1/20/2009

Hatsugama Tea Ceremony in NY


I have learned tea ceremony in Japan and continue to learn it in New York. Recently, we had the Hatsugama tea ceremony, the first and most festive presentation of tea in the New Year, in our tea class. I visited the tea house wearing my iromuji, kimono dyed up in one color, with shades between pink and wisteria violet. Why should we wear iromujis at the tea ceremony? I can find interesting descriptions about iromujis as follows:
“In the end of Edo period (1603-1867), a girl working at a shouya, a village head, usually wore a crested iromuji, when she formally squired a master of the shouya. Subsequently, during the Taisho period (1912-1926), a crested iromuji was recognized as a formal dress. After WWII, along with popularization of democratic educational system, mothers gradually attended enrollment and graduation ceremonies with their iromujis.”
Iromujis as semi-formal dresses seem to be similar to black or navy blue suits, with which girls go in for the interviews during their recruiting times.

In New York, attendants at the Hatsugama tea ceremony wore various kinds of kimonos, from a formal kuro-tomesode with five crests, the most formal kimono for a married woman, to a bingata-style komon, a type of stencil dyed kimono originating from Okinawa. As mentioned before, I visited the tea house with my iromuji with a shaped resist dyeing crest according to usual Japanese manners, but I could enjoy more flexible style in NY. Next time I might wear a brilliant kimono to attend the Hatsugama tea ceremony.

But I cannot forget that this iromuji was the first I bought by myself at the draper’s shop. I recall that I selected the color of its dyeing, asked the draper to leave undyed on my crest, and asked her to measure my size for tailoring. I vividly remember my mind of strain in front of the draper’s shop. Taking a step to the draper’s shop, I should be mentally prepared for attending tea ceremonies. Once I wear this iromuji, I always feel self-renewal. I like this dignified feeling very much. Ultimately, I would wear this iromuji to attend the Hatsugama tea ceremony next year.

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