Money Money Money…or lack thereof

OK, well to meet my saving targets it means a total spending ban for 12 months! That’s right, no spending on nice things for 12 whole months. However I have budgeted for a holiday to Cyprus, £50 a month kimono de jack budget and £6 per month for learning Japanese. Napster, Lovefilm and the gym are all budgeted for so its not like I will REALLY suffer. Or will I?

You have to remember I am a SHOPOHOLIC! Buying clothes, make up and shoes is a chronic obsession and I might DIE!!!!!

But with the recent wobbles in my husbands job situation and the economy getting decidedly worse month on month it will keep our lives stress free. Even if we don’t have a lot we will have enough to keep us entertained and happy.

However, if my eBay design and consultancy business does really well next year (new website coming 2011) I could be buying myself new kimono stuff by next July! I also get paid in Euro’s so I have set the conversion rate to 1.2E to £1 so if they rate is better than that I will also profit.

I sit here praying that our currently government will put a plaster over my countries debt and get people back into decent paid jobs (no minimum wage is NOT decent money unless the cost of living dramatically reduces)

Violin down….

Clubbing Kitsuke for Heresy and Heelz

Outfit for Halloween. Red furisode, red n black obi and wig.Heresy and Heelz is coming up and I need to think kitsuke for the event. As its the last one of the year I think furisode is in order. Last time I went out in furisode I was sweltering (see main picture)…the shiro nuri didn’t help. However, that was Halloween and this is just a burlesque event.

So I was thinking of still wearing this furisode but instead of a full juban, just my hadajuban top to protect the kimono and an easy collar in polka dot black and white. No shiro nuri though as its too geisha, and I am just going as a girl in kimono and corset.
An 80's furisode which will become my queen of hearts piece..
I am going to wear my corset and cover it with my obiage as the main picture again as I liked that effect. It disguises the fact I have a corset on so I just look thinner 🙂

People said I was too ‘red’ on Halloween but with my normal black hair (re-dyed) and my favourite red/gold/black fukuro obi I think I will be OK.

Halloween at Eddies was a total bust as there was no alcohol (and it was the only night in 6 months that I had not driven clubbing so could drink) so I don’t think this outfit got a good enough boogie and I love red furisode as they are so show stopping.

My girls Lexi and Kerry are joining me and we are having our mini Christmas too like we have every year. I still need to formulate my Marie Antoinette kimono outfit but decided the kakeshita I chose for it was just too bulky and hot for clubbing, as it is covered in embroidery. I might change my mind though when I finally get myself a massive net underskirt.

Jamie’s Italian Review Birmingham Bull Ring (in Kimono)

You can always judge an Italian by its spaghetti bolognese. So I had already decided this was to be my main course. My last spag bol was in a decent Frankie and Bennies so they didn’t have much competition.

The staff were efficient and seemed to know what was what, for instance being able to reassure my sister that the bruschetta that we both ordered would not be too strong on the garlic. Our waitress was correct.

The bread came out on a small chopping board style arrangement with a piece of paper in-between the bread and board. A novel idea, however, being female, wearing lipgloss and not wanting the heavy laden mushrooms up my nose or falling on my lap I had to use a knife and fork. No picking up and eating for me, especially not in kimono! This however presented a problem, the paper underneath got soggy and ripped. I had to avoid eating it. The starter however was very nice, but next time I will request a plate.

My sister and I wanted three courses so we opted for the smaller main course. It is small so I would not recommend it for a man. However it was great for us as we wanted to have a pudding and be able to walk back to the car. The spag bol was probably my favourite so far and I have eaten at a lot of Italian restaurants. It was different but didn’t detract too much from the traditional spag bol taste to frighten off someone like my Dad. (not into fancy food, steak, chips and apple pie classically) so next time I visit I might be a piggy and have a large one.

For pudding, I chose the panna cotta. Although the taste was fantastic my sister poked it with the flip side of her spoon and it wobbled much more than it should. It should be stabilised with gelatine and not a creamy jelly with a slight transparent layer covering it. Another noted faux pas was the lack of dessert forks. The desserts are quite dainty and you are given a lopping great mains fork which feels a bit awkward in a place with such an air of grace and contemporary sophistication.

However, for two drinks (Bellini and a coke), water on the table, two starters, two small mains and two sweets the bill came to £40.20. Its cheap enough so you can eat your fill and posh enough that you can take people ‘out to dinner’ there.

I will go back soon taking my husband and I will have the same food but maybe make him share some garlic chips!

Work Kitsuke, yes I go to work in KIMONO!

Today I am wearing lilac Omeshi with black accessories and a pink pre-tied obi. Why pre-tied? Because at work there are no mirrors and I tend to sit back on my makura and most of the time shove my obi out of place. Plus they are lighter 🙂

Think black was just mofuku? Not for this girl! I love black accessories for that modern, slightly gothy look to ensembles. I am still working out my kimono style, it varies from traditional to gothic/rockabilly.

What do I mean?

  • Stripes
  • Checks
  • Playing cards/Casino/Suits
  • Polkadots
  • Roses
  • Spiders
  • Cats

All good motifs and patterns that I love to mix with kimono!

Its also freezing today so I wore my rain coat and haori.

Reason for kimono at work? My sister is picking me up after work and we are going to the new Jaime’s Italian in the bull ring (Birmingham)

Breaking in Zori..ouch

OK, well I brought some really cheap silver 25cm tabi with plastic bottoms from Rakuten (£30 with EMS shipping inc) and I am currently wearing them round the office to break them in. A week walking round the office in them should do the trick and make them comfortable. I am hoping anyway as they are plastic and  ‘Primark’ quality but when the pricing for 25cm zori is so high and the UK pavements so unforgiving..I am inclined to be cheap 🙂

The ones in the picture are my more expensive zori that are a 25.5cm (a tad too big in Japanese terms, the ‘right size’ in European terms) but as I can only wear them with black and red kimono I chose some cheap silver zori as they will match pretty much everything.

I really wanted these ones : but $80 then shipping…just a little too high for me and trudging on knackered tarmac.

However these cheap ‘n’ cheerful zori are already starting the stretch and mould after just a morning so I have high hopes for their comfy-ness factor!

New Years Resolutions…

I don’t normally bother, but this year I have eaten and spent to my hearts content and need to ‘clean up’ my body and bank account. Alex and I need a holiday and that involves money and wearing a bikini, neither of which are in my future currently.

I have a kimono ‘list’ of needs and currently it only has tabi and two new yukata for the summer on it. Maybe a kimono bra but loosing weight means no bust for me anyhow!

So in theory two yukata from my favourite yukata seller should set me back £100 max and tabi? A couple of pairs at about £7 each.

Can I keep to that meagre spend for the WHOLE of 2011 or will I go mad? I will run out of space if I don’t.

Diet….a long over due stone that’s been clinging to me needs to go. Why have I not lost weight? Gland problem? Metabolism problem? No. CAKE. Cake makes a girl fat. If you stop eating cake you will be thin.

So what will be the plus marks of such a thinning down? Well two yukata that have shrunk a bit in the wash will fit better and some of my more tight kimono will close with more room and I won’t have short obi issues with my hakata obi.

If I keep to my new years resolutions I will be thin and richer. I certainly have enough kimono for the next 12 months of kimono de jack, now I have places to go and wear kimono I need money to spend on travel and things!

Why I am broke…

I wanted to test out a store on Rakuten for quality and service as I really love and want all of their stuff so I brought this red polkadot juban with detachable collar. It will be landing this week after a three week delay and the shipping was too expensive. Even for EMS. So this simple and on sale juban set me back £43. I don’t think I have ever paid that much for a juban 🙁

I should follow my own rules and ask about shipping price before purchase and not get excited. I might still buy more from this store but I will ask the shipping price before any purchase.

*Rakuten shipping price is added after the purchase is made and 9 times out of 10 it is reasonable and expected.

Kitsuke Evening with the Birmingham Japanese Society.

(Facebook Link)

So the next meeting is Friday the 10th of December onwards from 7pm, the night before the December KDJ at the Christmas markets in Birmingham. Costing a meagre £2 April will be demonstrating kitsuke on three men and three women. There will also be a plethora of kimono ladies present namely Lyuba, Hong, Isla and myself.

Kimono De Jack November Meetup

Sitting in my child’s furisode that I call a bathrobe, I am reflecting on yesterdays events. Yesterday I decided that I would start to invest time in teleportation technology, testing it on myself, negating the fatal flaw of my molecules being mixed up and ending up a blob of meat at Camden town station. Why you ask? Because I spent a total of 9 hours travelling due to engineering works to be able to spend 3 hours with the girls at KDJ.

It didn’t start out well, the cats were against me going out so I had to throw up my kimono in the air and how it landed was how I was walking out the door. I ended up having 30 minutes to dress in two kimono.

So onto the ensemble anyway…black meisen kimono with white and red waffle style dots with a hint of blue in the middle. This is me with Hong and Isla in Camden, next to a horses head. There were at LOT of such items, stables market has changed since the last time I went, it is more vibrant but also more maze like!

This kimono is normally a tight fit but over a second kimono it opened up a bit much and I could not get a proper line. Two kimono are bulky, I might just invest in thermals for winter kimono outings!

We also went to a green tea bar and I had a green tea with strawberries and cream cocktail.

Then to a restaurant in which we were joined by another kimonoite…

(Photos by April)

Synthetic Komon Style Ko Furisode at Japan Matsuri 2010

Japan Matsuri 2010A while back the internet was flooded the the most bargain-basement synthetic ko furisode for $19.99. This one was at the tail end of these offers as they were mostly snapped up by kimono retailers who now charge £100+ for them. This one cost me $14.99 and it is currently my favourite kimono. Yellow Gold NagoyaIt has a sewn in date-eri (to give the age old impression of a second kimono) and in the picture I have matched it with my ‘curtain fabric from Dunelm’ han-eri and gold obi. The gold obi has slight colour running through it which you can’t really see, and the han-eri is embroidered fabric. This is a huge money saving trick if you still want a ‘posh’ kimono collar without paying the price for it. You need to choose your fabric well.
Curtain fabric from dunelm for Han eri!

Even though now getting one of these ko-furisodes for less than $100 is hard I heartily recommend them as they are superb synthetic (and washable) kimono. They are WORTH that price unless you happen to have caught one of these superb deals, then paying more would hurt. I wish I would have binged and brought like 10, but you never know how synthetic kimono are going to go, I have wonderful ones and quite cheap ‘Primark’ quality ones. Good for tatting about in though.

I managed to get a red one, yellow one and white/blue/pink houmongi style one for a friend. Lots of them did not have hem patterns as they were graduation kimono (meant to be worn with hakama) but I wish I had managed to get a yabane patterned ko-furi. I am still kicking myself about it.

Matsuri was fun as there were a few kimono stalls (some selling my exact kimono for £150) and they complimented me on dressing myself in kimono. Self dressing is the norm for yofuku (western clothing in Japanese terms) so we take it for granted that dressing yourself in kimono is hard. It has taken me two years of practise to get this far and I still need to improve greatly.