Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To Live Like a Mori Girl

What is a Mori Girl? An obvious question I suppose, but when people ask it, just how do you answer?

When I first became a forest wanderer, I would simply answer "Oh, it's just a Japanese fashion style." But as I've grown in my Mori self, I've come to realize it's much more than that. Mori Girl is most definitely a lifestyle choice. As much as I choose in my life to be a Christian or to be conscious about what I eat or say or do or what I wear.

So, what does this lifestyle look like? The official Mixi list has a few points on this:
  • Loves fairy tales.
  • Girlie-girlie.
  • Loves to hang loose/chill at cafes.
  • Loves to take a walk with a camera in a hand.
  • Before you know it, you would be shopping from one small shop to the next.
  • A collector, having a habit of collecting things you love.
  • Feel happy when you find cute books at bookstores.
  • You get excited when you shop at a furniture store.
  • A girl with pure and clear air (or longs to be one.)
  • You were told you have a laid-back aura at all times.
  • Love winter and autumn as far as the seasons go.
  • A girl with soft air about her (or longs to be one)
  • A friend told you that you look like you belong in a forest.
This is a good list if you want a quick overview, but to really understand Mori Girls, we have to go a little deeper.
"The childlike nature of Mori Girls sets them apart from the more aggressive and carnivorous women in the city. They shun stiletto heels for flat shoes and prefer to keep their fingernails short and skin fair. .... Mori girls are also characterised by certain attitudes to life. While most mori girls really live in the city, they maintain a pace of life that may be considered slow by others, preferring to stop and savour the tiny delights that many deem insignificant. Mori girls like to explore old neighbourhoods, discover hole-in-the-wall shops and read in cafes. Many mori girls enjoy expressing their creativity, never mind if nobody will see or applaud their efforts, for instance through photography or journaling. .... In her own quiet way, the mori girl is an individualist. She does not care that the world may live differently from her. She lives consciously and chooses her own lifestyle.... When she shops, she buys something based on how it makes her feel, rather than on how fashionable or expensive it will appear to others. While she may enjoy the company of others, the mori girl loves her own company and indeed has embarked on many of her most memorable adventures alone." - Mori Girl

"The lifestyle it advocates is calm, relaxing and idyllic, with a child-like, fairytale-esque innocence. The pace of life a mori girl dreams of and tries to achieve is unapologetically slow-paced. We lose the concept of time in a forest and similarly, in our walks in the neighbourhood. The mori girl lives in quaint corners far removed from the hustle and bustle of a demanding ‘now’ society. Where one hears the birds in the morning. Where, taking a stroll around, one sees streets with rows of small shops – owned by families over generations, perhaps. A bakery, a book-store, a cafe with a news-stand, a florist with her own backyard nursery. A small village church a little worn; someone watering plants in her yard. Such a life encourages us to ‘slow down and breathe and take in our surroundings’. It tugs at the sleeves of the wondering child inside us, at the dust-caked nostalgia inside our hearts". - Mason's Tea Shop

"Mori girls like nature and will be outside a lot. They love picnics in the park reading fairytale stories, hiking in the woods to breathe the fresh air, picking a bouquet to take home to put in a vase on the kitchen table, or work in the garden. However, when the days are cold or rainy they also likes to stay inside under the blankets with a nice cup of tea, work on a drawing, or maybe sew a new dress. Mori girls prefer to walk or bike instead of taking the car to go somewhere, unless it's very far away. The most favourite places to go are libraries (the older the better), little vintage cafes, secondhand stores, flea markets, craft/hobby stores, flower shops and the local market. A bike is both environmentally friendly and inexpensive which is a plus for mori girls.... Eating right is critical for the mori girl lifestyle. They tend to avoid fast-food chains and unhealthy food choices. This means that they choose to buy organic, pesticide-free, and safe products to cook meals from scratch with. It's even safer and cheaper to buy food from local farms or markets if you live close enough. Making their own meals enlightens the creative characteristic in mori girls where they can experiment and make unique dishes. Eating right doesn't mean that one should take away the sweets altogether though ...Therefore, mori girls also love to bake, as long as the ingredients are safe and organic. ....A mori girl is individualistic. She doesn't care that the world lives a different way from hers or how the world expects her to behave, dress, or live....However, a mori girl will always be positive and caring towards others, listening to their advice, and not judge others for living their lives in the opposite way than their own. Mori girls are very creative and love to create art weather it is drawing, painting, sculpting, or other art techniques. Mori girls usually bring their sketch book and pencils along on one of their adventures... It's very common for most mori girls to love cameras and are often seen wandering around, camera in hand. Photography lets them document their adventures in a creative and inspiring way and full fills the urge for self expression that is seen in their fashion and lifestyle. Cameras come in many different shapes and sizes, but the vintage camera is what most mori girls's hearts are drawn to."- A Swedish Mori Girl

"The lifestyle seems content with solitude, however it doesn't close itself off from a social life intentionally. A mori girl has no qualms about going off into the forest alone or enjoying a cup of tea and and an old book in her favorite coffee shop by herself.She is intelligent, secure and confident in herself, and as such is never loud or overbearing. She just prefers to live unfettered and uncluttered. Mori girls carry themselves with a quiet strength."- Urban Dictionary

So to put it in a nutshell, a Mori Girl is kind, sweet, lives a simple life, and is her own person. She is conscious about how she acts, and what her place is in this big world.

My own personal opinion, is that the title "Mori Girl" comes with more than just a style. To truly call yourself a Mori Girl you need to be living the lifestyle.

Now, this is not to say that you have to do every single one of these things, and never like anything that doesn't fit into the Mori Girl lifestyle. These points do not define what a Mori Girl has to be, but rather what a Mori Girl should attempt to be. All people are different, with different personalities, so asking everyone to be exactly a certain way is completely impossible. Not everything you do, say, or like, has to be Mori Girl. You can be Mori Girl and like heavy metal, techno, or any other kind of music. Or enjoy the color black, or wear other styles, completely opposite of the Mori Girl lifestyle. The important things is this: What is in your heart? This may sound cliche but its true. Being a Mori Girl is a heart thing.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

30 Day Mori Girl Challenge: Questions 26-30

26. When you’re out in nature, where do you often find yourself? (in the woods, a lake, river, etc. what’s your favorite spot? describe it for us!)

I spend most of my time in my yard nowadays, but my favorite place has always been the creek that runs behind my house. When I was little, a friend and I spent all of our time there. We explored and named all the "islands" we found there, and our favorite spot was a bigger "island" we named "Bird Island". It was so named because when the river overflowed every spring, leaves and sticks would lodge themselves in the branches of the small trees on the "island" and leave something reminiscent of a birds nest in every tree. I used to love to take a sketchpad and sit for hours on Bird Island.

27. What’s your favorite fairy tale or myth?

My favorite fairytale is The Twelve Months, a lesser known Greek fairytale. You can read it here.

28. Has getting into mori girl changed your perspective on life or how you live at all? how so?

Not really. I feel like usually the people who really get into Mori Girl, are Mori Girls to start out with.

29. What other fashions are you interested in, if any?

I like Dolly Kei, Otome Kei, and some Gyaru kei, but I don't really wear any of them.

30. Describe your ideal ‘mori girl day.’

Wake up and eat a delicious home cooked meal (like waffles, yum!), bike to the library, sketch in a park, visit a small cafe for lunch, go window shopping in town, visit a nature preserve and take a hike, come home and eat another home cooked meal, read a book, and fall asleep with the window open and the crickets singing.

And done! Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I have enjoyed making them!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

30 Day Mori Girl Challenge: Questions 21-25

21. Where do you get most of your mori girl closet?

Thrift shops. Literally 90% of my wardobe is thrifted.

22. What trends do you see taking the mori girl community by storm soon?

I'm not sure... Maybe more clothes that cinch around the waist?

23. Is your hair long or short? What’s your favorite hairstyle?

My hair is sort of in the middle right now. Long hair is my favorite, and I am attempting to grow mine even longer.

24. Give us a mori girl inspired vignette! (a short, impressionistic scene that focus on one moment or gives a particular insight into a character, idea, or setting) Don’t fret too hard over it, we’re not all writers by trade, haha.

(I'm an awful writer, but here goes!)
The forest had always been her solitude, and from a young age it had called to her. With its tall, ancient trees, reaching their leafy hands to the sky. Its vast grounds, covered in absolute diversity: from soft grasses and beautiful wild flowers, to tall weeds and rich green mosses, no bit of it was alike. The little hide-aways which assisted animals in playing nature's game of hide and seek with the elements. Its streams full of fish, so clear that you could see its bottom. It was majestic in its splendor, to say the least, and somedays she ached to run away; to become a part of the forest herself.

25. What’s your favorite animal and why?

I love so many animals, so I can't pick one! But to narrow it down to a few, I'd say foxes, baby deer, horses, and cats. And it's because they're all so cute (//^^//)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mori Music Finds: Mountain Man

When the summer season comes rolling around, bringing its wonderful weather, I always feel drawn to certain kinds of music. These past few summers, the music has been calming folk music. And one of my favorites right now is a trio called Mountain Man.

Mountain Man has slowly crept their way into my heart with their hauntingly beautiful music; simple yet complete. 

Have you heard of Mountain Man before? If so, what is your favorite song? If not, I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do.

30 Day Mori Girl Challenge: Questions 16-20

16. Post at least 5 photos that inspire you. They don’t necessarily have to be fashion!

(I may have picked a few more than five...)

17. What’s your favorite season and why?

Spring. I love watching everything come back to life, smelling the delicious smells of nature in the air, and watching the rain. Call me gloomy, but rainy days are my favorite!

18. Are you inspired by any foreign cultures other than Japanese? What about them inspires you?

I'm inspired by Ireland most definitely. I love all the rich heritage, and I'm blessed to share it. I'm mostly inspired by the aesthetic more than anything. And the Irish countryside is very inspiring.

19. Are you inspired by your own culture? If so, how do you incorporate it?

Not really. They're isn't much Mori-able culture where I live.

20. How do you feel about the fairly prevalent use of fur in Mori Girl?

I honestly don't care. I'm not really for the real furs, but I'm not really against them either. I think if you thrift them it's okay. It bothers me when people will get into big debates about this. You're most likely not going to change someones opinion with an Internet debate, so why bother exhausting yourself mentally.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

30 Day Mori Girl Challenge: Questions 11-15

11. Name 5 of your favorite Mori Girl style songs or musicians, even if they're not explicitly "Mori".

Popoyans, The Civil Wars, Ichiko Aoba (青葉市子), Humbert-Humbert (ハンバトーハンバト), and Mindy Gledhill.

12. Name 5 Mori Girl style hobbies!

Biking, Gardening, Knitting/Crocheting, Reading, and Photography.

13. What films, if any, inspire our Mori Girl look and life?

Miss Potter, The Secret Garden, and Sense and Sensability all have a wonderful Mori feel to them.(Especially Miss Potter!)

14. Do you like to coordinate the colors in you outfits to match the seasons? What colors do you think are most appropriate for each season, and why, if you'd like to explain?

I don't personally do this very often, simply because it's hard to find enough clothes in seasonal colors. I do try to use lighter colors in the warmer months, and darker in the colder months, when I can.

15. Post a photo of your favorite personal Mori Girl coordinate.

This is my favorite as of right now. It's the most traditional looking Mori Girl outfit I've worn yet, I think.