12/29/2008

Pokkuri sound Clip-clop


They look like heavy, but actually they are very light. They are lacquering geta, Japanese wooden clogs, which are called “pokkuri” in old Japanese. It is comfortable to wear them with bare foot.
I bought them at Hirai-Zoriten, Hirai footwear shop. Hirai footwear shop is located at Yanaka, Tokyo, Japan. I cannot buy geta or zori at other shops, after I met them at Hirai footwear shop. Geta are made symmetrically, so if they acquire the habit of inclining to a certain direction, they are worn in left-right reversal. Because they are flexible to wear, it is important to let professionals to tailor them.
In Japan, I liked very much to talk with Ms. Hirai at Hirai footwear shop. She talked me about pokkuri, “Girls wear pokkuri on the day of the thirteen-year’s visit to temples. Geishas are in the habit of wear pokkuri with white straps during the New Year's holidays, but their pokkuri with white Japanese socks look colorless. But that is their rule.”
The pokkuri were bought for me, so I selected them with fashionably embroidered straps. Pokkuri sound Clip-clop.
Happy New Year!
Hirai footwear shop http://www.getaya-net.com/

12/28/2008

Petit Oshima Mania


I organize men’s kimono-wearing class in NYC and always feel that men really look better wearing Oshima Tsumugis, Oshima pongee fabrics, which are abbreviated to Oshima. Oshima are made by hand originally in Amami-Oshima, Amami Big Island, and also in Kagoshima or Miyazaki. True Oshima are very expensive, because it involves an immense amount of time and effort to make them. And so we can see many fake Oshima especially at the web stores and auctions. Incidentally, I found the interesting web site, Oshima G-men, at http://www.amakara.jp/gmen/list.php. When we make questions with some photos whether our Oshima is fake or genuine, professional Oshima weavers or dealers kindly give an expert opinion. I admire the craftsman’s spirits on that web site.

I bought men’s vintage Oshima for my husband. My husband is very pleased to wear Oshima and begin to study all aspects of Oshima. He becomes a Oshima mania and sometimes tell me how wonderful Oshima are. The following photo is my husband with Oshima.

12/24/2008

Obi tsuzure


This is a Nagoya obi, which is woven with “tsume tsuzure” technique. Tsume means weavers’ nails. This technique has a long history from two thousands years ago. Weavers put a design beneath warp threads and weave weft threads along it using their nails. Their nails must be filed down like shavings of dried bonito. They can weave only a few inches a day, and so it takes very long time to weave one obi using this technique.

Shirasu Masako (1910-1998), a famous Japanese antiquer and writer, wrote in “Kimono Bi (Beauty of kimono)” about tuzure technique as follows:
I should explain that tsuzure is one of embroideries by weaving machines. Weavers lace weft threads and scratch them by their nails point by point. Old Japanese people might imitate ancient Egyptian fabrics or overseas tapestries at first.

Today I tied this tsuzure obi with a komon, which is colorfully dyed with tie-dying technique from Taisho period (1912-1925) or early Showa period (1925-1945). The obi seemed to fit the kimono very well.