Monday, December 5, 2022

Bibliotheca November Prompt: Food | Let's Talk about Q-Pot

November's Bibliotheca prompt was food. Although I'm late to the party (as always) I wanted to get in my post because this prompt immediately made me think of a relic of Mori Kei's past, the still popular accessory brand Q-Pot! 

So, come along with me and let's look at the charming world of Q-Pot accessories and it's impact on the mori community!

What is Q-Pot?

Q-pot is a popular accessories brand created in 2002 in Harajuku. The project was created by the designer Tadaaki Wakamatsu, focusing on accessories with sweets themes.[1] According to a press release, the designer hoped that his designs would help to connect people.[2]

The cute and novelty items created by Q-Pot have long been popular in J-fashion, and were often seen in Harajuku fashion snaps. From what I can tell, they are still popular as they've ever been; with a thriving website and even fairly recent search results for street fashion snaps on Tokyo Fashion.[3]

The brand has made many collaborations, and accessories in all kinds of themes. All kinds of sweets can be found lovingly recreated in rings, necklaces, and other accessories.

How does Q-Pot relate to Mori Kei?

Q-Pot once circulated amongst mori communities as one of the most recommended accessories brands. Although Q-Pot is not strictly mori, and often falls more into the realm of Lolita fashion, the brand was still widely popular. It was even mentioned in Choco's Fashion and Style book and even in the infamous Choco's List!

In particular, the Alice and Wonderland themed set was very popular amongst mori folk. I remember seeing many a post about it way back in the day on livejournals and blogs. 

Have you ever heard about Q-Pot or owned any of their pieces? I'm personally not big on accessories so I've never owned any of their pieces, but I think they are very charming and cute!

If you are interested in learning more about Q-Pot, you can check out their Instagram and online shop!

(Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: If you were a mythological creature, what kind of creature would you be? (ex. an elf, a centaur, a witch, etc.)

Hands down, no hesitation, a hobbit. Your girl is fairly short, as far as US height goes, has wavy/curly hair, loves to eat, dreams of living on a farm or somewhere similar, is an absolute homebody, and the list goes on. 

Plus I have a huge love for the Lord of the Rings and everything Tolkein. Which may make me biased toward his creations.

Also, their fashion! So cute, and the layers are kind of mori.

And with that, we've finally reached the end of our 30 prompts! It's been fun to chat about mori things again. I hope you could enjoy it too!

If you try out the prompts, please link them to me and let me know! I would love to see everyone's answers.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: Have you made any mori friends? If so, how did you meet them? Let's share where we can meet with other mori folk!

I've made a lot of mori friends over the years. Sadly, many of them have left the style, but I still remember them fondly. Currently, the most active mori place online is our discord! I can't offer a permanent link but if anyone is interested in joining you can comment here and I'll send you a link!

On the discord, we chat about fashion, lifestyle, food, and anything and everything. Like most mori spaces on the internet, it's a chill and friendly environment. 

How about you? Where have you met most of your mori friends?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 28

Day 28: What is your biggest tip or trick about wearing mori? Any style hacks, shop suggestions, or so on?

In no particular order, here are some things that really benefited me when wearing or building my mori wardrobe!
  • Match your colors when you are buying pieces! Stick with a similar color schemes (for example, mainly blues and greens) so that more of your pieces can work together with other pieces. Your wallet will thank you.
  • Don't buy things just because they look mori if they don't fit you well. You won't end up wearing them and it will just sit in your closet sadly. Just don't. Let someone else buy and enjoy them.
  • Mind your layers! Don't overload one part of your outfit with too many layers. It will make everything feel off and a little frumpy. Try to evenly space out your layers instead.
  • Check thrift stores often! You can always find things that work at thrift stores and it is way cheaper than brand pieces. It's also better for those of every size.
  • Learn basic sewing skills or crochet/knitting! You can make your own details that make your outfits pop and fill in the gaps of what you can't buy for your wardrobe.
  • Lean on the basic colors. I know, beige is boring, but it's also versatile and can be used in any outfit. So use those beige and brown colors to your advantage!
How about you? What are your mori tips and tricks?

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: What is the most difficult thing about wearing or participating in mori for you?

This is going to be a bit emotional for me to write, and a little vulnerable. But I've been meaning to speak on it for a while now, so why not here? I suppose I could say it's wearing mori in the heat and not sweating, or finding mori pieces, but there is something else that has caused me to avoid wearing mori in recent years.

TW for discussions of weight and light discussions of fat-shaming societal expectations in Japan

When I started wearing mori, I was a young high school student. And as such, I was a lot thinner. I've always been a curvy girl. I have big hips and big boobs. It's a fact of my life. But now I'm in my mid-20s, living abroad and more than a little stressed out about my job and the state of the world, and I've gained weight. I'm not plus-sized by US standards, but by Japanese standards, I definitely am.

Gaining weight for the first time was strange, to put it lightly. Growing out of my clothes, and having to get rid of pieces I loved, was really hard for me. My silhouette changed with my weight too. The way I used to dress didn't look cute anymore and I had to adjust what I wore and how I wore it.

I'm not ashamed of my weight. I don't hate my body. But I do live in Japan. And Japan is a skinny society. Way moreso than America ever was for me. People here are tiny, and plus-sized clothes are almost impossible to find. 

In America, sure, sometimes stores have limited plus-sized items, but you can find some kind of plus-sized piece anywhere. And sizes overall are larger than in Japan. I never felt like I couldn't find clothing in the US. Here in Japan, the average L size is closer to a US M, and plus-sized clothes are hardly ever present in stores. A lot of stores don't even stock their plus-sized clothes in-store and you have to go online to find their larger sizes. It can be kind of humiliating to walk through the mall and know you are too heavy to wear anything.

I want to be healthier from a literal health standpoint, so I've lost some weight recently. (I've been biking with the Conqueror Lord of the Rings challenge and I'm currently working towards my second medal! I love it and have a lot of fun biking!) But I'm not interested in being hyper-concerned about my weight to fit the standards of a "normal" Japanese body. Which isn't normal, by the way. Plus-sized people have always existed here. They just get shoved to the side.

All this to say, finding clothes here is very hard. So once I've outgrown my mori pieces, I can't find replacements. It's not only limited my wardrobe but also discouraged me from finding new pieces and wearing mori again. It's a sad cycle.

I'm trying to break the cycle on my own. I try to not compare myself to standards that I could never reach anyways (heck, my bone structure alone is wider than "standard" Japanese sizes). And I'm also trying to love myself no matter what my size is. But it's been hard. 

So, trying to be kind to myself, I've started wearing mori sometimes again. There are a few of my recent casual outfits I've worn. I see it as a simple way to love myself again. 

I hope no one else can relate to my story, but I know that so many people do. So I want to close with this. You can be happy at any size. Your worth isn't based on your body or your weight or how you look. And you can enjoy wearing cute clothes at any size and you shouldn't let anyone stop you, even your own self-doubts. 

Thanks for listening to me and letting me be a little vulnerable if you've read this far. I'm grateful to have you here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: How do people react when you wear mori? Are reactions mostly positive, negative, or a mix?

I don't wear mori as much as I used to, but when I did wear it almost every day I had a huge mix of reactions. Let me tell you about a few that stand out to me.

For negative, I don't have many, but I did have one experience that was so odd it made me laugh out loud in public. I was in the United States still at the time, and I was inside a Walgreens picking up some medicine. I wasn't even dressed over-the-top, I was wearing a more casual mori style than anything, but at any rate, I guess it was noticeable enough. 

As I was shopping, I felt like someone was looking at me. I looked up to find a woman full-on staring me down, or rather my outfit. She didn't stop looking at me either. She kept looking for an uncomfortably long period of time, before suddenly looking up into my eyes with this strange look of disgust and shock, and then just walking away and out of the store.

I kind of stood there shocked for a moment but after that, I just started laughing. It was so odd! Who gets offended by clothes??

On a positive note, I've had a ton of people come up and compliment my outfits before. But my favorite was once when I went to a Starbucks and a random lady came up to me and suddenly told me I looked like a fairytale princess. I was super flattered and she was very kind. I'll never forget that.

Overall, people's responses are usually positive. Most people are excited to see someone wearing mori, and due to the style's fairly conservative nature, it usually doesn't offend anyone. I always encourage people to wear what they want. It's not as scary as you think after you wear an alternative fashion out for the first time. You'll find that most people are excited and positive to see it.

How about you? What are your most memorable experiences wearing mori kei or other alternative fashion styles? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: How do you feel about the recent cottagecore trend? Do you find it similar to mori? Have you participated in the trend?

I've written about (and talked to friends about) cottagecore before. I have mixed feelings. I don't want to bash or discourage anyone who enjoys the style, and I have no issues with it as a whole. It seems cute and fairly wholesome from what I've seen. What I do have an issue with is how people use the cottagecore and mori tags interchangeably. They're similar aesthetics, to be sure, but they are not the same. Using the tags like that has really cluttered things up and made it super hard to find mori people anymore. So because of that, I sometimes feel a little annoyed with the community.

That being said, I've never participated in the trend. It's cute, but it doesn't have the same feel that mori has for me, so I'm happy enough wearing mori only.

How about you? Do you participate in cottagecore? If so, what do you like about it?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: What’s your favorite fairy tale or myth?

I've always had a soft spot for the old Slovak folktale of "The Twelve Months". I read it way back when we used to have a mori girl book club on Facebook. For one month, we chose a selection of various fairytales, including this one, and I really enjoyed it.

Although I love fairytales, the formula of a girl experiencing tragedy and overcoming it only to die and/or marry a man gets a little old sometimes. So the way The Twelve Months breaks the norm is refreshing.

I'd highly recommend reading it yourself (you can find a version of it here and some more information here), but here is a short summary.

In the story, a young woman lives with her mean stepmother and siblings in the mountains. Despite their nastiness, she is sweet and helpful. When her stepmother makes unreasonable demands for her to find flowers in the winter, forcing her out into the wilderness, she encounters the personification of each of the twelve months of the year. The months help her through various trials, and in typical gruesome fairytale fashion, the mean family members die in the icy winter freeing her from their evil influences. However, unlike other fairytales, at the ending of this one there is no prince or marriage. Instead, she inherits her family's farm and lives happily ever after in her ancestral home. 

How about you? What is your favorite fairytale? I'd love to hear your favorites in the comments below.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 23

Day 23: What’s your favorite animal and why?

I have a really soft spot for animals so it's always hard to choose a favorite.

At the moment, I really love deer, big fluffy cats, and hognose snakes.

I love deer because of their almost mythical and beautiful appearances. They move so gracefully, and they are so cute too! And I love cats probably because I grew up with cats. There's nothing that beats the feeling of curling up for a nap with my precious kitty purring on my lap. And Hognose Snakes? Well, their little noses are super cute and I love how they throw little tantrums. Super cute.

Picture Sources 1 2 3

How about you? What are your favorite animals?

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 22

Day 22: Are you inspired by your own culture or other countries/cultures than Japan? If so, how do you incorporate them into your mori style?

I'm a history teacher by trade, and I have a soft spot for historical American fashion. As awful as American history can be, there are some wonderful fashion styles from the past. Here are a few of my favorite styles.

Mid 1700s Fashion: I love the aprons, the neck scarves the layers. So charming.

Victorian Era Children's Pinafores: There's something so charming about the look of a pinafore. I love the silhouette. 

Historical Praire Dresses: I love the simple silhouette. And the often small floral prints people use, especially in recreation/reimagined styles, is also charming.

How about you? Are you influenced by any historical fashion?

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: Are you interested in Japanese culture? If so, how has it impacted mori kei for you?

I'm pretty sure everyone knows I am interested in Japanese culture, seeing as I live in Japan! But I don't think it has particularly impacted how I view or wear mori. I do tend to enjoy styles that are somewhat more Japanese, but that has more to do with personal fashion tastes than anything.

If I had to say something it has impacted, it might be the type of mori I prefer, which tends to be classic styles from magazines and street snaps? But overall, I don't think it has had much of an impact on my fashion choices.

How about you? Are you interested in Japan and Japanese culture?

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 20

Day 20: Make a mood board or photo collage of images that inspire your mori style and life! You can include fashion, lifestyle, or anything else you like.

Photo Sources

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: Post a photo of your favorite personal Mori coordinate. What do you like about it?

I don't post many photos of myself recently, but I have a few favorite photos of all time I'd like to share!

This one is actually my high school senior photo, so it's rather old. But I love the nature scenery, and that scarf is a favorite of mine. It was given to my by my grandma.

This one is also old, from when I was at University. The dress is one of the few brand pieces I ever owned. I really miss that shawl too! I left it behind in the states. 

This one is a more recent one, from after I moved to Japan. I was super cozy in this one, and I wore it out to see Christmas lights!

How about you? What is your personal favorite coordinate? I'd love to see all of your outfits!

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: Where do you get most of your Mori clothes? Have you ever purchased a mori brand piece?

My answer to this is always short and uninteresting. I've been thrifting or buying my pieces from mainstream stores since I began wearing mori kei. I had a few brand pieces from AliExpress when I first started, but that is few and far between. As a curvy girl, and someone who is on the smaller end of being plus-sized, Asian brands don't really work for me.

That being said, I have always wanted a piece from a mori brand. Wonder Rocket pieces were always my favorite, but I have a soft spot for Dear Li as well. 

Dear Li

Wonder Rocket

How about you? Where do you find your mori clothes?

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Mori Kei 30 Day Challenge: Day 17

Day 17: Do you play any video games, board games, etc.? If so, recommend us your favorite mori-like game!

I play a lot of games, but here are my top 5 mori game recommendations!

1) Stardew

Content Warnings: None really, although a few of the characters have heavy themes in their life stories. Nothing graphic though! The tone of this game is very light-hearted.
Category: Adventure, Farming, and Simulation RPG
Good for: People who enjoy cozy games, people who like connecting with characters, people who enjoy farming sims
BONUS! Recommended mod: After your first playthrough on vanilla (of course) I recommend checking out Stardew Valley Expanded! It's a ton of fun and there is a reason it is so popular. (I use a ton of mods, both content and appearance wise, but this one adds the most amount of things to do.)

In this game you play as the new farmer in town, cleaning up your Grandpa's farm, planting crops, bettering the town, making friends, and discovering the valley's secrets. What more could you ask for! The game is super chill, and very cozy, and great for playing in both long binges and shorter periods.

BONUS+! My Favorite Characters: Elliot is my babe and I managed to marry him in my first year (yeah, I'm kind of a big deal *sarcastic hair flip*). I also really love Krobus. What a precious baby. Also I made this Stardew art recently! Can you guess the characters it represents? :)

2) Eastshade

Content Warnings: None! 
Category: Adventure, Quest-based, Photography
Good for: People who enjoy slow-moving or relaxing/cozy games, people who enjoy walking simulators, people who like side quests, people who like beautiful games, people who like open-world type games

In this game you play as a painter, visiting the island of Eastshade from across the sea, seeking beautiful things to paint. You can explore freely the entire island, accept quests and art commissions, and generally just relax and explore. It honestly is super immersive and I felt like I was the one taking this vacation while I was playing. 

3) What Remains of Edith Finch

Content Warnings: Various stories about death and suicide (although dealt with in a mature and touching way, death is a major part of this game, so approach this with caution if that will bother you)
Category: Walking simulator, story based
Good for: People who enjoy meaningful storytelling, people who enjoy walking simulators, people who enjoy beautiful visuals and music

This game is a story-based walking simulator, where you explore the lives of the "cursed", or simply unlucky, Finch family. Each family member's stories are touching, ranging from heartwarming to heartbreaking tales about life and society. Death plays a major role in this game, so it isn't for everyone. But if you don't mind a slightly melancholy story for the payoff of amazing storytelling and visuals, I highly recommend it. It's stuck with me even years now after I first played it.

4) A Short Hike

Content Warnings: None!
Category: Adventure, Platforming, Quest-based
Good for: People who enjoy a cozy game, people who like side quests

In this game you play as a little bird trying to hike (and fly and climb) to the top of a mountain! There is a little bit of a story, and lots of side quests along the way, but it is as the name implies: a short and cozy hike!

5) Heaven's Vault

Content Warnings: None, but some discussions of dead civilizations in a historical context and the bad things that happened to people in those societies (nothing graphic however)
Category: Adventure, Choices Matter, Archeology/Philology Simulation, Story-Driven
Good for: People interested in history and archeology, people interested in a story where choices matter, people who enjoy games with replayability, people who enjoy deep lore within a game

This one is not specifically mori, but a lot of the areas you can explore have a mori feel, and the game itself rewards slow-moving exploration, which makes it very relaxing to play. The game follows an archeolgist exploring the past of a mysterious nebula, accompanied by her robot companion Six. It features an expansive in game language translation system, and hours or replayablity based on varying choices that impact your experience, and the fate of the nebula. It's one of my favorite games ever, and I've been obsessed with it since the first time I played. I continue to learn new things each time I play!

(I also highly recommend the two tie-in novels if you play and enjoy the game. They are absolutely wonderful.)

Bonus honorable mentions!

  • Alba - A wildlife adventure: a cute game where you save the local natural beauty of a small town
  • Fe: a beautiful platformer with amazing graphics and creative fantasy creatures
  • Flower: float through life as a lovely flower petal, super relaxing
  • Omno: A cute puzzle and platformer game with interesting abilities and beautiful scenery
  • Paperbark: Play as a cute wombat in the Australian wilderness
  • Roki: A puzzle and adventure game following a young girl learning the magical secrets of the Scandinavian wilderness in order to save her brother
  • Sable: An open world game based in a desert world where you can plan your own future, meet many interesting kinds of people, and unravel secrets
  • Virildi: plant and tend to some cute succulents! 
How about you? What mori games do you enjoy! I'd love to hear your recommendations.