. An acquaintance’s car, in a tiny village about 3 miles from here, was flattened when a large tree fell on it but it was empty and parked outside his home when it happened.

There’s been some flooding in the town, which is in a valley, but my home is on a hill on the edge of the countryside, so is never going to flood.

When I think of Japan’s tsunami and other natural disasters around the world, I do admit we have been let off lightly.

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Seijin-no-Hi

January 10th was Seijin-no-Hi in Japan. Seijin-no-Hi is the Coming of Age Day when people who will have their 20th birthday in the present year all celebrate. The celebration begins by going to local government office, then to a shrine with their parents, then partying the rest of the day away with friends. Young women usually dress up in wafuku (traditional Japanese clothing) for the day, which means wearing a furisode kimono, which has exceedingly deep sleeves and beautiful patterns on it. Young men may wear wafuku too, with an ensemble of kimono, hakama and haori, though most seem to choose to wear yofuku (clothing that is not traditional Japanese clothing), usually a standard suit. Of those young men who do wear wafuku, some wear the more usual, formal ensembles, comprising montsuki kimono and haori in black and hakama with black and white or grey stripes, but some turn it up a notch and wear even more striking versions, with brightly coloured kimono and haori and hakama of bold patterns and gold brocade, sometimes seen with very contemporary hairstyles, such as spikey blonde styles etc. I love both the more sedate versions and these more gaudy ones and the mix of traditional and contemporary.

Tokyo Fashion as a blog post about Seijin-n-Hi in Tokyo so, as I’ve written about it before on this blog, you may want to visit theirs, as they have lots of lovely photos such as the one below.

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You can see more photos here on Akakusa Diary, which has, amongst others, the picture below, with young men in both contemporary and traditional clothes and both colourful (front left) and serene (front right) versions of the traditional outfit.

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Now for just a few of the furisode kimonos on my Wafuku.co.uk website

Floral Bands

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Rainbow Peacocks with Rhinestones

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Bouquets on Purple

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Soft yellow with Fabulous Flowers

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Bright Peacocks & Rhinestone Details

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Detail on Bright Peacocks & Rhinestone Details

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Furisode Kimonos

Furisode means ‘swinging sleeves’ and there are three styles of furisode kimono, all only worn by young, umarried women:

type 1 – Ko-Furisode: the shortest sleeved furisode, with sleeves that are around 85cm in length, one might wear a ko furisode, for example, with hakama for a graduation ceremony

type 2 – Chu-Furisode: a furisode with sleeves that are around 100cm in length. “Chu” means “medium”.

Type 3 – Oh-Furisode: “oh” means big, therefore oh-furisode means big, swinging sleeves, with the longest sleeves of all the furisode type kimonos. Oh-furisode have sleeves of 114 – 115cm. This is the type that would be worn for Seijin-no-Hi. all the kimonos shown above are oh-furisode.

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3D paintings

Check out the 3D paintings by Riusuke Fukahori; he paints a layer, pours on thick layer clear lacquer, paints on that and repeats the process  until done. You can see pictures of his work here on the www.thisiscolossal.com design website, as well as a short film of him doing the work.

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Snow Monsters

It is worth having a look at these trees covered in snow and rime ice in Japan, known as “snow monsters”. You can see one photo below and lots more here on the Pink Tentacle website.

Japan’s Snow Monsters

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I really like this photograph from tokyotimes.org 

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wishing you all the best for 2012

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Furoshiki, Fukusa & Oriental Eyes

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Japanese Furoshiki – the multifunctional cloth
Furoshiki are Japanese wrapping cloths. Typically, the Japanese tie these cloths in a variety of very clever ways to wrap gifts and make bags and suitcases. When it comes to folding and tying, no one does it better than the Japanese.

The 2 pictures below are from an instructional video clip here

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You can see how to tie a bag like the one below in the Kakefuda Kyoto Famous Furoshiki Store’s  instructional video clip here

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Got a laptop like the one below to wrap or something the same shape? Check out the instructional video clip here

You can find those clips and more here.

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For printed instructions, check  out the following pictures. Click them for enlargements, which open in a new window…

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Here are some of my furoshiki

Two large, silk furoshiki

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Fukusa

Another item the Japanese use to cover gifts is the fukusa, like the ones shown below. Fukusa are also used at tea ceremonies. Traditionally in Japan, gifts were placed in a box or on a wooden or lacquered tray, over which a fukusa was draped. The choice of a fukusa appropriate to the occasion was an important part of the gift-giving ritual. The practice of covering a gift became widespread during the Edo or Tokugawa period (1615–1867).

Fukusa, unlike furoshiki, do not get tied, they are just laid over the item. The one above, on the left, is woven from gold lacquer coated thread, with a design of oshidori (madarin ducks) and ume (plum blossom) and the tassels are in the form of minokame (turtles with a trail of algae behind them). The type on the right is often given with wedding gifts; the kanji on it, called kotobuki, can be translated both as congratulations and as longevity.

The antique silk fukusa above has fabulous, deeply couched, golden embroidery in the centre, in the form of a mon (crest); this mon is sasa (bamboo). This will have been an extremely expensive fukusa when new.

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The fukusa above has flying cranes, which represent longevity and loyalty.

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These fukusa are in the form of wallets, the grey one is given to someone in mouring and the golden one would be given as a wedding gift. They would be given with money in them.

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You also get fukusa like the one shown in the picture above, with a little bone or plastic button, which often come complete with a lacquered tray inside. You sometimes see these ones with Buddhist scripture all over them.

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Oriental Eyes

I absolutely love the Japanese eyes, with their lovely almond shape and single eyelid but many Japanese people prefer the oxidental eyes with the double eyelid. They feel it makes the eyes look bigger. Sadly, this has led to many having cosmetic surgery to give them double eyelids that crease in the middle like oxidental ones, which also tends to reduce the lovely almond shape. A less drastic solution is the one you see below in the video clip, showing some fluid that is applied to the lower part of the eyelid, making it slightly rigid when it dries, forcing it to crease when the eye opens and therefore look like double eyelids. It gives the folding eyelid without destroying the lovely almond shape and it is not permanent. Assuming the stuff being applied is harmless, I hope this catches on more than cosmetic surgery, as it means they don’t lose their beautiful oriental eyes and can choose to go back to their natural look at any time. I’m not anti cosmetic surgery at all, I just love oriental eyes and envy those with them and I hate to think of anyone with them permanently destroying their own natural eye appearance.

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