Category: Cultural Events

Back in the beginning of April, the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department at my school had its annual “Spring Fling.” I did a whole kimono demo last year, but to save on time this year and do something different, I did a fukura suzume musubi demo. My friend Mariah volunteered to be my model. I dressed her in kimono behind the scenes, and then just did the obi for the demo. It was actually my first time tying fukura suzume, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I had to reference my book a few times though. At one point I had to have my teacher come over and hold the tesaki while I tied the obi-jime cause I didn’t have enough hands! I’m also jealous how well this kimono fits my friend haha. I didn’t get to wear kimono because as soon as I was done, I had to run to class. =/

四月四日East Asian Languages and Literaturesっていう学部はSpring Flingっていうパーティーをしました。去年着物デモをまるごとしたけど、今年違うのにして、ふくら雀デモをしました。Mariahっていう友達はボランティアのモデルでした。じかんがなくて、デモの前に着せて、デモのために帯しか結ばなかったのです。実はふくら雀を結ぶのが初めてだったので、見た目がよかったとおもいます。本を何度か見なくてはなりませんでしたけどね。私の手だけ足りなかったから、先生が手伝わなければ一人でできなかったのです!その先すぐ授業があったから、着物を着れてしまわなかったのです。





Spring Fling 2

Spring Fling 3

spring fling 2013  kanisawa


Spring Fling 1




How did I do? ^_^


Sorry for the lack of posts everyone! I have a few that I’ll be doing soon. I’m just kind of doing the ones I want to do right now, so the events that I’m writing about will be slightly out of order. These two events happened on the same weekend, so I’m putting these two together.

We’ll start with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU – a univeristy down the street from my own) Matsuri.  There were some great live performances and a ton of different Japanese foods. I had okonomiyaki, my favorite! My friends and I went down in a group, and I decided the weather would be perfect for my blue wool ensemble. When we got there, we saw two of my Japanese teachers, Tomoda-sensei and Otani-sensei. Tomoda-sensei took some pictures for us:

CMU Matsuri
Everyone ^_^

CMU Matsuri
My ensemble.

I really need to make or buy white haori-himo, but a random and very short shoelace worked just fine, if not a little tacky.

The next was Pitt’s Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) at which I had a table where I dressed up anyone who wanted to in kimono. I had a few different outfits to choose from. No guy did it, but I had several girls who were very excited to get dressed up.










My kouhai Liv


My other kouhai Gina

Two ladies at the table beside me were doing calligraphy for  people. I got to speak to them in Japanese, something I don’t get to do much with people who aren’t my teachers. They wrote “hikari kimono” for me and it’s beautiful. They are very talented.

This event was really tiring, but spreading the kimono love makes it fun! ^_^


Kimono Demo for Pitt JCA

Back in October, I did a kimono demo for the Japan Culture Association. I dressed a fellow Japanese student, Loren. Since it was near October, I dressed her in my usual Halloween ensemble. Everyone really seemed to like the demo, and I got a bunch of questions afterwards.







Italian Class Halloween

I’m so sorry everyone for being away for so long! With school having started back up again, I’ve been rather busy, but I have a few things to write about which I’ll hopefully get to this weekend!

Even though we weren’t really affected by it here in Pittsburgh, except for several days of rain, due to Hurricane Sandy here on the East coast, the mayor pushed Halloween back until this Saturday, so more on that later.  But for Halloween, my Italian class was supposed to dress up as something that reminds you of Italy. My teacher is just facinated that my friend Shay and I are Japanese majors, and she likes to make examples out of us in class often. So for Halloween, she asked me if I could dress her up in kimono for class, which I was more than happy to do.  She was just so excited all week to be a professoressa di giapponese, which made me very happy!  She realted it to Italy because Madam Butterfly is one of her favorite operas. Choosing to forgo the extra credit, Shay and I dressed up in kimono too.  I got to wear my casual men’s kimono I got at Otakon, and I went with the Meiji-esque collared shirt underneath (I still need some casual hakama for it to look right). I dressed my professor in front of the class, and I was glad to see they seemed quite intrigued.  We also got Italian goodies and class let out early, so that was really nice too. lol



Otakon 2012

I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long; I was preparing for Otakon for the month and a half prior.  But I have a few posts to make up for it. Friday was cosplay day, and I dressed up as Mori Ranmaru from Pokemon Conquest. I’ll do another blog post about that later.  Friday was pretty chill, I bought a new men’s gray tsumugi so now I have some casual men’s wear.  Rachel, Collin, and I went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, and of course I had to have the general Tsao’s; how else do you judge a Chinese restaurant?


For dinner, I went to a pretty authentic Irish restaurant called Tir Na Nog in the Inner Harbor with my friend Cooper. It’s really nice and is on the second story, overlooking the harbor. I got fish and chips and we caught the opening ceremony of the Olympics. We sat there in awe, it was just amazing! Afterwards, I made Cooper do an impromptu photoshoot for me by the fountain.  Looking at the pictures now, I was a tad disheveled, but hey, we were walking around in 9o° F+ weather. I’m still really happy with them.






Saturday was our big day!  9:30-11:30AM workshop was a huge success! We got about a 40-50 person turn out.  The models were so happy to be dressed up, which made me really happy. We did men’s kimono with hakama, women’s yukata, women’s informal (komon with nagoya obi), and women’s kurotomesode with fukuro. If you were at the workshop, tell us how we did in the comments, and tell us what you would like to see or have us change about it for next year! Any feedback is greatly appreciated!




Then, we had the pleasure of helping people dress; it was a lot of fun! I got to speak to man who was a JET; just what I want to do! so that was really nice. I also got to talk to a guy who worked in Japan, and I loved listening to his stories as well. While I was helping the guys, Rachel was helping out the girls.



Then I went off with my friend Cooper for a photoshoot with his friends/cosplay group. They did Hitman cosplays, which admittedly, I know next to nothing about. I more or less took pictures for him, and I got some pics of the Zelda photoshoot beside us while I was at it. And I got some Assassin’s Creed for my friend.







We visited my favorite vendor, Yokodana Kimono, before he headed off for our big dinner. I just love these two; they are wonderful.


Dinner was a blast, and the food was great. I was so happy to see everyone have such a good time.




Rachel, Collin, and my sushi boat.


And then mochi icecreaaammmmm!!! Red bean (my favorite) and green tea!



Once we were back at the hotel, I had Jean take some pictures for me.





And Izzy’s rave outfit.


I just went and hung around the convention a little more, then went to hang out with Cooper for the night.
Sunday was pretty chill, no cosplay or kimono. That’s it for now! I have a few more posts I’m working on, and school will be starting soon, so I’ll be able to pay more attention to the blog again.

Pitt Spring Fling 2012

Several weeks ago, my college’s Asian Studies Department put on a party for students of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. I of course did a kimono demonstration. When I asked for volunteers, my friend Jamie’s hand shot up first. Now, you may remember Jamie; she was with me on our trip to Otakon, so I was really relieved, since I already had experience dressing her:

Jamie in Dance Kurotomesode

Jamie in dance kuro-tomesode

I wore my Meiji outfit again, which garnered some questions from Takabatake-sensei, who was very shocked to learn I get all my kimono from eBay.

Excuse the picture quality, my friend was able to snap some shots with his phone, and I forgot to tell someone to be the paparazzi for me. I should see if any of my teachers have pictures.



Spring Fling 2012
Done! I was dying of heat by the end. lol But I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.

Juunihitoe Dressing

On Oct 6th, I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something I thought I’d never do.  The Japan American Society of Pennsylvania brought in two wonderful ladies from Japan who are actually quite well known. Their day job is to dress people in traditional Japanese dress for weddings, which is a service widely provided, due to the fact that kimono has fallen out of fashion and most Japanese people don’t know how to dress in kimono.  If you have enough money, however, you can be dressed in much more than the standard men’s kuromontsuki-haori-hakama and the women’s uchikake.  Some people spring for something much much older: Heian Era dress (794 – 1185 CE). Known best for the Tale of Genji and being the Golden Age of Japan, it’s also known for the elaborate dress the women wore.  Normally called juunihitoe (十二単)(lit. 12 unlined robes), the day-to-day version was formally called itsutsu-karaginu-mo (五衣唐衣裳) which refers to the five normal layers, the Chinese-style over-garment, and the long train. My friend Mizuki got to wear that (and I did afterwards) but I wore what’s called a Noushi (直衣). The outfits they brought were silk, even though they had synthetic ones, because the silk ones were lighter. I don’t know if I’d put that much trust in the US airline baggage system. Oh and my outfit was worth $10,000 and hers was worth $30,000.  Anyways, here are the pictures:


The beautiful kimono and hakama.





Then people got to try on the twelve layers.

Me with the dressers.


I really hope that everyone who organized it, Katsuko-sensei who asked me if I wanted to do it, and the wonderful ladies who have me the opportunity to do this know how much it meant to me.

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.

Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival

I was informed by Hepkitty on the IG Forums about the Dragon Boat Festival here in Pittsburgh. In years past, Heptkitty and Souso have had an informational booth down at the festival about kimono, but this year, Hepkitty will be unable to make it, so she told us to email the coordinator of the event, Arlene, about doing something this year. Arlene was very nice and offered us a chance to do a demonstration as well as have a booth. So this year, IG member Naoko and I (and maybe some others) will be there in our kimono spreading the love of wafuku! Come join us on Saturday, September 17th at South Side Riverfront Park (next to the Birmingham Bridge) for fun, food, kimono, and other Asian-related events and demonstrations! All relevant information can be found here:

I got this kimono while I was away at Otakon using a sniping service. I didn’t expect to win it because kimono with this type of technique tend to get quite pricey as well as the fact that the motif is rather well loved, especially on the IG Forums.  The auction photos showed this kimono as white, so I was kind of disappointed when it arrived and it was light beige. I still really love this kimono though. The fabric is strange; I think it’s chirimen, only very flimsy and it has a rough texture. It’s kind of strange to dress in for this reason. I was trying to make due with the obi I had, so I thought this one was best. I tried black, but it looked strange, because the sumi-e isn’t black at any point, just a really dark gray. This was one of my first obi and I love it, so I’m glad that I finally have a kimono to pair with it. I tried black accessories at first, the changed to red cause the black didn’t look right again. I feel like red was a safe choice though. What color accessories would you choose? Depending on the weather, and because this is my only fitting kimono with a water motif, I think I’ll wear this to the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. If it’s too cold by then, I think I’ll wear my stippled komon I mentioned in my first post.

Here’s the auction photo:

Houmongi with Sumi-e Nami-Chidori

Here’s the obi:

Fukuro Obi with Abstract Pattern

Here is with the black accessories:

And here are the rest with the red accessories: