Kimono School - 着物学院

With the days counting down until The Year in Kimono was to begin, I was lucky to find the Hakubi School, quite close to my house in Tokyo, still offering beginner classes on how to wear kimono.  The Hakubi School offers "comprehensive study of Japanese culture," including how to make a kimono. It is here I began my study of Kitsuke (how to wear a kimono).


In the quiet, sun-filled tatami room, my sensei revealed the inner secrets of kimono. First piece of knowledge was that kimono is meant to flatten the shape between waist and hips, which is more prominent in some western builds (including my own) than in Japanese bodies. Curves are not part of the aesthetic of kimono (think h-shaped figure rather than hourglass) because the obi (waist sash) won't lay flat if there are natural curves.


For almost 2 hours, she explained which pieces went where and demonstrated how to put on a kimono, by oneself, including how to tie a hoso obi (half width obi). Most obi are 30 cms/12'' wide, but hoso obi are about half that, making it easier for a beginner to tie.
The Hakubi School's Kitsuke course will teach me not only how to wear a kimono, but also the culturally correct manners and movements that are essential to wearing a kimono. I start in the middle of January and will attend 3-classes a month for 6-months! My goal, in addition to learning more about the kimono itself and how to tie different obi bows, is to 'master' the art of dressing myself. I'd like to be able to get dressed in under 10 minutes.


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