Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Get kitted out in kimonos, Kanazawa

Met Yoko & co this morning, Yoko is a lovely lady who I met a while back who seems to be forever organising us Kanazawa gaijins. She is now my Japanese teacher as well, poor dear. Since my experience at the Hykamongoku festival I was dying to be dressed up in a kimono again so I had arranged a "kimono trying on experience" for me and mum whilst she was here.

Well being more specific it was a yukata, a summer kimono made from cotton. The word "yu" means bath and "katabira" means under clothing. Thousands of years ago, Court Nobles wore linen "yukatabira" which were draped loosely after taking a bath. It gradually became worn by japanese warriors and then by the general public when the japanese public bath became popular. Anyway enough of the history...

Putting on a yukata or kimono isn’t just a case of slipping it on a tying the obi belt around your middle. Remember, this is Japan! There’s almost ritualistic method of putting on the yukata which requires native help. Once you've got it on you need to make sure you wrap the right side of the yukata over the body, then overlap it with the left side. Right on top of the left is only used to dress a corpse for burial. That's where native help becomes valuable!!

Yoko and co (some little old ladies who had come to help=native help) then used about 3 other varying size belts to tie us into the yukata, not for the claustrophobic that’s for sure! I can only liken it to being fitted into a 15 inch Victorian corset. Once the team had strapped me in, they made the back of my obi belt into a beautiful butterfly shape by overlapping and twisting the fabric a few times.

We had a go at trying to do this ourselves but couldn’t really master it, I was still sweating like a pig which wasn’t helping the concentration levels! Nevertheless the end result was great (minus the shiny sweaty faces) don’t you think?

All dolled up we then headed for our tea ceremony, read the next post for that experience, it really was an unforgettable one..!

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