8/23/2009

On the set of shooting: Difficult to communicate


This photo shows the scene, in which I took part on the set of the Verizon Wireless advertisement on March. Recently I received some photos on the set. I am very pleased because I have never seen my photos on the set.

It is said that the advertisement of Verizon Wireless, which I served as a kimono stylist, has been shown not only on the Wall Street Journal and other magazines, but also at the San Francisco and New York Newark Airports. Much to my delight, my friends often e-mailed me with some photos that they saw the advertisement in many different locations.

Seeing these photos, I recall scenes of the shooting. On the set of shooting, staffs other than us were American. They recognized kimono dressing, kitsuke, only as fitting, because kitsuke may be not widely-recognized as professional skill in this country. Although I explained to the producer before shooting how hard kitsuke was, she told me on the set, “Please dress 20 casts in kimonos within 30 minutes!” It was impossible. I sequentially dressed casts and asked them to run into the studio right after finished dressing. It was really wham-bam shooting.

I felt relieved after the shooting. Then I was looking forward to seeing the completed product of this advertisement, but when I saw the first printing, I was very surprised and disappointed. Some casts were photo-edited as left-right reversal (mirror) images, having left-right reversal collars, by the image processing software!

At first I just felt something wrong with the poster, but suddenly I realized the big errors of the photo-editing. Right after I mailed the producer in haste, she called me that nobody might realize these errors. I repeatedly explained to her that kimono dressing, kitsuke, had historically been the professional skill and it provided us very serious problems hat the poster showed the wrong image of kimono dressing due to the improper photo-editing, although I had properly dressed all the casts in kimonos. I told her that all these errors were not my fault, because if I might dress casts in a left-right reversal manner, the proper designs on the furisodes could be never seen. As a first step, I tried to let her know that just the improper photo-editing made the left-right reversal images. While I seriously appealed, she seriously accepted the mistake of the photo-editing. Finally, she asked the client, Verizon Wireless, some correction time. I heard that at first, the client turned a deaf ear to provide us some correction time. He told “The posters have been already in press, so you have no time to correct them. Even if you correct these minor errors, we will suffer the heavy losses, because we must change the days of their announcement.” But the producer directly went to explain to the client the necessity of the correction, so finally the client provide us some correction time to re-edit the left-right reversal images.

Then the producer, some staffs and I worked overnight and corrected the improper images to the proper ones.

Indeed when I mailed her, I had been about ready to give up correcting the accomplished poster. I had thought that she might tell me “We need not correct them, because nobody finds such trivial mistakes.” But she seriously confronted the problem of the advertisement and helped each other to correct most of the errors. I was impressed by this unbelievable experience.
Although I could not imagine that the mirror image was made on the editing process, I realize the difficulty to transmit the correct information about kimono to American people, because of my poor English.
We had some troubles, but she finally told me “Thank you very much!”

Actually she had an awful time to get chewed out by the client. I was touched by her appreciation. And I thanked many people, including the producer, to make the advertisement much better.
It had taken more than 5 months since we had the shooting. When I receive some photos on the shooting, I recall all the episodes of the shooting on March as well as the correction of the mis-editing on May. Here I show you some photos on the shooting. I cordially appreciate the producer and other wonderful staffs.

* I prepared all the kimonos, dressed all the casts, and ran on the set of shooting. Unfortunately these are not clear, but it’s first time to see myself on the set of shooting. These will be good mementos of the shooting.

8/18/2009

Kimono in the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Recently I heard that the collections of kimono in the Metropolitan Museum are wonderful. I went to see them, but I could find only one kimono exhibited. The Costume Institute in the Met, which I heard has many collections of western dresses, was unfortunately closed.




I bought a book of kimono at the souvenir shop. The name of the book is “JAPANESE kimono DESIGNS”, including the collection of Shojiro Nomura. By chance, I found on this book the similar kimono as one in the Met, which was made between 1804 and 1818. Was the kimono I found in the Met made around the same time?
Because I missed its description, I could not check the product year. Next time I go to the Met, I will transcribe the description about exhibition.
Anyway, because I have been looking forward to seeing many kimonos in the Met, I was disappointed at the exhibition. I finished viewing the Japanese section as quick as a wink.

In the Japanese section, Hokusai and Hiroshige seem very popular. Real beauty could stand up to time, or surpass national distinctions.

8/15/2009

Ojiya-chijimi hemp kimono in summer


Ojiya-chijimi kimono was delivered to NYC. I quietly enjoyed wearing it this summer. Whenever I wore it, I feel how fresh it was. However lower humidity New York has than Tokyo, it feels moist after shower. Because it has been rainy this year, hemp kimono has become my favorite rather than ro or sha kimono.

Ojiya-chijimi fabric is made by natural hemp, choma. A remaining fragment of my Ojiya-chijimi fabric shows a seal of the manufacturer and a precise explanation about Ojiya-chijimi: “This fabric is woven by spinning the weft thread tightly and kneaded in hot water, creating a distinctive crease called a shibo. It is kept its feeling for a long time. Because of its smoothness and freshness, it is suitable not only for a summer kimono, but also for a shirt, blouse, or night wear”. It really seems suitable for a night wear especially on tropical nights.

The design of this kimono is my favorite, shima stripe. It looks a little tense. Then, I pulled a hemp obi out of bottom of my tansy drawers. It fitted an Ojiya-chijimi kimono very well. Further, I used a shibori, tie-dyeing, obiage and haya, arrow-shape-designed, obijime. The combination looked very nice!
It looks smart when we wear comfortable Ojiya-chijimi as a casual wear. We can enjoy summer kimono life like this, which may be luxury.

8/11/2009

Only about Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi: Part2

In my previous entry, I wrote about Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi (clam's mouth knot).
Furthermore, the professor in Komagome Waso Academy, Prof. Odajima, sent me additional comments.
“The way obi is wrapped in a counterclockwise fashion is called as Kanto Maki or Kabuki Maki. The way in a clockwise fashion is called as Kansai Maki. Actors of Kabuki mostly use Kanto Maki, while actors of samurai dramas mostly use Kansai Maki. Because there is a big movie village in Uzumasa, Kyoto, Kansai Maki is often called as Uzumasa Maki. Therefore, depending on whether obi is wrapped in a counterclockwise or a clockwise fashion, Tesaki of Otoko or Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi changes either on the left side or the right side of the center of a back. If you see Kabuki or samurai dramas, you should watch and check for the direction of obi knots.”
only on Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi. I feel ashamed that I understood it simply previously.
I will read Kabuki books and check obi knots of Kabuki actors. And I would like to see samurai dramas in Japanese movies after so long.
Thanks to Prof. Odajima, I realized that I must study more deeply and deliver more precise information about kimono to my students.
I appreciate her very much.

8/10/2009

Only about Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi


This photo shows orchid which I displayed in my class room.
I bought this flower at florist shop of my neighborhood. I first learned that there are huge kinds of orchids. The florist told me that this orchid is tough and need to be watered just every two weeks.

Recently I have worried about how to correctly tie Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi (clam's mouth knot), which is used mainly for men’s kaku obi, and for yukata obi both of men and women. Originally, merchants in the Edo period used Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi.
When I read the textbook of the Komagome Waso Academy, my alma mater, Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi was described that Tesaki, the shorter part of obi ends, is on the left side of the center of a back and called as Otoko Musubi (men’s knot). But other books that I have show that Tesaki is on the right side of the center of a back.

I wondered what the difference between Kai-no-Kuchi and Otoko Musubi is. A certain web page showed “Otoko (men’s) and Onna (women’s) Musubi (knots) are included in Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi. In case of Otoko Musubi, Tesaki is folded in half; while in case of Onna Musubi, Tesaki is not folded.” But another book: “Dictionary of Kimono Terms”, edited by Sodo Kimono Academy, illustrated both Otoko Musubi and Kai-no-Kuchi Musubi that Tesakis are on the left side of the center of a back and are folded in half.
Because I was very confused, I asked my question to the professor in Komagome Waso Academy. She told me that the illustration of Otoko Musubi on the text book should show the state that we tie obis in front. After we turned obi knots to our back, Tesaki would be on the right side of the center of a back. It was difficult for me to understand it just from the figure. I did well to ask my question to the teacher in Japan. I thanked her very much for kindly answering even my tiny question.
If I lived in Japan, I should not feel strange on the matter, because I were very familiar with Otoko Musubi at the practice room of traditional Japanese dance. But in New York, we cannot see real Japanese style any more.

Two months age, I went through procedures to continue my kimono class as a chain school of Komagome Waso Academy. And the Academy instructed me how to operate kimono class outside Japan. Recently I revised the curriculum of our kimono class on my home page as the instruction.
I would like to answer any questions from my students, as the teacher of the Academy answered my question anytime. I will do my best to tell all things about real Japanese kimono to my students.
This is my web site of kimono class.
http://www.kimonohiro.com/main.html