On the last day of the symposium, I had a great chance to show obi tying in front of all the attendees at the final session!
Although the name of this symposium included kimono, no people wearing kimonos have appeared except the reception on the first night. After all talks were finished on the previous day, an American lady suddenly asked me to put on her kimono for the final session, because she cannot put on it by herself instead of bringing it. In addition, she requested me, as a kimono specialist, to show obi tying in front of all the attendees.
While I asked her whether she had requisites for kimono dressing, I found that she had little of them. Although I originally planed to eat crab cakes, specialties of Washington D.C., for dinner, I was too busy worrying about the next day’s presentation to go to the restaurant, and went to a drug store for shopping. At the store, I bought cotton gauzes more than two meters, instead of waist cords, koshi-himo; a heavy paper, instead of an obi-ita board; cardboards for fixing the shape of obi; and elastic bands. It was difficult to find even substitute goods of requisites for kimono dressing at the unknown store. I could not possibly find clothespins at the store. Just after I have gotten cotton gauzes and elastic bands, I should have optimistically thought that it could be done. I should have tried my presentation of obi tying almost ad lib.
In the next morning, on the day of my presentation, the American lady showed me her kimono, obi, and goods she had. As her obi was hard like having a core, I thought I could make a good shape without an obi-ita board. On the other hand, the length of her kimono had, unfortunately, the similar length as the length from the base of her neck to her ankle, although she had told me that her kimono fitted her very well. I was wondering if I could make ohashori fold, tucking up beneath her obi, but I could make it using two koshi-himo bands she had. Instead of a date-jime cord, I used cotton gauze. In this way, I tried to make an orthodox kimono form without requisites for kimono dressing.
The final session was held under the big tent at the inner courtyard of the museum. Even though it was unfortunately raining, the courtyard was crowded, filled to capacity, and several attendees had to stand. On the session, the collections of Japan-related cloths from kimonos to contemporary costumes, which each attendee had, were shown. They received many comments from professors of fashion-related universities, curators of museums, specialists for costumes, and other attendees. My turn was coming at the first part of kimono collections.
First, the American lady appeared in her kimono with the otaiko form of obi tying, which I had already made on back stage. Second, we had question-and-answer session about kimono. Third, I showed switching obi tying from the otaiko form to the variation form, Aioi on stage.
As I met and talked with Ms. Liza Dalby on the previous day, as was referred to the last blog entry: “Lunch with Ms. Liza Dalby - TM Symposium Day2”, she stood by me during my presentation and explained what I was doing and using to an audience. Sometimes she asked me what I was doing and I explained it to her in Japanese; then she translated my explanation to English for the audience. It seemed like collaboration between Liza and me. In addition, she introduced me to all attendees as a kimono specialist. Thanks to Liza, I didn’t feel nervous and showed obi tying of the variation form in a relaxed manner. Since koshi-himo bands were missing, I pulled a belt off my one-piece dress and used it as a transient band. I am interested in the fact that the audience raised a cheer. I could play kimono dressing performance slightly.
After I completed the obi tying, the audience broke into a loud cheer. Finally I was very satisfied.
On the closing remarks by Ms. Maryclaire Ramsey, CEO of the Textile Museum, when she said, “Thank you very much, Hiro”, the audiences applauded me all together! I was too impressed by their applause to stand up, although I should take a bow.
Frankly, I was not satisfied with workmanship of the obi tying, but I believe that I could show that we can make various forms from just one obi; once we change a form of obi tying, expression of a kimono and obi is dramatically changed; and obi-tying holds enormous potentialities to create fashion.