News Letter

News Letter

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No 75.Christmas is approaching, and how are you? In these days some staffs got off of work for cold, and we had very busy days. We had a year-end party several days ago, and very warmed up with a theme about ICHIROYA's new business. I(Ichiro) have a plan to make and sell the souvenirs of Tondabayashi city, where we live, and which doesn't have special resources for tourism except PL firework. Only firework day half a million people come to our city every year. At the party I came to know that a special kind of yam called 'ebi-imo' are produced in our city, and it can be said a signature agricultural product. I suggested a plan to make 'Ebi-imo-man' character and sell it's key holders and uchiwa(Japanese fan) during the firework season. Half a million people come, and if tenth buy them, sales will be ----. But no one agreed me. All staff claimed ' Ebi-imo-man does no sound cute at all!'. Next day Yoshikawa san(one of our staff) brought ebi-imo cooking to our office, which her father cooked. He owns a sushi restaurant, and heard that I have never eaten ebi-imo,so he cooked some for us to try. We were astonished to eat his dish - it was DELICIOUS! And I asked Yoshikawa san, ' Did your father say something good about my plan?'She answered that he said no comments about that new business. Unique idea is always difficult to be accepted.
In this letter I would like to write some topics about antique fabric, which I learned from Horiuchi san a week ago. Some customers must already know some of them, but I think some will be help
* Black Kasuri is discolored to that color.Natural indigo ai is not easy to dye very dark. So to dye fabrics or threads very dark blue, dyer must dip into ai again and again. To gain the dark color easily, some dyer add chemical ai, and in older times dyer often add 'sumi'(Japanese ink). Some dyers dyed black with sumi at first, and later dyed with ai. If dyed with this process, when it was brand new, it couldn't be distinguished with pure natural dyed color, but later natural ai color discolored, and only black color remain and revealed. People call black color kasuri as 'sumi-zome'( sumi-dyed), and I thought it was intended color before.
* Antique Cotton from Edo(1603-1867) is difficult to be told.I asked Horiuchi san about Edo period cotton. How can we tell them? Silk kimono have some clues, for examples embroidery technique, natural dyestuff colors, size and design. But I thought cotton fabrics didn't have such clues. I know that Kurume Kasuri was born around 1800, so most intricate kasuri cotton fabrics are from after-Meiji(1868-1912), and they can be from ending Edo period. But how about 'shima'(stripe) or solid ai dyed cotton? Horiuchi san says that Edo period cotton is very plain, and it is very difficult to know only look one piece. She showed me photos of Edo fabrics, which have apparent evidence of its age. They seems to be ordinary stripe pattern cotton, and she says they don't have special feature. Cotton from Edo period must be hand-spun, and some kimono dealers say hand-spun cotton is apparent different touch compaired to machine-spun cotton. But Horiuchi san says, 'At first I thought only thick-threads-soft-touch cotton is hand spun, but later I came to know people in Edo period could spun and woven thin cotton similar to later machine-spun cotton. ' If apparently chemical and too-vivid colors threads are included, it can be known its age. If not so, they are difficult to know their age.Horiuchi san recommends me, ' when you have a chance to get fabrics, which have evidence of its age, you had better keep them as reference data.
*Feature of Kasuri of San'in district In San'in district, there were two kasuri product centers - Yumihama Kasuri and Kurayoshi Kasuri. Yumihama's feature is hand-spun and hand-woven soft kasuri, and Kurayoshi Kasuri were more commercially produced. Yumihama kasuri sometimes contains brownish threads, which were not appropriate for products. Origins are same, but Kurayoshi was industrialized earlier than Yumihama. Horiuchi san showed me one contemporary Yumihama kasuri bolt, which is pattern sample fabric. It includes many kasuri patterns in one bolt. It is fabulous kasuri! She recommended me to visit its weaver before. But she came to know its weaver didn't weave kasuri for kimono now. They only weave kasuri for obi now, and if we ask them to weave that bolt now, it will cost near 2000 USD for a bolt.
Some customers might be wondering if Christmas is celebrated in Japan.It is celebrated and people enjoy decorations and exchanging gifts. Not many people go to church but there are churches in Japan too.
Today is 19th, and it is already difficult to send our items before Christmas. And we are sorry but we will close our store from Christmas 26th December to 3th January for winter vacation.Third year of ICHIROYA is ending with enough success. We don't have enough words to thank you for your patronage.
We wish all of you a happy holiday season.
*Today we will list new items several hours later. Please check new kimono, fukusa and fabric later.
Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


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