Learning from interview

Recently I had joined many photo shootings as a stylist. The subject of these photo shootings were all models, not me.
But one day I had an offer to shoot my Kimono lesson class, introducing Kimono, and my interview.

To tell the truth, I am not good at interview… During the interview, interviewer said “Could you speak more loudly?”, “Please speak more loudly. Like the room next door can hear your interview!” and we had done another take again and again…

The details of the interview from Americans were too vague to answer. For example “What is Kimono?” It was hard for me to answer in a word.
Even when we try to introduce only one Kimono, it has huge historical and cultural background so it is hard to introduce in a word. I felt it is too nice to explain in a few words.
When I was learning Noh from one of the Noh player at Kyoto, the teacher said to me “Today’s KYO-YUZEN’s beauty is developed by absorbing NO player’s spirits for more than 600 years”. KYO-YUZEN is YUZEN dyed fabrics originated in Kyoto.

And 600 years relationship between KYO-YUZEN and Noh is just one aspect of introducing KYO-UZEN. It is hard for us to explain one of the Kimono fabrics “KYO-YUZEN” in a word. You may notice how difficult it is to explain Kimono in a word! In this interview I had learned difficulty of explaining Kimono briefly.

This picture was taken after the shooting.


The dream for the Prom

I had phone and email from a Philadelphia high school student. Her dream was to go to Prom with Kimono.

I had received an email from her mother and I undertook this request officially.

It takes 1 hour and 10 minutes from NYC to Philadelphia with Amtrak. If you take local train, it will take 2 hour and a half! When I reached to the Philadelphia station, she and her mother was waiting for me with a big card written “Hiro”. It reminded me of group tour.

The high school girl told me why she chose Kimono for Prom. She became interested in Japan through Japanese animation. And she decided to attend Japanese language school. She only watches Japanese television and listen to Japanese music. Her future dream is to work at Japan.

When we reached to her house her grandmother, father and also her Japanese language teacher was there to observe dressing Kimono.

Here Japanese teacher was Japanese. She told me “I was surprised to know that she has a idea to hire Kimono stylist from NYC!”

The distance from NYC to Philadelphia is as same as from Tokyo to Nagoya...I had no idea to hire stylist to dress me in Kimono or dress for my graduation party since I was a high school student. I was happy to support her dream “go to Prom with Kimono”, as a Kimono stylist.

She asked me to put on beads to Kimono so I decided to put them on OBIAGE. I enjoyed making her image.

Her mother said to me “I appreciate you making her dream come true. You can do either Classical styling or Modern styling!”. I was really happy to recieve such compliments. At precisely the same time I was proceeding to establish my company. I decided my company’s name from her words. “Mode & Classic”.

The name came to me when the American high school student dream came true. I was determined and felt that I will make my dream come true like her.

*In the picture I was thinking how to put on beads to Kimono.


We can find amazing world in the OBI

I have a chance to learn Classical Japanese dance in NY.
One day I went to the lesson with my favorite OBI. You may see the OBI in the photo. When my teacher saw my OBI she said “What a wonderful OBI you are wearing!”

This OBI represents dance number of KABUKI performance.
To tell the truth, I did not notice that my OBI represents dance number of KABUKI since I bought the OBI. Draper’s told me this OBI is designed ANESAMA-MOYOU. AMESAMA-MOYOU is doll which is made by Japanese paper and figured paper.

I was ashamed of myself and I looked at my OBI carefully and found that there is KABUKI world in my OBI! There are many famous KABUKI numbers and these numbers are painted in my OBI!! I found my teacher’s debut dance “OKANE” too.
At the same day, I had dinner with the one whose grandfather was GIDAYU (GIDAYU plays an important part of ballad drama). We had dinner at WAJIMA, one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. I was little excited whether he will notice my OBI design or not.
Did you find any KABUKI numbers in my OBI?


Of course you may say, ANESAMA-MOYO too!


American Kimono Stylist

I have an American student, her name is “Cami”. She attended my class once a week to master Kimono dressing in my Kimono dressing class. She is studying law at her university and she has a dream in her specialized field.

She is really interested in Japanese culture. She is learning not only Kimono dressing, but also Japanese language, classical Japanese dance, shamisen (Japanese traditional string instrument).

She is working hard to improve her Japanese language ability and she recommended me to speak Japanese in my class. She is learning Japanese in her university and her Japanese is improving rapidly instead of my English…

At the lesson, when she could not understand, she asked me aggressively and she did not forget to make sure there is no misunderstood. She had finished 2nd-degree instructor certificate which is issued from NJCCA (authorized by the national Japanese clothing consultant association) and passed written exam in Japanese. She is the first American woman who got a diploma from Komagome Waso Academy.

Last October, she assisted Japan society event “festival for 3-year-old boys and girls, 5-year-old boys and 7-year-old girls”. She dressed many girls and support the event.

This year, she is planning to study abroad. She will study at Japanese university and also thinking to attend instructor course of Komagome Waso Academy which is professional course to studying Japanese traditional clothes and master the technique to dress them. In this course we can study twelve –layered kimono, bride Kimono too. She seemed really excited to attend this course. The teachers of Komagome Waso Academy are saying that they all looking forward to see her and I really appreciate them.

There were some happenings occurred when I taught Cami.

One day, I pass her OBIAGE but she said “KIRAIDESU(I don’t like it.)”. I thought “Wao, she is really straight character” and decided to remove it but she said again “KIRAIDESU(I don’t like it!!)”…”You mean KIREIDESU?”. KIREI means beautiful in Japanese. She said “Yes!!”. Another day she said “Your OBI is YASUI (cheap).”. I was freezed but she said with brilliant smile “It is really YASUI (cheap)!” and turn down the OBI…”You mean YAWARAKAI?”. YAWARAKAI means soft in Japanese. She said “Yes!!”. I told her YASUI means cheap to her. She laughed and said “SUMIMASENN (sorry)”. There are many kinds of these stories with her.

I had a really good time with her and I wish her every success in Japan.