Stocking up on juban

     

I’ve just bought juban from a favourite vendor.

Flashy red wool juban

This week saw a bit of a change for me – the first time I’ve bought kimono other than on Ebay.

It was from a seller I know well, though – Ryuji, who used to go under the Ebay name Ryujapan and now sells via his own store, Shinei (http://www.net-shinei.co.jp/com, if you want it in English).

Shinei stocks an enormous number of kimono, but it was juban I was really interested in. Until yesterday, I owned five: a pale pink ro summer juban with long sleeves, a cream wool muslin one with orange asanohana, a pink silk awase with red shibori that I ruined in the wash, a fantastic mustard silk one with multicolour shibori and – the most recent – a fabulous multicolour floral viscose one with a red lining.

Orange juban with clouds

I am spitting nails about giving away my awase synthetic juban, which was a gift from a vendor. It happened at a time that I had pretty much stopped wearing kimono and I never liked the feel of the fabric, but I now really regret it.

You can, at a push, also use yukata as juban – I have a couple of very thin yukata, including a cotton ro, that can be used in this way – but I also thought it was about time to invest in some hitoe juban that are easy to wash, as I am a bit reluctant to use my good awase jubans, having no proper kimono underwear. This has led me, very often, not to wear kimono as much as I might, because I don’t have a clean juban.

Mint green juban

Wool muslin (what we might call wool chalis in the West) is a great fabric – cool in summer, warm in winter – and I was very surprised to find some really pretty muslin juban on Shinei, with the kind of Taisho Roman gigantic patterns that I find so attractive. Although I have a great fondness for loud Taisho Roman kimono too, I also dearly love my quiet brown tsumugis and stripes, and to have some really loud juban under them would be pleasingly iki – the Japanese aesthetic of hidden beauty.

Pale blue and pink jubanPink juban with red clouds

There were dozens of beautiful juban on Shinei and I could have bought far more than this, but I confined myself to what I felt were the best five, meaning that I should now be able to find a clean juban on any given day. Here they are: a wonderful flashy red one with plum blossoms that makes your eyes strobe; an orange one with cloud patterns; a mint-green one whose design is more muted but whose cool colour I think is really beautiful, a pale blue and pink one with patterns of maple leaves and water, and one described as ‘combined weaving’, which I assume means synthetic, in palest pink with red clouds.

I plan to put a good white han eri on each one, then add a coloured collar if I feel like it and have time, probably fixed with press-studs.

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