Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Furisode

I was digging around in the old photos (for a pic for the memorabilia blog) when I came across these. Here I am, wearing the furisode, properly and appropriately, after I bought it.

In my first year in Japan, I taught a private lesson to three older ladies, a doctor's wife, the wife of a stationery store owner, and a tea ceremony teacher whose husband was a Zen priest (I also took calligraphy lessons with this couple, in the tea house in the garden of their temple). She would often turn up to the lesson wearing a kimono, as she had just come from a lesson or ceremony. She wore them several times a week, and obviously felt very comfortable in them. I of course frequently admired them, as I do love kimonos. So when she saw a sale of former hire kimonos in her local department store, she thought of me, and took me there to buy one. This was ¥10,000 I think.

Here I am her her temple garden. I twice took part in tea ceremonies with her (once getting on TV), wearing the kimono. She dressed me, which is why it looks so crisp and lovely here! She was such a pro - she could tie it on tight enough that you never felt it was coming loose, but never so tight that you felt like you couldn't breathe. She also gave me a number of accessories for it, including all the ties you need (there are a lot of ties under this holding everything together!) clips, undergarments and socks. That is  not the obi I wore last month, but I think I know where it is. I'm not sure what happened to the obiage, but I still have the obijime. I seem to have misplaced the undergarments too! Actually I think I just borrowed the white under kimono here.

And here I am at Again with Yori and Katchan. This time, Maichan and I struggled to get the thing on, so it's a bit wonkier. We're just wearing them for the chance to wear them really. 

One more occasion I wore it was for Hina Matsuri one year before I got married. While this is not part of the official parade, it was nice of them to arrange a ride in one of the rickshaws for me. That's Ranto's dad (Mayumi's husband) Jiro there, pulling it! This was long before they got together. Mayumi was with me that day, and took a ride too, but isn't in the photo for some reason. The sign says 'Hina Matsuri (dolls' festival)' so I was a kind of advertisement for the festival! I had a red obi on this time, it's clear in another picture, but I can't remember who dressed me and did my hair (I have little gold accessories in my hair). 

Only young single women wear furisodes (the type with very long sleeves) so after I got married, I never had the chance to wear it again until last month. While Baachan helped me buy a yukata specially made for me (pictured below)

I never bought another kimono either - the more I learned about kimonos (largely from reading Liza Dalby) the more I felt they didn't suit me. I'm too tall and my arms are too long and shoulders too wide. I don't mind those parts of me, but they don't go well with kimono. And getting them made doesn't help, because they come in set widths, with one width used for sleeves, so the sleeves are always going to be too short. Oh well, I had my fun with them, massively punctuated with a huge exclamation mark last month!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A blah kind of day

Totally zonked and ran out of energy today. I had things to do and didn't do them and so felt guilty, and so I made myself a short list of things to do just so I could get to the end of the day and feel like I had done something! Crappy little things, like finishing off the kitten room (Cinnamon's pregnant), finally sorting through that bag of half broken crockery from the spare room, finally listing the items I had out to sell for several days, catching up on several blogs and creating a new one (to set my thinking mind free from this's blog's seemingly never ending urge to catch up, get those photos up, or whine incessantly about my hectic schedule).

Don't know why I zonked so much. Could be that time of the month. I had a bit of a pressure headache, more than usual, probably the cold going around our family. I tasted a funny taste on a coffee can this morning and wondered if I'd ingested something toxic. And I ate too much for lunch. I ended up clicking. Quite a funny blog actually, I Just Can't Today. Two and half browser pages of Internet History today, oops....

Eyelids are failing to function, I think it's time I quit today. Tomorrow is another day.



That's all I have to say about those ambitious plans to combine a normal Thursday with a roast chicken dinner. And it's about how long it took for K to convince me.

Me (running horrendously late with pre-cooking as Amy has been in the kitchen all afternoon making and decorating my cake, something I can hardly complain about): "Can you take Erica to English?"

K, incredulously: "She's going to English?"

Me: "Oh, okay then, not."

K: "She should skip karate then too"

Me (dancing inner happy dance): "And Lena already said she didn't want to go to her dance lesson, so yay!

Immediately pour wine.

Even with no lessons to ferry kids to, the late start meant that we didn't eat until after 9 anyway, but we all enjoyed it. I was spoiled with lovely presents, and K brought home the (cheap, Australian) wine and a beautiful bunch of flowers with unopened lily buds so I got a full ten days of sweet scents out of the bouquet.

A story best told in pictures, I think.

Breakfast, not in bed, as I got up way before them to go to rajio taiso with Erica! But they made it for me, and it was super!

Present from my sister Rebecca! Nice surprise, a necklace with a picture of the Cape Egmont lighthouse. 

After working in the morning, it was off to Aile for the kebab. This photo is fuzzy, but they are all genuinely laughing at me waving the camera around for the perfect shot.

With that kebab!

Then it was home for meringues with whipped cream and kiwi fruit

Erica playing and singing a Japanese birthday song

Then Daddy came home! With wine and beautiful flowers for me. 

The cake. It matches the coaster you see later on.

Appetizer: fried camembert (some with, some without walnut centres, I didn't have time to make the apricot sauce)

Sweet shy Erica giving me a present. It's so nice to see them getting such joy out of giving. 

They taped the whole exchange!

Two pairs of earrings.

The wine with the lovely sunshiny coaster, which I am now using every day at my computer!

Perfume. It's gorgous, the nicest one I've got for a long time!

Dinner finally! Roast chicken with stuffing, sweet potato, potato and pumpkin, mashed potato, cabbage and gravy. 

Dessert! We made our own brandy snaps! They were a little chewy but tasted just right. 

We were so full we could not eat the cake! So we did the candles and Happy Birthday song the next day.