Reflections on Kimono - 着物について

model: Tamaki Hiroshi - 玉木宏

Remember back in June - I was reflecting on how a kimono is like a super-hero costume for generating kind comments and sentiments? Well, turns out I'm not the only one who recognizes this!


Last week, a friend introduced me to a man in kimono; a very daper, well-heeled man in kimono. Turns out this man-in-kimono owns a kimono company in Kyoto, spent some time in Canada when he was younger, is about the same age as me. Needless to say, we had plenty to talk about. When we got to the topic of kimono - he has had similar experiences to mine - but better! He started wearing kimono full- time about 5 years ago and he said he has noticed that the service he gets (stores, shops, hotels, restaurants, etc.) is better by merely being in kimono. And he's not alone. He said some of his customers have reported being seated before other patrons in restaurants, getting better tables, even getting better cuts of sushi - all by wearing kimono.


Now, the service is Japan is stellar. Really. Imagining it being better is difficult. But is it true? Is there a subtle industry deference to traditional dress? Are kimono wearers reaping secret benefits? If you're still not convinced to get out your kimono by the stories in this blog, aren't you at least tempted by the lure of a 'better piece of sushi?'



Summer Kimono Event - 夏の着物イベント

This week we held our first event! Our Summer Kimono Event was a chance to visit my kimono school and take a lesson on how to wear yukata. The event was open to any woman; those who already had yukata and those who were trying it for the first time (one of the lesson prices included a yukata).


Choosing a yukata and obi is not as easy as it sounds. First, there's your personal preference of colours, and trying to find a yukata in a colour combination - with a print - that you like. Next is the challenge of finding a contrasting obi that suits both the yukata and your taste.


Of course, all of that is the outside, there are still the hidden pieces that bring it all together. However, the pieces are so few compared to kimono, that it makes yukata the perfect kimono to learn on.


Even the obi's are easier for beginners, as they are smaller and tied in the front (and then pulled around to the back).


In the end, everyone had fun -


"Thank you for giving me a wonderful opportunity to revisit my culture" - S

"A big thank you for organising the event - I like yukata much more than kimono." - J

Then a few of us went out for a drink in our yukatas. I tried to pick somewhere that would look as 'pretty' as we did - so I chose Frames (in Daikanyama). But in the end, it looks like we are celebrating Christmas in yukata! I wonder if it's possible to celebrate Christmas in yukata in Okinawa.... hmmmm!



Dressing Yourself (online resources) - 自分で着付け(オンライン資料)

Many of the followers of this project live abroad, can't commit to taking kitsuke (kimono lessons), or merely need a quick refresher on 'how to get dressed. So today I'll share with you my favourite online resources (all in English):


Kimono / 着物:

Before I even found Hakubi Kimono School - I was looking for online sources about kimono and kimono dressing. This video amazed me the first time I saw it and it has has been my inspiration - she gets dressed (and ties her obi) in 6 minutes! I'm still trying to be that fast!! (I'm down to about 15-20 minutes, now).


This is also one of my favourites - whenever I need Nagoya (full-size) obi tying help, I turn to a Canadian (pure coincidence) who films this tutorial in her tea house in Canada. In a little over 5 minutes, she covers how to tie an Nagoya (full-size) obi.


Yukata / 浴衣:

And now that we are in yukata-season, if you can't make it to our 'learn to wear yukata' Summer Kimono Event, this online tutorial might help. A simple, how-to for yukata wearers.


And last but not least - before I learned how to tie Nagoya (full-size) obi, I used to turn to this online instruction guide. Now that we are in yukata season - this is great as a quick guide to hanhaba (half-size) obi bow.


And lastly, when all the fun is done here's a brief reminder of how to fold your yukata and/or kimono for the next time.



A special offer from Blue Man: 浴衣でご来場のお客様にオリジナルてぬぐいプレゼント!

Everyone's going crazy for yukata - even BlueMan is getting in the mood! Anyone who goes to see the show (currently in Roppongi) in yukata (until August 31) will receive a complimentary tenugui*!  Tenugui are perfect for making summer purses, like those shown here.


*while supplies last.


Summer in Japan - 日本の夏

Summer time means festival time! This past weekend marked the Nakameguro Summer Festival - with street dancing and lots of fun! (even the rain couldn't stop the fun!)


Everyone was out to enjoy the night, with food, drinks and dancing, it was perfect!


I was so excited to be dressed for the occasion. I even had my fan tucked into my obi! There's still plenty of summer and summer festivals left to enjoy (the Noryo Bon Odori festival and the Sumida River Fireworks are still to come!)


If you want to learn how to wear yukata, make sure to join our summer kimono event on August 23rd. You need to r.s.v.p. by August 12th (you can do so by leaving your name in the comments section below) - hope to see you there!



TopShop introduces Kimono tops - トップショップが送る着物トップス

Following our post last week about yukata being a good alternative to sunscreen and the perfect article of clothing to protect oneself from the sun, I just discovered U.K. high street retailer TopShop had the same thought. Topshop is selling three specially selected sun safe kimono tops, and will donate £10 from each sale to support Teenage Cancer Trust. The idea being - young girls need to protect their skim from sun exposure, and why not do it stylishly with a kimono-inspired cover-up!



Summer Handbags – 夏のハンドバッグ

I have been waiting all year to be able to use this birthday present! In the package was a furoshiki (a square piece of fabric), two hoops and the directions to make this perfect summer handbag. Furoshiki are abundant here in Japan. Everyone has one (or 10) in their homes. They are the equivalent to an‘extra bottle of wine’ in North America; you never know when you need a hostess gift, a last minute present, or to have on hand for yourself.


And since Furoshiki are usually cotton and almost always colorful, once you have handles, it’s easy to make a quick summer purse that goes well with yukata!

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