wafuku

5 vs 4, New Furoshki and Kawaii Buses

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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

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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.

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

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on my wafuku.co.uk website.

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A few furoshiki tying examples (lots more here).

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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.

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I especially love that particular cat and the steam train.

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

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Even Thomas The Tank Engine made it to Japan.

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A nice variety of animals.

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You don’t get more kawaii than Hello Kitty.

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That whale is great.

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

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There had to be a bear.

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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.

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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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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. 

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Signs of Spring & the Beauty of Blossom

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Signs Of Spring.
Spring has arrived, although here in my part of Scotland, no one told the weather. Plants, however, are coming to life. The crocus lawn is a carpet of purple and white, with occasional bursts of yellow crocus too. Snowdrops are everywhere, primroses are out and primula add a cheering splash of colour in the bleak, pretty bare garden. Anemones are also popping up here and there. The clematis and honeysuckle have visible signs of leaf growth too.

In Japan, one of the signs of spring is ume, which is plum blossom, also known as Japanese apricot. The plum tree is associated with hope and longevity because it is the first tree to flower, while winter still holds sway, and it is the longest-lived fruit tree. The flowers on the trees come in shades of white, pink and red. In February and March, depending on the area, they have Ume Matsuri (Plum Blossom Festivals) in Japan. The plum blossom in Japan is not like the blossom that my plum tree produces, which is sparse coverage of tiny, barely visible, white flowers. The plum blossom in Japan that I speak of is glorious, richly coloured, fragrant, plump and colourful flowers with long stamen. Ume is a very popular motif in Japanese fine art, graphic design and textile art.

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Ume

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In Japanese art and in Japanese mon (crests), the flowers are often simplified and stylised and three different flowers, in particular, can look very similar in Japan: plum blossom is drawn with rounded petals and often, though not always, it will also have the long stamen, cherry blossom has a little indent at the top of each petal and balloon flower has a little point at the top of the petal. You can see what I mean in the following examples of Japanese mon (crests).

Ume (plum blossom).

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Sakura (cherry blossom).

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Kikyo (bellflower. Sometimes spelled Kikyou).

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Ume patterened haori (Japanese kimono jacket)

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Simplified ume design on a black silk haori.

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Stylised ume on a silk kimono.

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Hanami.
Hanami means flower viewing and from the end of March to early May the Japanese celebrate the beauty of the many, many ornamental cherry trees in Japan. The range of time is due to the fact that the blossoming time for cherry trees varies, depending on where in Japan you are.  Japanese people celebrate hanami with picnics  and parties under the blossoming trees. The flowers are a sign of spring and their extreme beauty is greatly appreciated and prized in Japan as is the ephemeral nature of it all.

The cherry blossom is the flower of the samurai, so chosen because it is strong and beautiful in life but that life can be short and the blossom dies gracefully while still young and seemingly in its prime, as samurai had to be prepared to do. Samurai strove to understand the nature of life and death by meditating on the blossom of the cherry tree. Its blossom is, “strong within, but gentle without.”

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Hanami was originally plum blossom (ume) viewing, during the Nara period (719-794)  they were actually the preferred flower in Japan, but cherry blossom (sakura) took over and by the Heian era (794–1185) it had come to always mean sakura. The appearance of the cherry blossom was used to calculate the year’s harvest and the time for rice planting.

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There are many complex rules to kimono wearing, including what designs may be worn at certain times of year. Cherry blossom may be worn just before the trees come into blossom and, once the trees are in flower, one should no longer wear cherry blossom pattern but can wear a pattern of blossoms with falling petals. The design on the clothing should show what is imminent, not be competing with the real thing. When the petals are falling, one no longer wears cherry blossom design on the kimono. This is the case with many flowers, though there are just a few and a few combinations that one may wear all year round.

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Sakura motif kimono

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Close up

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Falling sakura petals

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Chikanobu_Yoshu-Chiyoda_Palace-Hanami Party

Palace Hanami Party by Chikanobu Yoshu

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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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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. 

Hina Matsuri – Japan’s Dolls’ Day

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Just a quick post about Hina Matsuri, since 03 March is upon us again.
Hina Matsuri is Dolls’ Day (it used to be called Girls’ Day) and is an annual doll festival in Japan. It is celebrated each year on 3rd March. Platforms covered in red are used to display a set of  dolls representing the Emperor and Empress, attendants, musicians and, two ministers, all in Heian era clothing, plus specific accessories. Many displays do not show the full set of figures and accessories, some may only have the Emperor and Empress.
Hina Matsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi (doll floating), in which straw dolls were set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them.

The magnificent set below is in a picture from www.tokyoezine.com

Hina-Matsuri-Japan-Dolls-Set

I rather like these bunny versions

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and this cute rat Empress (rats are often thought more kindly of in Japan and I rather like most types of rodent)

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and whatever the celebration or motif, you will find a bento version

hina matsuri bento

You can find out more about Hina Matsuri on Wikipedia, here

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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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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. 

Origami & Miniature Wafuku

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I found some nice origami online.
It is by Sipho Mabona, from Switzerland. He has plans to fold a life sized elephant but, in the meantime, there is some of his work from here. I especially like the spectrum of carp.

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origami-2

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And here is a quite different style of paper folding.
These are by Kota Hiratsuka. I’m not so fond of these works but it is interesting to see a different style of paper folding.

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Next we have folded metal, rather than paper.
This work is by Joel Cooper. You can see more  here.

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I recently watched the television series M*A*S*H again, having previously seen it in the 70s.
It took me way back. I am still fond of the character Radar O’Reilly and, when that character left the series, it brought a tear to my eye.  The characters in that show sometimes went on leave to Japan, so, now and then, kimonos or happi were seen on them. I grabbed some pictures…

I do love purple kimonos.

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A burgundy beauty.

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Even Corporal Klinger couldn’t resist.

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Hotlips in a happi.

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The Major, in striped silk.

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I thought I would show you one of my many, many obis.
This one, a Nagoya obi, is made of a beautiful, rich red, rinzu silk. It has a lovely sheen and a woven design of grapes and vines.

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You can see the fabric in detail here.

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Below is one of my silk kimonos.
This is a komon kimono, which means it has an all-over, repeat pattern and is intended for everyday wear. From afar, it looks quite unassuming but, close up, it has a delightful pattern of interiors and nobles.

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Japanese textiles.
I have quite a lot of Japanese textiles. The first one below is a bolt (tan) of very fine wool textile, for making a woman’s kimono. It has a lovely, simple but striking design of pines, a very popular motif in Japan.

pinewooltex

This next one is a bolt of silk, for making a naga-juban (underwear kimono). The painterly print of blue pandas is very sweet.

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Miniature hifu.
This is a miniature hifu that I have. I don’t know if it is a tailor’s sample or made for a doll. It is only 26cm from top to bottom. It is beautifully made, complete with lining. This miniature garment is very old, though I don’t know an exact date. Its two press studs are rather tarnished and some of the thread has perished on each press stud, though the hifu  itself and its stitching shows no signs of perishing.

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A hifu is a garment of the type a young girl would wear over her deep sleeved kimono. You can tell it would be worn by  a young girl because they wear kimonos with extra deep sleeves and they have tucks stitched into the shoulders of their garments. Many modern hifu are sleeveless. You see them on 3 year old girls the Shichi-Go-San celebration each year, a celebration of girls aged 3 and 7 and boys aged 3 and 5.

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I wish I could read the text on that label but I cannot read Japanese, however, a Japanese lady translated it for me, saying, “Girl use, Yotsum (how to make), Hifu (over coat). It also has the name of the Japanease dressmaker, Masako Ito,  and a mark of inspection proof to show it is a garment that has passed inspection”. The lady who translated it for me says she believes it is a hifu for a high quality ichimatsu doll, which seems very likely.

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I also have some some tiny hakama. I have two red hakama, in woman’s style…

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and a few in men’s style too.

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I also have some miniature, cute, ornate, girl’s pokkuri geta.

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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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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. 

Pretty Things & Helpful Tips

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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…

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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.

ikinoren

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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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. 

It Has Been So Long – Where To Begin?

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Happy New Year – The Year of the Horse, in Japan.
I altered my geisha logo (seen above) just slightly, to mark the occasion.

horseyear

It is so long since I added anything to this blog that everyone must have thought I had abandoned it completely. I don’t know where all the time went.

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I thought I would show you this antique kimono.
It is a very old cotton one, with a sort of meisen-like print, by which I mean that the outlines of the pattern on it are made to look as though they slightly bleed out, as though they are created by weaving thread that is died in multiple colours and woven to make the a pattern develop, like in meisen silk kimonos and kasuri ones. This kimono’s pattern is printed, though, not woven into it.

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I really like this kimono and think I will keep it for myself and not put it on my site for sale. The last thing I need is yet another kimono for myself but I especially love it and will never get another like it. I’m still a little undecided.

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Obidome
An obidome is a piece of jewellery made to be worn at the centre front of an obi, slipped onto the obijime (the narrow cord tied around the centre of an obi). The obijime cord is usually threaded through loops on the back of the obidome. The obidome and some hair accessories (kanzashi) are, traditionally, the only jewellery one is supposed to wear with a kimono ensemble.
Obidome are made from many materials, some very precious, such as gold and other metals, some from wood, bamboo, coral, resin and such, some with precious and semi precious stones, enamels etc. Some antique ones are made from tortoiseshell or ivory but these are no longer used to make them.
The photos below show some examples of obidome and a maiko wearing one. Maiko wear especially large obidome, geisha/geiko do not wear them and other women usually wear smaller ones. The maiko’s obidome is very valuable, worth many thousands of pounds.

obidome 2
The obidome in the picture above and immediately below are very, very expensive ones. None is mine, just pictures friends gave me so I could drool enviously over them

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The obidome in the picture below are mine and currently on my website.

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The piece of jewellery worn on an obijime is called an obidome but an obijime with an obidome on it is also just called an obidome. The obijime’s knot is usually worn at the front of the obi but, when an obidome is worn on it, the obijime is tied at the back, with its knot hidden inside the obi’s large, rear knot.

Below you can see pictures of the back of an obidome (it’s the embroidered one above) and of a Maiko wearing a huge obidome. Maiko’s obidome are frighteningly expensive. They tend to be the most expensive item she is wearing and, considering her kimono costs tens of thousands of pounds, it is scary how much their obidome are worth.

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KitKat in Japan
KitKat biscuits are very popular in Japan, where they get many, many flavours we never see in the West. A lot of them seasonal, so may only be available at certain times of the year and some others may come and go, never to be seen again. Many flavours remain constantly available.
One odd one I came across today is Cheese KitKats.

cheeseKK

KitKats are so popular in Japan and with such a huge variety of flavours that a KitKat store has just opened in Tokyo, selling nothing but KitKats. You can get an idea of the vast variety here on Pinterest, where many pictures have been posted by Jane Lawson.

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Picture via Jane Lawson. on Pinterest

I am not usually an enormous fan of KitKats, I don’t mind them but don’t crave them, but I would try them all, just out of curiosity, and be bound to find one I loved.

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Three Men and a Banner
I recently saw a re-run of the film, Three Men and a Baby on television and noticed that one character had bedding, cushions and a fancy headboard made using a boy’s day banner. Those banners are huge. The one you see laid out in the bottom picture was one of mine and measures 650.0 cm (255.9 in.) in length. I sold that one but I have, at time of writing, a smaller one on my website and a couple of extremely long rolls of the textile too.
The quilt cover in the movie is white with a strip of banner textile up the centre. I am not sure if that textile is colour fast enough to stand up well to frequent washing but a strip of it would look fantastic just laid down the centre of a bed, rather than actually sewn onto the duvet cover.

3 men and a banner

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I will stop here for now and, hopefully, not leave it quite so long before coming back to post more.

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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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Please note that any advertisement shown below my post is put there by WordPress.

I am not responsible for whatever is advertised and do not back whatever product or service is being advertised.

Ichimatsu & More

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From tan to kimono

One of my customers, Ms Walker, bought some tan (bolts of textile specifically woven for kimonos, also called tanmomo) and had a kimono maker tailor them up for her. Her kimonos are beautiful and I am very grateful that she allowed me to post photos of them here.

The first shows a grey one,  a wool kimono, very simple and elegant. I like her choice of obi, with its broad, black band, echoing the bands on the kimono.

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The second shows a wonderful ichimatsu kimono. Ms Walker looks absolutely stunning. Her obi is a lovely choiceof both colour and design to go with the bold, geometric design of the kimono.

isolde kimono 2013

Ichimatsu is a popular design on traditional Japanese clothing; it is a checkerboard pattern, named after the kabuki actor, Ichimatsu Sanogawa, from the Edo era. When he wore hakama with thchecked design, it quickly became a fashionable pattern. It then became his trademark pattern. There is a type of doll named after Ichimatsu too, they were originally dolls that looked like him but eventually evolved into dolls of children, so we no longer think of an ichimatsu doll being one that is modelled on that actor.
Many patterns that became fashionable among the general public came from kabuki actors.
The photo below shows one of the  geisha’s obi from my www.wafuku.co.uk website, with black and silver ichimatsu pattern.

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This spectacular kimono, with forest and mountain design, is a wonderful example of Japanese textile art.

misty forest kimono

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Talking of Japanese textile art

Check out this amazing bolt of silk, with huge fish (perhaps red snapper) on it. Woven to make a naga- juban, underwear kimono.

purp red snapper bolt womens juban or haori

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Skate Booties

My daughter bought herself some of these Jeffrey Campbell skate booties, which are particularly popular in Japan.

skatebooties  jeffreycampbell

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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

Forgotten Kimonos, Yakuza Hanten & Japanese Manners

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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

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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.

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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

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Spectacular Ships Tomesode Kimono

big ship kimono

Detail of the ship

big ship detail

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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

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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

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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.

HANTEN COAT  SHIMIZU NO JIROCHO

A photogtaph of Shimizu No Jirocho

Shimizu No Jirocho photo

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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

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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.

bbkimonotrousers1

The Big Bang Theory Penny

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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

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More Japanese Haori Jackets & How To Tie A Haori Himo

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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

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Japanese haori are long jackets, with deep, kimono style sleeves, designed to be worn on top of a kimono, though they are fabulous when worn over western world style clothes, like jeans or dresses. Women’s haori can be particularly beautiful, often with fabulous, Japanese textile art on them. They are not worn with an obi, though they do look great when cinched in with a belt or sash. They are usually fastened very loosely with a pair of ties called a himo, which is normally bought separately from the haori. Men’s himo are usually hooked onto the haori and unhooked to  open it, rather than untied, though one can just untie the himo instead. Women’s himo are usually looped onto the haori and tied each time it is worn. Below you can see some examples of haori and, above those, instructions showing how to tie women’s himo, then how to tie men’s himo, as each gender ties theirs differently.

How to tie a woman’s haori himo

HIMO-INSTRUCTIONS - womens

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How to tie a man’s haori himo

tying a man's himo

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Now some examples of women’s and men’s haori from my www.wafuku.co.uk website, where you can also see hundreds more

Women’s

1920s red haori

1920s red haori

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Geometric  design haori, worn with a sash, with western world clothes

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Lacy print haori

Lacy print haori

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fabulous bird haori

Fabulous bird design haori

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All hand done shibori (intricate tie dye) haori

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1920s purple haori

1920s purple haori

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Pink butterflies galore haori

Butterflies galore haori

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Pink with mums haori

Pink haori with chrysanthemums

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haoris with western world clothing

Examples of haori worn with western world clothing

Men’s haori

Men’s haori differ from women’s; the sleeves are attached to the body either all the way down the inner edge or all but an inch or so down. This is to match their kimonos. The sleeves of men’s kimonos are the same, whereas women’s kimono and haori sleeves swing loose and unattached at the body edge for a lot of their depth, this is because women wear very deep obis, so the sleeves have to be able to hang over them, whereas men wear much narrower obis and wear them lower down, so their sleeves do not get in the way and can be attached to the body of their garments all the way down.

Another difference with men’s kimonos and haoris is that they tend to be very subdued in pattern and colour. A long, long time back, the nobles and samurai got somewhat annoyed that so many rich merchants of lower class were able to afford and wear very ornate, ostentatious clothing, showing up the poorer of the samurai and upper classes and not allowing the richer ones to stand out, so a law was passed banning men who were neither samurai nor noblemen from wearing ornate clothing. This led the lower classes to adopt what was known as hidden beauty, putting fabulous textile designs on the linings of their haoris and on their naga-juban underwear kimonos. In time this made them feel superior and more classy, as their beautiful textiles were less flaunted but still there. You can see examples of that hidden beauty on the linings of some of the men’s haori below

3 geisha men's haori

3 geisha lining, men’s haori

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Galloping horse men's haori

Galloping horse lining, men’s haori

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Airy ro silk men's summer haori, with bamboo mon (crests)

Airy ro silk men’s summer haori, with bamboo mon (crests)

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Shunga (traditional Japanese erotic art) lining men's haori

Shunga (traditional Japanese erotic art) lining, men’s haori

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Japanese woman lining

Japanese woman lining, men’s haori

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Beautiful scenes lining, men's haori

Beautiful scenes lining, men’s haori

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Simi-e (ink and wash) lining, men's haori

Simi-e (ink and wash art) lining, men’s haori

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Woman with scroll lining, men's haori

Woman with scroll lining, men’s haori

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Another shunga (traditional Japanese erotic art) lining, men's haori

Another shunga (traditional Japanese erotic art) lining, men’s haori

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Donsu lining men's haori

 Fabulous scenery, on donsu lining, men’s haori.

Donsu linings have the design woven into the silk and haori with them are known as donpa haori

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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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