Tag Archive: japan


Back in November, my study abroad program (IES) brought us to Kyoto. It was our final and biggest trip for the semester, so of course I decided to wear kimono My friend Brittany decided to finally get her first kimono set, so I helped her get all the stuff she needed before she left. She chose a beautiful komon with red and orange maple leaves, which was perfect for the season. Her obi was a green hanhaba obi with owls. I chose my blue wool set

Our first stop on the trip was Kiyomizudera. The weekend we went was apparently the peak of the momijigari (maple-viewing) season, which is evident from this picture.

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I also helped my friend John get a full kimono set before we went on the trip. He’s really tall, so opted for hakama, which worked really well. We also got randomly interviewed in front of Kiyomizudera by a Japanese reporter asking us why we were in Kyoto and why we were in kimono.

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Later, we made our own sensu!

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That night, we did the coolest thing I did the entire year: had an ozashiki with geisha! Our geiko was my favorite geiko Tsuneyuu’s younger sister Tsunemomo, our maiko was Hisamomo, and our jimae geiko was Tsunekazu. I asked if we could talk to them one-on-one after we played Konpira Fune Fune. Tsunemomo was very excited to learn that her older sister was my favorite geisha, and that I had gone to see her in the Gion Odori and she said she’d tell Tsuneyuu. =D They also both did a dance for us.

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The next day, we went to Nijojou and walked around the garden. Only John I wore kimono the second day.

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The nightengale floors of Nijojou
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Nijojou
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After that, we went to Kinkaku-ji.

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The last day, we went to Arashiyama which is a beautiful little place outside of Kyoto, about 20 minutes by train. We got to ride the rickshaws for quite some time and went through the bamboo grove.

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There are a bunch of other cool pictures in the full set here.

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Kyoto -Fall Break

*Note -Flickr’s new default HTML size is square and I didn’t realize it until I was done making the post. I apologize for the inconvenience. You can click them to enlarge them. Looking at it now, it may be good it turned out this way because this post is quite image-heavy. But again, I apologize. Going back to fix them would be nearly impossible.

Back in November for fall break, some friends and I went to Kyoto for 3 days. This would actually become the first of three times I would go back to Kyoto. It was an amazing experience. It was raining the day we got there, and we got rained on pretty hard, which was kind of a bummer, but luckily, the weather was beautiful the other days. I didn’t wear kimono the first day, luckily. The only place we visited the first day was Kiyomizu-dera, which admitted looked pretty cool in the mist from the rain.

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And here’s Kyoto Tower in all of its hideous glory.

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The next day, we did all kinds of stuff and I spent the whole day in kimono. First up, in the very early morning, we went to Ryouan-ji. I really enjoyed Ryouan-ji, but we had to go through it relatively quickly in order to keep our schedule. The path leading to Ryoan-ji is also very serene and relaxing.

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Next up was Kinkaku-ji. Stereotypical as it is, it’s a must see.

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Then, one of my favorite experiences in Japan, I went to see the Gion Odori. It was absolutely amazing and everything I ever hoped for. And I got to see my favorite geiko, Tsuneyuu, play a really funny role in one of the scenes. I bought the o-cha seki so I got to watch the geiko do the tea ceremony and we were served special sweets with Gion-Higashi’s crest. And we got to keep the plate! I also picked up the program. During the performance, the geiko and maiko all suddenly reached into their kimono and threw special tenugui (towel-like things) and I caught one cause I had a second-row seat! Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures of the performance, but I got some pictures of the theater.

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(Tsuneyuu is the one on the right. She played an ugly woman who was after a man who had a girlfriend already. So she prayed to become beautiful and her wish was granted and she ended up getting the man. When she was ugly, she had really funny eyebrows and the whole scene was just great.)

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To top the day off, I was finally able to meet Yukiko! We strolled around Gion and talked and got some really good ramen. Finally, Yukiko treated me at a very nice bar in Gion! It was super fancy. (You should go check out Yukiko’s site. She has an Etsy with a lot of nice kimono accessories and a custom-made kimono making business.)

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On the last day, we spent the rest of our time exploring Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is absolutely immense. We didn’t even make it to the top, but we did make it to one of the lookouts which apparently has a better view than the top anyway. It is also beautiful. The sheer number of torii is staggering. As a souvenir, I bought my self a little nine-tailed fox plushie.

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And here is my haul. I also picked up some Sailor Moon manga, as well as a book on becoming a kimono instructor.

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And here is the full set if you ‘d like to see it. There are some more beautiful pictures in there, especially of Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Halloween 2013

First of all, I’d like to say I’m really sorry about my lack of updates! I have several planned that I will be posting as soon as possible.  If you didn’t know, I’m currently in Japan studying abroad until May.

まず、更新の欠如ですみません!なるべく速くポストをいつか作るつもりです。5月まで日本に留学しているのは現状です。

When I went to update the blog a a few weeks ago, Flickr was beta-ing their redesign, and the HTML coding was missing from the beta and the original site, so I had to wait until they fixed it.

数週間前に更新しようとしたが、Flickrは更新中でHTMLが消えてしまったので、直ったまで待つより仕方がなかった。

I didn’t wear kimono from the time of the last post until Halloween except for Otakon, which, due to  a lack of pictures, I regretfully will not be posting about.  So, for Halloween, my dorm and one of the other study-abroad dorms threw a Halloween party, so of course, I took the opportunity to wear kimono.  For this occasion I decided to wear my newly-bought-in-Japan yukata with spider webs and new black hakama. The hakama are a tad long, so I need to hem them a  bit, it’s kind of tedious, so I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

この前のポストの時からハロウィーンまでOtakon除いて着物をきていなかった。写真の欠如があるものだから、残念ながら、Otakonについてはポストしない。とにかく、ハロウィーンのために、私の寮の人ともう一つの寮とともにハロウィーンパーティーを催した。当然だが、着物を着た。日本で新しく買ったクモの巣の柄の浴衣を着て、新しい黒い袴を履いた。袴はちょっと長すぎるので、ちょっと短くしたいけど、まだるっこいから、まだしていない。

Ryouji and I in our kimono.

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Brittany in a lolita cat outfit.

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After the party, I changed into something a bit warmer and more comfortable.

パーティーの後で、もっと暖かくて着よい着物に着替えた。

Babette as a maid.

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Ayaka and I.

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Jen as sushi.

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The next post will be up shortly, and I have a lot lined up, so please look foward to it!

次のポストは速く作るつもりで、たくさんが並んでいるから、お楽しみにしてくださいね。

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.

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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:

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The beautiful kimono and hakama.

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Then people got to try on the twelve layers.

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Me with the dressers.

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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.