Friday, November 23, 2012

Wasou Kimono Class Update!

My casual matroshka-doll pattern zori.
All this fall and winter, one morning a week, I load up my little carry-on suitcase with kimono goodies and trundle off to my kimono-wearing (kitsuke) class. It’s something I look forward to all week. :)

As I mentioned in an earlier post. I’m studying with the Wasou school, and I’m happy to report I’ve had an excellent experience with them so far. It turns out I and the other student in the early class are more advanced than most beginners, in the words of our teacher, so we’ve been able to move quickly through the basics and focus more on getting little details right.

Our teacher is a kind and enthusiastic woman, who is unfazed by my foreignness and very pleased that I’m interested in kimono. She’s quite surprised at how much I know already and she and my fellow student were happy to hear that I am doing my best to help educate English-speakers about kimono.

The first few classes have focused on basic casual dressing and otaiko knots. We bring our own kimono and accessories, and she walks us through the steps, giving us tips and advice. A couple of tips I’ve picked up so far:

- When wrapping the kimono around your hips, the seam on the right front panel should vertically line up with the middle of the split in your tabi.

- Korin belts: for convenience’s sake, clip them to the back of the kimono’s sleeves before you put the kimono on. That way it’s already in reach when you need to clip them to the collars later during the dressing process.

- When you go to sit seiza (on your knees) in a kimono, keep your knees a little wider than usual as you kneel and when you sit the kimono won’t be too tight across your thighs and legs.

And for the vintage collectors and wearers out there, a reassuring note about seasonal motifs. I asked about them, and my teacher said that while seasonality is important in things like tea ceremony, not many people will be upset if you wear a particular pattern out of season in a casual situation.

Why? In modern times, most women have so few kimono asking for a head-to-toe casual seasonal outfit is just not possible for most. I was happy to hear that the kimono world is becoming more flexible and open-minded in this regard, and hope it’s a sign of the kimono’s continuing rebirth with younger women in Japan.


shannon said...

Wow, i like the tips you posted! They sound very practical. Also I for one am also glad that the rigidity is also lessening in the kimono world (though i now have 2 all seasons Komon... lols). I hope you keep having fun!

Christina said...

Thank you!

Yes, it's nice to hear, I (and my wallet ;) ) agree. Now, if you wear an all-season kimono that of course is preferable to a kimono in the wrong season. :) So I think you chose well!