When my friends were visiting – we decided to make a trek to the Genji Warehouse.
I’m quite familiar with the storeroom in the city, as I buy from there all the time, but I’ve never been to the warehouse itself before, though.
Of course, no self respecting kitsuke enthusiast would go shopping for kimono, not wearing kimono – so we all dolled up and off we went!
When we got to the warehouse – even I didn’t expect to see so many racks of kimono! Whoo-hoo! The look on my friend’s face was priceless – she felt like she was kimono shopping back in Japan again.
There were racks of men’s kimono, men’s over coats, juban, haori, michiyuki, kimono, uchikake, etc etc. Oh, did I mention that Genji was also having a 30% off all kimono and obi sale? eh heh heh heh!
The first thing that caught my eye and heart was a haori. Gorgeous dusty pink with black kiku pattern all over, and abstract yellow, pink and cream large flowers. But what completely won me was the lining. NEON PINK! rawr! I immediately put it on, seasons be damned, and refused to take it off for the rest of the day. It also went uncannily well with my ensemble I was wearing.
Blurry picture of me admiring myself looking spiffy with the haori. Yes, I was pleased as punch.
I then started going through the kimono racks…and uh oh. I knew my purse was about to be in trouble. I’m still kind of embarrassed about my haul thinking back on it…but we all agreed, the pieces I got were pretty special.
I found a gorgeous deep purple kimono that was surprisingly very long and wide! It originally caught my eye because of the pattern, but when I tried it on, I was completely and utterly shocked! It also has tiny little ume all over it, and the rinzu has tachibana, maple leaves, sakura, pine, faux shibori, etc etc in it. The silk is actually quite lightweight and feels so soft and buttery. It’s an exceptionally lush piece.
I then found a light blue kimono with plump suzume all over it. It is an intriguing kimono, suspected to be an uchikake — perhaps a former stage piece due to the design. Honestly, it is a completely mystery and I simply had to purchase it because of that very reason (oh, and because it is terribly cute). It will get it’s own thread once I get some more photos…until then – I’ll keep the “secret” of it under wraps. Can you guess the weird things about it yet?
Suddenly, I found a kimono that represents the my theme colours – pink, turquoise white and grey along with ume!
I also couldn’t pass up two great juban for $17 each. The first juban is solid red and really long and wide – it’s rather peculiar but I’m not complaining! The second one is gigantic faux kanoko print in red and white. Just cute. period.
By this point. I was done with shopping, but then made the mistake of looking at one last kimono that I noticed had birds on it. It was amazing. A rich indigo kimono with thin metallic stripes woven into the fabric – and flying swallows and landscapes all over. My friends convinced me into trying it on. The entire time I was chanting out loud “I hope this doesn’t fit.” It better not fit.” “It’s going to be too short.”.
Well. Of course it fit me. And by fitted me, I mean, wrapped side to side perfect and I can create a perfect ohashori. It was the PERFECT size. It meant I had to buy it.
What’s even more wonderful about this piece is that upon closer inspection, the sleeves have actually been shortened – but rather than cutting them short, they folded the excess fabric up inside. There’s about 20cm of extra sleeve fabric that can be let down. Also – the two swallows on the front left panel have the most subtle gold embroidery on the tips of their wings. The only embroidery on the entire kimono. It’s….it’s just perfect.
Of course – my friends shopped as well and each left with a nice haul.
After we exhausted ourselves at the warehouse – we decided to head into Japantown for some food. We ate at a restaurant I visited during the Cherry Blossom Festival dressed in my Taisho ensemble. I had a great conversation with the owner the first time I went there, he recognized my outfit as being Taisho – I thought he’d appreciate it if we all went, dressed in kimono.
Of course – he was thrilled “Oh! You came back! In kimono! And your friends in kimono!” He then disappeared while our food and drinks came out and we proceeded to enjoy our meal.
By the time these photos were taken, we had already devourered everything. Kimono shopping works up quite the appetite.
The owner then came back and handed me a piece of paper. When I looked at it – it was a sketch he just did of me. *blush* It was really, really sweet.
We then had a lovely conversation with him about kimono and he was telling us how one of the waitress’s grandfather, I think, was a yuzen dyer in Kyoto many years ago. He also wanted us, desperately, to come back on the weekend so he could sit us in the front section where the large glass windows are and we could just sit there taking our time drinking tea and talking. He wanted us there so the people walking by outside could see us, and because it reminded him of “the old times”. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it that weekend – but I will go some weekend soon for him.
All in all it was a completely wonderful day.