For the past four years I have been learning how to wear Kimono “properly” at a class provided by a licensed teacher in my neighbourhood. Yes, four years…
In class I have been learning how to put Kimono on by myself, including how to tie Obi belt on my own. That’s right, even if you are born and raised in Japan, at present you just don’t know how to wear it if you were never been taught, just like any other non-Japanese person, because we simply don’t wear Kimono anymore on a daily basis. It’s sad but true.
Over the years Kimono has become a cultural heritage, and made its way as one’s luxurious hobby. It may sound a little ridiculous that anyone needs to study for it if it is just some clothes you put on. I must admit I used to think so, too. My initial intention of taking the class was simply to learn how to wear it, as it requires certain skills, and I wanted to overcome my secret shame of not being able to do it on my own (I had to ask someone else to put it on me, which usually costs money).
But the more I learn about Kimono, the more depth comes to surface. In parallel I learn, or rather feel, the history of Japan through the eyes of a woman, who once existed and slipped her arms into this beautiful silky garment. This makes me feel as if I was time traveling to witness our past, and that really awakened me to the core. After giving birth to the little one three years ago, the frequency to visit my teacher decreased, and that is why I have been doing it for so long. But I’m proud to say I finally completed the first course at the end of last year, and now I am planning on stepping up to the next level, to learn how to put Kimono onto other people.
(to be continued)