Friday, June 10, 2011

Dressing for the Occasion

It's been a busier week than usual, what with midterms (already!) and a couple of long-term projects to finish, but I still had enough time to make a bit of a shopping trip:

Not a wedding dress, I promise.

 Acting on a good tip from one of the professors around here (about whom more later, you may be sure), I stopped by a 古着屋さん (furugiyasan-- second-hand clothes shop) in the area of the city-center station, and picked up this little number-- a full man's kimono set, complete with juban (inner robe), main kimono, and outer haori robe-- or if you prefer, the only set of clothing I've ever bought without knowing with 100% certainty how exactly to wear.

Fortunately, I've decided to accompany my purchase with a membership in the AIU Kimono-Wearing Club-- a weekly session in which, clucked over by a pair of faintly maternal technique specialists, I've been learning the proper techniques for donning and  removing (heh heh) Japanese garments, as well as proper clothes folding: no mean feat, since a different technique is required for each garment, each of which, from the diagrams and instruction I've seen, apparently violates several laws of topology. )

Here's how it all looks when I put it all on. We begin by donning the juban, or innermost robe, and tying it with an inner set of cloth strips, or himo.

The t-shirt is not authentic.
  The main kimono goes on in a similar manner, and ties with a set of himo followed by the outer sash, or obi. Being a man, mine ties on (relatively) simply-- women's come in far more lengths, materials, and faintly absurd levels of complexity.

With the juban and kimono in place, one then dons the haori, a sleeved short-coat held closed by a set of tasseled ties. And this is the final result:

In retrospect the socks were a mistake too.
Not too bad looking, if I do say so myself. Certainly I've gotten plenty of approving clucks so far. Hopefully I can get it on tomorrow-- I've got another road trip in the works, my appropriately cultural destination a Kabuki performance north of here. Stay tuned.

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