Thursday, April 21, 2011

Geisha or Maiko Costumes - Odori Furisode on Ebay

Odori means "dance", which some geisha (and their maiko apprentices) specialize in as one of their arts.

An Ebay seller has just listed several odori furisode at reasonable Buy It Now prices (or if you're feeling brave you could try an even lower Best Offer, which is offered on all four).

The special feature of these kimono is how long they are, as these kimono are meant to trail across a stage during a dance performance. There's no guarantee these are actual maiko kimono (in the case of the long-sleeved ones) or geisha kimono (in the one case with the shorter-sleeved black one) because any professional dancer, from my understanding, could wear this, but they fit the same dimensions and could easily be used in maiko or geisha costumes.

Sort of like ladybugs are red, but not everything red is a ladybug. These kimono could be worn by geisha, but they're not the only ones who could wear them. If that makes sense?

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Go look at the pretty kimono. ;)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Translations: Yukata Fashion - Anecan July 2010

Over on the Immortal Geisha forums, user "tzippurah" is known for uploading a ton of Japanese magazine scans related to kimono. I asked her for permission to translate and repost some of her scans as there's not a lot of translation into English about kimono and such. And it's a fun way for me to work on my Japanese!

She kindly agreed and has my great thanks: I'm not sure when or how often I'll be putting translations up, but I'll try to do a variety of things.

Today is a spread from Anecan July 2010 focusing on women's yukata (summer kimono). The small print is too tiny for me to read, but from what I can see most of it is outfit rundowns with the usual ad copy, item name, and cost list.

(I think in the translation process I learned about six new ways to say "stylish"!)

 Red and pink: eternally beloved colors! With the colors of "Scarlet and Cherry Blossoms," a subtle cuteness for adults… Whether in Western-style clothing or Japanese, red and pink are popular colors.

If you are a maiden dressed in the color and pattern of cherry blossoms, is the old saying "People prefer eating dango sweets to looking at flowers" really true after all?
Wishing for stylish florals… through the magic of yukata, a prediction likely to come true!
 "White and Off-White": a beauty of quiet elegance

A white yukata ensemble finished with crisp designs: must-have accessory? A heart that loves chic sophistication.
 Top: Clad in flower designs… If we stand, Chinese peonies. If we sit, tree peonies. When we walk, our silhouettes will be lily flowers, perhaps?
 In "Shades of Indigo and Light Blue", lively girls!

Thumbs up from traditionalists! Let's enjoy midsummer in cool, refreshing colors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Darari Obi Ebay Madness

Darari obi だらり帯 "dangling" obi, are a special type worn by maiko (apprentice geisha).

While most obi are around 12-13' long, these obi are much longer to accommodate the beautiful and instantly-recognizable waterfall-style "darari" knot sported by maiko only. They also feature the crests of their geisha house on the very end of the obi, another distinctive trait that separates these obi from normal, fancy obi worn by women in general.

 A row of maiko at a 2010 party, all wearing darari obi. The woman on the right is a full-fledged geisha (or geiko as they're called in Kyoto) and wears the standard otaiko drum knot seen on normal women as well.

Maiko Sayaka in a gorgeous example.

 Maiko on the move! All photos copyright Onihide and used with permission.

Right now on Ebay three darari obi are up for auction, and the prices are climbing steadily. Considering how hard they are to come by, paying hundreds of dollars for one isn't unheard of. Good luck if you decide to try for one!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Houston Japan Fest - Yabane and Shamisen

This past weekend was Houston's annual Japan Fest, where over 20,000 people gathered to enjoy Japanese traditional music and martial art demonstrations, crafts, children's games, shopping, and on the pop culture side, cosplay and spontaneous "battlegrounds" popping up.

I went both days, and my favorite outfit of the weekend was the one I wore Saturday, a fun and casual take on an ultra-classical yabane kofurisode (short-sleeved furisode) softened by adding pink accessories and a cherry fake collar to mimic a juban underkimono layer underneath. Technically you need a juban for any kimono over a yukata in formality, but I'm not wearing one with a lined kimono in 86 degree heat to an all-day outdoor event.

For the obi, I tied it in the popular "tateya" (standing arrow) pattern often seen with furisode.

Yabane 矢羽根 is a stylized vertical pattern of typically interlocking arrow fletchings, worn centuries ago by servants on samurai estates, if I recall correctly. Eventually fashionable townspeople began wearing the pattern and it's been a popular design ever since.

(I was also interviewed in this outfit by a local news station, so for my fellow Houstonians: if you happen to see a woman in this outfit on Channel 39 that was me. Hopefully I don't sound as dorky as I think I did. ^_^;)

At a later point I'll put up a tutorial for the mock obi-jime (pink cord) I made for this outfit. It was both simple and cheap and is something I'll definitely do again if I can't get hold of a real one in time.

Here's me in the outfit with Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta of "Oyama x Nitta Duo", an award-winning shamisen duo that performed at the festival. My kitsuke needs a lot of work, but I was happy to meet them and enjoyed their show!

If you'd like to know more Carnegie Hall put together an informative page when they played there last month, and here's one of their videos, Karma, on Youtube. Very sweet guys, and talented!