In April I went to the Spring festival at the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens. Because spring in Texas is very often like summer elsewhere, I chose all hitoe (unlined) and summer items to wear--I even wore hemp tabi! I also made the choice to skip padding and the obi-ita because I thought they'd add more heat. This may be true but the obi-ita is really non-negotiable, I felt self conscious about the look of my obi all day. After that I ordered hechima (loofah) padding and obi-ita, as well as two synthetic, ro, shirring stye datejime (one with clips and one without). Both the kimono and the nagajuban are silk, Taisho pieces I found at a shop in Hawaii. The juban has red and turquoise bamboo with cream colored ume flowers on it and a wide collar (which is quite strange for a juban). The kimono, on the other hand, has a half width collar which gave the collar area an unusual look because the juban collar was so much thicker than the kimono collar on top. Because the juban collar was already so thick, I decided to forgo the haneri. I like the combination of this very lively kimono with a more sedate navy blue, sha, Nagoya obi. I paired these with a red and cream obijime and a peach colored, rinzu obiage. The red echoes a similar red on the juban collar and there is a very tiny amount of peach on the design on the obi. Overall, I'm still quite pleased with this outfit.
At the Festival I was a bit like a celebrity! There were so many people who all wanted to take my picture. I even noticed a guy sneaking a picture of me while I was watching my koto teacher and Mayuko-san perform! I think that was really rude, he should have asked. This made me so uncomfortable. Overall though, I had a great time at the festival.
So, yesterday I started my first contemporary koto piece, "Leaping" by Hisamoto Genchi. This is a really fun piece! My teacher was a little nervous at first that it might be too difficult for me but that turned out not to be the case at all. She was going to change the eighth note triplets to something easier but I managed to play them (albeit a little slowly). It also has staccato in it! Koto staccato is so cool, you use your left hand to immediately stop the sound from a string you just plucked. The sound this makes is so strange, I love it! The score is done in a very strange style but I recognized it from another piece I had done. For my first Pau Hana performance in Hawaii, we learned a Sakura variation in this style and it was definitely too hard for me. I'm curious if I could play it now though (I really want to try it now!).
So, last year I met a woman who teaches koto at the Fall Festival named Fumiko. I've been taking private lessons from her ever since. This picture is from my first performance. It's actually the rehearsal beforehand. We played three simple songs: Sakura Sakura, Itsuki no Komoriuta and Hina Matsuri. I was definitely nervous but everything went great.
I'm currently working on a classical piece called Kurokami. I really enjoy playing it but the singing is very difficult! Whenever I try to play and sing at the same time it all falls apart. I'll keep working though.
The kimono I wore is a shibori tsukesage with a chuuya obi handmade by a girl from the Ukraine. I paired it with a rather bold green and blue butterfly han eri, a pale blue shibori obiage and a gold date-eri and obijime. Looking at it now I feel like the whole outfit is a bit busy but the little old ladies said I looked like a doll!
Sorry for the long break. I kinda forgot about this blog but I have worn kimono a few times and I have koto news!
This is the outfit I wore to the Fort Worth Japanese Society New Years Luncheon this year. I chose this houmongi because the soft blue and gentle white pattern reminds me of winter. I thought that I should try to dress it up because it was New Years, so I chose this formal fukuro obi and a partial shibori obiage with a flower pattern. It's not very traditional but I hope it works.
In May I went to my very first Fort Worth Japanese Society luncheon. I chose this komon as it looks very 'spring' with a speckled black and white background and multicolored pastel flowers. My nagoya obi is a very dark navy blue sha with embroidered birds and dew on grass motif. My otaiko came out less than perfect but since this was only my second time tying one, I think it came out pretty good! I had worn a grey rinzu obiage, but I think next time I'd wear a peach colored one instead, as I think the grey kinda washed out the colorful flowers. I'm also considering buying an erishin since the nibushiki nagajuban seems to have a very weak collar.
I think this picture ended up so cute! That's my friend Naomi's arm and I was adjusting...something...possibly my ohashori.
I began learning the Koto at the University of Hawaii. I no longer have a teacher since I moved back to the mainland and I'm still a beginner, but I do my best. My presses, at the time of writing, had just begun to stop hurting and I was getting my little calluses. Mostly I practiced kojo no tsuki and a sakura variation. I was impatiently waiting for my new music books to arrive (they sat in customs for several weeks and ultimately arrived unopened (-_-) )! My koto dream for the future is to be able to play Midare and Shaei. Midare is a very famous classical piece and Shaei is an original composition by Sawai Hikaru.
I'm converting this blog to be Japanese/English bilingual. Hopefully I will find it easier to post more, as writing in English is obviously easier for me, and give fuller detail! I'll try to keep the basic concept the same but I will probably have more details in English as I want the Japanese to be as intelligable as possible (and biting off more than I can chew grammar wise helps no one!).
This look is meant to be a Gothic Kimono Hime sort of coordination. I made the obijime myself and the obi age is a full-black shibori with dots of gold and silver. It's so rare to see black komono that are not mourning. Speaking of mourning, the fukuro obi is technically for mourning, ordinarily I would not wear it but I was going for a gothic impression so I thought it worked best.
This is a coordinate I did last summer to go to the ballet. The kimono is a sparrow and bamboo kinsha komon (kinsha is an old variant of chirimen with a lighter texture and komon is a casual kimono with a repeating, all-over pattern). I had a lot of fun with this coordinate! The collar looks a tad loose in this picture because I had tucked a handkerchief inside. ^///^