San Francisco: Japantown 2008


I was trying to find a blue cotton yukata for AJM when I came across this kimono. The cream and peachy-red colors are atypical of what I usually find at the antique kimono shops in Nihon-machi (Japantown). The design is very understated and I like how the little red bells get larger and smaller and create a secondary pattern. The fabric is a cream on cream brocade, with subtle raised circles that aren’t obvious at first glance. In Japan, I would be considered far too old to wear these colors. And I have so many fabrics, yukata, and kimono at home–rarely used and most packed away. No, I didn’t need another kimono.

I bought AJM’s yukata and returned to the hotel. But I kept thinking about the kimono. That night at dinner. The next day while bike riding. The following day eating lunch at a brew pub. So, on Saturday, we walked from the Haight to Japantown and I bought it. Bonus: it was on sale–only $40. Less than what I paid for dinner at Ponzu the night before.


Impulsively I also bought these little plates. The only time I’ve ever enjoyed shopping for dinnerware was when I lived in Japan. There it was practically a passion. We’ve been looking for dinnerware to replace some a cheap set I bought 15 years with no success. These plates, like my other Japanese plates, don’t solve that problem. They are only four inches across. I was attracted to the design which echoes old-fashioned Japanese indigo prints.

The set of four was only $13.50. (I saw them in an upmarket shop at the Ferry Building later for $18 and felt smug indeed.) The one thing I thought was really strange is that these plates came in sets of four, an unlucky number in Japan where plates are always sold in sets of two or five. This set must be strictly for export.