Thursday, July 21, 2011

Panel Madness at KamikazeCon!

This weekend, if you're in Houston and have a chance, check out local anime convention KamikazeCon.

I'll be there doing four panels, which is new and exciting for me. The most I've ever done in a weekend is two!


Kimono 101 (2:00PM - 3:00PM)

A friendly, fast-paced introduction to the world of Japanese kimono, including history, different types, how to buy, how to tell a real one from a fake, and how to wear them. Authentic examples will be on hand and a start-to-finish dressing demo will be included.


Kimono for Cosplayers (10:00AM - 11:00AM)

From Hetalia to Kenshin, kimono are a common sight in anime and manga. If you'd like to cosplay a character who wears one, come on by! You'll learn the pros and cons of making vs. buying with real-life examples, tips for budget costumes, and advice on how to wear and move in them as your character.

Geisha 101 (8:00 PM - 9:00PM)
Step into the world of the geisha, the classical entertainer and symbol of traditional Japan. This panel will give you the basics on what geisha are, what they do, and how they dress: some answers might surprise you! Tips for cosplaying geisha will also be included.


Japanese Traditions 101 (12:00PM - 1:00 PM)

Stop by for a quick introduction to some of the cultural traditions of Japan: geisha, Japanese dance, calligraphy, kimono, and the Shinto religion.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Please Ignore the Log-In Window Prompt... and Check Out These Yukata!

I'm not sure why this is happening, but a log-in window is now appearing when this page loads. Please just hit "cancel" and it'll go away: I'm trying to get it sorted out now.

In the meanwhile, here's a summer yukata commercial from clothing company AEON for the 2011 season. :) The entire AEON collection can be seen over this way.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CLAMP's Kyoto Fantasy: Gate 7

The city of Kyoto looms large in the Japanese cultural mindset as a place of classical beauty and tradition. The capital of Japan for over a thousand years ("Kyoto" 京都 actually means "capital city"), it is still considered the heart of traditional culture today, famed for icons like its geisha, the gold-covered Kinkakuji temple, handicrafts like beautiful Kyo-Yuzen dyed kimono, and many more.

Priding itself on this reputation, Kyoto even offers a discount to some tourist spots if a visitor comes dressed in kimono.

Now CLAMP, the hugely successful circle of female manga artists behind titles like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic and RG Veda, has taken Kyoto as its backdrop for one of its latest series, Gate 7.

Focusing on a young man living and going to school in Kyoto amid very odd circumstances, the series presents the city through the trademark CLAMP lens: traditional sites become gateways to battlegrounds, characters lounge elegantly in highly-stylized and embellished ideas of kimono or swirl about in fantasy takes on traditional miko (shrine attendant) robes, and little touches of Kyoto can be found throughout the world.

Here in America, Dark Horse Comics has plans to release Gate 7 Volume 1 on October 25th, and I'll definitely be picking up a copy!

(On a related note, CLAMP artist Mokona loves kimono, and even released her own book with coordinate ideas and her own homemade kimono projects.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Learn Japanese with Maru!

You've probably seen the adorable Japanese cat "Maru" of Youtube fame, but if you're studying written Japanese, the blog Maru's owner keeps for him is a great way to practice your reading skills outside of a textbook and have fun at the same time.

Two nice features are that Maru's owner includes English translations and usually writes in the polite -masu form for the Japanese, so it's a good mix of both authentic Japanese and beginner-friendly structure.

Here's the blog and below is one of Maru's videos:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Visual Guides: Top 10 Signs a Kimono is Fake, Top 10 Mistakes Artists/Cosplayers Make When Drawing/Making Kimono

If you're familiar with the art community DeviantArt, I've come and gone there over the years because I find some of the art really inspiring. :)

I've also seen a lot of mistakes made by well-meaning people who spent a ton of time on beautiful art or costumes using kimono, but didn't know much about them.

So I sat down and came up with two tutorials: quick, brief overviews of the kimono biggies to keep in mind. (Click on the image twice to see it full-size.)

Tutorial: Draw Better Kimono by *iheartsendai on deviantART

Tutorial: Real or Fake Kimono? by *iheartsendai on deviantART

If you're not sure about something you see or a picture or costume you're working on, feel free to email me and ask and I'll help out if I can. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two Panels This Weekend at Delta H Con

This weekend in Houston is Delta H Con, an intimate little anime convention on the University of Houston campus. If you're going and are interested, I'll be doing two panels this weekend! :)

Today, 7pm, Panel Room 2: Kimono 101. This is the basic introductory panel I do at conventions, which I tweak a little each time with new examples or a different "extra" topic/obi knot/etc. thrown in for those who have seen it before. Geared toward beginners, it covers history and types of kimono, how to tell a real one from a fake (important as there are so many out there for sale!), and if time allows a start-to-finish dressing demonstration for both men and women.

Saturday, 11am, Panel Room 2: Kimono for Cosplayers. From Hetalia to Kenshin, kimono are a common sight in anime and manga. This cosplay-focused panel will cover the pros and cons of buying kimono vs. making your own, tips for budget costumes, real-life examples of different types, and how to convincingly wear and move in-character in kimono.

For me, today's outfit is a purple yukata with rabbits playing in leaves, a hanhaba obi, and a big flower headband. Here's to comfy summer outfits! :D