Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Common Motifs: Ajisai - Hydrangea

I've always loved flowers, both growing and giving them, so when I moved to Japan I was quick to notice their hydrangea plants were a little different than the ones I was used to. The Japanese kind (or American kind I had just never run into before?) had blooms that sort of dangled and hung off the main blossom like little ornaments.

Asking my coworkers, I learned the Japanese word for hydrangea is ajisai 紫陽花, and the type I was used to is 西洋紫陽花 ("seiyou ajisai" or "Western hydrangea").

Hydrangea, due to their blooming this time of year, are considered an early summer/June motif: below are some examples as seen on a karinui (unfinished and unsewn) furisode, a wedding uchikake, a yukata bolt, an iromuji (solid color) kimono, and a fukuro obi.

Photos are copyright Ichiroya and used with permission.


Kelly Maple said...

Hahaha! 'Common Motifs' is my favourite feature on your blog, I've made notes on every single one in a dedicated Word Document on my laptop.

My birthday is on the 9th of June, so it was great seeing a new installment of my favourite feature on my birthday. ^.^

Christina said...

Cool! I'm glad you found it helpful. :) And you know, I was just thinking about this series and how I want to start doing it again. So I'll have to work it back into my routine.

I've also found another Japanese-language website on specific monthly kimono seasonality that I hope to start translating by the end of the month.

In honor of your epic read-through of my blog, when I start I'll start with June. :D

Kelly Maple said...

Yay! A 'Common Motifs' revival! ^.^

I loved that seasonality chart you translated a little while back, I saved a copy of it, and made smaller charts for each season and month so it would be a little easier to read.

I also listed all the motifs it mentioned. I couldn't believe how many there were! And I don't even think that's all of them! I'm going to have so much fun when it's finally time to go shopping! ^.^

You'll start with June? Awwwwww, that's so sweet of you! Thanks! ^.^