Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1964 World's Fair Sakura Odori Program

I'd seen this on eBay forever, and when it dropped in price, decided to go for it. I had assumed there were geisha dancing, but it seems it's a dance troupe and not geisha. Still, the images are interesting, and the drawings of the costumes are quite pretty.

I tried to find more information about the dancing troupe online, but couldn't find much. There's a bit of history information about the fair itself - seems it wasn't sanctioned by the official group and thus no major countries were present (there was a fair coming up in Montreal in a few years).

This comment, “Watch a Japanese troupe dance to exciting new rhythms combining traditional music and jazz." came from the 1965 National Geographic.

This page has a small blurb about the Japanese pavilion, which looks like the wall of a moat that surrounds a castle.

This site also has a little bit of info about the pavilion, along with a picture of the annex and a pic of the dancers (looks like awa odori).

Critical Past's website has a few videos of the exhibition and the Japanese pavilion:
video 1 and video 2.

Other links and videos about the 1964 World's Fair in general.

I've uploaded all the images to photobucket, in their own gallery. I scanned them in; the booklet was just the size of my scanner, thank goodness. I was worried it would be a bit too big.  The program has drawn images of some of the costumes, pictures in black and white and color, the names of all the dancers, an intro from the organizer, and information about each of the dances they performed and who performed them.

The 1964 World's Fair Sakura Odori Program gallery.

Here's a preview (clickable thumbnails):

Cover page 2

page 17 page 24

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gifts from Youko-san

When we went to pic up Chicago stuff in July, my then-fiance and I stopped by Joliet to visit a kimono-friend, Youko, I made while in the city to have dinner and peruse her kimono collection. Dinner was a yummy all-you-can-eat sushi with Sapporo and Asahi beer (mmm, it was good, and started me on a Japanese beer kick). However, we were surprised you couldn't just order sashimi, and they were surprised we were used to being able to do so. So, we invited them up to Toronto to visit and we'll take them for sushi to return the treat, and for poutine (her husband has wanted poutine forever, but whenever he visits for business, they always take him for steak).
Anyway, after dinner, we looked through her kimono collection. She's addicted to YJA, and is from Nagoya, so she shops in Osu whenever she's home. She had some wonderful pieces that I seriously coveted! I'd have taken pics if it weren't so dark (it was late by the time dinner was finished). We had a good time chatting about kimono, styles, and fashion. I always get "fudangi" and "kasuaru" (casual) kimonos confused, but she said to think of it like "fudangi" is "around the house wear", like sweatpants, and the casual kimono are like capris or nice jeans. It was a fun analogy. XD One of my favorite pieces of Youko's was a black haori that had lobsters and cute goldfish and totally reminded me of Moonblossom.

She also possessed her grandmother's (or first grandmother in law's?) wedding kimono and juban; beautiful black furisode from the Taisho period and exquisite red and white shibori juban. She obviously doesn't wear them, but she was the only one in the family interested in kimono, so she inherited it. She also has a beautiful summer weave mirror-image crested purple tomesode with white flowers on it; simply stunning and in wonderful condition for it's age. I tried to convince her not to have it made into a dress; I hope I succeeded!

As we were going through her collection, she confessed she hadn't worn all the pieces, and likely wouldn't wear all of them, so she gave some to me! I was surprised and totally elated. She quite literally created my summer kimono wardrobe (now I need a kimono to wear with them). lol

I received two obi, both natsumono, a long haori (which is in style, yay retro!), and some fabric scraps as we both sew. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I'll think of something.

Click "read more" to see pics!