Friday, June 22, 2012
What I Wore to Lesley Downer Lecture
On Monday Hong and I went to the Oriental Club in London for Lesley Downer lecture. The event was free, but reservations were a must, although when we got there, about a third of a room was empty. Lesley Downer talked about her research and the background story for her newest book, Across a Bridge of Dreams, which just came out in the last few weeks.
The story is set in the post Meiji Restoration Japan, and is sort of a Japanese Romeo and Juliet story. I took a Japanese history class last summer, so I was especially interested because I really like Meiji Era. I knew the general events she was talking about, but of course Lesley researched more in depth on certain things that she needed for her story. Overall it was very enjoyable and I will go to any other talks or lectures that she gives. I even got my precious Women of Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of Geisha book signed by her. I much prefer the UK edition title though, because US edition is kinda misleading. Oh well, nothing I can do about it.
After the lecture, Hong and I had us some dinner at Yo-Sushi, and what would you know, it was a Blue Monday too! I usually avoid Yo-Sushi because it runs pretty expensive while still leaving me hungry every time I go there (those conveyor type places are so tricky!), but this time I could "pig out" at a reasonable price. Beef tataki anyone? That's pretty much all I ordered.
As usual, the weather in England is pretty unpredictable so I didn't even bother picking out any kimono to wear until the day of. I had a rough idea of what I wanted, and thankfully it turned out to be the perfect thing. I was afraid it's going to rain, so I even brought my rain coat, but it didn't and I left it in the car at the tube station. The less stuff to carry, the better! So for kimono I picked my newest vintage hitoe, which I've been meaning to wear for a while. It's another one that's very thin, so it's perfect for warm days.
I ran into a slight problem with which shoes to wear. I only have so many shoes that I wear regularly with kimono, partly because of how they look, and partly because of the comfort level. There is no way I'm going to go for a full day in London in shoes that will be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I have even less summer-appropriate shoes to wear! I opted for my trusted red boots to play off the haneri colors, figuring it's England, it's probably going to be ok. Well, I was wrong! I was actually too hot and all because of my stupid feet! I'm weird like that, if my feet are hot, I'm hot. If my feet are cold, I'm cold. So I have to keep my feet at a comfortable temperature in order to be comfortable, and this time they were not comfortable. Good thing that no one can tell that in photos. ;P
The obi I wore was the one Hong gifted to me a while back. She knows me all too well! I thought this obi will be perfect with this kimono, because of the subtle play off in colors. Those kitties are lavender, and there is plenty of pink-lavender shade in kimono. It's kinda hard to see, but the middle of flowers have these gray-lavender dots which matched the color of kitties pretty well.
I thought of wearing red and white obiage, but at the last moment I changed my mind to the bright lavender one. I don't wear that obiage nearly enough, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to wear it. The obijime is one of my newest ones, probably my favorite from the whole lot I got.
While we were taking photos, I got my first semi-negative comment about my outfit (that I could remember, I might have gotten more at some point). One of the lecture attendants was watching us, with a big smile on her face, giving us thumbs up. Then she looked at me and said something along the lines of "Great outfit, if not for the shoes" to which I replied with a big smile on my face "The shoes are just PERFECT!". It's a little thing, but it shows that not everyone likes that style.