I’ve been wanting to do an entry like this for awhile, actually, where I detail a list of my favorite komono (little bits and bops for wearing kimono, and not a misspelling). Each one of them seems a bit small and uneventful to have its own blog entry, but I’m a fucking goblin sitting on my pile of goodies, just itching to show them off to you. So here we are. Look how humble I am, while I roll around in my decadent bullshit.
We’ll start with shigoki obi!
I have a love affair with shigoki obi (soft silk belts often with tassels, entirely decorative) that borders on stupidity. They serve no purpose except for being extra, and I’m entirely too old for them. But since my first and most important philosophy in this life when it comes to the things that I enjoy is fuck the police, I have lots of them. HEART EMOJI.
Yes, I just all-caps-screamed the words “heart emoji” instead of just using one. Fight me.
Here’s a shigoki obi I came across recently that’s rather new and basically in perfect shape if a bit wrinkled. On the ends, it has a fantastic shibori (specific tie-dye method that’s quite tactile) orizuru (origami crane). It’s also a shade of purple that makes my mouth water, and is embellished with a fantastic rinzu (woven) pattern of kiku (chrysanthemums) throughout. Fucking look at it:
Although it is rather new to me, it’s a favorite because yes.
Anyway! Here’s a thing that’s true: a lot of the shigoki obi that I come across are not in great repair. The tassels at the ends are usually quite frayed or the knots are
straight up fucky coming undone, so there’s always work to be done there. They’re also usually pretty stained with, honestly, all kinds of shit. And because they’re purely decorative, stain removals on them aren’t much of an option–the dyes are not colorfast.
So what’s a psycho hose beast like myself to do in this situation?
I fucking discharge them and then redye them whatever goddamn color I want, that’s what I do! -Shotgun chk-chk-
This one was originally something of an orange red with big brown stains all over it. It’s fucking purple now. Eat it. Eat it raw.
I used some gold thread–not real gold thread–to tie off the undone tassels on the end, too. The shimmer it maintained through the discharge and redyeing process are just a delight.
This one was something of a pinkish color with a lot of different kinds of staining on it. I think it was probably newer than the others I’ve done, because it’s a bit heavier and longer. It’s a deep maroon now, because fuck yeah!
And then of course my inner goth teenager–who wasn’t great at being goth back then either–had to have a black one. I don’t really remember what was wrong with this one, but I tend not to choose pieces that are in great repair for this process.
True fact: I did not add the silver bits in the tassels, but they weren’t obvious before I did the discharge and redyeing process. Good shit, yo.
Moving on to obiage! Obiage are decorative pieces of silk that are worn in conjunction with several different kinds of obi (belt) and musubi (the knot you tie the obi in). They are largely decorative, but they do actually serve one function: they hide the weird mechanical shit that goes into making musubi. There’s a small pillow like blob thing you put into some knots to keep them poofy, and the obiage hides that. High fashion, amirite?
You know how I made those shigoki obi whatever color I wanted? Well…
The weird thing about this obiage above is that it was originally mofuku (exclusively for funeral wear). That’s right, it was all black, but I loved the wavy almost Damascus pattern on it. It was a dead stock item, having never been used, so I felt no inner turmoil at all when I discharged and redyed it to the same luscious wine red as that shigoki obi up there. I’ve actually done this with a few mofuku obiage, but this one is my favorite. I’ve done it with mofuku obijime (cord tie) as well, but that takes quite a bit more effort.
This obiage was given to me as a gift from someone who realized what it was because I was talking about my
fucking obsessions hobbies. It had a tag on it and everything! But they gave it to me because I’ll love it for what it is. And I do. Even if they aren’t always to my taste, I tend to love something more if it’s given to me by someone who wants me to have it for the sake of it. Everything’s more beautiful when it’s given out of love.
And then finally, I have nothing really to say about this obiage. It’s a summer weight, soft blue thing with bamboo stalks on it. And it just reminds me of a welcome cool breeze on a hot summer day. It’s nostalgia on cloth.
My kitsuke (art of wearing kimono) collection is a lot like my regular wardrobe in that I have a gross shortage of very specific items. I have very few haneri (decorative collar) and relatively few tabi (toe socks!) as well. So fucking guess what I don’t have a lot of in my regular wardrobe. I dare you.
Here’s a haneri I stumbled upon once that was listed as something else I don’t remember, but I just loved the hard sunset orange. I actually haven’t used it yet. I should.
That about concludes my favorite little cloth items. I guess I could go dig out my favorite obijime (cords), but I actually don’t have much of a love affair with obijime in the same way. That makes it sound dirty. That’s not an accident.
One thing I do have is a crap ton of hair. Throughout my younger years, my teens and my twenties, I kept it about shoulder length because I exist in a vegetative state of cannot-be-asked. But in recent years, I decided to see how long I could let my hair grow before I lose my fucking shit and start torching buildings over it. So far it’s about down to my elbows. I caught it on fire once making spaghetti. I also regularly get it caught in the storm door’s handle. I am a graceful, talented creature full of whimsical fuckery.
So to keep this fucking mop under control, since threatening it with a gun (LOL Murica) served no purpose except to deeply disturbed the people around me, I have a lovely collection of kanzashi (hair ornaments) that I can jam into it in a bun! It cannot be threatened, bargained, or reasoned with–but it can be contained.
LOL my hair is The Terminator. Beckydyne Systems Model 101, Series 800.
We’ll start with these prong-like ones that I’ve been told are called “bachi.” To my understanding, they’re called that because the resemble the plectrum used to strum the shamisen (traditional stringed instrument), also called a “bachi.” Since the moon viewing festival just passed, I’ll start with this one:
fucker piece depicts a waxing quarter moon through rice plants and grasses. I actually don’t have a lot of words for this one. Pretty much every time I try to think of something, some way to describe the way it makes me feel, I just end up staring at it and thinking about the tranquility of it. So there.
Then there’s this glorious little shit, that I can’t decide if it’s depicting sakura (cherry blossom) or tsubaki (camellia). It has the heart leaves like sakura, but it has the upright stamen of tsubaki. Whatever, it’s fucking sparkly and I love it.
Speaking of things with prongs, I have this silly little thing, too. It’s supposed to be two little bells, and one of them has a real little bell, too. They’re on little springs so they bounce around and jingle–which made getting a good picture of the details real fucking fun, by the way.
Fun story about this one, when I wear it sometimes I freak out because I can hear it. And every time, without fail, I will mistake it for someone walking up behind me. It’s great.
I have a rather large collection of kougai (a stick-style hair ornament) as well. A lot of them I buy that need repairs, and I have a drawer full of those. But here are some that are in good shape for wearing.
This one isn’t anything special. I bought it just because I like it, and I’m sure it’s rather new. I’m pretty convinced it’s made of mostly resin. I just enjoy the simplicity.
The little butterflies and clovers are inlaid raden (mother of pearl). They are extra vibrant in these pictures because I have what I like to call my “God Light” on. Nothing escapes the god light.
This one is quite old, and I know it’s a fairly traditional maki-e (gold dust on lacquer) piece. Unfortunately, I’ve had it for a really long time, and I don’t really remember if there was some special reason why I bought it. I’m sure there wasn’t. I just like it. That tends to be the reason for most of the shit I buy, actually.
This next one is a good sized antique kushi (comb) that I actually received in the bundle with that hikizuri that I fell ass-backward into owning. It’s at least as old as the 40’s, because I have provenance that the same soldier that brought the hikizuri to the United States brought this home along with it. It’s actually not particularly rare or valuable, I don’t think. It’s resin, and there’s nothing just “Oh Em Gee Fookin Amazing!” about it, it’s just…I like it. It’s got little birds on it, and I’ve a soft spot for little birds.
Now, these last two are my show stoppers.
I’ll start with the fucking fish. Because I fucking love me some fucking fish. I know what I said.
If you get really close to this one, you can see the little glittering pieces of gold in the maki-e. This one has a condition issue, with the lacquer chipping near where the kougai opens up. While I have fixed issues like this before, I have made the decision to stabilize this one and leave it go, because it clearly has a signature or something near the opening, and I will not risk that for the sake of visual perfection. Besides, that part is hidden in my hair when I’m wearing it anyway. I’ve had people offer to buy this one off of me while I’m wearing it. Which is…fucking weird and grounds for bear mace.
I am very friendly.
And last but not least, my precious ayame (irises):
I’ll be honest. These speak for themselves. At a glance, they look like they could be very small, but they’re actually a bit bigger than my fish kougai up there. They have a fine, beautiful patina and very little wear for their age, which is at least the 1930’s, according to the lovely gentleman I purchased them from. I bought these for myself when I first started turning a corner with my pain management. I didn’t seek them out, they just crossed my path and then we went home together.
In truth, I have a
metric fuck ton lot of little things that I love and adore. But these are the things that it was easy for me to gather together in a little pile when I thought to myself, “I’m going to write up a blog entry about my cool little shit.”