Flea Market Pricing Guide

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Intro Flea markets and antique fairs in the US all have something in common: no matter whether they are brand new or a hundred years old, host hundreds of vendors or only a few dozens of them, sprawl mountains of junk or carefully organized exhibitions, they offer a unique chance to get immersed into the local community. We have carefully selected the best flea markets in the United States, to guide your next flea market adventure.

Our updated recommendations for 2018 include 20 of the largest and most popular flea markets sprawled across the US. Attending one of the best flea markets in the United States doesn’t guarantee that you will find a hidden gem every single time. But with some luck and a little bit of effort, you will probably manage to find a unique piece to decorate your home or offer as a gift. Flea markets across the US have seen an incredible surge of interest in the past few years.

Some credit goes to the popularity of TV reality shows like American Pickers, Oddities, or Market Warriors. However, this phenomenon has deeper roots: the country’s weakened economy, along with the booming interest in vintage design and development of thrift stores, has created a new generation of shoppers. Today’s flea market enthusiasts are attracted by the reasonable prices as well as by the overall flea market experience.

The best part of visiting some of the best flea markets in the US, is that they often overflow with vintage treasures you didn’t even know existed. Braving the crowds at America’s liveliest flea markets always provides a great occasion to have fun, watch people, and learn something new. From one-of-a-kind vintage clothing to rare antiques and quirky collectibles, America’s flea markets are full of treasures just waiting to be found.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As usual with our flea market reviews, we carefully hand picked the best local flea markets which only showcase the finest antique and vintage products. Therefore we skipped all the swap meets, farmers markets and likes, to focus only on the real good stuff. Another thing to keep in mind, is that our rankings of the 20 Best Flea Markets in the US is dynamic. This means it tends to evolve over time based on different factors such as the renown of each venue (however, famous doesn’t always mean it’s the best in terms of items quality), the rarity of the event (once a year vs weekly), the quality of merchandises sold (majority of antiques), the number of merchants/size of the event.

Since we can’t change every time the pagination of our article to reflect this change, we will reflect these changes in the list below – flea markets are ranked by order of importance & quality. What are the Best Flea Markets in the US? (ascending order: #1 is best) Texas Antique Weekend – Fayetteville to Carmine, TX (twice a year, > 2,000 vendors) Brimfield Antique Show – Brimfield, MA (thrice a year, 5,000 vendors) Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market – Springfield, OH (monthly, 2,500 vendors) 127 Corridor Sale – Cumberland Plateau, TN (once a year, > 30,000 vendors) First Monday Trade Days – Canton, TX (monthly, 6,000 vendors) Rose Bowl Flea Market – Pasadena, CA (monthly, 2,500 vendors) Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market – Shipshewana, IN (weekly, 900 vendors) Nashville Fairgrounds Flea Market – Nashville, TN (monthly, 1,200 vendors) Raleigh Flea Market – Raleigh, NC (weekly, 1,000 vendors) Alameda Points Antique Faire – Alameda, CA (monthly, 800 vendors) Kane County Flea Market – St Charles, IL (monthly, 1,000 vendors) Scott Antique Market – Atlanta, GA (monthly, 3,300 vendors) Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market – Hartville, OH (daily, 800 vendors) Rogers Flea Market – Rogers, OH (weekly, 1,600 vendors) Long Beach Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market – Long Beach, CA (monthly, 800 vendors) Lakewood Antiques Market – Cumming, GA (monthly, 500 vendors) Lincoln Road Antique & Collectible Market – Miami, FL (monthly, 125 vendors) Golden Nugget Antique Market – Lambertville, NJ (weekly, 140 vendors) Renninger’s – Mount Dora, FL (weekly, 1,000 vendors) Hells Kitchen Flea Market – New York City, NY (weekly, 150 vendors) You can now visualize the best flea markets and antique fairs in the US, on a map! Not only have we included all the above flea markets, but we’ve added to the mix some of the country’s most acclaimed antique fairs.

Just click on the image below to access our map feature for free. ** IMPORTANT ** This review has been divided into 22 pages to make it easier to jump quickly from one page to the other. By clicking on any of the links featured in the table of contents below you’ll be able to land directly on the page of your interest. You can alternatively use the “Continue” link, featured below the sharing buttons, to load the next page.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE! Continue: Lincoln Road Antique & Collectible Market - Miami, FLORIDA Contents Page 1: Intro Page 2: Lincoln Road Antique & Collectible Market - Miami, FLORIDA Page 3: Brooklyn Flea - Brooklyn, NEW YORK Page 4: Rose Bowl Flea Market - Pasadena, CALIFORNIA Page 5: Brimfield Antique Show - Brimfield, MASSACHUSETTS Page 6: Renninger's - Mount Dora, FLORIDA Page 7: Kane County Flea Market - St Charles, ILLINOIS Page 8: Golden Nugget Antique Market - Lambertville, NEW JERSEY Page 9: Melrose Trading Post - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA Page 10: Alameda Flea Market - Alameda, CALIFORNIA + Bonus: Top 10 San Francisco Bay Area Flea Markets Page 11: Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market - Long Beach, CALIFORNIA Page 12: Texas Antique Weekend, from Fayetteville to Carmine, TEXAS Page 13: Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market, Hartville, OHIO Page 14: Nashville Flea Market (The Fairgrounds Nashville) - Nashville, TENNESSEE Page 15: First Monday Trade Days - Canton, TEXAS Page 16: Raleigh Flea Market - Raleigh, NORTH CAROLINA Page 17: Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market - Shipshewana, INDIANA Page 18: Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market - Springfield, OHIO Page 19: 127 Corridor Sale - Cumberland Plateau, TENNESSEE Page 20: Grand Bazaar NYC - New York City, NEW YORK Page 21: Hells Kitchen Flea Market - New York City, NEW YORK

See Also: Diamond Carat Price Chart

For any person that is considering getting into the company of promoting wholesale items at retail prices, the very first thing that will come to mind is, where do I get the wholesale products and solutions from? The next thing to consider might be, which wholesalers or fall shippers can i rely on?



Long gone are classified as the days when gentlemen would just dress in anything that they had inside the closet. Today, men are merely as style aware as women of all ages, and they are ready to expend funds to obtain the clothes they like. In actual fact, lots of gentlemen want to acquire brand title clothing simply because they are guaranteed to be of excellent quality and magnificence. Whenever they can purchase branded mens put on at wholesale charges, then they will head out and purchase more of those very affordable top quality clothes.

Past Issues of Ichiroya News Letters No57 -3 May 2004 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA'S News Letter No 57. We are in the midst of `GoldenWeek', the spring holidays started from Apr 29 and end on May 5(Children's Day). You may think we are workaholic and do not take so many holidays. The reason we did not take holidays this time is, the monthly auctions. They are held on the certain date no matter what days they are.

..we did not want to miss the auctions which are held as usual during this weekend, so we decided we postpone our own holidays until summer.During this Golden Week, many people took a trip overseas or in Japan. However not everyone could take a long holidays but there are many people who could only take a couple of days or even one day off.We would like to introduce the most popular place people visit recently.

It is called `Food Theme Park'. Popular Japanese food like `ra-men'(noodles) or sushi are loved by everyone and `Food Theme Park' is where many restaurants gathered ( with one theme -like ra-men or gyoza ) in one place and the whole place look like a part of town or city. Here is one of the famous Food Theme Park called `Men darake' in Osaka.(`Men' is noodle and darake means `all over'! )http://www.

namco.co.jp/ftp/mendarake/shop/You can see their eye-catching dish of each restaurants by clicking each corner. 2 million people visited this place in the past 6 months and many of them are repeated customers. The company who started this project is watching how much each restaurant sell--and give them advice. Customers can vote and also write guest questionnaire --and the restaurants who did not sell very well are replaced by another new restaurants.

The restaurants are from all over Japan, so you can try the ra-men of the famous local restaurants --not only one but as much as you want.There are other food like, gyoza or sweets too and the famous food theme park called `sweets forest" is always crowded by sweet tooth who enjoy delicious sweets from all over Japan.The other food them parks are:Gyoza stadiumRamen villageRamen streetRamen complexSushi museum and so on.

When some of these 'Food Theme Park' opened, some marketing people(include me) thought it was difficult to run these part for long time. Because if there were only one kind of food, and most of them were low price, such parks had not to be able to get constant marquee and enough sales volume. I also thought the 'Ramen Park' had to fall to the ground, but the reality comes different.If you have a chance to come to Japan, we would like to advise to visit these food theme park.

No56 -26 April 2004 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA'S News Letter No.56.Here in Japan, Golden Week holidays are coming. This year it begins on May 1 and ends May 5. For many people, Golden Week Holidays of this year has five holidays. Our website store will be open during these holidays except Sunday (May 2). Some of our staffs are going to take holidays, so the listing items may be less than usual, but we will list and ship the items as usual.

We are going to take two long holidays in August and New Year Week, but we are going not to close our shop in other terms. Always I(Ichiro) say to staffs that we are the retailer, so it is usual that retailers work when other people take holidays. My family is familiar with it for a long time. Because I had been worked for Daimaru Department Store, so I rarely could take day off from work at Sunday and national holidays.

We thank for we can take off on Sunday now.Yesterday I attended one of the most famous and oldest kimono auction in Kyoto ( 'Kogirekai') . Fortunately I got some rare pieces, and we will list them this week. There are some famous kimono auctions, and Kogirekai is the most famous because lots of antique kimono and kimono fabrics are offered every month. 'Ko-gire' means ' Old-fabrics', and sales most in Japan.

Old and valuable items are pouring from all corners of Japan to Kogirekai, and almost all antique kimono fabric dealers attend and bid at Kogirekai.If I write some topics for the readers about the auctions,- Meisen kimono with rare design (and in excellent condition) were very high ( I saw the one sold at 3000 yen at contract price a few months ago! ), but the prices are becoming moderate than before.

- Chirimen (crepe) kimono is very expensive, and the price is rising even now. Some antique fabrics like 'Sarasa Cotton' become under 1/2 compared with the prices of during the years of the asset-inflated economy. You must be astonished if you see the very small 'Edo Chirimen Fabrics' are bided more than several dollars. Yesterday I saw one chirimen juban was bided up to $3,700. Winner sell their chirimen fabrics to kimono doll maker(designer).

Making kimono doll with vintage chirimen silk is the very gracious and expensive hobby of rich women here in Japan. And they cut the chirimen kimono for their dolls, vintage chirimen kimono is reducing. Now the chirimen kimono become very less, and too expensive, kimono doll maker become to buy 'kinsha'(more fine crepe silk) chirimen, and kinsha kimono with small and colorful pattern are also becoming expensive.

-Younger bidders are increasing. First generation of vintage kimono sellers become nearly 55-60 years old, and their daughters become adults. They can feel what young customers likes and wants, and have fresh sense of kimono wearing. They sometimes bid higher than the first generation's bid, and astonish them. Young generation tends to select kimono with only design and condition, and they sell them with unique and fantastic coordinations, which the first generation can not do.

Really it is young generation who rediscover the beauty of meisen kimono. Old generation always say ' There was no one who wanted meisen in old days. We could buy bundles of meisen at only a few thousands yen! I had better buy and keep them! '- Vintage and used kimono retailers/dealers are increasing. Vintage kimono auctions are also increasing all over in Japan. Reasons of increasing are :1)Other antique items like china, tansu, kakejiku and others are not good sale because of the long depression.

I presume the customers of these antique items are men ordinarily, and men must cut their budget for their hobby at first.So the antique dealers who didn't sell kimono come to deal kimono for their lives.2)For the depression all used-items market like book, CD, golf club, car, house and so one are expanding. Many people become to think used items are also good if the prices become very reasonable only because the items are used by other persons.

3)Internet Auction become very popular, and selling used items through internet become very familiar to the ordinary young people. Like e-bay auction in USA and English-speaking world, Yahoo Japan auction is recording highest sales each year.4)Young people are rediscovering the vintage kimono style as unique and cool fashions. Especially in Tokyo, we can see girls and young women in kimono more often than before.

They ignore the traditional kimono wearing rules, and enjoy their creative wearing. One famous kimono seller says that kimono wearing is 'healing cosplay' for young people, and I think I agree this idea.Tomorrow I am going to attend kimono auction in Okayama. I must drive three - four hours also tomorrow. Auctioneer of Okayama auction is my mentor. It is not so big auction, only 25-30 bidders attend every month.

On the same day one of the big auction in Kyoto is hold, so most of the major dealers go to Kyoto. But I find that the prices are less expensive than other auctions ( because the major bidders don't come), and sometimes the very rare items are sold, which are from that rural district. And on 28 I must attend a auction in Kanie, and it is even farther than Okayama. Every moths I am very busy attending the auctions, I must attend 5 in last ten days of the every month.

I will get more valuable items at these auctions also this month!The weather became perfect for fishing today----but I have a strong will and will go to auctions:-)Don't miss it! No55 -19 April 2004 Hello from Japan! This is Ichiro, from Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya. Here in Japan, it is getting warmer and warmer, and we almost need to turn on the air conditioner of our office. After Yuka Yoshikawa san joined us, one young man joined us a week ago.

He is 21 years old, and is trying to be the professional drummer. When I talked with him and heard his goal-through phone,We imagined he might has blonde dyed long hair, wears splashily and put on many silver accessesories as a rock star. But now we surname him as 'kuma'(bear). As present his hair is black, and no silver accessoriesin his face or hands, and he is running everyday to reduce his weight.

He is the only male in our staffs, and knows much about the computer. He will be the great help when- I (Ichiro) am out for buying. Besides him, Yukari-chan is the actress in the bud. A week later her drama group is going to give a public performance, and she takes a week off to prepare the performance. Yuka Yoshikawa !san wants to be a book editor,and goes to editor's school a few times a week. Working with them who have their dreams is great joy to us.

Today I would like to write about Japanese characters. If you get some information about it, it would help you to get some information from the lapels. Someone may think it is incredible, but Japanese has three kinds of characters. It is just like you write text with three kinds of alphabets. So the text is the mix of three kinds of characters. 'Hiragana' and 'Katakana' have 50 characters each, which mean the pronunciation.

All Japanesese pronunciation can be written with Hiragana or Katakana. ( But its total number is 100! Too many than 26 alphabet! )Hiraganahttp://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2047.html http://members.aol.com/writejapan/hiragana/writutor.htmKatakanahttp://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2048.htmlhttp://members.aol.com/writejapan/katakana/writutor.htmHiragana and Katakana have different origins, and now we use Katakana mainly for the words of foreign origin.

For example, 'polyester' and 'rayon' has foreign origin, so the they are written in Katakana.And if we write your name in Japanese, we use katakana because of the same reason. We often see the 'polyester' in the lapels, knowing its character will help you to know the textile. Here is the katakana character examples. ( You can write your name in katakana like the examples. )http://www.ichiroya.com/others/kanji/Japanesecharacter.

htmWe have another characters 'Kanji'. It has origin in Chinese, and there remains many similarity between them. Pronunciation of Japanese and Chinese are different totally. Japanese and Chinese can not speak each other in their native language, but we may be able to communicate by means of kanji writing.http://www.joyo96.org/Grade_1.htmlFantastically kanji character is picture writing, and each kanji has a meaning.

For examples, kanji of 'one' ' two' ' three' are written only the horizontal lines of their numbers. Here is the kanji character of 'ki', which means tree. Do you think its shape is similar with real tree? And if we arrange the two 'ki', it become 'hayashi', which means grove, and if we add one more 'ki' on it, it becomes 'mori', which means forest. How easy it is!http://www.ichiroya.com/others/kanji/Japanesecharacter.

htmBut some of the kanji characters have intricate shape and meanings. For examples, here is the kanji characters about textiles. 'Ito' (thread) has the shape of the spun threads, and 'kinu'(silk) and 'ori'(weave) 'shibori' have 'ito' in its parts. We can not explain the all kanji character's origin here, but please imagine the meaning from its shape. Mostly it will be the right.http://www.ichiroya.

com/others/kanji/Japanesecharacter.htmWhen we write Japanese, we ordinarily write kanji ( if the kanji character exist, and fortunately we remember it. Total number of kanji said to be more than 50000! At the elementary school and junior high school we learn 1945, which thought to be minimum kanji for ordinary life. ), and katakana for foreign origin words, and we use hiragana for the rest parts.My Japanese teacher at high school said Japanese was cockamamie words! Do you agree it?To close this news letter, I will mention about our name.

My name is Wada Ichiro and our family name Wada is quite popular name. Wada is written by two kanji characters. `Wa' means peace or harmony and `da(ta)' is rice pond. Actually there are many names with `da(ta)'. Yuka's maiden name is Sugino and `sugi' is cedar and `no' is field. It is always a big job for parents to decide their children's name and they contemplate and choose a kanji carefully for their children.

No54 -12 April 2004 We are very relieved to hear that three Japanese hostages will be released within 24 hours. We would like to thank you very much for your warm messages about hostage crisis. We are anxious for the three people to come back to their families as soon as possible and so are other hostages--they should be released immediately.Thank you for the many replies to the previous news letter.

I should add GREAT THANKS at the end of our story. As we dared to start our business, we had to create many inconvenience for customers.For examples, we couldn't accept PAYPAL, we couldn't offer enough variety of kimono, shopping cart system was not convenient, and we didn't have search systems. Fortunately we received a lot of advice from you, and we could add some improvement to the systems and line of items.

Always we thank you very much for your attention and advices,which made us improving our work. Now we are planning to improve our systems by the middle of May. We will arrange the category, and make 'Folkcraft' category, which contains vintage cotton, kasuri, 'asa'(Japanese hemp), tsutsugaki, sakiori and so on. Now above items are scattered in the several categories, and we notice that it is very inconvenient for the customers.

We are also going to fix the shopping cart ( we will make alive th!e links of items you bought, and make system to correspond the simultaneous orders). We are going to renew more systems for the improve the efficiency. We are very happy if we could offer more convenient shopping experience by this renewal.I would like to write one more theme - safety. We have been using 'Kenshinki' ( a metal sensor).

All kimono are slide through this sensor to check to see if there is no needles left inside the kimono. Uni san who is in charge of packing make all the kimono go through this sensor before shipping the kimono. Sometimes the machine peeps, and Uni san searches the needles in the kimono. Because kimono are hand sewn, sometimes sewers leave the needles inside of kimono by mistake. We never want to send a kimono which has needle in side which may cause a harm to our customers.

Some kimono or obi are thick(like uchikake or maru obi) and it is hard to feel the the needles beyond the thick textile. We hear the peep sound but sometimes it takes quite a long time to feel and take out the needles. On the small paper Uni san put the needles which she found as boots. She finds a needle almost every three days. She is very good at taking out the needles carefully.The most important thing on e-commerce should be the safety of each customer's information.

We are taking great care in keeping customer's private information. We are under contract with most major card processing company 'Zeus'. They are the almost only company in Japan, who has original secure card processing system, and they also wholesale their systems to other processing company. Because of their secure system, we can charge through the credit card without knowing the full card number of the customers.

There are some cases we have to ask for the whole numbers of the credit card from customers, but we take great care to keep the information - Our server is the exclusive use, and no one can intrude our server, because administration zone can be accessed only our office IP address. About the information on the papers, we keep it in the firm coffer. Coffers and our office are monitored by Secom Co., Ltd.

(No1 Security Firm in Japan), and also all my portfolio are in there.I would like to let you know one more matter. We incorporated ICHIROYA as a private limited company in December 2003. Thank again for your help and advice and shopping from us again. We would like to do our very best to continue offering more cheerful, convenient and safe shopping experience. No53 -5 April 2004 It is really warm these days, and I sometimes imagine how is the valleies, I used to go fishing until three years ago.

When I was a office worker of department store, I was crazy at fishing, and almost every holiday I went fishing to the valleis and lakes leaving Yuka and daughters at home.I was a workaholic, and took only a holiday during two weeks for long time. But the reason I had to become crazy at fishing was not because of my hard work, but it may be because I didn't like my work from bottom of my heart.I would like to write the reason and way we had started our business.

As some customers already know I had worked for Daimaru department store for 19 years. I have got many know-how of the retail and management through the career.In some years I really enjoyed my work, and works of some years were very difficult for me. When I was a fashion promotion staff during last three years of my carrier, to be honest I coudn't enjoy my work. I didn't have interested in the young women's fashin, but I had to discuss the fashion trends of the next season .

Whether the skirt length will become longer or shorter ? What color wil be IN next autmn-winter seaon? Such discussions with younger staffs were fatigue for me, though I knowed it was very very important for the fashion business. I prefer the items, which are made by artisan than industrial pruducts. Of course the main works at department store is selling the industry products. But when I was a manager of Japanese table ware division, or the manager of the sales promotion planning team, I sometimes had chances to sell crafts.

I often visited arisans, and heard their explanations, looked their incredibly skilled technique and admired them. Crafts inspired with the artisan's spirits moved my heart, and selling the hand-maded merchandises seemed to be very valuable for me.If I continued to work for the department store, I knowed that I had to take more distance from the crafts, and I had to continue to pay attention to the girl's current fashions.

I didn't have the confidence to do well, and first of all I couldn't like it.There was another reason. The company begun to strengthen the centralized management, the occasions were increasing, which I had to order my staffs to do what I could not believe good. I did have the confidence that I could keep working for the company until age limit, and get decent wages and posts ( even not No1).I was wondering wheter I should live in safe with doing what I didn't really like or I should start my own business betting all our life.

Finally I quitted my job.I was 45 years old, married and have two daughters. I hoped to do some works which related to crafts, but Ididn't have the practical idea and plans. Already I had worked nearly 20 years for the department store, so fiends, coleage and parents were all worried about me and our family.In the whole world, Yuka was the only person who believed I could do my own company.Afterwards I came to know it is because she is always too babe in the woods, but her approval cheered me up greatly.

I retired before the plan about the new work was fixed, so we wondered what and how to start our business for a quite long time. The company gave me the retirement payment, but of course it was not enough to make gorgeous store. We never could mistake for our daughters.At first we planned to make a shop to sell the ethnic items. I planned to sell the hand crafts from Indonesia and other Asian countries.

We found a vacant store between our home and downtown, which seems to fit our plan. It is located near the railway station and department store, and has very high ceiling, which would allow the bold fabric display.Really we almost made a deposite on the store. But I felt slightly uneasy, and I sheduled the meeting with the public management consultant on the morning of the contract day. The consultant heard my presentation, and said ' You must fail.

Stop the contract.' As he said, we were too vague about our items and customers. And we were going to put in too much desperately.We returned to the starting point again. I had to have restless days one more month. I prepared to work hard, but I didn't know what I should do. It was more tought situation than hand working days of my career.Finally I prepeared myself for starting small business even from the roadside stand.

One day I visited a large temple market with Yuka. I wanted to get some idea of the items and low cost selling method.I already know kimono as craft, but at that temple market we came across the vintage kimono in the true sense of the term. For our eyes ordinary vintage kurotomesode looks very great! What a fantasitic artisan's work it is! And the prices were very cheep compaired with its valuable hand work.

We convinced that we could sell vintage kimono to all over the world through internet. Yuka insisted on doing vintage kimono business, and I agreed. We ran to the bank, and withdrew 50000 yen, and bought kimono as much as we could.I brought the kimono to my mother Michiko, and asked her their textiles, technique and age. Michiko had sewn kimono for long years and has rich knowledge of kimono. We listed them in e-bay auction, and they are sold imediately!Our business started this way three years ago.

And now I really love my work and my life. No52 -29 March 2004 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No53.It was blessed with a fine weather today. Cherry blossoms around here started blooming with the bright and warm sunshine.We must admit we are all crazy about cherry blossoms--they are not just one of the spring flowers but they seem to bring us a very special moment of the year and everyone has some sweet memories with cherry blossoms.

Ichiro said he remembers his mother's black haori she was wearing for his entrance ceremony of elementary schools with cherry blossoms. I too have a photo with my mother on my entrance ceremony of elementary school--she is wearing a black haori over a pastel color semi-formal kimono. Most of mothers were wearing black haori to attend school ceremonies. The entrance ceremonies of most of schools are around first week of April.

When children became six years old, they enter local elementary schools(some children go to private schools). Randoseru(school bag) are prepared by the children's parents or grand parents.http://www.aeonshop.com/aeon/randsel/We can see the little new students in a little bigger uniform and a shiny randoseru on the back in April and they make us smile and remind us of our childhood. Almost all schools have cherry trees in the yard or around the entrance.

These places become a cherry blossom viewing spot sometimes.You may be surprised to find flood of information relating to cherry blossoms during this season. If you search with the word `Ohanami'(flower viewing), there are many website telling the locations and the condition of the flowers--in details. A big park as Osaka castle park or other famous places are crowded with people but not only those places but local places as elementary school yard or small parks in the neighborhood also can be a very nice spot to see cherry blossoms.

I have read an essay on the news paper. It was written by a career woman of a big company. She wrote, she used to find excuse for not going to see cherry blossoms, she thought she was too busy for it. But she realized if she has 30 years more to live, there is only 30 times she can see these blooming sakura(cherry blossoms). When she thought the sakura of this year is one of the 30 times, she felt she should never miss any of them and made up her mind to go to see sakura every year no matter how busy she was.

You may think sakura is only one of the beautiful spring flowers and nothing more but seeing sakura each year may mean a great gift of hope of another new year for us. Another person was writing somewhere -- she was walking a dog along the path with cherry trees full of blossoms, Suddenly strong wind blew and all the petals swirled down and she was standing in the falling petals. She thought she was dreaming.

Some other people there also were just standing there --and they were just stunned and felt like they were taken into heaven.They bloom and go so quickly. Their life is so brief. We seem to love the transient beauty. The way they go seems to appeal to our hearts so much.***********************************************************************A president of one company told me once, the kind of person he wants to hire most is a person who can take a best spot of cherry blossom viewing for him.

He must have been joking but it is true in a way. The new workers of the companies may be asked to save some space for the people of the companies under nice cherry trees.Here are the picnic food to bring:http://www.iwataya.co.jp/special/hanami/http://season.biglobe.ne.jp/sakura/bentou/index.htmlWe really wish you were here and go to picnic with us!http://www.hpmix.com/home/ts80873a/A7_8.htm#16 No51 -22 March 2004 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No .

Here in Osaka it was rainy today, but spring seems to come finally. Near our office magnolias are in full bloom now. I found that magnolia is the state flower of Louisiana and Mississippi in USA, and I imagine how beautiful they are if lots of magnolia are fully blooming. Our country flower 'sakura'(cherry blossom) is in full bloom in the southern district of Japan. Here is the map of the cherry blossom front.

Osaka is in the middle of Japan, and we must wait a few weeks to see the sakura flowers.http://www.wni.co.jp/cww/docs/sakura/We cannot see real cherry blossoms here yet but cherry blossom motif kimono is just in season. The beauty of cherry blossoms dyed in kimono also is just gorgeous --we wish we have one now but we are sorry the ones we had are all gone now. You know fashion is always a little ahead of the season and so are the Kimono motifs.

It is said 'iki'(stylish) if you wear the sakura motif when people are just looking forward its bloom. If you attend the party with full of cherry blossom motif kimono right now, you must be the No1 dresser at the party and people will admire your fashion sense. But there is not so many sakura motif kimono, because it is extravagant dress. Because the bloom of the cherry blossom is very impressive, so kimono with cherry blossom motifs limits the time to be worn.

That is why you often see cherry blossoms together with autumn flowers or maple leaves, which enable the kimono to be worn both in spring and autumn. Spring and autumn is the wedding season also--that also is one of the reason why the flower motifs of the both seasons are often seen in the same kimono.Sakura have been loved deeply by Japanese. From Heian period (794-1192), people have loved sakura, planted and breeded.

In Edo period there said to be 200-250 cultivars, and they had been motifs of crafts and arts. Cherry blossom burst out, and fall soon, and it move the spirits of Japanese from older times. 'Monono-aware' is the word to express the 'feeling of sorrow', which we feel to see the falling sakura. It is the allegory of graciousness and manliness for Japanese. Sometimes the sakura-spirit were used to force the soldier(or samurai) go dying boldly.

When we think of sakura we think of fleetingness of life .Bursting and falling sakura bring up the images of ----* Entrance ceremony of school, with mother in black Haori.* Graduation, separation from friends. ( Entrance and graduation are in the April in Japan)* 'Ohanami'( cherry blossom viewing party ). Under the cherry blossom tree, on the straw mat,many drunks and horn-pipes.* Samurai harakiri scene, Kamikaze pilots are waiting suicide sally, ( from movies).

If you were a fresh recruit, you had to get a good spot for cherry-blossom viewing party for your company members. To get the good spot, you must be smart. You may had to camp out in a park to get a good spot, or you have to have special ability to cut in the crowded space without troubles. Anyway if you come to Japan in spring, we would like to recommend you to stay in cherry blossom season. I wrote about sento in the previous newsletter.

You may be able to soak in the out door hot spring with receiving the falling petals of cherry blossom.For the flowers lover, I would like to write more about sakura. It is said that there are approx 100-200 cultivars of sakura here in Japan. But approx 80-90% sakura is one cultivar , Somei-yoshino.http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/ringyo/sakura/data/someiyosino.htmThis cultivar was the result of a mutation in Edo period (1603-1867).

Someiyoshino became very popular, and in long time someiyoshino have been planted all over Japan. Somei-yoshino was planted also in Potomac Park in Washington. Someiyoshino don't breed, so all somei-yoshino grow from from cuttings or separating the roots. Someiyoshino all over the world have same DNA. It is why the cherry blossom burst at one time according to the change of the temperature. But there are many cultivars, and there are about 100 natural cultivars are growing naturally in the mountain.

Here is the page of the many cultivars of sakura.http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/ringyo/sakura/index50.htmPeople who know well about sakura enjoy the many kind of sakura. Also in kimono, we can find the different shapes of cherry blossoms, and sometimes 'shidare-sakura'(weeping cherry blossom) are dyed very impressively.Today we have listed some uchikake karinui fabric, kimono and fabrics. Especially we have got many beautiful uchikake karinui fabrics, and we are grateful you could check them.

No50 -15 March 2004 Hello form Ichiro. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's New Letter No. . Here in Osaka, it is becoming warmer and warmer in these days. Only a week ago, it snowed here, but today is warm day, and it looks as if it is the sunny Sunday in April. Our office is closed, and all staffs are off today. Our elder daughter Shoko finished university entrance exam a few days ago. We don't know whether she pass or fail the exams yet, but our family feel calm now.

Yuka and two daughters went out to the downtown of Osaka, to buy some spring clothes and eat some grub. I am at the office and working alone. I don't want to go along with them, because I must be waiting for a long long time at the front of the stores, while they are choosing the clothes.Instead of going to downtown, I went to 'Super Sento' near our office in the morning. Maybe you already know 'sento' - public bath.

'Sen' means money, and 'TU' means 'hot water'. When we were children or more earlier time, many people lived the house without bath. My ground mother was the superintendent of flat, and its flat didn't have bath in any apartment. Only the joint lavatory were in each floors, and residents had to go out to sento to take a bath. When I was very small boy, the bath of our house often did not work, and I had to go out to sento sometimes.

In the olden times there were many sento in almost each village or town. We used to walk to sento with the washtubs, towels, change of clothes and some coins. The way home was very pleasant during warm seasons. Night winds were nice and cool to the flashed skins, and we used to enjoy drinking cold milk. But during the winter season, the way to sento, especially the way home was sometimes pain.Old type sento has two large bathtubs for men and women, and was separated with high wall.

There are the entrances of the 'Otokoyu'( bath for men) and 'Onnayu'(bath for women), and 'noren'(curtain) are hanged there. (Noren has character of 'Otokoyu' and 'Onnayu'). And there is a tall 'bandai' desk there, and we must pay the fee to the man on the 'bandai' desk. (The fee of old type sento is 400 yen now. It was much less expensive when I was a child.) They are ordinarily the owner of sento or his family members.

Beyond the noren entrance, there is dressing rooms and we take off the wears and keep the clothes to the wooden locker there. From the 'bandai'(tall desk), sento master man can see the dressing rooms of both men's and women's. I remember I asked my mother why the man on 'bandai' was allowed to see the women's dressing room several times.There is the page about old type sento. There are many photos, which help you imagine how the old time sento looked like.

http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~wadyfarm/suginamiarea2.html#eria2There is the page of collections of sento noren.http://www.kt.rim.or.jp/~tsukasa/sento/ga/noren/index.htmIn the wall of bathtub rooms, there is an extra large picture. Ordinarily they are the picture of bold scenery pattern ( Mt. Fuji scenery seems to be most popular) . Here is the photos of process of painting the sento picture.http://www.

kt.rim.or.jp/~tsukasa/sento/ga/penki/3.htmIn olden times people had to go to sento, mainly because they didn't have bath in their house, but sento also had been had the function as a place for social interaction of neighbors. People enjoyed the chatting and gossips there, and if the kids run wild, people taught them manners. But now people become rich, and the houses and flats without bath became so few.

Many old type sento have been closing their business, because of the rapid decline of the customers.And nowadays sento are surviving and reviving as 'Super Sento'. One super sento 'Uguisunoyu' opened about a year ago between our office and home. We have a bath in our home, but I go there every weekend, because super sento give me more relax feeling than home-bath. Uguisinoyu has is a huge sento. It has several large indoor bathtubs, some of which have jet bubbles and different temperatures.

There are two sauna rooms, and there also are several outdoor bathtubs. Outdoor bathtubs are in the steep slope, and from the highest bathtub we can see the beautiful town scenery. In the night we also can see the night scene of town and stars from the bathtub. Wooden terrace is made just near the highest outdoor bath, we can lie down with towels for a while. After taking the bathes, we can also enjoy the light meal, or massage service.

The fees of Uguisunoyu is 600 yen, only 100 yen higher than old type sento. Uguisunoyu is very popular, and especially the day before the holiday, it is very crowded with people. Now super sento is very popular among people in all over Japan, and its number is increasing rapidly.Here is the photos of one super sento.http://h-kurume.shop-info.com/web/spotlight/ousama/ousama.htmlIf you come to Japan, and come to our office, let's go to Uguisunoyu with us.

Today we have listed some silk fabrics and several supreme pieces, which I got from one of the most famous vintage kimono dealer in Japan. She showed me lots of her supreme pieces, and kindly gave me some most favorite pieces at whole sale price. She told me the stories about all pieces - when and from whom she got them, and why she loves them. Those pieces are very rare, and we seldom come across these class pieces at the kimono auctions.

The pieces I selected and asked her to sell are very very attractive also for me, and once I got them, I began to think I would like to keep them for myself. But as she said, pieces must be circulated among the kimono lovers.We listed*Supreme Embroidery Uchikake from Meiji period. Its embroidery work is supreme, and its condition is perfect.*Two Shirozashi Noragi from Tohoku district. It is very very rare sashiko pieces.

*Three Sakiori Noragi. They have very very beautiful well torn textures, and has white sashiko stitch's accent.*Supreme Tsume Tsuzure Koto Cover. This piece is incredible piece. If the pattern was dyed, we think it might been special piece, but this piece is WOVEN with Tsume Tsuzure technique all over it. No49 -8 March 2004 Hello from very chilly Osaka. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter.

We hope you are all well -- We have e-mailed you regarding the fake mail from `The Ichiroya.com team '. As we mentioned,`The Ichiroya.com team' has nothing to do with us and we have never sent that mail. Thank you very much for your consideration and we hope none of you opened the zipfile they have sent. Domo arigatou gozaimasuWe call the firemen's jacket as 'Hikeshi Sashiko Banten'. It is made of multiple layered cotton, and was designed to be wetted and to protect firemen from bruises and burns.

Sashiko stitches reinforced the cloth to protect the body against the heat, cool and droppings. In the inside they have vivid pictures, which are deeply rooted in the tatoos. Themes are dragon, tiger and samurai, and they were painted with vivid and vigorous touch.Firemen wore the jacket with the right side (which has only simple design) out while working. They were widely admired for their skills, bravery and morality, just like as the spacemen today.

In Edo period (1603-1867), fires often occurred in town, and they couldn't easily be extinguished. Because there were not the electricity, so people had to use candles or lantern in their house, and once the fires occurred, fires spreaded very fast because the material of houses are wood and papers. Firemen helped the people, and pulled down the housed downwind of fires, in order to prevent the flames from engulfing others.

Firemen were proud that they costed their lives to saving the people in the community, and they were considered to be manlier and braver than anyone else.After the fire fighting ended, the fire firemen wore the jacket inside out. They walked back streets with displaying the vigorous pictures triumphantly . They might go drinking with jacket too. People had to admire and thank them to see their style.

The pictures of firemen jacket have similar design with tatoos. Tatoos here in Japan are often associated with outsiders or gangs, but in Edo period tatoo evoled such images. Heroes of popular prints books had tatoo on the backs, and Edo people liked them. Most town firemen in Edo had splendid tatoos on their back,and they were considered to be the proof of menly and chivalrous men. So the town firemen in Edo period didn't need pictures inside, and mainly they wore the Sashiko jacket with repeated pattern in the outside.

But penal provisions forbidding tattoos were issued 1872, and since then tattoo have been treated as illegal and outsiders' thing.Tattoo seems to have bad image gradually from end of the Edo period, because of the opening of Japan to the world. So the firemen jackets from ending of Edo period, Meiji period (1868-1912) and later has pictures inside on behalf of the tatoos.Hikeshi Sashiko Banten are very rare also here in Japan.

And already good pieced went abroad, and belonged in Museums. They with good pictures were traded at the price of approx a million yen at the bubble era (1990's). Nowadays the price are coming down nearly half or to 70%, but the collectors wouldn't like to sell them with negative profit.We fortunately got one of the Hikeshi Sashiko Banten a week ago. Today we have listed it here.http://www.ichiroya.

com/item/list2.php?number=59054It is considered to be from Meiji peirod (1868-1912), and has stunning dragon motif inside. Dragon, wave and clouds are dyed vividly. Sashiko stitches are hand done and textile is very thick. We are offering it at $2400. The picture of this piece is slightly faded, because of its hard use. If the picture is more sharp, and the pigments are vivid, it will cost more than $6000.

I touch the fabric and enjoy its vigrous dragon picture, with imagined how honored and proud the original owner was. had to be the man among men - manly, brave and self-denial. And I also imagine the many firemen in these days, and their brave behaviors and their death ------ I would like to become the man with the same spirit of the Shouboushi(firefighter). No48 -1 March 2004 Hello from Japan. This is Yuka writing Ichiroya's news letter.

Here is one chart--this is a statistics on population. Can you guess what this chart is showing?http://www8.cao.go.jp/kourei/whitepaper/w-2000/zu_123.htmThe thick black line is Japan, and USA, France, Germany, UK and Sweden are also shown. This chart shows the the increase of aging population--Japan is facing a problem of aging population --which no other countries have ever experienced before.We are about to enter the age of aged people's country.

The ratio of elderly people at least 65 years old in Japan is getting higher and higher drastically--then what will it happen?My parents live alone in Nara but they are thinking about moving. Since both of them are getting weaker and they do not drive any more, they are looking for a place to live close to us. Today, I went to see a new house for my parents. It is actually a condominium (condominium are called `mansion' in Japan)They lived in a same house for 42 years, so it is a big issue and I feel so responsible.

Recently, there are many condominiums close to the train stations or close to the big cities. It used to be living in houses in the suburbs is the ideal way but it seems it is changing because of various reasons. I have to see more objects before I can recommend them, but I have been thinking what kind of condominium is good for them? What are the points to decide where to live?Some of you may live in big cities and some of you may live in the place surrounded by nature.

We say `Sumeba miyako' which means `Every bird thinks its own nest beautiful', so we hope we can find a suitable place for them to live.I want to write a little about houses in Japan. If you come to Japan and visit someone's house, you take off your shoes at Genkan(entrance). Most of the living rooms are western style but some are Japanese style. If you are invited to a Japanese room, you will be offered to sit on Zabuton(cusion), then sitting straight with your legs folded under you will be preferred but it is alright if you cannot do this.

Usually there are a living room(dining is combined with living room often)kitchen + some bedrooms. The idea of `den' is heard recently but most of the houses have no such space. Many men have dreams to have their own study room but most of the cases it remains as a dream until any of the children leaves their houses. Most children stay home until they graduate from college. Many people keep living with their parents until they get married.

It may be a little different from the situation of your country. When people get married, they live in a small apartments or mansion and then, after certain years, people start to have their own houses. However, because of the bubble economy, the cost of land and houses remain low, so many people choose to rent a house and prefer not to have a loan. Cost of houses remain low but it makes people difficult to sell their houses to buy a new one.

Our daughter became 18 years old sometime before, and I was stunned by the fact that I am a mother of 18 years old girl. I thought I was 18 some time ago...I wondered where these years have gone. Am I an amnesia victim ? Why she became 18 so quickly? She was surely a baby some time ago. How could she become taller than me without my knowing?I could not believe myself looking for a house for my parents--I thought I was young but I guess it is a reality.

`Thank you' to the things I went through and `Yes' to the things which will come --I have read this somewhere..I think one of the former United Nations Secretary General said this.(Please let me know if you know who said this)Thank you very much for reading -- we wish all of you a wonderful brand new week. No47 -23 February 2004 This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter by Ichiro. Yesterday and today are very warm days, and we confuse that long-awaited advent of spring already has come.

Ume blossom already bloom here, and we don't need winter jacket at noon to go out. But we know the cooler days come back soon, and gradually the temperature will rise. We call it 'sankan-shion'. 'San' means three, 'shi' means four, and 'kan' means 'cold' and 'on' means 'warm'. So the words means ' Three-cold-days, and four-warm-days, and guradually it is getting warmer'. Maybe it is same season where you live.

Spring is our starting season - guraduation, entrance, getting employment are in spring. I(Ichiro) have started learning English by individual instruction just now. Many customers think 'Yuka and Kayo speak English fluently, but Ichiro's English is ......'. I decided to improve my English, especially the listening and speaking skills. Before yesterday, if someone called us and I took the phone, I said only hello and handed it to Yuka or Kayo san.

But from today I will try to speak more to thank you. Your phone is always welcome! If you have some questions about kimono and Japanese textiles, please call my handiphone.( 81-90-5896-8406 about your oders, please call our office number ) --If you have the courage to become the English teacher. trial horse for Ichiro's English speaking.My new teacher Chris san is from United Kingdom, and he is 42 years old sophisticated male.

I was threatend by the cordinater that Chris san is strict, and give me tons of assignment. But he looks very kind, gentle and intellectual. I will follow him and would like to improve my skills.As many customers noticed, discripitons of the items are wrote by me with unskilled English. I would like to write better discriptions to convey the charm of the fabrics more efficently. We are going to discuss the kimono discriptions, and I would like to improve the writing skill too.

Recently I have found the magazine, which introduce Japanese art & antique in English. It is named 'Daruma', and we came to know that it is very popular among the foreigners all over the world, who are interested in Japanese culture. I ordered some recent and back issues, and now reading them. The themes are not only the textiles but also netsuke, ukiyoe, modern art, pottery and other Japanese antique items.

And I found its contents are specialistic and very informative also to us. I read the articles about kasuri, tsutsugaki and textile of Okinawa, and they all are very interesting. It contains many beautiful color pictures, and some articles are written by the famous kimono dealers, who I know. Here is the site of 'Daruma' magazine.http://www.darumamagazine.com/'Daruma' is sent anywhere in the world for the same fee.

It is published in March, June, Sep. and Dec. We strongly recommend this magazine if you would like to know more about the Japanese textiles. They have link page in their site, and the publisher gave us the promise to link our site ( She only re-write the site contents three month interval, the link will be appeared three month later.)We don't receive any profit, if our customers subscribe the magazine.

We only recommend the magazine has rich contents, which we can not offer through our site and newsletter. But it is possible, we are very grateful if you add some words about our site when you subscribe. Perchance the publisher may write about us in her magazine ( of course it is mathematical chance, because the magazine seems to exclude the commercial articles ).In these days we become to like kasuri and vintage cotton fabrics more and more.

They looks to me as if they are the gem. They are the rare crafts, which only old-time Japanese could be able to make. We love their soft touch texture and interesting pattern, which cann't be made in these days. Some people cut the vintage fabrics and made their crafts, so the good kasuri is becoming less and less. You can buy vintage hand-dyed & hand-woven kasuri at approx $100-, but same quality fabrics can not be made no matter you pay.

But for the offering kasuri, we seem to be more careful about the discriptions and photos. Here are the some points we would like to let you know.1. Vintage(pre WWIII) kasuri is hand-dyed and hand-woven. Almost all textile has soft touch. And they are dyed with 'ai'- natural indigo.2. Old kasuri is mostly machine-woven. There remain many Bingo kasuri here, which have colorful double ikat variety. Dyestuff is artificial indigo.

3. Most Bingo kasuri has stiff touch, and some have too soft こしがない。Someone says it is because it was machine-woven, but it may not be right. Because the contemporary Kurume Kasuri, which is woven with machine has soft touch. The softness of the textile seems to be determined by twisting(yarn) and thickness of weaving.4. Origin of the vintage kasuri sometimes can not be determined. Four main procuct centres are Kurume(kyusyu), Sanin, Iyo(Shikoku) and Bingo, and also in Tohoku kasuri was woven.

Some patterns are thought to be unqiue in each product center( for examples typical geometric pattern is from Kurume), but it is not absolute. Kasuri was woven by the farmer's wives and mothers. For examples if some female in Kurume learned the technique of Kurume kasuri from her mother, and got married with man in Iyo, and came to Iyo. Should the kasuri made by her in Iyo be called Iyo Kasuri or Kurume Kasuri?5, Principal ingredients of 'ai' and artificial indigo has same component.

So it is difficult to tell dyestuff (artificial indigo or 'ai') by its color. But 'Honai'(dyed with 'ai') seems to have more warm indigo color than artificail one. No46 -16 February 2004 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No47. Yesterday(February 14) was Saint Valentine's Day and it is celebrated alsoin Japan. We heard that the day is celebrated in many countries--Saint Valentine's Day in Japan seems to be a commercial project by chocolate companies.

As the new tradition of roll sushi, we seem to like a special event related to food.Women or girls have to prepare chocolate if there are any men or boys around them on that day. Chocolate for someone special-- and also chocolate out of courtesy. It is said to be the day that women can make a declaration of love to someone they admire. Quite a lot of sales of chocolate is made on this day, and handmade chocolate materials also sell very much.

Our daughter Mugi stayed up late to make chocolate cake the day before the day, and she presented it to her boyfriend. When I was a student, I also used to anticipate the chocolate on February 14. Usually I got poor catch compared with friends, who were attractive to girls.This year I got several chocolates. My daughters and Yuka and staffs gave me chocolate. Chocolate given out of courtesy (duty chocolate) is called 'Giri-choco'.

'Giri' means 'duty', so there is the atmosphere that women or girls must present chocolate to their bosses or co-workers.It is just a fun day and we all enjoy eating chocolate both men and women on the day everywhere. When I was working for Daimaru Department Store as a manager of the table ware division, I made the highest record of chocolates. Of course they are all Giri-choco, but one of my boss said he always checked all cards ( which are attached to the chocolates) before brought them home.

He always got three big bags of chocolates, and later he became the board member!Recently we have got some unique items. We will list some unique cotton items from today, which are mainly from Tohoku district. In Tohoku district, asa(Japanese linen) was the main fabrics for kimono before Edo period (1603-1867), but in Yokote cotton was woven and dyed with 'ai'(natural indigo). Today we have listed very rare antique yogi made of Yokote Gasuri.

It has rare cock motif, and has very soft touch ( of course it was dyed and woven with hand ).http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58270We also listed three 'katazome' ( stenciled with paste-resist technique) cotton fabrics. Their exotic repeated pattern have the special kind of beauty. Textiles are thick cotton and has very soft touch. Japanese people love these vintage katazome cotton for the handicraft just like as kasuri.

The combination of kasuri and katazome seems to give the crafts very unique design.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58271http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58272http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58273We have also listed some vintage 'noragi'(farmer's jacket). They are made of cotton, and have many repaired parts, which are added other cotton fabrics. Fabrics are hand-woven kasuri, shima(stripe) cotton, and dyed-pattern cotton, and some are added 'sashiko'( stitches ) to add the strength to the fabrics.

As I wrote in previous mails, in old days fabrics were valuable, and people used many many times with repairing, and finally they made the fabrics to 'sakiori'. When I touch and see this kind of noragi, I always imagine the owner's severe lives, and feel the love of the their mothers and wives.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58265http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58266http://www.

ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58267http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58268http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58269We will be able to list more kasuri and cotton items in this week. We hope you enjoy our items. Like as Tohoku district(nothern Japan), Okinawa(southern Japan) also has many unique dyed and woven textiles. Some days we would like to introduce items from Okinawa, but good items from Okinawa are always very very high price.

We sometimes come across Bingata dyed silk, but they always cost more than $5000 at wholesale price. But last week we have got very good silk bolt with Bingata style dyed. They are dyed in Kyoto with Bingata stenciled technique, but has tasteful and exotic Bingata essence. It will be an special kimono, if you made kimono with them.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58219http://www.ichiroya.

com/item/list2.php?number=58225We have listed many silk and cotton bolt too. We are very grateful if you could check our new items.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/search.php?md=0216Always we thank you for your attention and ordering. Arigatou gozaimasu!! No45 -9 February 2004 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichoroya's News Letter. Here in Japan ume blossom is in full bloom in the northern district.

Spring is at the corner, but we seems to have wait for more days, to see the cherry blossom.I(Ichiro) was in the Tohokku district a few days ago, and it snowed heavily there. People there said it was very rare to have heavy snow like these days. They all wore rain boots, and it reminds me the Tohoku district is very cool, and they had lots of snows before.Today is Sunday, and our office was closed.

Yesterday nigt, we went to Jazz concert and refreshed ourselves. Concert was by Michael Brecker from USA, who is one of the most popular jazz sax player(Ichiro love music, especially jazz!) .Today Yuka went her parents home to help their lives. I went to National Ethnic Museum in Osaka, which is holding ' Exhibiton of Ainu Life'.As I wrote in previous News Letter, Ainu is the aborigine in Hokkaido, located in the northernmost regions of Japan.

Their culture and art have spiritul and powerful forms, which shows the traces of Jomon era(Japanese Paleolithic). They lived in severe cold weather, and they lived on hunting and fishery, and their lauguage didn't have the past form. After the end of Edo period (1603-1867), their unique culture - for example, tatoo in the face of adult women lost gradually.Our generation of Ainu speak only Japanese, and live all over Japan.

Some of them live in their home land - Hokkaido, and try to inherit their ethnic tradition in modern life, just may be the same as other aboligine in the world. Some of them work as craft men, and are making their traditinal crafts, arts and goods also for suveniors. Besides the unique wear and textile, Ainu is know with their wood curving technique.In the exhibiton most works were from after Showa period, which were made by Ainu lady who inherit their technique from their mother and grand mother.

I overwhelmed with the atomoshere - Ainue works have magical power.Its unique design has roots in ancient Jomon culture. Here is the photos of Jomon ware.http://www.um.u-tokyo.ac.jp/dm2k-umdb/dae99/dig_m_r/jdb/doki/index_goto.htmlHere is the very informative web about Ainu and their Culture.http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/english/english.htmlTheir wears are made of various kinds of hides or vegetable fibers, and after the Edo preiod(1603-1867) cotton were carried from the southern region of Japan.

Ainu people got cotton in the exchange of their labors or catch, and added unique applique and embroidery on it.From the document, Ainu people made their wear also with fish skins, but they seems not to remain. Attus is made from the bast fiber of an elem treee, and Retarape is made from nettle fibers.They are decrated with unique pattern applique and embroidery. Its abstract pattern is thought to have the origin in the Jomon culture.

Fortunately we have got two Ainu jackets.Recently antique Ainu jacket is very rare, and if we come across them, most of them are added embroidery later on the original one, or found that it is more made more recently. Several days ago we came to know one of our familiar antique kimono dealer, who is very famous in this world, has been collected antique Ainu wears and goods. We often buy antique kimonos from him, so he gave us two antique Ainu jacket to us at whole sale price.

One is the jacket made of attus, bark of elm and considered to be from the beginning Meiji peirod ( 1868-1912). It has unique touch of attus, and has beautiful woven stripe pattern.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58034Another piece is made of cotton, and added applique and embroidery. Cotton fabric has woven check pattern, and it is from end of the Edo period (1603-1867) or early Meiji peirod (1868-1912).

http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58035 No44 -2 February 2004 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA'A News Letter No44. We woke up to find snow on the ground here in Osaka. In the previous news, I wrote the climate here has been becoming warmer compared withour boyhood. But these two days Japan is hit by the coldest wave in this winter. Large flakes of snow is falling now.

If you come to Japan at winter season, I would like to recommend to go to shrines and temples covered with snow. In every season they has particular beauty, but the scenes completely covered white are also especially impressive.I wouldlike to recommend one more place to go. It is open-air hot spring. When I was a planing manager of the Daimaru department store, I visited Tohoku district( northern are in Japan), and I was invited to the very small open-air hot spring.

Its hot spring is in the outlying region, and it is mainly for people in the zone and the tourists seldom visit. I had to walk in very deep snow to the small house, and I was frozen by the time I reached the dressing room. But when I was calm down in the tub made ofJapanese cypress, I came to know it was the special experience, I have never had. Very large flakes of snow was falling, and was shining in the light of the lantern.

All trees and scenery I could see in the dark were covered with pure white snow. The falling flakes were shimmering in the light, and the flakes were falling to me and to the surface of hot water also, and they melted there.I heard the subtle sound of falling snow in the hot water.That was the most impressive and serene experience I had about hot spring visit.Unfortunately it was more than 15 years ago, and I do not remember the name and place of it.

But if you come to Japan, you will be able to find open-air hot spring like it.Snow had been thought to be the sign of banner year, and it became the popular motif in kimono. Some customers may have seen the'yuki-mochi-zasa', which means bamboo('zasa') covered ('mochi') withsnow('yuki'). There also are the 'yuki-mochi-yanagi'( 'yanagi' means willow) and 'yuki-mochi-tsubaki'('tsubaki' means camellia).

There also are the 'yukiwa' and 'sekkamon'. Both are the motifs designed by the crystallization of snow. 'Yukiwa'(large circle shape pattern) was popular in the Genroku period(1688〜1704), and it was dyed in summer kimono for the taste of cool. Here is the sample of 'yukiwa' mon.http://www.rekihaku.ac.jp/kikaku/index30/pict2.html'Sekkamon' is the pattern very near the real crystallization of snow, and it was used after the ending of Edo period (1603 - 1867 ).

Its design is almost same design as you imagine, but we couldn't find the samples in the net.When I see snow, I often imagine the crucial farmer's life in area of very heavy snowfall. Before WWII or more earlier, farmers had to work away from home during the long winter, and wives had to house-sit with working in their house. Many wives made weaving, and supplemented the family income. Their weaving techniques were inherited from their mothers, and various technique were advanced in various places.

For an ultimate sample, there is the Koginzashi. We have one museum class piece of Koginzashi. We are very grateful if you could enjoy the photos again, with imagine the snow covered scenery.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=55451 No43 -19 January 2004 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No47. Yesterday(February 14) was Saint Valentine's Day and it is celebrated alsoin Japan.

We heard that the day is celebrated in many countries--Saint Valentine's Day in Japan seems to be a commercial project by chocolate companies. As the new tradition of roll sushi, we seem to like a special event related to food.Women or girls have to prepare chocolate if there are any men or boys around them on that day. Chocolate for someone special-- and also chocolate out of courtesy. It is said to be the day that women can make a declaration of love to someone they admire.

Quite a lot of sales of chocolate is made on this day, and handmade chocolate materials also sell very much. Our daughter Mugi stayed up late to make chocolate cake the day before the day, and she presented it to her boyfriend. When I was a student, I also used to anticipate the chocolate on February 14. Usually I got poor catch compared with friends, who were attractive to girls.This year I got several chocolates.

My daughters and Yuka and staffs gave me chocolate. Chocolate given out of courtesy (duty chocolate) is called 'Giri-choco'. 'Giri' means 'duty', so there is the atmosphere that women or girls must present chocolate to their bosses or co-workers.It is just a fun day and we all enjoy eating chocolate both men and women on the day everywhere. When I was working for Daimaru Department Store as a manager of the table ware division, I made the highest record of chocolates.

Of course they are all Giri-choco, but one of my boss said he always checked all cards ( which are attached to the chocolates) before brought them home. He always got three big bags of chocolates, and later he became the board member!Recently we have got some unique items. We will list some unique cotton items from today, which are mainly from Tohoku district. In Tohoku district, asa(Japanese linen) was the main fabrics for kimono before Edo period (1603-1867), but in Yokote cotton was woven and dyed with 'ai'(natural indigo).

Today we have listed very rare antique yogi made of Yokote Gasuri. It has rare cock motif, and has very soft touch ( of course it was dyed and woven with hand ).http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58270We also listed three 'katazome' ( stenciled with paste-resist technique) cotton fabrics. Their exotic repeated pattern have the special kind of beauty. Textiles are thick cotton and has very soft touch.

Japanese people love these vintage katazome cotton for the handicraft just like as kasuri. The combination of kasuri and katazome seems to give the crafts very unique design.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58271http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58272http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58273We have also listed some vintage 'noragi'(farmer's jacket). They are made of cotton, and have many repaired parts, which are added other cotton fabrics.

Fabrics are hand-woven kasuri, shima(stripe) cotton, and dyed-pattern cotton, and some are added 'sashiko'( stitches ) to add the strength to the fabrics. As I wrote in previous mails, in old days fabrics were valuable, and people used many many times with repairing, and finally they made the fabrics to 'sakiori'. When I touch and see this kind of noragi, I always imagine the owner's severe lives, and feel the love of the their mothers and wives.

http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58265http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58266http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58267http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58268http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58269We will be able to list more kasuri and cotton items in this week. We hope you enjoy our items. Like as Tohoku district(nothern Japan), Okinawa(southern Japan) also has many unique dyed and woven textiles.

Some days we would like to introduce items from Okinawa, but good items from Okinawa are always very very high price. We sometimes come across Bingata dyed silk, but they always cost more than $5000 at wholesale price. But last week we have got very good silk bolt with Bingata style dyed. They are dyed in Kyoto with Bingata stenciled technique, but has tasteful and exotic Bingata essence. It will be an special kimono, if you made kimono with them.

http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58219http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=58225We have listed many silk and cotton bolt too. We are very grateful if you could check our new items.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/search.php?md=0216Always we thank you for your attention and ordering. Arigatou gozaimasu!! No42 -12 January 2004 Next Monday(Jan 12) is Coming-of-Age Day and young girls and boys who become 20 years old this year wearkimono and attend the ceremonies.

Many Boys wear business suit instead of kimono and hakama --todress like`Men in Black' seems to be very popular recently. Fancy furisode kimono are worn and they take many photos--the photos are treasured as a wonderful memory of turning 20 years old.Wearing furisode is very difficult work even for Japanese, most girls ask kimono fitter for this day.Many girls go to the beauty parlor, and ask to set their hair and dress them furisode.

Yuka only went to photo studio(long long time ago), and asked help for dressing just as other people and took photos. Jan 12 and New Year's Day are the precious days when we can see beautiful furisode ladies on the street.http://www.komae.co.jp/ph_item/03_seijin.htmlhttp://www.sunphoto.co.jp/seijin.htmlhttp://www.dcn.ne.jp/~yamada/new_page_6.htmYuka didn't go the Coming-of-Age Day ceremony, I(Ichiro) also didn't attend the ceremony.

In Japan Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies are held by municipality, and if we had attend theceremonies, we had to hear the mayor's speech. When we were young, many young people thought mayor's speech was boring, and attending the ceremonies was not very cool.( I was a smart-assbad boy! But, Dear Mayor I didn't attend because I didn't have business suit!) Recently, some kids make a fuss, and break the atmosphere of the ceremony, and the scene of the fuss often are in the news.

I want to write about this matter, but if I do so, I will have to become acutely aware of my aging, so I stop here.In the season of the college and university graduation ceremony ( in February - March), you can see young ladies in hakama and furisode. The graduated female students often wear hakama.http://members.at.infoseek.co.jp/nwakana/kimono/hakama2.htmlSome customers may think the hakama is the costume only for men.

In the Taisho period (1912 - 1926) and early Showa period (1926-1989), female students wore hakama as ordinary wear at their school. And now the most formal wear at the academe was thought to be hakama. As a top wear forhakama, there is not the special kimono for it. Any furisode and kimono can be worn, if they fit. Sometimes we came across ladies' hakama, but we don't buy them. If you are interested inladies hakama, please let us know.

Above and beyond this, we have got exceptionally rare piece. This costume set was worn by Emperor Meiji(1852-1912). This set was given to a family in Kyoto, and recently came to antique kimono market from that family. Because the origin is clear, and there are many evidences(some kanji characters on them, and woven patterns), we can guarantee it was worn by Emperor Meiji. Please check here.( We didn't introduce as a New Arrival Items, and added it at the last end of the 'Others' selection.

)http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=56996We can't make up our mind whether to list it on e-bay or not.The box is too big to send by postal service, so if we send it to USA, we must separate it two packages. If someone are interestedin this item, please let us know. We would like to sell this item to familiar customer.We are always looking for antique and vintage kimono and fabrics, but it is becoming difficult to collect them at moderate price.

For examples we could easily get rich urushi pattern haori two years ago, but now we seldom come across rich urushi pattern haori at auction. 'Hajyaku'( silk bolt forhaori) is also becoming very less, and when they come to auction, the price become near double compared with the previous price. At used and dead-stock kimono(fabric) market the items becomeless, and the price is rising. If you are looking for kimono silk bolt, please note this situation.

Karinui(roughly sewn kimono shape fabric) still remain at moderate price, and if you unsewn karinui(they are sewn so roughly, so it is so easy to unstitch to make it back to long fabrics. You will be able to get much fabrics as much as silk bolt. We strongly recommendkarinui fabric for the handicraft material( we have many Karinui at our site.)http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list.php?ct=010Yuka do not have many jewel but her most precious thing are the pearl earrings she was given from her parents when she turned 20 years old.

They are simple small pearl earrings but pearls are something very special and she said she was so happy and felt like she became a real grown uplady. Pearls are something you could wear any time with its simple but serene charm.Pearls have been loved by women in Japan always--we are adding three unique beautifulaccessories from Japan. Pearl, Cloisonne and Damascene are the three unique and enchanting accessories with Japanese craftsman ship.

Pearl accessories are going to be added at the end of this month.dozo otanoshimikudasai-we hope you will enjoy the three glowing beauties:http://www.ichiroya.com/top/beautytrio.htm No42 -5 January 2004 Akemashite Omedeto gozaimasu(A Happy New Year!) Kotoshimo Yoroshiku(Yours cordially this year too)These two lines are the new year greetings being exchanged by everyone in Japan. `Akemashite' means `opening up'--so the first line is congratulating the opening up of the brand new year.

`Yoroshiku' is the very tough word to translate. It means, `Sincerely yours ', `Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.' or many others but if we can make it simple, it means `let's be friends this year too'. To someone you would like to keep the nice relationship, the sentence is always used.The new year greeting words are never used until Jan 01. To welcome a brand new year, cleaning up of the houses, yards and offices have to be done and the traditional dish(Osechi ryori) needs to be prepared.

If there are children among your relatives, crisp bills have to be prepared in a special small envelope (Pochi bukuro)ready to be handed. (Bills have to be ironed, if you forgot to obtain crisp bills)Japan's recent economy is not so good but one of a most a thriving business is `Osechi ryori' catering. Osechi is not a single dish but the assorted food placed beautifully in a lacquered fancy boxes.

To complete all the food ( usually there are 3 piled boxes)ready, it takes a couple of days. There used to be big families living together and women in the families were to cook, so the each family had the recipes went down to the new generation naturally. The lifestyles changed and more and more people depend on catering service for Osechi. Of course many people still keep making some of Osechi, but buying Osechi is becoming very popular.

As an average--people pay 20000yen to 50000yen(US$180--454) for Osechi. You may think it is very expensive but Osechi are keepable foods to eat the first 3 days or more of New Year's Days. Osechi plus Zoni(New Year's hotchpotch) are mostly eaten for those days. Economy is not good but instead of going to trip or eating at the fancy restaurants, people seem to be spending more money for Osechi and enjoy family reunions at home.

Shall we show you some of the typical food of Osechi?http://homepage1.nifty.com/NOM/special/illust_sp_o.htmFirst row, from the left:*kurikinton--sweet mashed potatoes with sweet chestnut*hasu--lotus root*namasu--pickled daikon(white radish) and carrot*kuwai--cooked arrowheadSecond row:*kamaboko--fish minced and steamed(red and white)*kazonoko--herring egg (symbol of numerous offspring )*tatukuri--small dried sardines*kobumaki--rolled tangle with dried fish in itThird row:*ebi--shrimp or lobster( a symbol of longevity--wishing to live long until back bends as shirimp)*datemaki--egg roll*takenoko--bamboo shoot(bamboo is a congratulatory motif)*kuromame--cooked black beansFourth row:*toshikoshisoba--noodles--we hurry eating soba before the year end bells end.

*zoni--New Year's hotchpotch--there are many kinds of zoni and it differs very much according to the areas. It can be the problem of husband-and-wife or one's wife and one's mother quarrel.*nimono--cooked vegetables--they are usually home made.*yawatamaki-- gobou(vegetable)rolled with thin beef or eelOf course there are more and more food according to each house or area.Here is the example of a hotel-made Osechi:http://www.

princehotels.co.jp/newyear2004/osechi/akasaka/index.htmlWe are surprised to see our daughters eating a lot of Osechi food this year. When they were small, they did not want to try Osechi that much for they were quite new for them--but gradually they started to savor the traditional food. Osechi boxes are almost empty now. We ate a lot of mochi(rice cake) too.Family reunions, eating Osechi, visiting shrines--the events of New Year's Days are almost over now.

Most of the offices opens from Jan 05 and schools start from Jan 08. Highways were so crowded with the cars of the people coming back from their hometown to spend New Year's Day with their families.A brand new year 2004 is started. May this year be peaceful and happy for all of you. No41 -22 December 2003 Dec 28 is usually `shigoto osame'--the last day of work. On that day they often clean up the offices to welcome a new year.

The rest of the days until the very end of the year, people become busy doing year-end general house cleaning and preparing the dishes for the New Year.*Our office will be closed from Dec 28th to Jan 4th due to New Year's holidays. We are very sorry for the inconvenience during those days. Ichiro, Yuka and staffs are going to take each winter vacation in those days. At summer vacation we went to Hokkaido, but this time we don't have travel plan.

Our daughter Shoko is preparing for entrance exams for university,(the exams starts from January)and we will be at home with her.In this letter I am going to write about 'Oshougatsu' - New Year's Day in Japan when we were children. On New Year's Eve or earlier we Japanese prepare to welcome the new year. We do a thorough house cleaning on the last day of the year. When I was a child, my mother used to clean inside and outside of the house, and repaper sliding doors with pure white paper.

We prepare 'mochi', rice cake which we eat during New Year's Day Vacation. From mid Showa period, ordinary Japanese buy mochi from retailers, but some people still pound mochi by themselves. Not many houses have tools any more, so many schools or kindergatens have `mochituki' to let children have the experience.http://www.ne.jp/asahi/midorigaoka/youchien/H15/h150502.htmWhen I was a school boy, my father bought 'mochi pound machine', which looked like a small washing machine.

It was very interesting scene that glutinous rice grains became mochi glob in that machine. Just made mochi are hot and very delicious. We used to make small mochis from the glob, and eat directly. On the eyeing we see 'Kohaku-utagassen' (annual NHK sponsored year-end men versus women singing contest) on the TV. It has been very popular TV show on New Year's Eve, and had high audience rating from mid Showa period ( 1926-1989).

We sit in the 'kotatsu'(small table with an electric heater underneath and covered by a quilt ) with all family members, and see that TV program on the evening. And in front of TV we eat 'toshikoshi-soba'(buckwheat noodles eaten on New Year's Eve) around 11 pm. Soba is the auspicious food and eating soba at New Year's Eve means to wish long lives. Around the twelve midnight bells of the local temples start ringing all over Japan, and TV have lives from some famous temples from all over Japan.

People are supposed to repent sins of a year hearing the bells, and prepare to welcome the new year with pure minds. Bells are tolled 108 times, that is because there thought to be 108 earthly desires in Buddhism teaching. Almost at every place in Japan bells of the temples are heard wherever you are. If you think you have too many earthly desires, please come to Japan and hear the 108 bells with me :-) Many people pay a first visit to a shrine on a New Year's Day.

Some people go to shrines just after the twelve midnight. When I was a child, our family got up late in the morning at New Year's Day. My father and mother wore kimono, and my sister and I also wore the best western clothes, and sit down for the New Year's Day's meal. We greet each other saying `akemashite omedeto'(Happy New Year's Day). We celebrate the New Year by drinking toso or spiced sake, and eat mochi and 'osechi'(traditional New Year dishes).

Osechi is the special dishes served for the first three days of the New Year, and mother used to make them before the New Year's Day. First three days of New Years are the holidays, and most stores were closed before mid Showa period (1926-1989). People had to store foods for these three days, and it also meant only these three days mothers got away from cooking and supposed to have rest. Osechi is stored in 'jyubako' ( tiered food boxes ), and many foods have auspicious meanings.

Here is the sample photos of jyubako and osechi. http://www.sugiuratouki.com/osetijuubako/ In these days, many stores are open even in the New Year's Day, and many mothers don't make osechi for themselves, and buy from department store. The reason is of course to save time but also, buying all kinds of vegetables and other ingredients is quite costly. Buying the whole set --ready to eat oseti set is sometimes cheaper.

Yuka buys some dishes and makes small osechi foods for herself, but both parents buy oseti now from department stores now. There are many attractive and delicious set sold at the department store, hotels and famous restaurants.http://store.yahoo.co.jp/okura/os04-35.htmlhttp://www.itbc.co.jp/hotel/restaurantevent/osechi/Children are given 'otoshidama' (gift money)from their relatives. It is in the small paper bags called pochibukuro.

If you have many relatives, you will receive many otoshidama. Yuka seemed to receive more otoshimada money than me, because she had many uncles and aunts near her home and she could greet them on New Year's Day.Recently, many people travel during the New Year's holidays and our description about Oshogatsu may become a little old fashioned but we both have the very warm and special memories of our homes at Osyogatu.

Oshogatu was a very very special time for us when we were children. The festive atmosphere is getting less but we hope our daughter will have a nice memories of Oshogatu.dozo minasama yoi otoshio!(Have a happiest New Year) No40 -15 December 2003 Once upon a time, God said to all animals, ' Come to say new year's greetings on a New Year's Day. I will appoint 12 animals as the leaders of the years by order of arrival.

' Animals in the mountains and plains delighted and waited the New Year's Day to arrive before anyone else. By mistake cat forgot the day, and asked the good friend mouse what day they should go. Mouse lied 'it must be the morning of January 2nd!' On the New Year's Eve, cow started to outfitted himself for a journey in the middle of the night. Cow thought ' I am more cloddish than others, so I have to set out earliest'.

Mouse saw the cow from the attic, and jumped on the back of the cow. Without noticing it, cow left for God's Palace slowly. In the midnight cow arrived the gate of the God's Palace, and there was none yet. Cow thought ' I must be the first, and become the leader of this year!', and waited the gate to open. The sun was up, and cock announced the dawn, the gate suddenly opened. When the cow was going to be willing to pass through the gate, the mouse jumped down to the ground, and run through the gate, and announce the new year greetings.

The mouse became the first, and the poor cow became the second. Next the tiger run through the gate after the very long run, and the fourth was rabbit. Followers are dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog and boar, and after the 12 animals pass through the gate, the gate was closed. The cat went the gate early in the morning on the next day. God said ' you mistook the day. I already appointed 12 animals.

You must wake up with washing your face' After that time cat often wash their faces, and chaise mouse.Above story is the Japanese old folk tale about '12-shi'(Oriental Zodiac). In Japan every year has the symbolical animal, which are from these 12 animals.http://www.clio.ne.jp/~yoshi/eto/eto.htmThis year's(2003) animal is sheep, and next year's(2004) is monkey. We Japanese send 'Nengajyo'(new year's greeting card) to relatives, friends, clients and associates, and the motif of the card is ordinary from the year's animals.

For examples, here is the next year's greeting card samples,http://www.sozaidaisuki.com/print/nenga/nenga1.htm(top page of above site is herehttp://www.sozaidaisuki.com)We also use the '12-shi' as the approach of divination or character assessment.My parents used to say Ichiro was always a rusher, because Ichiro's birth year was boar. Of course it doesn't have no scientific basis whatever, just like as the character assessment by blood type.

But sometime it gives us the nice topics to tell about other's characters.If you are interested in the 12-shi of your birth year, please find it from the following chart.1912,1924,1936,1948,1960,1972,1984,1996 - mouse1913,1925,1937,1949,1961,1973,1985,1997 - cow1914,1926,1938,1950,1962,1974,1986,1998 - tiger1915,1927,1939,1951,1963,1975,1987,1999 - rabbit1916,1928,1940,1952,1964,1976,1988,2000 - dragon1917,1929,1941,1953,1965,1977,1989,2001 - snake1918,1930,1942,1954,1966,1978,1990,2002 - horse1919,1931,1943,1955,1967,1979,1991,2003 - sheep1920,1932,1944,1956,1968,1980,1992,2004 - monkey1921,1933,1945,1957,1969,1981,1993,2005 - chicken1922,1934,1946,1958,1970,1982,1994,2006 - dog1923,1935,1947,1959,1971,1983,1995,2007 - boarYuka was born in the year of mouse--she is always squeaking!(Oh no! she is coming here----help!) No39 -8 December 2003 You may wonder if we celebrate Christmas in Japan--yes Christmas is a very joyous season here too.

Recently more and more Christmas decoration of the exterior of home are seen in ordinary cities. Only five years ago, very few people did Christmas decoration of the exterior. So when I(Ichiro) was the buyer of Christmas decoration goods in Daimaru department store, we offered only a few exterior decoration. We cannot know why it suddenly became very popular--even in our neighborhood, some people decorate their exterior with full of lights, and the houses became the sight of the town.

Many people here are not Christians,(Christians in Japan is less than 5% of the whole population)but like the Westerner we also enjoy Christmas season with many joyous events as Christmas parties and concerts. If we are asked ` do you celebrate Christmas?'--we will say `yes' but it does not mean Japanese people are all Christians.In Japan one more notable event in December is 'oseibo'. We have a custom to send gifts to the people in recognition of their service.

For examples, to business partners, teachers, relatives and bosses. People seem to send 'oseibo' to approx 10 - 15 persons on average . The items very often sent are beer, laver, juice, seasoning, detergent and so on(things which are practical and used in everyday life). Oseibo is assumed to be official gift, and people avoid to add the personal taste. People seem to have a tendency not to take the risk to give the gift items which are too unique.

So if you were a powerful boss of big company in Japan, you would receive MANY oseibo gifts, and most of them are beer or laver or seasoning. Those items are able to be stored, and in ordinary family they are essential goods. But TOO many such items would bore you, and your partner would give them to their friends and relatives, or finally partner might sell them or return to the department to receive the alternative items.

We know there is such aspect in sending oseibu gift, but we can not change the oseibo customs. Oseibo is not bribery but it is a token of the gratitude.Today we have listed some gift items to our site with kimono and fabric bolts. We offer regal silk bags, moneybags and neckties made by Tatsumura Textile Co,.LTD, and Kawashima Textile Manufacturers LTD. You may already know these names. Here in Japan they are the most outstanding and most high quality weaving companies and most people know these names for its supreme quality.

Silk woven obi from these companies are exceptionally beautiful, but the prices also are quite high. Here is the sites of Tatsumura's and Kawashima. These site will give you the interesting information.http://www.tatsumura.co.jp/e/index.html http://www.kawashima.co.jp/en/index.htmlThe items we have listed are all made of beautiful silk fabrics. They are exceptionally gorgeous patterns taken from the design of ancient fabrics.

Textile has very soft and smooth touch, and the design will fit Western clothes. Off course thery are brand new and in boxes, and we think these will be one of the best gift for your taste. We also have listed accessories of damascene and cloisonne, which are hand made in Kyoto. These items are also very unique and beautiful Japanese items. We think these accessories will be special gifts for many people.

We are very grareful if you could check them. Off course we can send to arrive by Christmas by EMS (Express mail).http://www.ichiroya.com/sp/list.php?spid=S3fd3683925434 No38 -1 December 2003 Hello. This is Yuka, Ichiro's wife. I am writing today's Ichiroya's News Letter.I am going to write about Japanese `kekkon' (marriage)of older times and also a little about the modern times. I remember having a great shock when I asked my grand mother a question, when I was very little.

I asked my grandmother one day, `Obaachan(Grandma), how long did you go out with Ojiichan(Grandpa)?' and she said, she has seen his photo once before she got married with him. `Do you mean you got married without seeing him?'I remember asking her again and again. I just could not believe it and could not understand how people could get married with someone you have not seen him before.Kekkon (marriage)for women used to mean that she will be a yome.

It is a very hard word to translate--it does not mean a wife but yome is yome- and it is written as women in a house when written in Kanji. Kekkon meant women to become a member of her husband's family, leaving her own family. Arranged marriage were the most popular style in my grand mother's time. There are naked(matchmaker)everywhere in the community, the relatives or bosses often set up the `omiai'(a go-between affair).

There are still omiai system but these days matrimonial agency sytem seems to be more popular. When the marriage is set, the bridegroom has to bring `betrothal money' to the bride's house. Fukusa(covering cloth)with auspicious motifs are used, and the decorations of auspicious figures as pinetrees-bamboo-plumblossoms, or cranes & turtles as in the photo are often accompanied.http://www.yuinou.

com/big/fune/index.htmlThe bride's family also prepare the return gift--it can be gift money or items as a watch or a suit also are popular. The bride groom supposed to visit the bride's house with his parents to bring the betorothal money. My father and my mother were brought up at next doors, and the both family knew each other very well--so they thought they did not want the formal betrothal exchange.

My father just went my mother's house to hand the betrothal money. He was wearing a pair of everyday geta, and he has been teased about that for many years. I guesss geta was too informal even though they knew each other very well. I will talk about the things brides had to bring with her. The tradition is very different according to each area and of course the tradition does not seem to exist anymore especially in the big cities, so it is so hard to tell what is the common way these days.

In older times brides were supposed to bring chest with the drawers full of clothing. She had to bring Yogi, futon cover, yutan(the covering cloth with family crest which covers chest)and other things.She had to bring, many kimono including two sets of funeral kimono(both for summer and other seasons) homongi(semiformal), komon and so on. The big trucks with the back made by glass to show what the bride brought were actually seen until some years ago--of course the back of the truck decorated with wide red and white ribbons.

The truck can never back up even though they take a wrong way. It is hated because it is `engigawarui'(ominous ) for brides.Traditional way of wedding is drastically decreased--the reasons are : it is too costly and also modern brides and bridegrooms prefer to have original style. Traditional weddings were costly. Nagoya area is famous for the gorgeous wedding and the avarage amount of money they used for one wedding was 9590.

000yen($87200)but after the bubble economy has collapsed, the average amount became 7270000yen($68800).Nakodo(match makers), yuino(betorothal money), and yomeirijitaku (things brides bring)may become a dead language--younger people tend to ignore these tradition recently. No37 -24 November 2003 Last week we sent two e-mails from us, which are to inform you our new 'Random Time List Sale' and Antique uchikake prices.

We thought it might be a good idea to e-mail at the moment we add new items besides our usual update. Of course our weekly news mails are sent every weekends just as usual.In this mail I would like to write the continuation of last week's story of Yoshitsune. If you are not interested in this story, I am very sorry. But his lifestory is so famous that it is often made into various stories, TV dramas or movies, and also used as motifs of designs of kimono.

Here is his Yoshitsune's story --- Kiyomori Taira ( who killed Yoshitsune's father) and his clan overloaded politics when Yoshitsune was in Hiraizumi, northern part of Japan. Emperor, aristocrats and warriors had intense grievance against Taira's tyranny. In 1180 Prince Mochihitoo sent Minamoto family's members the secret message to defeat Taira. But its was known by Kiyomori Taira, and prince Mochihitoo was killed by Taira.

This, however, became a turning point, and Yoritomo Minamoto( elder brother of Yoshitsune, who were sent to Izu ) raised an army, and rapidly spread dominated area. Yoshitsune heard his brother's pingle, and run to Yoritomo's position with 300 soldiers. There was a reunion between the brothers (they were separated when Yoshitomo was 2 years old ) --They embraced each other and shed a lot of tears.

Kiyomori Taira died from disease when he was 64 years old, but Yoritomo and his clan had to battle against Taira clan. Yoshitsune won three important battles, which are very famous, and often become the subject of stories and motif of picture. Yoritomo had another brother, and he wanted him to be a commander, but always it was Yoshitsune who was able to win the difficult battles. Battle of Ichinotani(1184)--- Taira clan was in the castle with a hundred thousand soldiers, and Yoshitsune had to attack with 65,000 soldiers.

The castle was protected its back by precipitous bluff. Yoshitsune divided his soldiers, and while a troop attacked from front, Yoshitsune secretly ran down the bluff on the horse at the head of their soldiers. His soldiers were very afraid to run down, because it seemed to be impossible. The buff seems to be too precipitous for both horses and men, and then they saw a deer run dawn the bluff.There is a famous sentence which is considered to be Yoshitusne's words: If it was possible for a deer -why not for humans.

When Yoshitsune and his soldiers run down the bluff, Taira clan were caught off-guard, and was routed.This military exploits made Yoshitsune a person in the spotlight. But brother Yoshitomo didn't authorize Yoshitsune's military exploits. If you found the picture, which is samurai on the horse are running down the precipitous bluff, it must be Yoshitsune in this battle. Battle of Dannoura(1185)--- Last battle against Taira, Minamoto's 840 battle ships against Taira's 500 battle ships.

At first tide flew from Taira to Minamoto, and Taira's ship rode its tide and scooted arrows, and were dominant over Minamoto. Ships of Minamoto had to struggle to go against the tide. But Yoshitsune's tact turned the tables. Yoshitsune ordered to shoot boatmen of everything. Taira's ships lost their boatmen, and lost their way. Minamoto's soldiers took to the Taira's ship and attacked with swords.

Some of the Taira clan threw themselves into the sea, some were shot and some were cut with swords. And the battle against Taira clan completely ended here.Before this battle, there were another famous battle - battle of Yashima, and Yoshitsune made sparkling military exploits also at this battle. We often find motifs which are dyed battle scene on the sea, which are seemed to be the scenes of these two battles.

However, his brother Yoritomo didn't authorize Yoshitsune's military exploits finally. On the contrary Yoritomo ordered to kill Yoshitsune as a rebel. Yoshitsune's wife was caught by Yoritomo, and their baby were thrown into the sea. Yoshitsune killed himself at Oshu. He and his 10 followers were surround 500 soldiers of his brother Yoritomo. Among last 10 followers there was Benkei. He fought to death with halberd.

He was shot many arrows in his body, and said to be died standing death. There was a strong bond between Yoshitune and Benkei since Benkei was defeated by Yoshitune--Yoshiturne was very young and was still called as `Ushiwakamaru'. Benkei devoted himself to Yoshitsune since then and was determined himself to protect Yoshitusne for a life time. When they knew their end was coming--Benkei told Yoshitune to wait at the corner where 6 after-death world( both celestial and nether regions )start and Yoshitune replied `I wish to see you after this world if possible, where there is no battles but heaven'.

Benkei wanted to protect Yoshitsune as long as he could, so he was said that he died standing. Yoshitsune's life was a full of tragedy--with his beloved brother's betrayal and the parting with his most trustful man. He had to fight but his fate was cruel.Yoshitune is probably one of the most beloved character because of his tragic life. You know by now, both Oishi and Yoshitune are tragic figures and the loyal sentiment are highly appreciated by Japanese people.

By now I am almost crying just introduicing this story...I need a Kleenex...excuse me. No36 -17 November 2003 Here in Japan, it is getting cooler and cooler, and riding motorcycle at night is becoming a not so happy thing.( I always commute by small motorcycle. ) We are at the height of the fall foliage, and on weekend many people go to see the colorful autumn leaves. Here is the 'Autumn Tints Map'.

http://www.excite.co.jp/season/autumn/Japan map are colored by the degree of color. Green( not begin to turn red), red (the most admirable to look at), brown (ended ). We are in the middle of its map, so we are just at the height of autumn tints. This weekend, unfortunately our family doesn't have a time to go to see the autumn tints. So please enjoy these beautiful photos with me.http://www.gochomuseum.

net/kouyou/list2.htmlhttp://www.gochomuseum.net/kouyou/list3.htmlAs I wrote in the previous mail, I would like to write about Yoshitsune and Oishi Kuranosuke. In this mail I would like to write about Yoshitune.Yoshitsune Minamoto was born in 1159, and named Ushiwakamaru. His father was killed by Kiyomori Taira, who was the substantive ruler then. His mother is Tokiwa and she had three children and Yoshitsune is the youngest.

Kiyomori was going to kill Tokiwa and three children to avoid the reprisal. Tokiwa hid in Nara district with three children, but Tokiwa's mother was caught by Kiyomori. Tokiwa couldn't abandon her mother, and went to see Kiyomori, and asked for leave. Tokiwa was exceptionally beautiful lady, and said to be compared favorably with Yangguifei. She was the servant of the Empress, and one who selected as most beautiful lady among a thousand beautiful servants, who were all selected all over Japan.

Kiyomori allowed Tokiwa's mother and children in exchange Tokiwa becoming his lady.Yoshitsune was sent to a temple, and was raised there. He studied hard everyday. When he was at sixteen years old, he was said that his father was killed by Kiyomori Taira, and his elder brother Yoritomo was also sent to Izu. At that time he also became to know his origins of Minamoto with many tale of heroism. Yoshitsune made up his mind to defeat Kiyomori Taira, and trained mistral arts more harder.

He trained in the temple of deep mountain at the midnight, and was said to wield a Japanese sword against the evil spirits of the mountains and rivers.At this time there is a famous anecdote of the meeting with Benkei. --- One night Yoshitsune was walking across the Gojyo bridge(in Kyoto) with playing the flute , Benkei bared Yoshitsune's way with halberd. Benkei said ' I won 999 sword here. Hand your sword , which will be 1000th.

' Yoshitsune ignored Benkei, and was going to walk through. Benkei wielded his halberd, but Yoshitsune jumped up to the handrail of the bridge. Benkei wielded again and again, but every time Yoshitune flew and Benkei could not caught him. Benkei exhausted and finally fell down. Benkei abandoned 1000th swords, and became a follower of Yoshitsune over the course of his life. This anecdote is very famous, and at first I heard it from my mother.

Especially boys born pre WWII, Yoshitsune had to be the first and most important hero.We often see the pattern from this anecdote in the lining of haori, and in the boy's miyamairi kimono. Almost all of them we listed our site were sold, but best item remain here.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=55632The pattern of this particular haori lining is artistic and exceptionally vivid, isn't it?Later Yoshitsune won many difficult battles, and defeated Kiyomori Taira.

But in spite of his brilliant military exploits Yoshitsune's life ended in tragedy. Its story makes Yoshitsune very popular hero. But it is too long to write in one news letter. I would like to write a little bit at a time, among the kimono and Japanese textile themes. We are very sorry for the trouble about message board for long time. We restart message board with 'Daikan' san's help. Please join and enjoy the message board.

http://ichiroya.proboards.com/ No35 -10 November 2003 Today is the day of nationwide election, so we are going to vote at evening. We Japanese are in the sense of stagnation, because of long time depression, deteriorating security and uncertainty about the future. Especially sharp decline in the number of births induce the serious problem of public pension. Nowadays so many young people don't pay national pension premiums, because they can not convince that they will getnational pension after they retire.

Government finally has started totelevise the public advertising to persuade young people to pay the premiums, which uses a popular actress. Pension problem is one of the dominant campaign issue.I went to Nagoya this morning, and got several supreme vintage uchikake. We are going to list them within a few days. We wish you would like them.Today I am going to write about a little about 'samurai'. Of course there doesn't remain samurai with Japanese sword and topknot in Japan.

Only sumo wrestlers do up their hair in topknot, and no one is allowed to bring Japanese sword. To describe what samurai is in short is impossible but if we could say in very short, they are extremely stoic and live for the fidelity to their lord--as you know they would not care to shed their blood for the lord. As you imagine, in TV drama, cinema, comics and play samurai stories are popular here. It may be very similar to the cowboy pictures in USA.

Our daughter Shoko, she is a high school girl, did cusume play at their campus festival, and she wrote the playscript and acted minor part in it. We proudly contributed many kimono and hakama to their classmates. (We went to see the play of course--the story seemed a little bit complicated,but we enjoyed the enthusiasm of youth and found the students enjoyingplaying very much.)In general, samurai drama are fully made fictionally, and made as pure entertainment.

On the other hand, there are some very famous 'samurai' characters, who often become central characters of dramas. How many characters do you know among the list below?a, Yoshitsune Minamotob, Musashi Miyamotoc, Kenshin Uesugid, Nobunaga Odae, Hideyoshi Toyotomif, Kuranosuke Oishi (Chushingura)g, Isamu Kondo ( Shinsengumi )b, Musashi Miyamoto - Noted swordsman, author of 'Gorin no sho' (1584? -1645).

He is thought to be the strongest swordsman in history. He won 60duels, during 13 to 29 years old. He use two swords ' Nitouryu' at the battle. His 'Gorin no sho' have been read as the book of maxim, as much as the swordsmanship.c, Kenshin Uesugi, Lord of Echigo (1530 - 1578). He is thought to be thevery stoic man, and one of the most strong and brave military commander. The battle of Kawanakajima, war against Shingen Takeda is the one of themost famous battle in history.

d, Nobunaga Oda - Daimyo of Owari and the first of the "Three Unifiers" (1534- 1582). He is thought to be the one of the most innovative daimyo. He was an eccentric young gay, and followings of his father characterized him as an out-and-out fool. But he used firearms systematically, which were just came to Japan, and won many battles.e, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Unifier of Japan, Kampaku (1536 - 1598). He was the son of the poor of farmer, and became the follower of Nobunaga Oda,and finally became the Unifuier of Japan.

His success story is often quoted in business stories. He has many anecdotes, and famous one is 'in cold winter morning he heated his boss Nobunaga's straw sandals with his bosom in kimono.g, Isamu Kondo, Leader of Shinsengumi (1834? - 1868 ). He was the leader of Kyoto Police at the end period of Edo Goverment. He didn't have broad outlook and foresight, but his one-track way of allegiance to Shogun attract many people.

I have found informative samurai page in English.http://www.samurai-archives.com/index.htmlYou can read more stories about some samurai above.I omitted the discription of Yoshitsune Minamoto and Kuranosuke Oishi,because these two persons are very often become the motif of kimono, and has a little bit long story I want to write. They are both heros of tragedy and symbol of samurai, and have dramatic scenes in their stories.

Every December, there are the plays and drams to commemorate the tragedyof Chusingura--the story of undying fidelity. I would like to write about them in the next news letters. No34 -7 November 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter. Autumn is deepening--this is a Japanese expression but we hope you know what I mean--and cosmos flowers(Mexican aster)are blooming in autumn breeze.

Today is Sunday, and our online shop is closed. I ( Ichiro ) went to Toji Temple Market in Kyoto today after a long time interval. As I wrote in past news letter, the big temple sales are held on 21 and 25 every month. And on the first Sunday of every month, a little smaller temple sale is held in Toji Temple in Kyoto. The number of the shops are approximately a half compared with the other larger two markets, but almost all major kimono sellers open shops there.

I woke up at four in the morning, and did high-speed drive to Kyoto. I would like you to come with me to the market and walk with me in a temple compound in early chilly morning. At five in the morning, ( it is still dark), the gate of the temple is opened. Cars of the shopkeepers and shoppers drive into the temple, and shopkeepers start building their handy shops. Some shoppers stand aside and wait before the particular shops for the timing they allow to look for their favorites.

Bundles of the kimono, which are tied with bonds, are thrown down from shopkeepers cars, and suddenly the shopping time starts. Almost every shoppers have electric torch, and put a light to torch at the side of the bundles, and rush to check the items in silent. If shoppers pick out the items they want, they draw out from the bundles and put them aside. And without careful check, shoppers go back to check other items.

After they pick up their favorites, they ask the shopkeeper to hold them, and hurry to other shops. Almost those shoppers gathering in particular shops are familiar faces each other. Almost all of them are kimono shop owners, and we see each other in kimono dealers auctions too. There opened many shops, but only several shops are 'Ubudashi-ya-san', and these shops sell their kimono at cheaper prices than other shops.

So at these several shops, kimono shop owners gather at first. 'Ubudashi' means ' buying kimono from ordinary people' ( - especially not from other kimono dealers ). Some kimono are too expensive for ordinary kimono fans, and they only go around within the kimono dealers. But the kimono of 'Ubudashi' comes to second hand kimono market for the first time, they don't have the kimono-dealers-price yet.

So sometimes some of them are very rare kimono, and some are very cheap compared with the kimono dealers auction price. Ubudashi-ya-san are most of the cases very busy concentrating on collecting items from ordinary people and seems not to have enough time to research the current market price well. If you come to these temple market, you had better come very early in the morning, with a flash light.

But it may be difficult to compete with Japanese kimono shop owners. If you could find me or blonde haired man( Ryujiro - our wonderful friend and a rival ) , you could ask us which shops are Ubudashi. We may tell the wrong shops or already bought shops ---- just a joke. I promise to give you a good advise.Now I must write about a recent big change regarding these temple market. Only a year or two years ago, we could buy many kimono at very moderate price from ubudashi-ya-san.

However, these days almost all ubudashi-ya-san sell their good kimono at kimono dealers auction. As I wrote in past news letter, the prices of the kimono dealers auctions often become far higher than retail prices.n a few years ago, some kimono dealers bought many kimono from ubudashi-ya-san, and sold them at kimono dealers auctions, and gained huge profit in a blink of an eye. These days the retail sale is not good, but the kimono dealers auctions are exciting.

These days Ubudashi-ya-san sell their best kimono at kimono dealers auction, and gain the deserving profit. So shop owners who gather before the ubudashi-ya-san's shop in the dawn become less than before. I also become very rare to go these temple markets. Today I could only buy 10-20 items, and didn't get some special kimono but fortunately, I could obtain beautiful Japanese papers from familiar ubudahi-ya-san.

Its pattern is exceptionally classic and beautiful, and they must be the wonderful material for handicraft.We hope you enjoyed the trip to the temple market. I forgot to say there are not only kimono shops but also all kinds of interesting goods are also sold there and we are sure you will enjoy visiting these market as well as other famous sightseeing spots.It is unbelievable -- we have only two months left in this year.

We wish all of you our best for the rest of the days of this year. No33 -28 October 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter by Ichiro. Here in Japan, pro baseball is very popular, and Hanshin Tigers may have captured the Japan Series crown after 18 years. They lost tonight so we will know who is the champion tomorrow night. We are also very excited in the fine showings by Matsui (New York Yankees) at World Series.

Recently the J league(pro soccer) became popular, but the most popular pro sports in Japan is still baseball. When I was a boy, our hero is Hyuma Hoshi, who is the central character of pro baseball comics 'Kyoji-no-hoshi( Star of the Yomiuri Kyojin Giants) . When I was young, I wanted to be a writer, but when I was more younger, I dreamed to be a pro baseball player like other ordinary boys. Of course, I had to recognize I was not talented in sport later.

Boys are born to be disappointed again and again as they grow up. Sigh.I wrote I have one heartwarming story about 'ai'. I would like to introduce the story of Tsuyako Iwata who was an ordinary country woman but who played an indispensable role in ai dye stuff.During the WWII government prohibited the cultivation of 'ai' ( 'tade'- flora of polygonaceae ), because all agricultural land and blank spaces had to be used to produce food.

During the WWII Japanese had to suffer long-term privations, and all things had to be used only for war or to live. Japan military police was stern and cruel, and they were said that they used to torture suspect. Actually, one famous writer who was a socialist was tortured to death. People feared military police as much as the enemy. Tade is annual grass. If tade is not grown and not took seeds only one year, the tade spicies will die out.

Heisuke Sato, who was the prominent aishi(who grow tade and make a material for ai dyeing stuff)in Tokushima, continued to grow tade and take seeds for several years keeping secret from military police in desolate place. If this was exposed, Heisuke and his relative must have been in serious trouble. With Heisuke san' s great courage and wisdom, tade spicies survived. Heisuke san never told who actually grew them at which place--he kept secret and he never answered even when his family asked about it after the WWII if over.

He worried to bring some troubles to Tsuyako san.Akihito Sato is a grandchild of Heisuke san who was inherited from the father. Ai growing is a traditional work which is conveyed by its heredity--just like Kabuki. 3 years ago( in 2000 ) Akihito Sato, who also is a prominent aishi attended Buddhist sermon which was held at his sister, Yone's house. At Yone's house, Akazawa ( grandchild of Yone san) said Akihito san that Tsuyako Iwata grew tade in the mountain secretly.

Akihito san went to the field in the mountain with Mr. Akazawa, and saw the tade field which now became wilderness.After 55 years, Akihito san and people come to know who really grew tade in spite of serious risk. Tsuyako Iwata san protected 'ai' with her life!Without her courage Japanese natural ai had to die completely. Akihito san put up a monument of her at the place where the secret filed existed.

I am moved deeply by this story. Tsuyako san didn't get any return,especially didn't want even honor.This story is from book ' Japanese Ai - Tradition & Creation '( by Japanese ai culture association ) .Today We have listed haori, obi, karinui fabric and silk bolt. We will be very happy if you could take a look at these new arrivals!http://www.ichiroya.com/item/search.php?md=1027During cold season we always say each other--`Kazeni kio tuskete', It literally means, `Take care not to catch a cold'.

It sounds meddlesome,but we say this `greeting' when we say good-bye to each other. We also say ` a fool never catch a cold. If there is someone who doesnot catch a cold, he is -proving the toughness of health and also he is a fool.We imagine there may be snow at the place where some of our customers live. Even you have a snow or do not have a snow, `dozo kazeni kiotsukete' No32 -21 October 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter by Ichiro.

Here in Japan it is the autumn festival 'Akimatsuri' season. Also in our Tondabayashi town where our office exists, festival floats are marching today and tomorrow. In old town like Tondabayashi autumn festival is inherited, but the emerging towns don't seem to have autumnor any other festivals. When I was a boy, our town had autumn festival, and I was very very proud when I became old enough to wear a festival happi and carry a 'mikoshi' portable shrine.

But like our condominium building, which were built about 10 years ago, and approx 500 household live - and it is almost small town itself - the relationship of the town community is diluted, and boys don't have a chance to carry a mikoshi. Sigh...In this letter as I wrote in the previous mail, I am going to write about 'Ai', Japanese natural indigo. Many customers let us know their taste of indigo.

For some customers Japanese natural indigo 'ai'may not be so familiar, so I would like to write about ai today.Indigo('ai') is the colorant which contains blue pigment. It is made from some sort of flora, and now it is also synthesized chemically. Jeans are dyed with synthetic indigo. Mass-produced kasuri are also dyed with synthetic indigo, but antique kasuri and today's high class kasuri are dyed with pure natural indigo.

Synthetic indigo was invented in 1880 in Germany, and it is same material as natural indigo, and it is high-octane and can be mass-produced at a low price. So the synthetic indigo displaced natural indigo in most field. But here in Japan, the almost descending natural indigo survived, and its value is rediscovered.The differences of the natural and synthetic indigo are material and solubilize method.

Japanese indigo is made from 'tade' ( flora of polygonaceae ), and to solubilize the indigo it is fermented. Synthetic indigo is synthesized chemically, and reduced chemically. This difference make the natural indigo * more beautiful, deep and impressive color.* Synthetic indigo will discolored, and its dye transfer to other fabrics. Natural indigo will not discolored, and the lye will be washed out, its blue color will become more vivid.

From Edo period (1603-1867) Tokushima ( in Shikoku district) had been the producing center of ai.Photo of Tadeai is here.In middle of March, the indigo plant seeds are planted in the fields, when swallows return from the South Asia. Return of the swallow teach the day, when there will not be cold days any more. In April the small plants are transplanted. In July the plants are harvested for the first time, following by a second harvest in August.

The harvested leaves are spread out on an open area under the strong summer sun for one or two days. After the leaves have been dried, the leaves and stems are separated. The remaining leaves are further dried and will later be fermented and used to make‘sukumo' and eventually Ai.In September leaves are heaped up to 60" tall in the store room on the 'nedoko' (particular bed for ai leaves). Water are soused over them every five days.

After soused the water, leaves are mixed with pitchfork. In October leaves are in ferment, the store room is filled with ammonia gas, and the temperature of nedoko become 150 degrees F. In lage winter,leaves are covered with straw mats to avoid the low temperature. Through these elaborate heavy works, in December 'sukumo' is completed, and are sent to dyers in all over Japan.Indigo of 'sukumo' will not dissolve in water alone, and the process of changing the solid indigo into a liquid solution is called“making the dye - aidate.

" First, sukumo, alkali, 'aku'( wood ashes) and sake(!) are mixed in a special pot called an‘ai game.' Five days to one week later the surface of the solution becomes a bluish- purple color and the liquid underneath becomes a brown color. At this stage the solution can be used to dye various materials.The bubbles which appear on the surface are called“indigo flowers - ai no hana."After dipping the cloth in the dye, it first turns brown.

Next the cloth becomes an indigo blue color, but has green hues. Finally, the cloth is washed in water and a splendid blue color appears.Japanese natural indigo dye process has very unique these processes. The beauty and variety of natural indigo Ai comes from these incredible and elaborate hard works.Here is the photos of Mr. Moriyama's aigame, which I took when I visited Mr. Moriyama's factory in Kurume.

http://www.ichiroya.com/others/aigame/aigame.htmHere is the good page about Japanese ai in English.http://www.dento.gr.jp/konyu/en/e_jiten.htmlhttp://www.kosoen.com/aizome.htmlI can tell you here is a exceptionally heartwarming story about Japanese traditional indigo. Its story touch my heartstrings! I will write the story in the next news letter. No31 -14 October 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's news letter by Ichiro.

We always thank you for your orders and attention to our items. We would like to introduce more kimono and Japanese fabrics more widely and deeply.Last week I (Ichiro) went to Kurume in Kyushu district. Kurume locates in Kyusyu island, which is the southest island in the four large islands of Japan. It took approx four hours and a half from our office by train. As some customers already know Kurume is famous for its cotton kasuri('Kurume Gasuri'), and at a time Kurume is the town of rubber industry.

There is the large factory of Bridgestone(one of the famous tyres maker in the world), Asashi Corporation and MOONSTAR CHEMICAL CORPORAITION, which are the biggest rubber footwear maker in Japan. Near the Kurume station, I smelled slight rubber. Oka san, who is the manager of the Kurume Kasuri whole sale company, said it was the smell of the Kurume. He had been worked for footwear maker, and he always smelled rubber for over 15 years.

Oka san took me to the hill, where we can command a panoramic view of Kurume. I saw large plain spread(Tsukushi Plains), and in the center of green rice paddy the Chikugo River flows. Tsukushi Plains is very fertile, and is famous rice-producing district. So the wives and farmers and girls in this fertile plain had been produced beautiful Kurume Kasuri.Oka san told me the actual condition of Kurume Kasuri.

Kurume Gasuri has three essential processes -1) Kukuri - yarn are tied with Arasou to before dyeing2) Dyed with Ai - dyed with natural Japanese 'ai'(indigo)3) WeavePlease check our previous news letter more about details of these processes( http://www.ichiroya.com/newsletter.htm#Kurume ).Now in Kurume, approx 150,000 kasuri bolt are produced in a year. And 140,000 are woven and 'Kukuri' with machine, and half of them are for monpe( pants for agricultural work) and another half for kimono.

10,000 bolts are woven by hand and 'Kukuri' by machine, and only 120(!) bolts are made by hand through all processes. 120 bolts are made by some fewcraft men, and they are sold to a few Kurume Kasuri whole sellers. To carry on the traditional Kurume Kasuri technique, government give price supports to craft men and whole sellers. The retail price of the all hand made Kurume Kasuri costs approx $5,000-$10,000.

You may feel it is too expensive for cotton bolt. But to weave Kurume Kasuri by hand, it will take three months! Average monthly wage of Japanese is $3,200, and if calculate the cost with average wage, only the labor-cost will be $3,200x3=$9,600. So the without the pricesupports the retail cost will be triply or fourfold.I visited three factories with Oka san. First we visited Mr. Torao Moriyama, who is the most famous weaver in Kurume, and he is 'important intangible cultural heritage'.

http://www.nihon-kogeikai.com/KOGEITEN/KOGEITEN-033/KOGEITEN-033-00338-E.htmlI also visited Nomura Weaving Inc., who makes both machine weaving kasuri and hand woven kasuri. We have listed some kasuri bolt made by them. Mass production Kurume Kasuri of them are woven by machine by crikey, but if you look their process, you will find that they also need manipulative and adjustment skills. Machines look old-fashioned, and arenot computer-controlled.

In the factory, Japanese craftsman ship spirit is filled.Here is some photos which I took in Kurume. We are very happy you could check here. http://www.ichiroya.com/others/kurume/kurumephoto.htmWe have listed some kasuri bolt made by Nomura Weaving Inc at our site. Please check the beautiful kasuri pattern.We bought some bolts from Oka san.They can be divided three groups by its quality and weaving process.

1) Hand Weaving / Double Ikat / Pure 'Ai' Dyed2) Hand Weaving / Weft Ikat ( 'Yokoso')/ Picturesque Pattern / Pure 'Ai' Dyed3) Machine Weaving / Double IkatOur prices per bolt have to be 1) $900 2) $680 3) $230, so we decide to sell them by meter or per design.We are very happy if you could visit and check our Kurume Kasuri collection.http://www.ichiroya.com/sp/list.php?pg=0&spid=S3f8979c610f38We have more stories about Kurume Kasuri.

Especially I fell we have to tell more about 'Ai'(Japanese indigo). I would like to write about 'ai' in the next news letter.We also have listed several rare kazuki(funeral kimono). Especially the hemp kazuki is very rare.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/search.php?pg=1&md=1013Thank you very much for reading to the end! Arigatou gozaimasu! :-) No30 -7 October 2003 Hello from Japan. Here in Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter by Ichiro.

The autumn breeze carries the sweet scent of osmanthus. The scent and the cheering voice and marching band of children practicing for `Undokai'(Sports Day)are the rites of autumn. At Undokai, footrace, relay and also dance or exercise performance are shown and parents and grandparents come with the video cameras and lunch boxes. It is a big event and we all have a nice or sometimes sad memories(for people who are not so athletic)about Undokai.

When we talk about Undokai we can almost smell the sweet smell of mikan(tangerine). Usually parents brought mikan as a refreshment.In this letter, I would like to write about 'tatami'matress. Maybe mostreaders already know 'tatami'. As the ordinarily said, Japanese traditional house are basically made of wood and paper ( and clay wall). Rooms are raised approx 12" above the ground, flooring tatami(rush mats) cover floors of wooden boarding, and sliding paper door ('fusuma') and sliding paper screen ( 'shouji') are suded as partition.

The house I(Ichiro) lived when I was a boy, was built with Japanese old style. All floorswere covered with tatami except the corridor. Our family ate on the low table, sitting on the 'zabuton'(Japanese cushion). Father sit withcorss-legged ( 'agura'), and other members sit straight('seiza'). Dinner room became the bed room of my parents after the dinner. Zabuton and lowtable( ' zataku ' ) are removed, and futon( Japanese bedding) were spreaded on the tatami.

The legs of low table usually can be folded,and can be stashed compactly. Futon and zabuton also can stashed compactly in armoire ('oshiire'). We never go inside with shoes on, justas westerner never stand on bed with shoes on. So we can lie on the tatami, or sit on it to eat. We also wear kimono or other wears with dragging the bottom on the tatami floor. Of course tatami room can be a nice study too.

As you can see, tatami room is very factual, and tatami make the using room efficiently and functually.Some westerner who have lived in Japan often say, ' How nice if I couldbring tatami back to my country! 'Tatami have moderate firmness and softness, and smooth touch of rushes.Especially in the summer its cool touch gives us good feeling. After several years use, we need to replace the surface rush of tatami.

It smells very well, when surface is replaced.One tatami mat measures about 35.1/2" x 70", and we express the room size by its numbers of tatami mats. My room was 6 'jyou' which means 6 tatami make one room. The tatami size was considered to be made as this size at Sengoku period(war period -- approx 1460-1600). A tatami could be used as a shield for samurai when they had unexpected enemy' attack.

To sit on tatami, sitting straight ('seiza') is the proper way. Since the legs are folded under so that the body rests on the heels. As you imagine, 'seiza' for a long time is painful for us, who are not accustomed to it. But 'seiza' give us the some spirit to us. When I was a child, my father used to say ancient great men sit to study too long time to cave the tatami mat in. Kimono is made to live on tatami mat.

If you are going to wear kimono, you must practice to sit straight. :-OTo sit down, 1) take back the right leg a little, 2) lower the knees and put the right knee to the floor, 3) put the left knee on the floor. Just before the putting down the knees to the flower, stroke the left front bodice to avoid making wrinkles by right hand.Modern Japanese house are losing tatami because of the westernising.

We live condominium building, and our condominium have only one tatami room. Living room, two daughters rooms are all wood floor, and daughters sleeps on the beds. Only our sleeping room are covered with 6 tatami mats. I sometimes dream to live in the old traditional Japanese house in the rural district. No29 -2 October 2003 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter Here in Japan, autumn has come.

It is getting cooler and cooler. When I(Ichiro) and three staffs come to our office by motorcycle, we need jacket to avoid the cold. At the rice paddy, it is the harvest season.http://www.obusuma.com/photo/03/030923.htmlWhen I was a child ( approx 35 years ago ), I used to go to school walking through the rice paddy. As many customers know, our staple food is rice. From ancient days, people breed rice, and when I was a child, there remained many rice paddy even in cities.

In the winter, rice paddy don't have the rice and water, but when spring comes in the many paddy 'renge'(Chinese milk vetch) bloom. Girls used to play with renge flowers. Yuka(she is from Nara--near the famous deer park)has nice memories of playing for hours in the renge field. Right by her house was a renge field so she spent hours there everyday--making garlands, lying down on the ground and sucking the sweet flower nectar.

Unfortunately, renge field are not seen everywhere any more.http://www.asokagakuen.jp/nakatajima/H12/spring/1/sp3-1.htmlIn the spring, it is filled with water, and the young rice plants are planted. They are planted in a complete order and beautiful. Many aquatic insect and tadpoles are in the water of the paddy, we used to play around the paddy--taking back tadpoles and wait for them to grow.In the summer rice grow tall, and in the autumn, paddy become yellowgold for the full of the ears of a rice plants.

We have a saying--`monoruhodo koubeo tareru inohokana'. It means the ears of rice bow more as they grow. It tells us the importance of humility. September is a typhoon season, so sometimes strong typhoon came, rice plants were blown down in a gale, and our parents became anxious about the rice and their owner(farmers). We were used to be told if we left a grain in our rice bowl, our eyes would be smashed--it may sound so odd but it means how precious each grain is and we should never waste each grain.

Rice paddy was very familiar to our life when I was a child. Of course many farmers breed rice mainly in the rural district, and still in the cities. But many rice paddy owners in cities made their paddy as parking lot or built condominium buildings, or sell their land. Now children in cities become unfamiliar with rice paddy, and they play with Playstation ( TV game ) instead of playing in the rice paddy.

My family name is 'Wada', and 'da' means rice paddy. 'Wa' means 'sum'or'harmony'. Many Japanese have 'da' in the family name. When I asked my mother about our family origin , she said our ancestor may be farmer or small landlord. ( Of course I expected our ancestor was a Samurai ! )Speaking of paddy, I remind the Oshima-tsumugi. Most famous tsumugi - Oshima-tsumugi is dyed with 'Teichigi( woodchips from a red-bark tree ) and MUD, which has rich iron.

Really the silk threads are dipped in the paddy ( for the Oshima dyeing ). It is incredible scene, through the mud dyeing the Oshima-tsumugi get the beautiful brown and smooth texture. Near future I think we must introduce Oshima-tsumugi at our site with more information. No28 -22 September 2003 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's New Letter. We had a rainy weekend(It was thought to be because of a typhoon passed)but we hope you had a nice and relaxing weekend.

I would like to write about the auspicious motifs in this letter. There are many motifs used in kimono design, and many of them have auspiciousmeanings. For some customers, the motifs may not look `auspicious'--we will try to write the origin of these motifs.* Pine tree ( 'matsu')* Bamboo ( 'take')* Ume blossom--Pine tree and bamboo have green leaves also in winter. Ume blossom bloom in frosty winter.

In China, these three were called ' Three Friends in Frosty Winter', and it symbolizes the person of great rectitude. Pine tree motif has many variety. 'Kasa-matsu' ( pine needles in braided hat shape http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/20452/20452-016.JPG ), 'waka-matsu'( very young pine tree with sprouts http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/5913/5913-09.jpg ), 'matsuba-chirashi'( pine needles pattern http://www.

ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/53067/53067-010.JPG). Bamboo motif is sometimes used with sparrows ( 'take-ni-suzume'), snow ( 'yuki-mochi-take'). These trees are still very close to us in modern Japan. Many ume blossom are planted in gardens, bamboo and pine trees are spontaneously grow. http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list3.php?no=52689* Crane* Tortoise-- In Japan, crane is said to has a thousand years longevity, and tortoise is said to have ten thousand years longevity .

Tortoises are close to our life, and they are still thought to be sainted animals in part. Once when I was a child, and I brought a tortoise to my home. When we released him to the river, my father provided him with sake. In our mind, tortoise has the impressive image of 'Urashima Taro' ( folk story ). In its story tortoise carried Urashima Taro to the Ryugu-castle, because he helped the tortoise from evil boys.

Sometimes tortoises in kimono have alga in their back, which are thought to be attached because they live so long time. Its tortoise is called 'mino- kame'( tortoise with straw raincoat). I examine the real longevity of crane and tortoise now, and found that crane live 20-30 years and tortoise live 30-50 years. Some giant tortoise were seen that they lived more than 150 years. I relieved the tortoises don't have joyful life time far longer than me! Crane and tortoise are the auspicious motifs, which symbolize the long life.

*Phoenix ( 'houou')In China phoenix was thought to be the auspicious bird, which appears when the country is peace with a ruler of virtue. It is thought to live in paulownia, and eat the bamboo seed. http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=5719*Takara-zukushi ( collection of treasures)Takarasukushi motifs are often seen in our kimono and obi. Sometimes they are on the ship, and it is called 'takara-bune'(treasure ship).

'Houjyu' One of the tool of Tantric Buddhism. It can make any we want.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/2990/2990-019.JPG'Uchideno-kozuchi' If it is shaken, our all wishes are fulfilled. http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/51362/51362-008.JPG'Tsutsumori' Tube for sutra. 'Kakure-mino' If you wear this straw rain-cape, you can' not seen by others. It is said that long-nosed goblin ('Tengu') have this mallet.

'Kakure-gasa' This straw hat is also said to be able to disappeared from others. http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/2990/2990-020.JPG'Fundou' Spindle, which are made of gold or silver. It is prepared for the emergency. http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/2990/2990-012.JPG'Houkan, makijiku' Scroll of the sutra.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/51362/51362-018.JPG'Houyaku' The key of the store house.

'Kinou, Kinchaku' Bags for money, amulet or spice, and made of gorgeous silk textile.'Choji' Clove. This spice was imported in Heian period, and it was very valuable goods.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/item_images/007/52239/52239-015.JPGThese motifs are not familiar with modern Japanese. I only knew 'Uchidenokozuchi', when I started our business. No27 -15 September 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter.

Here in Japan, it is still hot--it is usually much cooler at this time of the year but we had rather cold summer with less sunshine, so it is as if sun is guilty and giving us more sunshine now. We hope the cooler autumn comes soon, and we can enjoy 'kouyou'(the autumn colour of leaves). The particular kind of trees we Japanese wait with strongest anticipation is maple trees. The colord maple leaves are our favorites and there are some songs about the autumn maple leaves too.

(Akino yuuhini teruyama mamiji....)http://www.izanai.net/sinshuu/nature/fall_foliage/momiji/index.htmWe will write about the kouyo other letter in its just season.Today I would like to write about investment(!?!?). You may be hearing about investment everyday, and you may be investing in stock or estate. As you know, I am not a professional of investment, and we do not have any stocks or estate. Frankly said, we lost much money in estate.

We bought condominium apartment approx 15 years ago, and sold two years ago. We had to cry for the price went down quite much. The prices of estate never went down like this in Japan before. So sensible customer MUST not read this letter in your face, or you may lose money like us!We hope you understand my advice--never trust me!Here we go!Vintage kimono probably can be categorized into three types.

One group is for wearing. Kimono lovers buy them and enjoy wearing them with great care. Next group is for display. Some kimono collectors will collect many items to display them. People use them as unique interior displays with their artistic flair--we are always so surprised by the ideas of displays. All the beautiful photos sent by our customers taught us how much fixed idea we had and how wonderfully the kimono and obi match in every house.

The last group kimono is for the material for handicraft. Some customers will cut the fabrics, for their project--quilting, sewing garments for their own or kimono for dolls. So this group of kimono are 'consumed'. Once the kimono are cut for handicraft, fabrics become small, and can beused for only more small size handicraft. Some kimono which has some defects as stains or tears in some part and cannot be used as a garment, still can be used as a material for handicraft for its unique patterns, colors or technique.

As a matter of fact, all vintage kimono never increase, and as an antique they are growing in value. If the items become popular, the price will rise surprisingly. For example, meisen kimono are very cheap ( 500yen - 1000yen) only five years ago. But now the price is from 2000yen to 8000yen, and if the design is rare and interesting, the price often exceed 10000yen. Meisen kimono turned to become very popular among young kimono wearers recently and they wear them not quite in traditional way but with their own style.

In addition to this situation, the third group kimono is decreasing because they are 'consumed'. A type of vintage kimono were spined by hand, dyed with natural dyed by hand and woven with seated loom('izaribata'), and textile has exceptionally soft and homely touch. They are the workmanship when people in Japan were not rich, and the incredible endurance and inherited tradition were alive in ordinary people.

Such kind of textile become very rare in modern Japan. Of course few survivors are weaving and dyeing in traditional ways in some production area, but the prices are very high reflect the labor cost. Eventually this type of kimono can not be re-produced, and are decreasing constantly. Here are the typical textiles of this group.* Kasuri - Especially 'Kurume-kasuri' and 'e-kasuri'(picturesque design kasuri) are popular.

Hand woven type from pre WWII cost more than $100, but they are worthwhile.http://www.ichiroya.com/sp/list.php?spid=S3f42386e8a4d6* Chirimen & Kinsya - Here in Japan, chirimen and kinsha ( crepe silk ) are exceptionally popular for the material for handicraft. As you know,crepe silk have very soft touch, doll makers like it. Our staff Junko san also love making dolls. Chirimen has very wide price range.

Jyuban made of chirimen will cost from $300 to $1000. People especially like the small pattern, and graceful colors - because they are excellent for doll's kimono.If the design is not suitable for small doll, the price will not be high. Here is the beautiful kimono dolls photo made by Uni san's master.http://www.ichiroya.com/enjoyphotoalbum/dollichimatsu.htmIf you have excess cash, you might collect kasuri or chirimen! That is top secret for our mail news readers.

The price of them will be DOUBLE within ten years!But as I wrote before, this is an advice from us, who lost money in estate. DON'T BE SERIOUS!I have been wondering about this idea, and recently I noticed one point.If I buy $10,000 of Chirimen, and after 10 years it can sell at $20,000, is this investment better than others? If there are solid investment, which we gain 5% in a year, $1000 will be approx $1600 during ten years.

I wonder why the chirimen investment doesn't have overwhelming advantage over 5% investment in spite of the anticipation for the rapid rise. Finally I have noticed. Ordinarily we can gain the compound interest through the investment, but the chirimen investment is on a simple interest basis! To gain the compound interest basis, we must sell all the stocks and buy the same amount every year! Selling will cost some, and buying also has some risks!I am very sorry for this curtain fall.

:-)There must not be the sweat deal. But if you are captivated by the kasuri or chirimen, we think the value of collection of them never decrease its value. If you give a chance to advice you, you had better collect the best pieces. Your collection must enjoy you for long time,and may give you the large interest after the long years.We hope you do not think we are always thinking kimono as an object of investment.

We see both old items and new items but we are always surprised and amazed by the charms and techniques of old items and we are so happy to see these items being worn, displayed or used for a sewing project--afther their long time sleep. To know that they are given a wonderful new home by traveling quite a lot of distance is a great pleasure for us. No26 -8 September 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter.

Here in Japan, the summer has been not so hot as usual summer but The lingering summer heat is intense since September has started.Sometimes we are asked about the season-coordinate of kimono. We would like to mention a little about kimono motifs and seasons. You must have noticed that kimono usually have sense of the season by using the motifs--it may be very similar to the season words in `Haiku' in this sense.

In Japan four seasons are very clearly defined, and seasons are very important for aesthetic feeling of kimono. In early autumn, People wear hitoe(not lined) kimono, and tie the obi made of ro ( summer sheer silk) or hemp, and they have autumn motif design on them. In this Indian summer season people wear the kimono to show the impatient autumn image. Representative motifs are'susuki' - grass tree'kuri' - Japanese common chestnut'ominaeshi' - a perennial plant with yellow flowers of the family Valerianaceaehttp://www.

geocities.jp/hiroceram/ikebana/Saijiki/Saijiki9.html#headGenerally said that we should take the motifs in advance, for a month or less but never be late before their bloom. Rasing the sense of anticipation of the next season is thought to be important. At the bloom of the season flowers, it is thought that we should not to wear their motifs. Because when the ominaeshi is full bloom, ominaishi dyed in kimono can not compete with real bloom of the ominaeshi.

Of course there are the motifs which can be worn at all times of the year. If the flower motifs are stylized, and not realistic, their motifs can be worn at all times. 'Kisho-mon'( auspicious motif) also can be worn at all times - pine tree, bamboo, ume blossom, crane, tortoise, collection of treasures, treasure boat, phoenix, dragon and others. Multiple season flowers in one pattern also can be worn all year long.

We would like to write about the seasonal motifs in future at each season.***********************************************************************************************************In this letter I would like to write about 'tsumugi'. Tsumugi literally means `spinning yarn'. Tsumugi kimono may not be so familiar with many people but it is very popular here in Japan. For example, Yuki Tsumugi(most famous tsumugi silk in Japan) are sold at more than $10,000.

Genuine Yuki-tsumugi demand incredible skilled handwork processes, and here in Japan people know its value. Here is the making process of Yuki Tsumugi and the products.http://www.okujun.co.jp/making.htmhttp://www.okujun.co.jp/syoukai.htm*It may sound contrary to what you might think but for tsumugi, damaged or double cocoon are used. Tsumugi is originated with farmers who hoped to use cocoons left over after they has shipped their best silk to the market.

* Degum the floss by immersing it in hot water, which contain baking soda and sulfurous acid.*Several cocoons are formed into a small bag shape('mawata bukuro') - first photo of the above page, and put them to 'tsukushi'*Several filaments are drawn from the floss at one time and formed a single thread. Spinner wets the thread with saliva, and without twisting the tsumugi threads are made. This technique needs skill and endurance, it is said that it take more than 60days to spin the full length for one kimono.

(!) - Second photo of the above page.* Threads are rolled up, first to bobbin, and next to the 'kase'. - the third photo is 'kase'.* Portions of threads are tied by other threads with reference to the particular grid sheet. - forth photo.This process is called 'kasuri-shibari', and it is thought to be the work for men ( because it needs power to tie strongly). Kasuri pattern of Yuki Tsumugi has 'kiko'(tortoise shell) pattern, and there are four granularity levels from 80 kiko ( 80 tortoise shells in the one width of tanmono) to 200 kiko.

To make one bolt for kimono approx hundred thousand knots are needed.*Threads are dipped in the dye stuff and banged to the stone board. This process is done to dye the threads properly. When the tied threads are removed undyed part are remained, and when the textile is woven with this yarn, beautiful pattern is created with the warp and weft.*Weaving is done on a seated loom, known as 'izaribata' or 'jibata'.

Adjusting the tension of warp by the weaver's hip, weft are beaten in using the big shuttle. It takes two months or more to weave fabric for one kimono. http://www.pref.tochigi.jp/kougyou/sonota/02/craft/yougu/jibata.html(*I have omitted some processes here.)Generally said 'tsumugi' means the fabric made by tsumugi threads, which are spined with damaged or double cocoon, and through the specific process it has such a soft touch.

On the contrary, 'kiito' is drawn as a single thread from flawless cocoon, and the textile woven with 'kiito' has smooth and even texture. If you touch the best Yuki Tsumugi, you would be astonished by its exceptionally soft touch. Beyond the chic design and soft touch, you must be able to imagine the incredible handwork was done. Actually Tsumugi are woven in many places and there are not only supreme Tsumugi as Yuki Tsumugi but also there are middle class tsumugi too.

Some are spined or woven by machine, and costs are brought down to moderate price. Actually we think it is difficult to convey the touch of the tsumugi, we wish we could know the appropriate words to express its texture but no words or photos seem to convey the texture through the internet but we hope to offer tsumugi kimono in our site in the future.Another famous 'tsumugi' - Oshima tsumugi is not actually made with tsumugi silk.

(It must be confusing!) In early days it was made with tsumugi silk, but now it is made with 'kiito'. Touch of the Oshima Tsumugi and Yuki Tsumugi are far different. I would like to write about Oshima Tsumugi near future. No25 -1 September 2003 Konnichiwa, hello from Japan.We hope you are enjoying the end of summer --we hope this summer brought you many happy things.Most schools start on Sep 01 in Japan, so children are either enjoying the last day of their summer vacation or working very hard to finish up their homework they were given for the summer vacation.

We are sure at this very minute, many parents are helping their children's homework --they are not only simple calculation but usually children are supposed to turn in an essay, craft, diary and some report so sometimes their family all have to cooperate in order to finish up everything!I heard the result of survey questionnaires --nearly 100 % of people have an experience of wishing school to be burned or disappeared!In autumn, there are usually many school events as athletic meeting and culture day.

Autumn --which is a second semester for most of schools are for studying and also joining the events.In these days meisen kimono became very popular among young ladies who enjoy wearing kimono in their everyday life. .Only five years ago or earlier, in sharp contrast to the yuzen dyed or oshima tsumugi, meisen kimono had not been valued. Only few people paid attention to the rich variety of the meisen pattern, and had collected rare pattern at amazing low prices.

But the prices of the rare pattern meisen rose in the price suddenly in line with the gaining of thepopularity with young people. Young girls who are sensitive to the newest trends and fashions, seems to notice suddenly the beauty of meisen. They wear meisen completely free from traditional kimono rules, and enjoy the coordination of the rich colors and patterns. As if the meisen emerge on the cutting edge of fashion again after 50 years memory gap.

http://www.kururi.net/kg01.htmlThis is the poster of the 'Chichibu-Meisen' ( Chichi is the famous productive center of meisen ), which has the nostalgic atmosphere. The famous actress of that time(early Show period: Show 1926-1989) modeled for the poster.http://www4.wisnet.ne.jp/~junko/1/7-1-1_02.htmMeisen was the ordinary wear of the middle class people, or dress up wear of the common people in the Tails to mid Show period.

Meisen was made in Kanto district ( the center of the Kanto district is Tokyo ),and especially popular in Kanto district. Its pomp and contemporary atmosphere was accepted enthusiastically in Tokyo and Kanto district, but the Kansai district ( the center city of the Kansai is Kyoto and Osaka ) chic kimono like tsumigi are still the very best wear. In the Taisho and early Showa period, the image of the meisen was the modern and fashionable wear of the female students in Tokyo.

My mother once told that when she was young she wished to spend all the money she has been paid--to buy meisen kimono.Meisen was born as the personal use kimono for the ordinary people in kimono of the silk raising district. The weft was thick yarn which was made of spoiled cocoon or double cocoon, and it had stripe pattern. It was called 'shima-meisen' ( 'shima' means stripe ), and in the Meiji period (1868-1912) Shima-meisen became very popular in the Kanto district.

In the middle of Taisho period, double ikat 'Kasuri' pattern was woven, and in Kant district many places became the product center of meisen - Chichibu, Kiryu, Isezaki, Ashikaga and other towns. In the middle of the Taisho period ( 1912-1925 ), the technique of 'Hogushi-ori' was invented, 'Moyou-meisen' made waves across the country.The technique of 'Hogushi-ori' is as below, 1. Fabric is tentatively woven, 2.

Pattern is printed on the tentative fabric, 3, Tentative wefts are removed, 4, Woven again with genuinewefts. With this technique the pattern variety became exceptionally wide, and the influence of the Western fashion made the color vivid, and design became bold and 'haikara'( which means modern and Occidental). In the 1957 the wool fabric was invented, and became popular, wool kimono displaced the meisen, and after 1965 meisen disappeared.

For example the peak of the production of meisen in Chichibu district were 1941( pre WWII) and 1963. Ordinarily said, the meisen of the early day have knots in the texture,and ones from the latter days have smooth texture. No24 -25 August 2003 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter. Here in Japan, the summer heat came after long cool days, how about the weather in your country? Did you enjoy the summer vacation? In this letter, I would like to write more about Kasuri, because kasuri has rich story.

Kasuri generally refers indigo dyed cotton woven textile with repeated patterns as splash patterns. I will introduce the major representative Kasuri here.*Kurume KasuriKurume Kasuri is the representative cotton kasuri of Japan. Kurume is in the Kyushu district, and in 1788 Den Inoue had started to weave kasuri. It is said that she was only 12 years old, and she noticed the old indigo dyed cotton fabric had whitish dots.

She took the fabric apart, and she examined the fabric, and invented to weave kasuri pattern. Her 'kasuri' soon became famous, and when she was 40 years old, she had more than several hundreds of pupils. In this district farmers became to weave kasuri as side business, and after the Meiji period(1868-1912) Kurume Kasuri became famous and popular all over Japan as the ordinary cotton wear. Through the mechanization age, elaborate weaving technique have survived, and Kurume kasuri is evaluated as the highest grade of cotton kasuri.

Kurume Kasuri is dyed with natural indigo before weaving. The yarn of weft and warp are tied with 'arasou' ( the epidermis of the hemp plant), and dyed with natural indigo('ai'). The tied part of the yarn remain white, and when the weft and warp are woven, beautiful splash pattern appears. The process of the tieing is called 'tekukuri', which means 'tie by hand', and its technique is very unique and difficult.

Dyer must tie hard not to get loose when it is dyed, and at a time it must be easy to be untied right after dyed. Its delicate tieing work affects the pattern.Yarns are dyed with natural indigo ('ai'). Ai dyer has more than 8 big bottles of the 'ai', and they have different concentrations. Yarns are dyed dipped in from the thin 'ai' bottle to thick 'ai' bottle. When the yarn is lifted from the bottle, it is twisted and beaten and banged against the floor.

This process is repeated more than 30 times. When the yarn is bated, indigo is contacted with air, which help the indigo to chemical change and dyed. Its whole processes are over 30, and to weave one Kurume Kasuri bolt take a month or two.There are two pages of introducing the process of the Kurume Kasuri weaving.http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/media/tyousa/kurumegasuri/dekiumade.htmlhttp://www.chikugo.

or.jp/to/to0011.htmHere is the item sample page,http://202.212.234.208/page119.htmlhttp://homepage2.nifty.com/KATUBE/images/mise/kurume/gazou/kkikoutunagi.htm*Iyo KasuriIyo Kasuri is one of the famous three cotton kasuri of Japan. Iyo Kasuri are often used color yarn as contrast to the other kasuri of Chugoku district(middle part of Japan). Its genteel patterns are popular especially in the Taisho period(1912-1925).

Here is the sample page of the Iyo Kasuri.http://user.shikoku.ne.jp/akkun-yj/kasuridata.htmhttp://user.shikoku.ne.jp/akkun-yj/hata.htm*Yumihama KasuriYumihama is in Tottori prefecture, and unique kasuri have been woven. Its patterns have rich variety - from flax ornament, sayagata, seigaiha, crane, tortoise, kanji characters to the picture of the fairy tales. Sometimes 'chawata' ( brown color cotton) are woven in, and it adds the color to the blue and white pattern.

http://homepage1.nifty.com/takigorou/ori2001-10-1.htmhttp://www.ne.jp/asahi/taki56/kyoto/ori2002-2-2.htm*Bingo KasuriIn Hiroshima prefecture (Chugoku district), Bingo kasuri is made and it is one of the three famous cotton kasuri in Japan. Curb pattern is the feature of Bingo Kasuri. When the curb patten by double ikat are invented, it became very popular rapidly all over in Japan. In late Meiji period(1868-1912) or Taisho period(1912-1925) , Bingo kasuri are at theheight ofit's prosperity.

As contrasted to the Kurume Kasuri, Bingo introduced weaving equipment early, and became to use the chemical dye for the improvement in the ability to weave. In 60's Bingo produced 60-70% of the kasuri kimono of Japan. But now the production become very low, and hand weaving Bingo kasuri is nearly ceased. Only one weaver - Mr. Morita weave by hand in traditional ways. Here is the page of Mr. Morita.

Characteristic curb pattern of Bingo Kasuri.http://www.fuchu.or.jp/~morita/Here is the samples of the contemporary Bingo Kasuri.http://www.jpkameya.com/sub1/kasuri4/base144.htmLast hand weaving Bingo Kasuri by Morita sanhttp://www.fuchu.or.jp/~morita/page005.htmlhttp://www.fuchu.or.jp/~morita/page002.htmlKasuri may not be ostentatious but has tremendous charms.We would like to collect more kasuri, and list more in near future.

No23 -18 August 2003 Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter. We had wonderful holidays and are very happy to be back to our office again. I(Ichiro) visited Tohoku district, and attended some auctions there. Noboribta, tsutsugaki and other rare kimono which were listed this week are mainly from this trip to Tohoku. After the auctions in Tohoku, I joined my family - Yuka and two daughters at Hokkaido, and we visited some hot springs in Hokkaido.

Hokkaido is one of the most popular district for summer vacation trip because of its cool climate. Please check the map of Japan.http://www.jinjapan.org/kidsweb/japan/map/j_regi.htmlHokkaido is the most north part of Japan, and Tohoku district is the next. In contrast with Okinawa, Hokkaido and Tohoku district have comparatively cool weather in Japan. In winter both districts have heavy snow, and in the ancient days cotton could not be grown for its cool climate.

In ancient days, Hokkaido was very FAR from center of Japan, and the latest district, which Japan governed. In Hokkaido indigenous population 'Ainu' have been lived, and have unique culture different from Honsyu(main island of Japan).Here is the page of the Ainu culture.http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/nyumon/nyumon.htmlPlease click #7 and #8--you can see their unique clothing.Kimono in these pages are made of inner bark and nettles, and its patterns are distinctly different from other kimono.

And these pieces are exceptionally rare and they are museum class pieces. Tohoku district was also very far from Kyoto or Edo(Tokyo). Please keep in your mind that Tohoku district has cooler climate than middle of Japan. As I wrote before, the middle of the Edo period(1603-1867) it was impossible to grow cotton in Tohoku district because of its cool climate.For the common people - farmer and fisher folk wore hemp as casual and working wear.

But as you may imagine, hemp wear was not warm enough for the cool winter in the north district. People wore the 'used' cotton from the center district of Japan, because the new cotton was too expensive for common people. People used the 'used' cotton with great care. They wore them, dyed again and again, repaired any tears and holes, and finally they were torn to strips, and were woven to 'sakiori' fabric.

( We have listed vintage sakiori work wear today. It is from Noto district, and has exceptionally beautiful patterns! )http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=53095Another way to give the hemp thermal was adding the stitches to the fabrics - 'sashiko'. In Tsugaru ( the most north district of Tohoku) people added beautiful geometric pattern by the cotton stitches to the hemp, and it is called 'Kogin'.

This stitches also reinforced the fabric, and it was very useful for working wear. White cotton threads were embroidered in beautiful and unique geometric pattern. I looked for the photos of 'kogin', but we couldn't find in the internet. Here is the photos from my book.http://www.ichiroya.com/enjoyphotoalbum/kogin.htm This beautiful patterns were embroidered one stitch by one stitch, by the women of the farmer maybe during the agricultural off-season winter.

These pieces are from Edo period, this tradition of the elaborate hand work technique almost dyed in Meiji period, because of train reached Tsugaru district.In Shonai district( Yamagata prefecture) sashiko was made by farmers. Shonai sashiko also has beautiful variety of traditional patterns. Patterns of sashiko symbolized peoples wishes such as wishes for exorcism, productiveness, longevity and growth.

We have listed three vintage sashiko from Shonai district. They are made of cotton, and added elaborate and beautiful sashiko stitches.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=53092http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=53093http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=53094Also in southern district of Japan, sashiko had been made by fisherfolk, and they are called 'donza'. Fisherfolk had to work on the sea in the hazardous and harsh environment.

The pattern of the 'donaza' may have more wishes.http://starbulletin.com/2002/10/10/features/story1.htmlWe hope we will be able to list donza or kogin at our site in future. ( * They are very expensive. Kogin may be over $2500.)Here is today's new arrival pages. Besides sashiko, we have listed rare hemp noren, children's kimono and silk bolts. We are very happy if you have time to check them. No22 -28 July 2003 We hope you are enjoying the pleasant summer.

There were big earthquakes in Miyagi prefecture (northern Japan) on July 25. There seems to be aftershock still coming -- there are hundreds of people injured but fortunately no one  seemed to be killed in the quakes.Thank you very much for your warm and sincere message to us about the earthquakes.*We are afraid our office will be closed on July 30--due to the moving and Aug03-Aug10 for summer holidays.

*******************************************************************************In Japan, as we wrote before modern Japanese don't often wear kimono in these days. In Kyoto, there have started many services which will offer benefit to kimono wearers to promote the kimono industries. It is also for the sake of making Kyoto more unique and traditional as the tourist spots. In Kyoto public-private partnership is eager to preserve the traditional cityscape of the old house.

To increase the kimono wearer, various company are offering unique benefits to kimono wearers.* Yukata set hotel planKyoto Royal Hotel offers 17% off from ordinary room charge, who select 'Yukata de Kyoto Plan'. If you choose this package, yukata, obi, geta and kinchaku bag are included--you can choose these items from large selection. They are not rental but you can take them home.Shin-Miyako Hotel, Hotel Princes Kyoto, Rihga Royal Hotel are also offering similar yukata plan.

* Taxi offer 10% off, if you are wearing kimono!MK Taxi ( Kyoto) is offering 10% off to the customers who is wearing kimono.This discount apply also yukata, samue and jinbei. This discount started on 21 July and will ends on January 31th 2004.http://www.mk-group.co.jp/kimono/waribiki_start.htmIf you are planing to visit Kyoto, staying in the hotels which have yukata plan and you can go out by taxi--you can get a nice discount!********************************************************************************In this letter I would like to write about kasuri (ikat).

Ikat is the representative of traditional Japanese textiles, and in many regions people have produced various refined motifs and techniques. You can see the variety of kasuri here.http://net.grapac.co.jp/photobit/vol/13_1.htmlhttp://net.grapac.co.jp/photobit/vol/13_1.html'Kasuri is woven fabric with dyed yarn, and has beautiful geometric patterns. Portions of yarns are tied by other threads and dyed.

When the tied threads are removed undyed part are remained, and when the textile is woven with this yarn, beautiful pattern is created with the warp and weft. There are three kinds of kasuri technique, Yoko-gasuri,Tate-gasuri and Tateyoko-gasuri. Yoko-gasuri and Tate-gasuri is patterned with either dyed warp or weft thread, and tateyoko-gasuri is patterned both dyed warp and weft thread, and tate-yokogasuri is called 'double ikat' in English.

Of course, double ikat needs the most developed and refined techniques. The patterns of Kasuri have slight blurring in the outline of the pattern because of its weaving technique, and it gives a unique and beautiful look to the fabrics.Kasuri techniques are considered to be born in India, and double ikat was developed especially in India, Indonesia and Japan. In Japan, where the kasuri was most developed at first is Okinawa, and spread to other areas.

Some customers may remember the Bingata topics, and about Okinawa, where the Bingata is dyed. In Okinawa a variety of natural fibers, such as silk, cotton, hemp,Japanese banana plant are woven with refined kasuri technique.Here is the eight samples of the ikat of Okinawa.http://w1.nirai.ne.jp/okikousi/crafts/kougei-page.htmIn main land of Japan, from Kyusyu, Sanin and Shikoku(southern Japan) cotton kasuri is developed, and in northern Japan kasuri made of linen.

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/taki56/kyoto/ori2002-7-1http://www.tokusen.info/kougei/0027/index.htmlhttp://www.kougei.or.jp/english/crafts/0118/f0118.htmlhttp://www.kougei.or.jp/english/crafts/0121/f0121.htmlhttp://www.japan-art.com/en/antiques/tex/4012.htmHere is the production process of Yumihama-kasuri(in Sanin district)http://www.pref.tottori.jp/shijou/art/yumihamamkasuri/index2/index2.htmKasuri has too much stories to tell in one new letter.

And I alsonoticed that there is not the good web page with rich photos, to introduce the beauty of the kasuri. We are going to introduce more kasuri kimono and fabric at our site with rich detail photos near feature. We believed kasuri is excellent for unique handicraft and for displays.Today we have listed beautiful cotton kasuri fabrics with unique design.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=52774http://www.

ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=52775We also has some chrysanthemum pattern kasuri fabrics. No22 -21 July 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter.Here in Japan, here comes the summer festival season. At Kyoto, Gion Festival are held, which is one of the most famous festival in Japan.The Gion Festival began in the year 869, and has developed over a period of more than 1,100 years, despite the many wars.

On July 17, 32 unique festival floats from each town in Kyoto are drawn around the center of Kyoto.http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/kp/koto/gion/2003/gion_photo/gionphoto1.htmlhttp://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/kp/koto/gion/2003/gion_photo/gionphoto2.htmlSome customers may have seen this floats pattern on kimono and obi. Examples are below.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list3.php?no=52160http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list3.

php?no=21951http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list3.php?no=21690In this mail I am going to write about men's kimono. Frankly said, I(Ichiro) had not worn kimono, before I started our kimono business.Maybe I was dressed at Miyamairi(babies' christening ceremony) and Shichigosan(ceremony for children aged seven, five and three), but I don't have memories when I was baby or five years old. I remember Michiko(my mother) made me cotton yukata(summer kimono) for me when I was around 16 years old.

I wore it to go to the summer festival with my classmate, but I think I wore that yukata only once. Next time when I wore kimono is at the Jidai Festival in Kyoto. I was a student of the university, and did a one day job to wear kimono and walk through the street of Kyoto.http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/kp/koto/jidai/2002/photo2/photo2.htmlI wore the kimono of Heian period, and wore sports shoes and digital watch(!) At the wedding with Yuka, I wore a tuxedo and ice hockey uniform(I was a ice hockey player at university!), and didn't wear kimono.

The memory of wearing kimono are the above at all. It will be similar to most men at my generation or younger generations. I saw my father wore kimono at home when he was relaxed when I was a child. At osyogatu ( January 1st) my father wore kimono and haori, and our family went to a shrine. My father's generation may be the last generation who wore kimono often in their daily lives.Some customers wonder why the outside of men's kimono are usually plain or solid, and there are artistic pattern on the lining of haori or jyuban, which are not seen when they are worn.

In Japan people had been an aesthetics that men had to wore severe pattern and color kimono just like as the business suite worn by banker. So the most kimono for men's have solid or very small kasuri-woven patterns even in the ordinary wear. Of course there were some exceptions.For example, samurai wore restrained design kimono at ordinary occasion, but at the battlefield, samurai competed the gorgeousness and uniqueness of their armour and jinbaori(haori worn over armour).

It is because they had to be distinct themselves from others at the battlefield to obtain the good name even if they were killed. The battle field was the 'HARE' occasion for samurai, and samurai wore magnificent garment only at their 'HARE' occasion. You can see the examples of gorgeous jinbaori here:http://longlife.city.hikone.shiga.jp/museum/letter/58_06.htmlhttp://longlife.city.hikone.shiga.jp/museum/letter/58_06.

htmlhttp://longlife.city.hikone.shiga.jp/museum/letter/58_06.htmlBy the nearly same reasons, boy's miyamairi and shigicosan kimono has usually dramatic hawk or other brave motifs. The parents pray for their son's heroic exploits and dressed them with these impressive kimono:http://www.ichiroya.com/~webichiroya/item/list.php?ct=006* 'Hare' and 'ke' in Japanese: 'KE' means 'ordinary occasion' and 'HARE' means formal occasion.

This description is not enough, but there may not be the suitable English words which have exactly the same meanings.Sengoku era (Period of Warring States) ended and after the long peaceful period, at the Edo period(1674-1868) people became to enjoy wearing gay kimono at their light 'HARE' occasion of the peaceful ordinary days.Government of Edo often prohibit to wear the kimono which are too gay and decorative.

So men of refined tastes became to enjoy their taste at the parts where they were not seen - lining of the haori, and jyuban which are worn under kimono. There are so many unique patterns in the linings and there is a museum in Kyoto, which exhibits only the Men's haori.We have unique collection of men's haori and jyuban. We will be very grateful, if you have time to check our category of men's kimono.

No21 -13 July 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA News Letter.Summer vacation season is at the corner also here in Japan. Most of schools end around July 20th and new semester starts on September 1st. Working people take their vacation around the'bon' - 15 August, and ordinary the term of the vacation is a week or less.I am going to write about Urushi in this letter. Haori with gorgeous pattern with urushi(Japan lacquer) threads are very popular at our site.

Unfortunately urushi(Japan) is becoming far from the lives of even daily lives in Japan,so I would like to write short story about it.Urushi is the sap of the urushi tree(rhhus vernicifera), which is native to China, Korea, Japan and the eastern Himalayas region.Here is the photos of gathering urushi from trees.http://www.isei.or.jp/Lacquer_Museum/urushi_lacquer.htmlUrushi trees poison the skin. When I was a child, I used to be bitten with urushi tree while I was playing in the small mountains in the neighborhood.

Yuka also have a terrible memory of being bitten with urushi when she went to school excursion and went home crying.This sap contains a resin-urushiol. It become very hard just like plastic,when it is exposed to moisture and air. Japanese have been used urushi as lacquer to protect the surface of the wood, metal, cloth, ceramic and others. Along the development of the using urushi, gorgeous decorative technique like 'Makie', 'Raden' and 'Chinkin' were becoming the essential part of the Japanese art craft.

Here is the Wajima-nuri, most famous lacquer wear page.http://www.tangle.com/_wajima/ego/BEAUT.htmlHere is the modern urushi bowl and plate.http://www.rakuten.co.jp/yamada-heiando/371779/498013/Here is the method of the urushi technique.http://www.isei.or.jp/Lacquer_Museum/decoration_methods.htmlBecause of the elaborate hand work, the real urushi wares have become very expensive items. Today lacquerware has been largely replaced by inexpensive, easy-to-care-for ware such as plastics.

Please check the incredible long process to make urushi bowl.http://www.isei.or.jp/Lacquer_Museum/process-1.htmlYou must be surprised to see these incredible process to make an urushi bowl.We must tell you the hot soup like miso soup in these urushi bowl taste so good because it does not get cold easily.http://www.bob-an.com/recipe/dailyjc/basic/miso/miso.htmlUrushi also has the adhesive nature. Stone age people used it to make spear and arrows ( adhere the stone or metal to the wooden shafts).

Lacquer liquid can also be used to repair broken earthenware and porcelain, used as a glue. This nature is used to make the pure gold thread.Here is the page of the process of the making the gold thread.http://www.google.co.jp/search?q=cache:PsV8N-XE1H4J:www.n25.to/shop/d_f_kinshi.htm+%E6%BC%86%E3%80%80%E7%9D%80%E7%89%A9&hl=ja&start=37&ie=UTF-8Craft man spreads the urushi on the Japanese paper, and puts the gold leafs ( which are 4" x 4" ) on it very carefully by tweezers.

This process seems to be simple and easy, but it is said that putting the extremely thin( 1/100000 inch ) gold leafs without any wrinkles is extremely difficult work ,which required more than ten years' training. Craft man keep this paper in 'muro'(urushi dry room) for one or two days. And in the last process, craft man cuts the gold paper in the incredibly narrow wide. One inch wide is cut to 60 - 100 pieces, and are become gold threads.

It is thinner than the lead of the mechanical pencil! These gold threads are used in obi, Kinran weaving textiles.For examples we list these fukuro obi from Kyoto Nishijin.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=51755http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=51527http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=21690With similar process, the lacquered thread is made. Urushi is lacquered on the washi(Japanese paper), and the paper cut in thin width and become the urushi thread.

Urushi resin can be dyed black, red, brown or yellow, so the urushi thread can be these colors. At our site, red and brown pattern on the black color seems to be most popular.We have listed some more urushi thread haori today.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=52465http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=52478Please do not worry about urushi poison--it is urushi leaf which is poisoning--not the products used by urushi lacquered thread.

We also have listed some brand new aloha shirts with vintage kimono design. This time we have listed women's size one too. They are made of silk and has very soft touch. They can be easily washed by dry cleaning.We think we had enough rain by now and the rainy season will over soon.We wish you a nice Sunday, `Dozo yoi Nichiyobio!' No20 - 6 July 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya's News Letter by Ichiro.

There were some blue hydrangea blooming beautifully near our entrance, but they are almost gone--which means the rainy season will be over soon and the very hot and humid summer is coming soon. Some costumers may already know that July 7th is Tanabata, Star Festival in Japan. We made bamboo decoration, and put strips of papers on which our wishes are written.http://www.city.sayama.saitama.jp/photonews/tanabata/2002/images/02.

jpghttp://www.city.sayama.saitama.jp/photonews/tanabata/2002/images/04.jpghttp://www.city.sayama.saitama.jp/photonews/tanabata/2002/images/11.jpgBamboos with decorations are displayed everywhere, not only at home but schools or shops. Any kind of wishes can be written-- and reading other people's wish is very interesting. Children write all kinds of cute wish as `I wish I could be good at the horizontal bars ’and‘I wish my handwriting will become better'.

Of course many people write the wish for good health, prosperity in business, safety of families or recovery of disease. You could see origami cranes--which are the symbol of peace and they were made with the wish for peace.We wish the day has clear sky, but it may be raining as usual year. We have been enjoyed Tanabata at July 7th by solar calendar after Meiji period, but the day is in the midst of tsuyu(rainy season), and we seldom can see stars at night.

Before Edo Period, Japanese enjoy Tanabata festival at July 7th by lunar calendar( some day in August ) so the dayhad been have clear sky often ( because of the right after tsuyu ) and moon goes down at middle of the night. So the night of July 7th by lunar calendar was the perfect day to look at Lactic Way.During summer, there are many summer festivals in each area. Many fireworks festivals are held and also Bon festival dance--and `Yukata' is a must item for these occasions.

Wearing yukata and geta(wooden sandals) are the most comfortable and cool dressing for going out at summer nights.We know many people love yukata as a relaxing and comfortable garment. At ryokan(Japanese inn), they always have clean and ironed yukata for the customers and we can wear Yukata, not only in the inn but can take a walk in Yukata or used as a pajamas. Wearing yukata and going to onsen(spa or hot spring) is the most favorite relaxing time for all Japanese.

You can see how people enjoy wearing yukata and having a lot of fun here in this page:http://www.iokikai.or.jp/yukata.2002.htmAs you could see, young people make `mini length yukata' too. Actually many western designer's brand are selling Yukata every year and they are very popular too:http://www.i-kimono.gr.jp/01/01.htmlAt all department stores, Yukata have a big space and many colorful yukata for both men and women are sold.

They say that traditional colors and patterns seem to be very popular this year, rather than very modern and not-like kimono patterns. Indigo blue and white is the most popular colors and most of the yukata at ryokan(Japanese inn)are these colors.If you ask 100 Japanese people if they like Yukata and onsen(spa), we are sure 100% of the peopole will say they love them.Wearing yukata and going to onsen a couple of times a day and go back to ryokan room with tatami mattress--that is the ideal way of spending holidays.

These are the photos of rotenburo(open air)onsen(spa) which was chosen to be number 1 of the year in Japan. It is called Takaragawa onsen in Gunma prefecture.http://www5.wind.ne.jp/TAKARAGAWA/We wish you a very happy summer! No19 - 30 Jun 2003 Hello from Japan! This is Ichiro from Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya.We hope this letter find all of you well. We are still in the midst of the rainy season, and our staff sometimes get wet to come to our office.

Jyunko san and Seikosan walks about 20 minute to our office when it is raining. Nana san and Okada san(our new staff!) rides motor cycle to our office wearing raincoats. Yuka and I always wish for nice weather for our staffs. Of course we wish you customers nice weather too.In this letter I would like to write about Bingata, which already many of our customers know about.Bingata was born in the 15th century in Okinawa ( Ryukyu - the old name of the Okinawa ) far away from Kyoto, in the middle of Japan.

Okinawa islands locate in the middle of Taiwan, China and Kyusyu(Japan). Here is the map of Okinawa. Small islands in the center of the map are Okinawa prefecture, and you will be able to recognize the particular location of Okinawa clearly.http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/kouhou/oki-map.htmlBecause of its location, Okinawa have been developed their unique culture. ( Customers in USA may know its name by the grueling battlefield of WWII - unhappy history.

)The Chinese authorities permitted the Ryukyu royal family to ascend to the throne, yet allowed to Okinawa to remain a part of the Satsuma feudal domain Japan. Ryukyu royal family had been strongly influenced by the tradition and culture of China, whose technique of dyeing and weaving were the most advanced.Another important background is its climate. Okinawa enjoys the only subtropical oceanic climate in Japan.

http://www.jinjapan.org/kidsweb/odyssey/primer/basic/basic_04.htmlSo the flowers, birds and fish are different from others in Honsyu(main island of Japan). It have reflected the natural dyestuff and motifs of the art and handicraft.Here is more information about Okinawa.http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/overview.htmlThe term Bingata is a combination of 'bin' meaning vivid colors and 'gata' meaning stencil.

Five colors (red, yellow, blue, purple and green) are basically used, there are two kinds - 'bingata' which is colorfully dyed, and 'aigata', which is dyed with only indigo.Sample of 'aigata'(indigo) is here http://www.motoji.co.jp/waaori_monogatari/siroma_ph_5.jpgUsually used motifs are pine tree, bamboo, chrysanthemum, paulownia, crane, tortoise,butterfly, stream, which are the motifs in other kimono.

Recently the hibiscus, deigo (http://miwt.sugoihp.com/deigo-top.html)and other particular Okinawa motifs are become to be used.Red color, such as cochineal and vermilion stand outhttp://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/english/collections/l_102-3.htmlhttp://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/japanese/exhibition/20020212_okinawa/l_5.htmlExcept the royal family, Okinawans were prohibited from wearing yellow clothes. The indigenous yellow of Okinawa is made by mixing the yellow dye fukugi and the dark red dye enji.

Yellow it the particular color of bingata.http://www.nihon-kogeikai.com/SHIBUTEN/SEIBU/SEIBU-035/SEIBU-035-00023-E.htmlhttp://www.kyohaku.go.jp/mus_dict/hd3301e.htmhttp://www.suntory.co.jp/sma/japanese/exhibition/20020212_okinawa/l_6.htmlIndigo blue of the bingata is also particular color. The process of indigo dye is different from the rest of Japan. Using Ryukyu-ai, and indigo dye is produced by the procipitation method, which is widely used in tropical and semi-tropical regions.

I could not find the sample photos in the internet.These are our furisode which are listed on our site and e-bay auction. These are not dyed in Okinawa,but their design and color are bingata style.http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=29452&item=3230912958http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=52151There are two methods of dyeing bingata: stencil dyeing and tsutusgaki dyeing.

Tsutusgaki, as I wrote tsutsugaki technique in previous news letters, out line of the pattern is drawn directly on the cloth by squeezing paste out of a bag. Here is the explanation of the stencil-dyeing process.http://www.bingata.net/koutei.htm1 Norioki - The stencil paper is placed on the cloth, and the paste is applied on it with spatula that coats the cut-out portions of the stencil with resist paste.

2 Dying - The pattern is dyed. To ensure color fastness, the pattern is dyed more than two times.3 Kumadori- Dyed the out line of the pattern with dark color to give thepattern three-dimensional.5 The resist paste removed by the water.6 Entire pattern is coated with resist paste, and dyed the remainder part ( background part)Today, Yuko Tamanaha, Eijyun Shiroma and other dyers are famous, and some factory dyed their original Bingata cloth in Okinawa.

They are more expensive than other ordinary dyed fabric. Bingata design have been very popular, so many kimono with Bingata design have been made in other places like Kyoto and Tokyo. If you find the very cheap 'Bingata' kimono, it may be the Bingata design kimono made in other places.I have seen bingata kimono made by Shiroma san on TV and the design was just unforgettable. He designed the beautiful ocean of Okinawa with the scenes which are seen from swimming goggles! Colorful fish and marine plants are dyed and I was so impressed by his very free-spirited and unique designs.

To be honest, Bingata kimono are quite expensive--even not by a famous artist, but it is one of the most unique technique and has a lot of enthusiastic fans.When the rainy season is over, the very humid and hot summer is coming--we are surprised many customers have humid weather like ours during this season of the year.dozo minasama okaradani kio tuskete yoi natsuo (Please take care and have a nice summer) No18 -23 Jun 2003 Hello from Japan.

This is Kimono Flea Market Ichorya News Letter by Ichiro. We are very sorry for the trouble of our site and e-mail, which are occurred the day before yesterday. It happened in this way.We registered our domain name 'www.ichiroya.com' last year through a company. We paid three years register fee to a reseller of domain names.His company bought the domain name from a domain register company and resold us.

And the day before yesterday suddenly, something became wrong. E-mails became very less than usual, and we seldom received new orders.I ( Ichiro ) was at the auction in Kyoto, so I didn't know what happened then. Our computers are connected our site and administration site through the IP address ( not through the domain name), so Yuka and other members could see our site as usual, and couldn't know what happened.

At night of that day I examined our site, and I found the domain name didn't indicate our server's IP address. So all links and book marks didn't connect to our site any more, and all e-mails to @ichiroya.com were rejected. I and Yuka lost color to see the expiration date of our domain name - it was expired a week ago. I was very late mid night, we became panicked. What happened?? We paid three years fee!! Something must have been wrong! We called the reseller , but we could not reach him for a while.

How can we solve this problem--we both became desperate. Soon after, with the very kind help of the domain name registration company, we could complete the renewal registration. It was a night which made our hearts weak. We would like to thank all of you again for the patience again.In this letter I am going to write about 'noshi' and 'kicho', which are the popular motif of kimono.We modern Japanese use 'noshi', when we present formally.

We wrap the present with noshi gami ( paper with 'noshi' ) ,http://www.tg-2001.com/gift/giftcenter.htmlNoshi is the name of upper right onehttp://www.kansai.gr.jp/culture/washi/daily/a33.htmWhen I was a salesperson of the department store, I could often see a variety of noshi on the packages of a different occasions. There are slight differences in noshi style in each occasions. For examples, bridal gift, celebration of a birth, celebration one's getting well and thank-you-for-coming gift of the bridal.

Japanese have the custom to make return gifts to those gifts, and it is called 'uchi-iwai', and they are also wrapped noshi papers. People often buy their formal gift from department stores, because of its high class image. Instead of adding the greeting cars, usually name of the presenter is written on the noshi paper, and there are many intricate rules about the noshi-gami. New sellers were often scolded by the customers by their ignorance of the appropriate noshi to the particular occasion.

(Especially older people are very strict about these things).It must be very difficult to connect with the real noshi and the noshi patterns on kimono. 'Noshi-awabi' is the meat of the abalone, which is sliced , extended and dried. 'Noshi' means 'extend', and it symbolize the longevity. In ancient days 'noshi-awabi' was added to the present to express the honor of the occasion. And now people use hexagonal hallmark ( which was used to wrap awabi ) in place of noshi-awabi, and we usually call it 'noshi'.

Dried abalone meat sounds so strange, but it was the origin and it it even more surprising that noshi design turned to be one of the most impressive motifs of kimono.We could often see alluring tabane-noshi motif on kimono. 'Noshi' of this motifs means 'noshi-awabi', and 'tabane' means 'bind'.Here is the supreme furisode with 'Tabane-noshi' pattern from mid Edo periodhttp://www.kyohaku.go.jp/meihin/senshoku/mht117bj.

htmWe also have some beautiful tabane-noshi pattern furisode.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=51716http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=20360This is the page of the noshi variety in the kamon(family crest).http://www1.sphere.ne.jp/enshoji/kamon1109.htm'Kicho''Kicho' is also very popular motif of kimono. It begun to be used by the noble people at Heian period(794-1192). Noble people lived in a large house and the particular architecture was called 'Shindenzukuri', which were not separated to small rooms.

They needed something as a barrier or blinder which could be moved easily. Kicho and other items were used as a partition or screen. Its size is ordinarily 114cm x 120cm, and made of wood stand and three or four fabrics. Kicho was often drawn as they are trembling by the wind. The patterns of the strips of fabrics are very beautiful.Here is the sample of the kicho which is made now.http://www.yusoku.

com/kicyoubetsu.htmThis kicho is woven by Kawashimaorimono, which is the most famous weaving company in Kyotohttp://www.gofuku.com/kawaKicho.htmThis large kicho with Fujin-Raijin motif was made by 40 dyer in Kyoto.http://shibori.jp/sisin.htmWe have stunning susohiki with kicho motif.http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2.php?number=50586Noshi and Kicho became the very impressive and popular motifs with full of graces on kimono.

We hope you will enjoy these unique motifs.

Hazel Gordon

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