One of the things on my ever growing bucket list is to own a kimono, and buying one here in Japan is definitely on my list of things to do before I leave. Ever since I was little I’ve been so in awe of their beauty, from the delicate silk, to the intricate patterns and the amazing details that can be found on many of the elements of wearing a kimono. But there is an important piece of knowledge I knew I’d need to acquire along with buying a kimono- how to wear it. Not only that, but what are all the pieces I’d need to be able to wear it correctly? The more I’ve seen kimonos worn in real life the more details I realize go into them- I mean there’s gotta be a lot of odds and ends that make that piece stick up there and that hang that way and that puff out there right?
Right. On Saturday morning I walked over to one of my supervisor’s from the Board of Education’s house for my first “how to wear a kimono” lesson. She has been working towards becoming an instructor herself and offered to teach me and my friend how to wear it. Fortunately, as I have yet to acquire my own kimono, she also let us borrow the kimonos she has to use for our practice.
Sensei showed us all the different pieces that go into wearing a kimono, from the undergarments (INSERT) to the last rope around the obi. She showed us how to use our seperated kimonos that she had made for us with the rest of the traditional fare, as well as how to properly wear full kimonos with all their tucks and ties. She demonstrated how to tie an obi, but we mostly practiced with the easy clip on ones (which still require a bit of work, just not nearly as complicated as having to tie it).
Much to my surprise, I was able to get my kimono on and laced up almost completely independently and not looking half bad! I don’t usually get things right away- it takes me at least a few times so I was pretty excited to be able to do this on my first shot. Afterwards, we also learned how to properly fold kimonos, which is a procedure onto itself. I took notes on all the words so I wouldn’t forget them (and could go buy them at a store). My sensei said that once I’ve bought my own kimono, we can practice again using my pieces. Time to get shopping!