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The Year In Kimono - 着物の一年


Nagoya-obi day - 名古屋帯の日

I was back in kimono school this week, working on graduating from a Hanhaba (half width) obi to a Nagoya (full-width, or as I been cheekingly calling it the "grown-up") obi. Next time I'll try to get a picture of me enroute to kimono school. I prepare my hair and make-up and then pack all my kimono things into a paper-bag and head out in my street clothes and in tabi (kimono socks) and zōri (kimono shoes).  All in an effort to reduce the number of things I have to carry around after I'm dressed.


The Nagoya obi is intricate and requires more pieces and a vision of the end result so that the pieces you add end up in the right direction (pattern out or pattern up for example). Here I am in my obi-ita (obi board) - which I think my sensei would think is a little revealing, but if you don't mind I don't mind. And I am trying to get my obiage (the silk scarf accessory) in position. It has to be prepared, so the most intricate part (either weaving or embroidery) is facing up when all is tied and done.


I got dressed and tied my Otaiko (drum bow), but then when my teachers heard I was going to go out to a function in my kimono, they quickly untied my obi and re-adjusted and re-tied me (to ensure all lines were beautiful!) So kind! Someone recently commented to me that they don't like to wear kimono because it's so tight, but it feels comforting to me. Especially after two women tied me into it, with such kindness and care - afterward I felt like I was walking around in their hug!



Out in the Snow − 雪の中

I'm not too keen on going out in kimono in inclement weather. In fact, I complained the last time when it was just 8°C, so you can imagine how resistant I was to go out in 2°C  and it was snowing! But, I was invited to a friend's dance show and couldn't miss it. I was excited to wear my new kimono and to test my theory about how warm my wrap would be, so I got dressed and headed out.


The night of dance was lovely and the effort delivered the greatest compliment of the project so far! It came from a taxi driver who, because of my umbrella couldn't see my face until I was seated in his taxi, but upon seeing my face he exclaimed "Oh, I thought you were Japanese!" Yay!


I was warm. This wool/fur combination worked wonderfully! Even in the snow. I still have long underwear on, but am getting better at hiding it!  And all this took only 30 minutes to get dressed!! Woo-hoo, getting closer to my 5-10 minute goal!



Beauty of Kimono starts with Han-eri - 着物の美しさは半襟で始まる

The other question people always ask me is "can you dress yourself?" To which I answer "sort of." However, I realize the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  For example, I've recently learned how important the Han-eri (collar) on my Nagajuban (inner kimono) - this is the white collar the peeks out from the kimono. If the collar is starched and straight, the rest of the kimono will hang beautifully. And of course - there is a secret solution to that.


Every kimono school or sensei (teacher) has their own methods and secrets, and my school believes in a firm, cardboard collar that can be attached and removed (for cleaning) by double sided-tape.


My kitsuke (how to wear kimono) course is 18 classes long with each class covering a theme. I have 15 more classes at kimono school and I can't wait to see what's next!

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