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Vintage Geisha Postcards

Inspiration, Japan, Photography, Traditional Japan

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Flickr is a wealth of beautiful and unusual images. These vintage photographs of geisha (most of them postcards) are from Okinawa Soba’s photostream. These images are truly mesmerizing to me; there’s something about the history of these sepia toned images which makes me instantly nostalgic. Enjoy.

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Punk Yukata from Tsukikageya

Design, Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I’ve discussed the kimono revival before, because I always get excited when I see traditional Japanese dress being interpreted in innovative ways. And this is exactly what designer Natsuki Shigeta has done with her brand Tsukikageya. Yukata are light cotton kimono’s usually worn at festivals during the summer months, so they can be worn more casually than  most kimono which are worn only at formal occasions. It’s this freedom that Tsukikageya designer Natcuki Shigeta has exploited, creating beautiful yukata crafted using traditional method but adorned with contemporary motifs. With designs ranging from animal print, ghosts and pouting lips, and accessories in bright pink, using swarovski crystals and real snake skin, you’re sure to stand out.

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Nippon Vogue: Stranger in a Strange Land

Fashion, Japan, Photography, Traditional Japan

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These intriguing images are from the Nippon Vogue article “Stranger in a Strange Land” published October 2008. Although the concept is simple enough, the juxtapositioning of French and Italian couture against traditional kimonos reveals unexpected similarities.

The effect is to make contemporary fashion strange, with the body it idealizes as just as artificial and standardised as a geisha’s mask. The images are also hauntingly beautiful, a paradox which points to the essence of what fashion is: artifice.

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Learning Japanese: Tips and Tricks

Japan, Traditional Japan

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As a huge fan of Japanese culture it was inevitable that I started to pick phrases like “Baka! Kawaai!” and “Sugoii!”. So it was only a matter of time before I decided to put my time watching anime to use, and try to learn the language. Almost a decade later I’m still learning and honestly I haven’t improved that much. Partly it’s because I’ve only studied on and off, but also because even when I did work hard my methods weren’t great. So how can you improve faster and easier? These are some of the things I’ve learned the hard way…

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Takuya Angel & The Kimono Rivival

Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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These beautiful images are from Takuya Angel, a relatively small fashion brand with a devoted fan following. Takuya Angel is unusual in that it combines elements of traditional Japanese and contemporary clothing. Pieces are adapted for a modern lifestyle using bright colors and unexpected materials like polyester, velvet and fur. Takuya Angel has also been influenced anime and manga, inspired by a fresh depiction of the past seen in series like Samurai Champloo.

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Scans: Retro Kimono & Hairstyles

Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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These retro-inspired kimono are a throwback to the large bold prints popular during the Taisho era from 1912-1925. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I got these from, but I did get that link from the Immortal Geisha Forums – always a great resource for anything related to kimonos.

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The Great (Bamboo) Wall: Architecture by Kengo Kuma

Design, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I love this guesthouse designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Built in Beijing the design was inspired by the Great Wall, a geometric form which merges with the surrounding landscape. In Kengo Kuma’s design this same effect is achieved through the use of bamboo, which both emphasises the house’s modern lines and creates a sense of harmony with the outside world.

You can see Kengo Kuma’s website here to see his many other designs, as well as floor plans and architectual sketches.

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Decor by Kimono Designer Jotaro Saito

Design, Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I love Jotaro Saito’s kimonos; his work has the restrained, classic style of traditional Japan, while still  being modern and fresh. But when I saw his interior design I was even more impressed. All the hallmarks of his kimono design are there: dark colours, luscious pattern and texture, a perfect mixture of old and new.

Here’s a link to his official website.

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Beautiful Bonsai

Japan, Traditional Japan

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To be honest I’ve never really liked bonsai all that much. Too many interior decorators seem to think that if you have a bonsai and a Buddha in the same room then you’ve got an exotic Japanese theme. Not to mention that identical bonsai’s cultivated in bulk are somewhat less than impressive. But seeing these pictures made me realize that growing bonsai’s really is an art form of its own, at least when the Japanese do it.

Sorry I can’t remember where I got these pictures from so no links today.

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Kimono & Yukata: Photo’s by G2slp

Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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G2slp has an amazing selection of beautiful pictures on his flickr account. He’s photographed a lot of well known Japanese models and actresses, which he submits in glorious large format. These are some of my favourites.

 

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