Otakon…  Friday was when busiest day, so this post is mostly about it. I procrastinated so long with this post, I don’t remember too much of the weekend, but Friday had the most kimono, so that’s what I’ve written about. Sorry for the wait!

When I got into the dealer’s room, I immediately went on the hunt for kimono. The first booth I ended up at was Yokodana Kimono. They had a great selection of kimono, nagajuban, haori, and men’s kimono, all at a flat $55 (not bad for the quality of the pieces that they had). The woman running the booth was a sweet, older Japanese woman with whom I can only assume was her husband.  They were both very helpful and very nice. I bought my men’s kuromontsuki kimono with awesome asanoha crests there.

Men's Kuromontsuki Kimono

The woman loved my ensemble (this one) and was impressed by my knowledge of kimono. So how did she know I knew so much about kimono? Well, I ended up hanging out at their booth for quite some time helping other customers, to the point where other people thought I worked there. While I was helping out, I met Jennifer, a very nice (I hope she doesn’t mind me saying) 46 year-old woman. She was eyeing up a beautiful kuro-tomesode with a large, gold,  fully embroidered design of chrysanthemums and something else… I explained to her what is was and she ended up buying it along with an amazing blue tsukesage with Heian noble people. I told her that she was going to need some more things to have a complete ensemble and that I would help her get everything. So off we went on what would come to be a rather expensive adventure. Our next stop was Kyoto Kimono. This booth was run by who I believe to be Nancy McDonough (from the business card) and her daughter. Nancy was very nice and her daughter had taken some older haori and given them new life by painting some fabulous designs on them which I thought at first were original to the pieces. While we were there, Jennifer picked out a lovely green fukuro obi with painted calligraphic designs (she has a real eye for coordination) for her kuro-tomesode.  While we browsed the store, I continued helping random people in the store and picked up an adorable pair of children’s tabi for my nephew. I found an amazingly long vintage haori while I was there, but at $60, I decided to wait until we hit up the rest of the kimono vendors. But I eventually got it along with an amazing men’s juban, and Nancy gave me $20 for bringing business into the store lol. Here are my purchases:

Vintage Men's Black Haori with Scenery and Gourds

Men's Nagajuban with Shibori Birds

While we were there, we met up with Rachel (Tzipurrah on the IG Forums) and her boyfriend Collin who joined us on our adventure. Rachel wore a stylish vintage komon (lined!!!) with an amazingly elegant white nagoya obi and light blue accessories (this outfit) and Collin wore a very nice blue and brown men’s set (with haori! they’re insane)

Link to their picture.

Next stop was Arise Bazaar.  We didn’t get anything there because, honestly, their prices were absolutely ridiculous. Seriously, your at a convention. No one is going to drop $250 on a vintage juban which I have seen multiples of while scouring eBay. I didn’t think their service was that nice either. So on to the last stop, Wolfhome Adventuring Outfitters. The owner, also Jennifer, was very welcoming and later indulged us by showing us two Meiji era pieces which were a real treat to see. She said she only shows them to people who “know their stuff.” Jennifer picked out a white and gold obi-jime suitable for her kuro-tomesode without any sort of guidance from anyone. I was more than impressed by her intuition in picking up on such an obscure detail. She must have been Japanese in a past life. Rachel found a lovely purple and pinkish iro-tomesode, but had to resist due to the price.  Rachel and Collin went off to meet us later for dinner and to meet up with Elena (YukoIchihara on IG), and Jennifer and I headed back  to Yokodana kimono to get her a nagajuban. After much discussion, we picked out a white and pink nagajuban with bonus chikara nuno already attached! Now, with (mostly) complete ensemble in hand, we went to meet up with Rachel again.  Rachel and I did a quick kitsuke job on Jennifer with koshi-himo made from Rachel’s con badge lanyard and a bunko musubi since we didn’t have a makura to make a taiko musubi with. Here are the results:

Jennifer Otakon 2011 1

Pretty good for such an impromptu and ghetto dressing! And so we said goodbye to Jennifer, who sadly couldn’t make it out to dinner with us. Collin drove us all to Sushi Hana (which was so nice of him!) The waitresses at Sushi Hana for some unknown reason wore light blue kimona and matching “obi” which I can sort of understand, since they carry around food, but I would think that there could be some better way of doing it. But that didn’t take away from the AWESOME sushi we had and the great atmosphere. We didn’t get as many strange looks as I thought we would, considering the restaurant isn’t actually in Baltimore, and we didn’t have the “we’re at a convention” excuse. Over the course of Thursday and Friday night, I dressed up all the girls. You can see them in this set in my Flickr. The ones at the end are of me.