Saturday, June 28, 2014

Upcoming: Tanabata

Tanabata is nearly here! Wear your favorite yukata, jinbei, or summer kimono (or regular clothes, of course) and come enjoy the Tanabata festival at the Seattle Japanese Garden, July 6th! You can enjoy a tea ceremony, watch traditional performances, and write a wish on a tanzaku paper strip. You may even bring your own origami ornaments from home if you wish to add them to the several bamboo stalks around the garden.

Tanabata, Star Festival, 七夕
Tea Ceremony @ Tanabata, 2013

Sunday, July 6th
Noon - 4:00pm
(or 1:00 - 5:00pm, there is a slight discrepancy on the garden's website. Please call ahead if you need to plan around the event start and end times. (206) 684-4725)

Seattle Japanese Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd E
Seattle, Washington 98112

Garden admission: 
Adults 18-64: $6
Youths 6–17, Senior Adults 65+, College students with ID, & Disabled: $4
Children 0-5: FREE

Tea Ceremony:
$7, $5 for youths. Prior registration is required, and reservations go quickly. Tea ceremonies will be held at the 
Shoeian Tea House inside the garden, at 1pm or 2pm. Please try to avoid wearing jeans, rings, fragrances, or bare feet if attending the tea ceremony.

Event Link:

If you'd like to coordinate meeting up with the kimono club, leave a comment below, or come join the discussion on Facebook!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gofuku no Hi

Gofuku no Hi is May 29th. It is derived from the date May 29th: 5-2-9 is go-fu-ku, gofuku also means traditional clothing. Because of the pronunciation, May 29th was made into an excuse to enjoy wearing kimono! Along with word of mouth, there is a Japanese Facebook event page promoting Gofuku no Hi call "I wear kimono on May 29th" or "529 Kimono Kimasu". Here is a translation of the event from their page:

Who can participate:
- Any kimono enthusiasts
- Young and old, amateur and expert, everybody!

- Wear kimono on May 29th
- No specific type of kimono, how it's worn, location, or time
- You do not have to make up a special reason to go out in a special kimono. Just go about your regular day.

If it is alright to do so, go to school or work in kimono, or perhaps go to lunch, relax, go shopping, any sort of meeting, event, after work, during family time, a get-together, or just wander aimlessly to buy chips and a soda from the convenience store. There are various opportunities to wear kimono.

*There is no specific plan to gather at a specific place for this event. You can share your Gofuku no Hi accomplishment on your own personal blogs, HP, SNS, forums, or other online sites.
Please share with your family and friends!

* Advertising of Gofuku no Hi is partially word of mouth, and partially through promotion by the participants.

What a wonderful excuse to wear kimono just for fun! Let's enjoy wearing kimono how you like on 529, Gofuku no Hi!

FB event listing:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Upcoming Events

Summer festivals have long since ended, and many of us have returned to school. While there are fewer festivals now than during the summertime, there are still many events coming up soon, and I will continue to monitor exciting opportunities to enjoy wearing kimono or Japanese culture. Here are some upcoming events:

Taiko Workshop
Northwest Taiko @ Seattle Cherry Blossom Fest 2010
Learn basic taiko drumming with Northwest Taiko. 

Wednesday, October 24th (7 - 9pm)

Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington
1414 S. Weller Street 
Seattle, WA 98144

$15, $10 for JCCCW members, $5 for students
limited to 12 students, register here

An Evening of Traditional Japanese Music - Koto and Shakuhachi
 Traditional music by Mitsuki Dazai (koto) and Kakizakai Kaoru (shakuhachi).

Saturday, October 27th (8pm)

Tateuchi Theater @ Wing Luke Museum
719 South King Street, Seattle

$20 at the door, $18 advance tickets, $12 for students

Tea Ceremony Workshop
(photo source)

Instructors Aiko Fujii and Ritsuko Kawahara will teach about basics of Urasenke tea ceremony.

Monday, October 29th (6:30 - 8:30pm)


Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington
1414 S. Weller Street 
Seattle, WA 98144

$21, $16 for JCCCW members, $11 for students
limited to 10 students, register here.

Cultural Crossroads Festival in Bellevue
Kabuki Academy @ Cultural Crossroads 2011 (source)
Two stages of cultural entertainment, international bazaar, and exhibits. You can see a full schedule of performances here. Performance of note: Japanese dance and shamisen music will be performed by the Kabuki Academy, Saturday, November 3rd on the Dance Stage at 12:45 - 1:30pm.

Friday, November 2 (5pm - 10pm)
Saturday, November 3 (10am - 10pm)
Sunday, November 4 (11am - 6pm) 

Crossroads Bellevue
15600 NE 8th
Bellevue, WA 98008


Bunka no Hi (Culture Day)

Bunka no Hi is a holiday in Japan, held on November 3rd. The JCCCW will be holding Bunka no Hi festivities on November 4th, including performances, displays, and demonstrations. There will be an onigiri rice ball contest, martial arts, tea ceremony, and of course Hosekibako will be open so you can buy Japanese antiques (and kimono!)

Sunday, November 4th (11am - 5pm)

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
1414 S Weller St
Seattle, WA, 98144


Tacoma Buddhist Temple Food and Craft Bazaar

Food includes rice curry, udon noodles, sushi, pie, mochi, and more. You may order food there, or schedule a pre-order pick up by email. Menu and pre-order instructions here. Crafts include sumi'e paintings, pottery, handicrafts, Japanese theme rummage sale, bake sale, and fresh vegetables.

Sunday, November 4th (11am - 4pm)

Tacoma Buddhist Temple
1717 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma

Free. See link above for menu item prices.

Shichi-go-san at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine

Shichi-go-san, an important ceremony/festival for children, boys 3 and 5 years old, and girls 3 and 7 years old! Children wear there best cloths or kimono and go to the shrine to pray with their parents for a long happy life. Kids will recieve a omamori charm, and chitose-ame long-life candy. Shichi-go-san is on November 15th, but it is observed on the nearest weekend, November 11th this year.

Sunday, November 11 (10:30am registration, ceremony starts at 11am)
If you can not make it to the Nov. 11th ceremony, you may schedule an appointment for shichi-go-san blessing during the month of November. To schedule: 360-691-6389 or

Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America
17720 Crooked Mile Rd.
Granite Falls, Washington 98252

None that I am aware of.

Creative Bento Workshop
(photo source, Happy Little Bento)
Learn how to make cute bento box lunches. Ingredients and bento boxes included in registration fee.

Saturday, November 17 (2 - 4pm)

Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington
1414 S. Weller Street 
Seattle, WA 98144

$25, $20 for JCCCW members, $15 for students
limited to 20 students, register here.

Minyo Dancing Workshop
(Japanese dance workshop, by Mary Ohno. source)
Mary Ohno of the Kabuki Academy will be teaching a workshop on minyo dance, folk dancing such as that done at Bon Odori.

Wednesday, November 28th (6:30 - 8:30pm)

Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington
1414 S. Weller Street 
Seattle, WA 98144

$15, $10 for JCCCW members, $5 for students
limited to 25 students, register here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kimono Fashion Show Videos

In June, the STKC attended a kimono fashion show at the Nagomi Tea House in Seattle. The Nagomi Tea House has shared videos of the fashion show on their tumblr page! If you were unable to attend, or want to rewatch the show, here are the Youtube videos below. You can also see the photos we took and read about our experience on this blog post.

Part 1, men's kimono, tsumugi (worn modern style):

Part 2, men's hakama, furisode (with obi change)

Part 3, furisode (modern style), furisode, men's denim kimono, tsumugi, komon, tsukesage

Part 4, Komon worn modern style, ro tsukesage, iromuji, houmongi

Unfortunately, there isn't a 5th part to show the furisode ensembles.

Upcoming: Yukata Class and Aki Matsuri

Amanda dancing at White River Bon Odori

Bon Odori was a blast. The STKC wasn't able to meet-up, but I look forward to future festivals and possible meet-ups! You can see my photos from the White River Bon Odori at my personal blog, here, as well as a photo slideshow at the bottom of this news article by the Auburn Reporter, here. The Bon Odori dance lesson's paid off and I had a great time dancing at the festival!

Summer is drawing to a close, as is matsuri festival season. There is one more big festival coming up: Aki Matsuri.

Saturday, September 8 (10am - 6pm) 
Sunday, September 9 (10am - 4:30pm)

Bellevue College, Main Campus
3000 Landerholm Circle Southeast 
Bellevue, WA 98007

Admission and parking are free, but some workshops may require registration. See ENMA's website for a full listing of this year's highlights and schedule. Some things to look forward to: tea ceremony, musical performances (koto, shamisen, taiko, traditional, J-Pop), dance, artisans of various traditional crafts, Japanese flea market, and Mikoshi shrine parade.

Also, the Nagomi Tea House has announced their first kimono dressing class. Yukata dressing, a two hour class is the first of a 4 part series of kimono dressing classes that will be held until November.

Yukata Kitsuke Class

Saturday, September 15 (11am - 1pm)

Nagomi Tea House (in the old Uwajimaya building)
519 6th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104

$25, registration required. Call 206-623-0100 or email Registration by check or credit card only.

Bring what yukata dressing supplies you can (listed below), or you can rent a yukata/obi/koshihimo set for $10, or purchase needed items at the class. Also, bring leggings and a tank top to wear underneath.

Required items:
Hanhaba obi
Koshihimo (2-3)

Also bring:
2 face towels (for padding)
Korin belt (or other kimono belts if you have them)
Hadagi (kimono underwear, such as susoyoke, suteteko, hadajuban, or a yukata/kimono slip)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bon Odori Dance Videos

Bon Odori dances
The bon odori dance practice sessions at each of the Buddhist temples teach the same dances that are performed at each of the Bon Odori festivals, so if you plan to attend the Bon Odori in Seattle, but the Tacoma or Auburn location is closer to you, you do not need to drive all the way to Seattle to practice.

If you are unable to attend any of the bon odori dance practice sessions, you can still dance at Bon Odori! The dances are simple and repetitive, and you can have fun even if you don't know all the dance movements! If you would like to acquaint yourself with dance moves of some of the common bon odori dances, you can watch some videos. After fishing around the internet, I found some videos of dance practice for the Seattle Bon Odori, so these dances will likely be in the line-up! Some of the videos are hard to follow, but it at least give you a feel about what to expect. Happy practicing!

Nenbutsu Daiko
a taiko drumming song
Seattle practice video:

(This dance uses two taiko sticks, usually with red and white barber pole style striping. The girls at the dance practice said you can get a thick wooden dowel from the craft store, cut two pieces about 27cm long, paint them white and add a red spiral design with red electrical tape. Some of the ladies even had sticks covered in that new kind of duct tape that have cool patterns on it.)

Shiawase Samba
Happy Samba
Seattle practice video:

Oyama Ondo
Song of Oyama

Dai Hiroshima Ondo
Great Hiroshima Song
Seattle practice video:

Isson Ippin
Sorry, I can't find video for this one. This dance uses an instrument called naruko. They clack when you shake them lightly.
One of the dancers let me use these ones, the color is unusual, normally they are red with black and yellow clacker sticks. You can buy plain un-laquered ones at Daiso for $1.50

Hanami Ondo
Fireworks Song
Seattle practice video:

For this song, the dancers wear LED flashing rings on their fingers, to symbolize fireworks. The dance instructors said that they normally use one ring on each hand, but this year in Seattle many of the dancers are wearing 2 rings on each hand. Flashing rings are optional. Here is an example of some light-up rings:
You can probably find them in party supply stores or where ever you can buy cheap flashy toys.

Sakura Ondo
Cherry Blossom Song
Seattle practice video:

The dancers hold branches of cherry blossoms for this song. Here is a picture of the branches they were selling at dance practice:
You can use any cherry blossom branch you can get in the fake flowers section of a craft store. The dancers at the dance practice had them in all different colors (even dark purple!), and some girls tied pretty ribbons on the stems or silver tinsel mixed in with the blossoms.

Tanko Bushi
Coal Miner's Song
Demonstration video:
You can also see a better video here with subtitled instructions. This is the easiest dance to do.

Soran Bushi
Sorry, I can't find videos for this one. 

Goshu Ondo
I can't find practice videos for this one, just this one video from the Seattle Festival that is hard to follow.

Yakyuken Odori
Baseball Song, a tribute to Ichiro Suzuki. I can't find practice video, but here are other videos:
Video Link #1 (embedding was disabled, therefore I used a link)

Hanagasa Ondo
Flower Straw Hat Song
Seattle practice video:

This song typically uses straw hats covered in flowers, but may use sensu dance fans or uchiwa at our local bon odori.

Dai Tokyo Ondo
Great Tokyo Song
(this dance may use two uchiwa fans)
Seattle practice video:

Sacred Heart (term referring to someone else's spirit)

These weren't one the list of songs I was given, but there are videos of them practiced locally, so I've included them for reference.

Fukushima Ondo
This is brand new this year, to honor Fukushima.

Seattle Bon Odori Samba
I think this is a samba they only do in Seattle

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tanabata Meet-up

July 7th was the Tanabata Festival! The STKC met at the Seattle Japanese Garden and had a great time walking around the garden in yukata, writing wishes, and attended a tea ceremony! And we took a ton of photos! (Click pictures to view them larger)

Katie, Tysen, and Amanda (me) arrived early and walked around for a little bit. There were three Tanabata bamboo trees set up outside, decorated with origami decorations.

Amanda and Katie in front of a Tanabata tree
The garden has many beautiful stone lanterns
We should definitely have another kimono meet-up at the Seattle Japanese Garden. The atmosphere is wonderful, and it is fun to carefully walk across the natural stone walkways.
Beautiful scenery at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Katie photographing a turtle, the turtles were keeping cool in the water!
Shannon arriving at the garden.
It was very sunny, so we found shade as often as we could!

After resting in the shade for a bit, we went and watched some dance performances on the moon viewing platform overlooking the koi pond. Here are some photos and video of the Fujima Dance Ensemble. Most of the videos are just partial clips of the dances, however, the entire dance with the ribbons is recorded in two parts.

After the dance performances, we wrote our wishes on tanzaku strips.

After the dance performances, we attended a tea ceremony at the garden's Shoseian tea house. I think it was the first tea ceremony any of us had attended, other than watching it performed on a stage. The outside walls were taken off, and it felt good to feel the breeze from inside the open tea house. We were told that the walls are put up for a formal tea ceremony and the guests have to enter through a 2 foot square doorway. The ladies were very nice and asked that we sit which ever way we were most comfortable. We tried to sit seiza style, and Shannon and Katie did a very good job at sitting seiza through the entire tea ceremony with very little shifting, but Amanda had to change positions constantly! It is very painful if you do not practice!

Unfortunately we didn't get pictures during the tea ceremony, but we did take some photos of the tea house.

The tea garden's courtyard also had a small tanabata tree with decorations, and we once again wrote tanzaku wishes to hang on the bamboo.
The ladies preparing the tea house for the day's tea ceremonies.
Before leaving the garden, we took some last photos overlooking the koi pond.

If you are in the Western Washington / Seattle area, we hope you can join us for our next fun outing!