1/24/2009

Men’s Kimono Class in NY

In New York, I am running a kimono business, including kimono-wearing class, kimono dressing service on site, and kimono coordinate service. Last months, I started a men’s kimono class to get more New Yorker enjoying kimono. Indeed I did not anticipate that I can get applicants immediately, but less than a month later, a nice American gentleman has come to our classroom for private lessons every Sunday. When I coached him how to wear a yukata and to tie a heko-obi, which is a soft obi, in a bow, he easily acquired the technique and wore a yukata by himself, whereas my husband, taking a class together, was slow in learning and could not wear a yukata by himself at all.

Then he has been able to wear a naga-gi, one of men’s kimonos, by himself. Subsequently, he acquired various kinds of obi tying, kai-no-kuchi (shell’s mouth), kata-basami (single tug), ronin-musubi (masterless samurai tying), kanda-musubi (kanda tying for Japanese festival), and so on. Now he can wear a hakama on his kaku-obi tying by means of ichi-monji, which means one by the Japanese-Chinese character, and finally he can dress himself in a mon-tsuki hakama, which is the most formal men’s kimono in Japan.

We had the temporarily final class last Sunday. He gave me a paper kimono-wearing doll making kit by origami, which is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. Opening its box, I found many colorful Japanese papers, called chiyogami, and filled my heart with feelings of nostalgia. Nowadays I have no experiences to play origami, but I ordinarily had met a wide variety of chiyogami at one of famous chiyogami shops, Ise-tatsu, in Yanaka, Tokyo, in my neighborhood. Less than a year later I moved to New York City, once I saw colorful chiyogami papers, I should recall merriment at Ise-tatsu and hustle and bustle of Yanaka as the downtown of Tokyo. Actually, my heat is filled with feelings of nostalgia.

At the end of our lesson, in appreciation for this present, I gave him a cup of Japanese tea in manner of the tea ceremony. I served him with some little Japanese sweets, Futatsu-tachibana (two mandarin orange flowers), which we can get at the Japanese sweets shop, Kyo-Tachibana, in Kitayama, Kyoto. He should be pleased to have a relaxed time. In this way, our lesson finished, but he told me that he would come to review kimono wearing in the near future.

His name is Timothy, who loves Japanese sake, has sake Class in NY, and makes an effort to build bridges between Japanese and American sake cultures. His web site is UrbanSake.com.
When I asked him if I would post my blog entry about our kimono class, he gave permission with pleasure and told me that he was looking forward to seeing my blog.
I hope that we both could build bridges between Japanese and American cultures.

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