Friday, 31 October 2008

It's my birthday!

Mwahaha, I turn 20 today! I am sadly no longer a teen anymore, and can no longer gloat that I'm a 19-year-old and in my final year of university D: Instead I shall now gloat that I will graduate at the nice even-numbered age of 20!! Yaaaay!

Were I Japanese, it would now be legal for me to drink, vote, own houses, etc. Banzai! I can move to Japan now!

Hopefully, I will receive my parcel today as a birthday present. The parcel has 6 kimono and 3 obi in it - Ling, don't freak out, it came as a lot and was bought ages and ages ago. All of that costs the same as one ball of yarn. AND I chose the cheap shipping too!

Oh Ling, my room was only messy that day because Hong and I were throwing stuff everywhere all over it! It's really much neater usually. :P And Pa's going to Osaka???? Nuuuuuuu!!! *flies home to be packed into Pa's suitcase* I'd give a shopping list, but then I'd have to educate Pa about types of kimono, formality levels, colours, patterns, how to buy something that fits and all that rot. So yeah, I'll save Pa a headache and just not ask for anything :D

Hm, time to do coursework... D:

Crazy Ideas: More pictures from last Friday

Okay, later than I expected, but I ended up being quite busy with coursework this past week. Actually, I'm supposed to be doing coursework now, but I'm taking a short break hehehe.

Anyway, here are more pics from Friday's kimono dress-up! I wasn't doing proper kitsuke, so I really wore this just like a robe *horrified gasp* :P It was meant to be trailing style, yet it's too short for that and too long for no ohashori. Oh well.

This kimono is a random striped one which I think comes from the 1930s or earlier. This girl's maru obi is also about the same age, I believe.
Striped Silk + Maru Obi
A "Naomi" pose variation!
Then we started imitating old shin-hanga prints! Here I am "reading"...
Running fingers through my hair..
"Oh! A rat just ran past!" :P :P :P
Imitating a pose from my Showa Modan Kimono book (that's a book with alot of old kimono paintings and prints)
That previous pose made me think of swatting flies. I couldn't stop giggling when we were taking this pic!
Another pose from the Showa Modan Kimono book. Of course, I look uglier.

Hehe it was really fun taking all those photos! Hong and I were laughing and laughing our heads off! Hong was the photographer and "director" and kept going "move there! Over there! Look serene. Look wistful. WISTFUL dammit!" Hahahaha XD

Okay, I think that's enough pics for one post. There still are lots of pics from Saturday's MCM Expo and I'll post that when I have the time to ^_^ Bye!

Ling, ;____; must you post photos of such wonderfully delicious food? (No, that isn't a request to stop posting them pics!!! :P)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Closet Feature: Kurotomesode pictures!

On Friday, Hong brought over some of her kimono for me to try on! We took looooooads of pics ^_^ In fact, we took so many that I'm only going to post them in batches! Today, I'm posting the kurotomesode batch, where I'm "modelling" her kurotomesode.

Just to clarify myself, kurotomesode is the most formal kimono a married woman can wear. Unmarried women are not supposed to wear it at all, which means I'll have to keep mine in storage for a few more decades! Haha. Kurotomesode are usually worn to the most formal ceremonies like the weddings of your immediate family (siblings and children).

The room is messy because we were rotating my kimono (summer kimono go into storage, winter kimono get taken out) so everything was strewn all over the place! Also, I'm not really wearing anything properly - we were too lazy to actually practice our kitsuke!

This one is her absolutely gorgeous kurotomesode with an embroidered pheasant on it. It's so sweet! It's black, white and purple, my favourite colour combination! It's also got gorgeous gold decorations.

An upclose of the hem...

This is just a picture of the hem of my kurotomesode, which I bought over 2 years ago. I hadn't had any idea how unusual and unique this motif was on kurotomesode until I took it out on Friday! I can't believe I was contemplating selling it - it's a piece I'll treasure! Especially since it's one of my first kimono purchases hehe..

I love love LOVE the lining!! It's also got decoration all over it!

This is just a picture of the hem of Hong's ro chidori kurotomesode. THIS one was a really rare piece, and it cost her only JPY3000! That's about $30! O_O It's ro (summer-weave, semi-transparent, very light), it's got really long sleeves, and it's got chidori (plovers) on it!! We're not sure how old it is, but given the length of the sleeves, the feel of the silk and the pattern (it's "mirror image" - both hems have the same pattern mirroring each other), I think it's a pre-WW2 kurotomesode. For something so old, it's in fantastic condition. Here, we're just showing how you can see the pattern on the other hem from the front because of the semi-transparent summer weave.

Okay, that's all for now! :) I'll be posting the rest of Friday's pictures later tonight or tomorrow. I'll also blog about and post the pictures from yesterday's MCM Expo in a separate batch. *waves bye*

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Hong came over today! She came over at about 2pm and we talked alot and alot about kimono and all that. I rotated my kimono about while we were talking. I put away all my yukata and summer kimono, and took out my awase (lined) kimono. I really should've done this ages ago, but I guess I got lazy haha.

We decided on what we were going to wear for tomorrow (I'm lettind her wear my sakura hakama set! The both of us were practically drooling all over it!) and... chatted. Yeah, we talked and talked for 6 hours straight :P Of course, some of that time, she let me try on some of her kimono and we took loads and loads of pictures. It was really fun! Hahaha. I'll post them as soon as she sends them over ^___^

At about 8pm, we both went out for dinner at Il Bordello, which is right behind my flat. It's really close to church - just the next street over, really! I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before. It was absolutely packed! We were lucky that we managed to get a table as soon as we went in. It was rather noisy of course, but we still managed to have a decent conversation.

I had a linguini pescadora, which is linguini with seafood in a tomato sauce. I don't usually like "seafood" stuff in London, but OH MY GOD. It was absolutely fantastic!! Really tasty, the seafood was fresh, and the portion was HUGE. Think the Italian equivalent of Misato! I ended up having half of it packed away. Hong had this ravioli al funghi thingy (ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a mushroom and white wine sauce) that was also gorgeous.

Of course, I didn't eat till I was really stuffed so I could save space for dessert. Hong had ice cream while I had tiramisu. Again, it was huge!! The whole slab of tiramisu was bigger than my whole hand! And it wasn't jelak either - it was quite delicate and the balance of cream, coffee, biscuit and alcohol was just perfect. I ate the whole thing of course! :P (whoa, I feel the need for a gym subscription...)

The table next to us seated this couple. They were watching us eat, and when the dessert came, they asked us how the heck we were able to eat our mains and dessert, since we were "small"! Well, yeah, Hong's tiny, but I sure as heck aren't! Then again, compared to them, maybe I do seem small :P Either way, Hong and I answered things like "we've got a separate stomach for dessert" and "dessert goes into the black hole" haha. I swear, it was hilarious :P

Okay, I'm gonna go shower now and hope my hair dries. Tomorrow's the MCM Expo and Hong's coming over early in the morning so we can get dressed and go to the Expo early! *squeals* I can't wait!! :D:D:D

G'night! Ling, I'll send you pictures and a full review of Il Bordello when I get them pics.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

I want to wear kimono...

I'm seriously dying to wear kimono because I haven't practiced any kitsuke at all since the koto concert last Thursday :(

Why haven't I worn kimono since then?
1) I was bloated because my period was late. It was painful to wear kimono.
2) I was moody and PMS-ing and not in the mood to fuss about clothes.
3) I was busy doing coursework and my dissertation.

And why can't I wear kimono now?
1) My period is here. Still bloated. Still painful.
2) All my kimono bras are in the wash and won't be dry till Saturday D:
3) I still need to do coursework and my dissertation.

At least I'll be able to wear kimono on Saturday. But somehow, some part of me just wants to put together some kimono ensembles. Maybe when I'm done with these courseworks, I can put together a few ensembles and take pics to satisfy my kitsuke-lust.

Ling, I'm thinking of trading away or selling some of my kimono. Don't be surprised if I suddenly ask you to call me for therapy because I'm about to sell one of my babies. I think I'll still need another month to bring up the courage to start selling ;_;

Cabbages and Carrots

Remember when I mentioned that Waitrose was selling bags of vegetables for £4? I didn't realise exactly how much value for money it is. I bought it nearly a week ago, and I'm still eating the vegetables now! There's alot of stuff in that one bag - 1kg potatoes, 1kg carrots, 0.5kg parsnips, 1 head of cauliflower, 1 small savoy cabbage.

I use at least one type of vegetable everyday and maybe it's because I've kept them in the fridge and use them to feed only one person, but they last a really long time! I hope they'll keep this up - if they do, I might be able to cut my food expenses down from £50 per week to £20 per week! Especially if I go to the butcher's for my meat, which I've been doing quite regularly now. Just yesterday, I walked out of the butcher's with 2 burger patties, 4 sausages and 4 large (oooh very large!) chicken breasts for only £10. I think that would feed me for 2 weeks! I suppose I should start going to Borough Market for my fish, too, to save money. (Stupid credit crunch)

Tonight, I was craving for cabbage soup, for some odd reason, so I cooked cabbage soup. It turned out alright, as expected (I mean, come on! Such a simple basic recipe!), but I'm really surprised that the cabbage didn't turn out bitter and that the chicken was still tender. I suppose a few bad experiences with bitter cabbage and tough, dry meat makes me expect that all cabbages will be bitter and all chicken breast meats will be dry haha.

I seem to recall absolutely loathing cooked carrots since forever, even this summer! However, a few days ago, I had a craving for carrot rice (normal white rice, just cook it with slices of carrot thrown in and some fish stock), so I had it with baked salmon and courgettes. Now, all of a sudden, I'm craving for carrots 24/7. I suppose I'll be having carrot rice as often as I have green rice (rice cooked with fish stock and broccoli florets, sometimes with spinach) now.

..... Yes, I'm feeling lonely and really want to talk to someone, but everyone's busy, that's why I'm rambling on and on about vegetables, of all things.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Ichiroya's website is selling a contemporary pink furisode and a polyester striped komon for really really cheap and I want them sooooo badly, but I promised I wouldn't buy kimono anymore.... *sobs* Someone buy them and surprise me with them for my birthday ;_;

9 more days till I'm officially no longer a teen. How depressing. For this 1 1/2 weeks, I'll have to constantly gloat that I'm 19 and in my last year of university. NYAH NYAH!!! :P Brat? Who me? O:)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Losing weight

This afternoon, I was very abruptly filled with determination to lose 50lbs or 20kg so that I can fit into my kimono (amongst other things :P). I'd start now, but I haven't any time to exercise because of my piling courseworks D: (Mwahaha, serial procrastinator, I am!)

Speaking of courseworks, I've got to finish half of two courseworks by tomorrow, 2/3 of one coursework by next week and about 10% of my dissertation (not including the research stuff I need out of said 10%) in two weeks. I haven't got anything due for another 2 1/2 weeks at least -_- *sigh*

But at least I'll be able to finish it all early and have time to do my dissertation and study.

Speaking of which, Mel and Hong are coming over this Friday to decide on what to wear for the kimono fashion show. At the same time, Hong and I will have to decide what I'm going to wear for this Saturday's MCM Expo! We're going to wear hakama, of course, but just which kimono I'm going to wear is an issue. I think I might wear a striped kimono, but I'm not sure... Definitely a kofurisode. Maybe I'll look up some anime characters and see what they're wearing? Hehehe...

Okay, I've rambled on enough. Time to do coursework!

Event Aftermath: Koto and Nihon-buyo Concert

On Thursday the 16th, Hong, Mel and I went to a koto and nihonbuyo (traditional Japanese dance) concert in Westminster Cathedral Hall. It was in aid of The Passage, which is a charity that helps homeless people.

It cost £20 each to get in, but it was well worth it because you rarely get to see Japanese dance in London! It was my first time seeing it, and I was quite enthralled - I kept trying to interpret each move! The only one I really got was the one of sakura petals falling :P I'm really glad I spent the money, because I doubt I'll ever get a chance to see it again (outside of Japan, of course), especially once I go home permanently!

Thursday itself was a hectic day - woke up at 7am, left the house at 8, classes from 9 till 3, rushed to Waitrose to buy loo paper and vegetables (OMG, Waitrose is selling such a good deal now! 5 seasonal vegetables -quite a lot of them- for only £4!! Of course I bought it. So what if I can't cook parsnips? I can learn!), then met up with Hong and we both got dressed. That's why my face looks so stupid in these photos - I was exhausted.

We left the flat at 6pm, hoping to meet Mel at St James's Park Station at 6.30pm. Due to a malfunction on my phone, we didn't meet till 6.50pm and was a few minutes late to the concert! Oh noes..

The concert starred the Haru Ichiban Group, which is a group of travelling performers. It consists of the following people:

Koto, Sangen, Voice: Rie Yanagisawa
Dance: Akiko Kobayashi
Shakuhachi, Flute, Shinobue: Clive Bell
Cello: Stuart Jones

I must say, the combination of cello and koto is surprisingly beautiful! The trio played the following songs:

1. Haru no uni (Sea in Spring) with koto, shakuhachi and cello.
2. Yachiyo jishi with sangen, cello and voice with dance.
3. Harusame (Spring Shower) with sangen, shakuhachi, cello and voice with dance. Hong said she's learning this dance! (She takes nihonbuyo lessons)
4. Aki no Shirabe (Tune of Autumn) with koto, flute and cello. This was also played in the previous koto concert, but it somehow sounded different with a flute and cello!


5. Gion kouta (Song of Gion, Kyoto) with sangen, shakuhachi, cello and voice with dance. Gion is a hanamachi in Kyoto - that is, a Geisha district. I was quite excited to see it because it's very famous and I've never seen it before!
6. Hokkai minyo chi (Song of Hokkaido) with koto, shakuhachi and cello. The first part of it (So ran bushi, Fishermen's song) was also played at the previous concert. I love that song!
7. Akikaze no kouta (Songs of the Autumn wind) with koto, flute, cello and voice. The poem this piece was composed for is very pretty! I'll post it sometime.
8. Sakura medley (Cherry blossom) with koto, shakuhachi, cello and voice with dance. It was a combination of 3 famous songs - ToRyanse (a walk through the Tenjin shrine), sakura sakura (an old folk's song), and Imayou (a famous 10th century song).

After that, we walked to Victoria Station, bought Burger King for dinner (haha) and took the tube home where we all sat around the couch and had a chip pile with mayonnaise. Oh, and we watched Black Adder haha. We ended up chatting for a long while. It was fun!

Okay, onto the pics!! Sorry for bad kitsuke and fugly face.

The front

The back

Upclose of my obi

My kimono was a mauve iromuji with a woven design of clear swirling waters. I get the feeling it's more of a spring kimono than an autumn kimono, but whatever! I hadn't any idea what to wear it with that wouldn't make it look too grey-ed out, but Hong helped me coordinate this outfit! This obi is a white nagoya obi with coloured stripes that I've had for ages and ages but never knew what to wear with. I'm glad I can finally wear it!

The obiage is Hong's and is a very refreshing shade of green. The obijime is a dark purple one, not sure of the name of the colour. I wanted it to be more young and modern despite the subdued matureness of the kimono, which is why I loved the striped obi with it. Also, I added on long dangly silver earrings and a huge purple ring to make me more.... "funky" I guess. Did I succeed?

Hong's ensemble

Hong's back

Hong is wearing a pale green tsukesage with pear green maple leaves. The pattern of the maple leaves look like swirling waters - I think my kimono matches hers! :D And the obi is maroon with silver, gold, orange and olive kikkou with gold kiku. The obiage is my olive obiage and the obijime is the gold and silver obijime I used in the RBW Challenge.

I helped coordinate this ensemble for her! This obi was actually a part of another set she'd bought (a bingata-inspired-style komon) but when I saw it with this kimono, I just HAD to pair them together! The green in the obi matched the kimono so well and the colour of the obi just made the whole outfit pop!

We both decided that the darker green obiage was best in bringing out the darker colours of the kimono while tying it in with the green of the obi. The obijime was to match the gold and silver bits in the obi. It looked like too much at first, till I realised that the front pattern didn't have much gold and silver, so it wouldn't be too overwhelming.

A nice Japanese lady at the concert

Same lady and her husband and friends

This lady was quite excited to see us in kimono. She insisted on taking pictures with us to show her friends in Japan that there are others who are also interested in Japanese culture and kimono. We asked her why she didn't wear one, and she said that when she moved to England permanently, she gave away all her kimono to her family and friends! How sad :(

We were quite popular during the interval - lots of people spoke to us and asked us questions about kimono :) I'm glad people took interest!

Ooooh guess what? That Japanese lady? She's also going to the kimono fashion show on November 11th! ^_^ Hong, Mel and I are going to that one and we're ALL going to wear kimono! *yay!* We're also attending a dinner they're having after that with Kobe beef. I honestly sincerely hope it's good stuff!! XDXDXD I still haven't coordinated my outfit for then! Hong and Mel are coming over this Friday to coordinate an outfit for Mel and I guess we can decide what we're going to wear then! Still, I've got to confirm with her what I'm wearing to the MCM Expo this Saturday hehehe..

Ling, am I going out too much? I swear, after the fashion show, it's the last event till I hand in all my coursework! (that'll be Dec 5th) Except maybe for a few exhibitions in a few museums... :P

That's all for now~~

P/S: My uterus was twitching the whole day because my period was due then. However, I've only JUST got it (my period) an hour ago. Talk about late! I've been PMSing and cramping for 5 EXTRA days because of it. I'm annoyed! >:(

Outfit Snap: IG Red-Black-White Challenge

Well, despite being late for over a week, here are pictures of me participating in the IG Red-Black-White Challenge!

The front...
The back...
With that cape I bought from Japan all those years ago. I never wore it till January when I discovered what a cute kimono accessory it made!
Sorry for the bad picture, but in here you can see that it's black and white stripes rather than grey!

The kimono is a black and white striped polyester kimono I bought quite a while ago. Very warm. The obi is a very cheap nagoya obi I bought from a UK seller on eBay. It has white maple leaves and butterflies on it! So cute!!

To tie in the gold bits, I used a yellow obijime and a gold and silver obijime. Yes, TWO obijime! Mel and I saw it in one of the kimono magazines I have and we decided to try it. I picked a white obiage to give it a lighter, cooler and more "uplifting" feel and also to tie in the white han-eri, white tabi and white maple leaves.

Unfortunately, the obi is a bit short for me, which is why it looks kinda ugly on me. Maybe I should sell it to Hong? Or trade it with something? I've already sold one of my black furisode to her because I can't fit it (it's too short) and it's perfect for her. It's black, lush, the right length and size, and has gorgeous embroidery on it. I'll have to wait till she gets cash, though, hehe. Then after that, I'll have to see if she still wants it *sigh*

Ling: There, tell the parents that I'm selling off my kimono rather than buying more.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Shopping Dilemma!

*sighs* I've been looking at this houmongi set on Yamatoku and this iromuji full set on Ichiroya lately. I really really want both of them, but the only problem is the houmongi is $130 and the iromuji set is $160 D:

I'd love to have them both, but it's either one or the other or neither at all. I want the houmongi because it's so pretty and my sort of colour (pink and cream) with really long sleeves, which is suitable for my age and very hard to find. It's perfect for my height and size and it comes with a matching juban!! I want it sooooo badly...

On the other hand, the iromuji set is absolutely lovely. The iromuji is green, a colour I don't have (not that I have anything even remotely similar to the houmongi!), and it comes with a juban, an obi, an obiage and an obijime. It's only $30 more expensive than the houmongi... But this set is a very "normal" set, easily replaced and put together again. Then again, the iromuji is much more versatile than the houmongi.. But that still doesn't help the fact that the houmongi is so much more difficult to find!

.. You know, at this rate, I'll probably keep going back and forth and back and forth without ever buying until they're both gone :(

Then again, with the current financial crisis, it really isn't a good idea to shop so much now, is it?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I want this! Birthday present?

I want this set for my birthday: CLICKY CLICKY! I don't care if 20 people chip in to buy it (come on, it's only $160... but shipping would cost like $50 :P) I want it ;_; Unfortunately, I've been buying waaaaay too much lately and I feel guilty everytime I so much as think of eBay. Buuuuut my birthday is in 18 days, so if anyone wants to surprise me... (HINT)

:P Nahh, I'm kidding. It'll be hell to ship all the stuff I have already. When I get home, I'm never wearing yofuku (Western clothes) except for the really really pretty ones. Like my dresses *heart*.

Haha, I'm feeling waaaaaay to girly at the moment! Maybe it's a side effect of trying on new dresses? See, I bought a semi-Gothic Lolita white shirt and red skirt set over a month ago and it's FINALLY arrived. Good thing it fits nicely (just a little loose HAHAHA) and is well-made.

There's just something about the outfit that screams "librarian" or "nerdy lolita", so I pulled my hair back into as severe-but-messy a bun as I could, then wore really red lipstick (the shade just about matched the skirt), added glasses, heels (also red) and an old hardcover book to complete the look. I'm not satisfied with the shoes I have, so I didn't take pics, but I'll definitely need a second opinion! I may wear this to the MCM Expo in two weeks.

On a side note, I met up with my professor today and he agreed to be my supervisor!! *thrilled* We have another meeting set up for next week and I'm to bring a partially completed project proposal then. Ling, remember those books in the study room at home? The ones about the '97 SE Asian Economic Crisis? I took them. Those were damn good books. Thanks!

About over a week ago, the Immortal Geisha forums opened a new forum called the "IG Kitsuke Challenge". Basically, there are threads that have themes which you're supposed to follow and put together an outfit based on it. I participated in the Red-Black-White challenge yesterday. It's a challenge where you have to put together an ensemble that's predominantly red, black and white, and "redefine" the colours (hehe).

Of course, when I say I "participated", it really means I put together an outfit I've had in mind for quite a while (the finishing touches tweaked with help from Mel!) and wore it, then took pictures and posted them haha. Everything is done in everyone's own time, so it isn't really a competition :) I'll post pictures as soon as I can be bothered to! :D

Ling, do you have something similar on Ravelry? Like, I dunno, a thread where you and a bunch of friends compete to knit the cutest socks or the most outlandish-coloured bags. It would sound like fun, wouldn't it?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Tiring Thursday

Once again, today was a very tiring day.

I got up at my usual time (well, usual time for 9am lectures anyway!), got ready in my normal amount of time, left the house at a very appropriate time according to my clocks. *sighs* And then, when I was on the bus, I was shocked at how much time had passed while I daydreamed at the bus stop, and rushed to school, practically running from the bus to the classroom. When I burst in, I was flabbergasted at how few people there were in the class - five, including the lecturer! When I took a seat, I asked my friend what time it was on her watch and found that MY watch was nearly half an hour fast!! -______- That means I was nearly half an hour early!! Bloody irritating, it was.

Halfway through my last lecture, I started talking to a friend from another course and found out we had the same preferred supervisor for our dissertations! I'd been trying to get a hold of that lecturer for months! He had a meeting with John Heaman (the supervisor) right after the lecture, so he invited me to tag along and ask if he would agree to be my supervisor. We waited for half an hour and he didn't come -_- We even looked up his schedule and waited for him outside the classroom but no one came! Owen kept trying to call him the whole time.

Just as we got fed up and were about to leave (we were waiting for about an hour and a half), John called Owen and said he was ill. Owen was nice enough to set another date and time for a meeting with him and mentioned me to him! So I'm finally going to meet him at 1pm on Monday. I swear, that was the highlight of my day. After 5 months of trying unsuccessfully to contact John Heaman, I managed to do it completely by chance because I blabbered to Owen about kimono last year and made friends with him. Heh.

I finally got home (after collecting a parcel that contained the wool kimono I posted before, and buying dinner) at about 5.30pm. I was about to dive into my food (I was starving! At least I had a sandwich at about 12pm, though..) when I remembered I had to send a few emails. I'm glad I remembered to do it as soon as I got home, otherwise I may have irritated my groupmates for the coursework!

On a really random and late side note, I went to Camden Town with Mel last Saturday! We met up at about 2pm and had a foodie fest (yeah, in Camden Town of all places!). We were looking for this potato thing that I'd had many many years ago but we couldn't find it. Instead, we had takoyaki, this chorizo and chicken in paprika sauce thing that was served over linguini (oh my GOD it was gorgeous!!!), cider, belgian waffles with dark chocolate sauce and fruits, and a platter of some Turkish meal of couscous, pitta, lamb and chicken kebabs, lamb chops and grilled chicken with this most beautiful garlicky hummus that was soooooo addictive.

After eating, we walked around looking for some stuff I wanted to buy. I bought this really pretty statue of a fairy with 4 baby dragons around her, two of them just hatching from their shells! It's sooooo cuuuuuuuuute. I also bought a sort-of Gothic Lolita coat which I think can be worn as a dress. It might be a bit too warm to wear in Malaysia, but maybe if we went to somewhere like Cameron Highlands or Genting Highlands, it'd be alright. It's really cute! Even MeiZi thinks so! With Mel's help, I've put together an outfit to go with it, but I actually haven't gotten a nice skirt to match it. Still, I'll try it on sometime and post pics!

Blegh, I'm feeling weird. I think my eyesight's deteriorating by the second. I need new glasses. And I NEED TO EAT CHILLI CRABS. Ling, eat some for me?

Monday, 6 October 2008

Event Aftermath: Friday's koto concert

On Friday, my new study table was supposed to arrive, but didn't... Apparently, they didn't ring the doorbell, but instead just left a note saying no one was in -____-" And that was at 12.40pm - right when I was pacing around my bedroom wondering why it wasn't there yet! How irritating.

Anyway, later on that evening, Hong, Mel and I were planning on going to a koto concert near Camden Town. Hong and I had decided to wear kimono! In the afternoon, Hong came over and we both helped each other dress. I'd read that the weather that night was going to be rainy and cold at 6C, so we also put on ama-coats (raincoats). Thank goodness we did, because although it didn't rain, it was absolutely freezing out there! It was as though we were time-warped to early December or something.

We left the flat a little late, but managed to reach Camden Town station in time to meet with Mel, who was half an hour early. The walk to Cecil Sharp House took us about 20mins, and we got there just in time to buy tickets and get settled into our seats.

The koto concert was in aid of the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Northwood Sunshine House School and was held by the Kakehashi Koto Ensemble. The Ensemble itself was created by a koto and sangen sensei (master, teacher) who lives in London. Her name is Ayako Hotta-Lister. Some of the ensemble players flew in directly from Kyoto.

They played 12 songs according to seasons, as follows:
1) Nara no Shiki (Four Seasons of Nara) - 4 people on the koto, with traditional Japanese singing
2) Hana Fubuki (Flower Blizzard) - 2 people playing the sangen (a type of shamisen)
3) Tori no You ni (Like a Bird) - a koto solo. I loved this one! So beautiful and uplifting

4) Natsu no Hi (A Summer's Day) - 3 people on koto
5) Fuurin (Wind Chime) - a koto solo played by a British man
6) Yuugao (The Evening Glory) - a quartet of 2 koto and 2 sangen, with traditional Japanese singing. This was in tribute to The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, which was the world's first novel, written exactly 1000 years ago.
7) Itoyuu (Playing with the Strings) - a koto solo


8-1) Mizu Umi no Uta (Poem of the Lake) - a duet with koto and piano. Absolutely lovely! Combining two of my loves! *heart*
8-2) Tsumugi Uta (Weaver's Song) - another duet with koto and piano. Breathtaking piece! It was soft and slow, calm and gentle at the beginning, then fast-paced and incredibly cute from the middle to the end. I'm making this one my theme song! XD
9) Touginuta (Sound of Beating the Washing) - quintet of 3 koto and 2 sangen, with traditional singing. I must say, that after reading the description in the booklet, I finally understand why my birthday furisode is an Autumn kimono.

10) Yuki Hana (Snow Flowers) - a quintet of 5 koto and traditional singing
11) Fuyu no Kyoku (Winter Music) - a koto duet with traditional singing
12) Hokkai Minyou-Chou (The Fishermen's Autumn Harvest) - a koto sextet. Not a winter piece, but a cheerful Autumn piece to reflect the season and finish off the evening on a light note.

The pieces were ALL lovely :) I particularly enjoyed the piano and koto duets!

During the interval, we were allowed to touch the koto and play a few notes. None of us dared to, of course, but we did ask a few questions. We also got to take pictures with Hotta-Lister-san!

When it ended (an hour later than scheduled!), we went home to collect Hong's stuff so she can go home as she had to work on Saturday. Unfortunately, we ended up sitting around the kitchen and talking for nearly 2 hours! I ended up sleeping at nearly 4am that night haha. Tiring but fun.

Anyway, here are the pictures!
Hong and I had just finished dressing

A picture of how my back looked like

A picture of how Hong's back looked like

Hong, Ayako Hotta-Lister and I during the interval

Ayako Hotta-Lister tuning her koto before Mizu Umi no Uta

Kazuko Tsuchiya playing "Tori no You ni"

I'm not quite sure who this is, but I just love her kimono! It's shibori butterflies!

My kimono was a pale yellow silk awase komon with maple leaves drawn in red, blue, green, orange, and gold. I paired it with a black chrysanthemum and peony obi which was a little out of season, but what the heck. Accessories were red obiage and obijime, with red juban sleeves peeking out the back to match them, and red zori as well as black haneri and black tabi.

Hong's kimono was a purple silk hitoe komon with white bangasa on it. Her obi was a tsuke obi with chidori. So cuuuuute!!! And her kimono is actually waaaaay too big for her! I'm jealous ;_;

Did I mention that the Japanese women kept speaking to me in Japanese? Hehe. Ah, and one of them gestured at my kimono and said it was iki! (Iki means stylish. I assume it was because my ensemble actually reflected the season quite well) I'm absolutely ecstatic about that! ^______^

On Thursday 16th October, there is another koto concert the three of us are going to. It's more expensive than Friday's (Friday's was £8, the next one will be £20), but it'll also have Nihon Buyo (traditional Japanese dance) and Japanese snacks. All I need to do now is coordinate another ensemble! Hehehe..

What to wear, what to wear...

Friday, 3 October 2008


Today, one of my lecturers said the funniest thing. He was telling us a story about his pet cat years ago (it relates to our lecture, so no, he wasn't talking nonsense :P). And he described his cat as, and I quote:

"Standard house pet. Furry object." *makes gesture with hands indicating a mass about the size of a cat*

LOL the whole lecture hall laughed so hard! I had trouble keeping my giggles in check when he continued the story XD

Speaking of funny quotes from lecturers, my first lecturer this morning was talking about systems and how we could use things from our systems thinking module to apply to his subject.

"And to look at our situation, we could use.. that picture thing. Whatever it's called."

It doesn't sound quite so funny if you don't know what a "rich picture" is :P Think of it as an inside joke, I guess. But it was hilarious because the systems thinking lecture was right after that one! Hahaha.

On a side note, 6 hours of lectures may be torture on the stomach (it's from 9am till 3pm non-stop with only 10 minutes of break per hour), but at least the lectures themselves are interesting enough to make up for the growling tummies! I think from now on, I'll have to pack a lunch at home to eat in one of the lectures. Not enough time to buy a lunch D: Not unless I either want to be late or to give up getting a seat in my 1pm lecture. The 1pm lecture is great, by the way. Our coursework this year is on the Royal Opera House! We get to go on a field trip there for a tour and everything! *joyness*

Ling, doesn't my course sound so interesting? :D

Thursday, 2 October 2008


And so, the first week of my final school year has begun. A bittersweet moment.

I am feeling the stress of third year. And it's so ironic because all I've been to so far is one lecture. Well, that and a talk about our dissertation. It was really the dissertation that kills.

I was actually shocked that not everyone has thought of a title/topic already (the exchange students are excused :D). I'd set my heart on a topic a little less than two years ago, only wavering slightly last year before making a firm decision to stick to it. This summer I'd mapped out a general plan for my dissertation and written out potential topics I might want to put into it, which I'd discuss with my supervisor. And you know what? That's already half of what's due in December: the proposal. It's essentially a summary of everything I'm going to put into the dissertation, divided by chapters.

I'm thinking I can do about a third of the whole thing this term with the books I have, then go home for Christmas and spend some time in Ma's office and the National Library looking for records or something. Then, once I've collected all my data, I can spend my short holiday after the January exams doing another third of it at least, and the other third can wait till after I've consulted my supervisor to make sure what I've done is alright so far.

I also have to think about whether or not I'm doing the short dissertation (min. 7,500 words, max 10,000 words) or the long one (min 20,000 words, max 25,000 words). I've heard that the long one is really difficult and is already a quarter of a PhD dissertation. It does allow me to take one less elective, but is it really worth that much trouble? No, I think I'd rather take 5 electives.

Speaking of electives, I'm having trouble trying to decide which ones to take. I'm definitely taking "International Business Strategy" and "Management Problem Solving" this term. Next term, I'm all set for "IT for Business II" and "Emerging Markets". I still have to pick one more, and it's between "Virtual Organisations" this term, and "European Business Seminar" or "Advanced Strategic Management" next term. There is also "Advertising", "Arts and Antiques Markets" and "New Technologies in Marketing" next term, but I don't want the first two (unless it's all about kimono hahaha) and am not sure of the second.

A friend of mine mentioned that it would be better to take two this term and three next term because we have two core modules this term and only one next term. Maybe she's right, because I still need to study for the January exams as they're part of the final mark.

*sighs* Which should I pick? The deadline is next Friday....

*groans* I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks to the way I've set up my own timetable, I'll have 6 hours of classes back-to-back! It's like in school all over again. I guess I better go to sleep soon then.

Liss> Haha, yeah I know that feeling soooo well! Funny thing is it hit everyone in Concord really hard, but because I had my crying spree early on in the term, I was fine at the end of the year :P Funny, innit?

Ling> But it's expensive to fly back and forth! And I was already paying rent anyway, so I might as well have just stayed here. Oooooh what didja eat??