Sunday, 20 January 2008

Kimono exhibit in Llangollen

Yesterday, I went to a kimono exhibit in Llangollen. It was hosted by a member of the Immortal Geisha forums, and I wanted to go and show support (as well as see a small part of her very large collection hehehe).

I wanted to go with Mel, but she had a class in the morning, so she couldn't go. Instead I went alone. And yep, I didn't tell my dad either, till I was on the train, on my way to Birmingham! Hahaha... Telling him about it made me really nervous, though, cos I was going alone!

My schedule was supposed to follow the 8.40am train - unfortunately, when I got to Birmingham New Street, my next train was cancelled! So I had to wait for the follow-up train after the 9.40am train anyway. Geez, and to think I could've slept for a while longer!

When I got to Ruabon, I was really really nervous, cos the place was one of those unmanned stations in the middle of nowhere - just a small village, that's all! I got really anxious cos I didn't know which bus stop to wait at either - luckily my instincts were right! Unfortunately, it started raining as I got on the bus :(

I finally arrived in Llangollen after nearly 6 hours of travelling (this includes taking the bus from my flat to the tube station lol). Bad thing was - I got off a stop too early and had to walk nearly 2 miles to get to the place! My zori were abit too small too, so my feet were hurting really badly. Plus, the weather was horrid - cold and rainy and VERY windy! I'll never complain about Concord winds again!

When I got to the Royal International Pavilion at last, I felt very much like a drowned cat. But I was happy cos I was finally able to meet Takenoko - who would actually be the first person I ever met physically who also wears and has an avid interest in kimono! And so I waltzed in, and there she was!

She was quite surprised to learn I was shira (that's my username on IG). She didn't really know if I'd really travel all the way. And she was surprised to see me in a kimono too! Yes yes, I travelled in a kimono.

I wore my salmon pink wool kimono (thank God it was this and not a silk one - imagine if one of those got caught in the rain!!) with a white obi (shown in this post - the very first picture). The design on the kimono (very faint woven hexagons with flowers in them) is black, so I thought the gray in the white obi would match. I completed this outfit with a black obiage and a black and pink obijime I found that just happened to match the outfit perfectly!

The juban I wore was also really perfect for it - the sleeves fit, the shoulder area was a good size, the soft feeling of the synthetic juban protected my skin from the rough wool - and the pattern on the juban were little pink flowers and green leaves, which complemented the kimono perfectly! The zori I wore wasn't a perfect match, but it looked alright anyway - it was brownish orange and black.

Anyway, back to the story! Takenoko introduced me to her friend Maureen, who was also there and learning how to sew (they had different sewing projects every week or day I think) a haori (or rather, extending a haori). Takenoko kept up with the chatter, and she was very friendly! She made me feel very warm and welcome ^__^

Her collection display was gorgeous! I especially loved this one furisode, which started off as red at the top and faded to white at the bottom - the colour was rich and bright and very striking! I'll steal a few pictures from her slideshow later to post hehehe... I did want to take some pictures, but unfortunately, my camera has no battery >____< *sighs*.. Well, I did take a couple of pictures with her camera, and she said she'll post pictures, so I'll get them from her later! When I was there, there was a couple of elderly ladies who came in - they were quite interested in kimono, and especially the one I was wearing! Takenoko showed them around and explained alot of things to them. I hoped they enjoyed it! Hehehe.. Later on in the day, this woman came in with her two grandchildren - a boy and a girl. She took them around and showed them many things - and used me as a model for when she wanted to explain things! They were a cute family ^^ After it was over, Takenoko was very kind and drove me to Ruabon station - what a relief, I tell you! Not having to walk all the way again, amongst the puddles and all. Eventually, I got to Shrewsbury (it's only half an hour from Ruabon) and got to my B&B. I stayed at my usual place - Sandford House Hotel, which was quite close to the town center and a very nice place to stay at! The breakfast they serve there is good too - and the marmalade is absolutely gorgeous! Stayed there for the night, and the next morning, I woke up, and got ready. I wore kimono again, because it was the easiest to transport (if I wanted normal clothing, I also would have had to bring along a winter coat and another pair of shoes - troublesome!). And so, I'm wearing my green wool kimono with the same white obi, obiage and juban as yesterday, but with a matching green obijime.

After breakfast, I packed, checked out, and went to Concord where I saw Patrick (my brother) and a few friends, namely Sam, Joan and Eva! I spent most of my time with Eva though, and now I feel bad cos I didn't spend enough time with my brother :( Oh well, I'll make it up to him next time by bringing him loads of food! Hehehe..

In Concord and in my travels, I did get alot of stares (ehehehe in Concord, I even heard one boy hissing to his friend to 'not stare!!!' - it was cute XD) and compliments. And the best thing is the kimono were so cheap (the pink one's US$5 and the green is US$3) that everyone who asked was amazed! Haha. In Concord, there was even a girl who asked if there was a shop in UK that sold these sort of things!

A number of older women stopped me to tell me how lovely I looked :) It was really nice hehe, although I felt really shy about them =^_^=

Anyway, it's starting to get a little late, and this post is getting a little long and too wordy, so I'll leave it here. I'll post pictures later when I get them! ^_^ Bye!

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