In my first year in Japan, I taught a private lesson to three older ladies, a doctor's wife, the wife of a stationery store owner, and a tea ceremony teacher whose husband was a Zen priest (I also took calligraphy lessons with this couple, in the tea house in the garden of their temple). She would often turn up to the lesson wearing a kimono, as she had just come from a lesson or ceremony. She wore them several times a week, and obviously felt very comfortable in them. I of course frequently admired them, as I do love kimonos. So when she saw a sale of former hire kimonos in her local department store, she thought of me, and took me there to buy one. This was ¥10,000 I think.
Here I am her her temple garden. I twice took part in tea ceremonies with her (once getting on TV), wearing the kimono. She dressed me, which is why it looks so crisp and lovely here! She was such a pro - she could tie it on tight enough that you never felt it was coming loose, but never so tight that you felt like you couldn't breathe. She also gave me a number of accessories for it, including all the ties you need (there are a lot of ties under this holding everything together!) clips, undergarments and socks. That is not the obi I wore last month, but I think I know where it is. I'm not sure what happened to the obiage, but I still have the obijime. I seem to have misplaced the undergarments too! Actually I think I just borrowed the white under kimono here.
And here I am at Again with Yori and Katchan. This time, Maichan and I struggled to get the thing on, so it's a bit wonkier. We're just wearing them for the chance to wear them really.
One more occasion I wore it was for Hina Matsuri one year before I got married. While this is not part of the official parade, it was nice of them to arrange a ride in one of the rickshaws for me. That's Ranto's dad (Mayumi's husband) Jiro there, pulling it! This was long before they got together. Mayumi was with me that day, and took a ride too, but isn't in the photo for some reason. The sign says 'Hina Matsuri (dolls' festival)' so I was a kind of advertisement for the festival! I had a red obi on this time, it's clear in another picture, but I can't remember who dressed me and did my hair (I have little gold accessories in my hair).
Only young single women wear furisodes (the type with very long sleeves) so after I got married, I never had the chance to wear it again until last month. While Baachan helped me buy a yukata specially made for me (pictured below)
I never bought another kimono either - the more I learned about kimonos (largely from reading Liza Dalby) the more I felt they didn't suit me. I'm too tall and my arms are too long and shoulders too wide. I don't mind those parts of me, but they don't go well with kimono. And getting them made doesn't help, because they come in set widths, with one width used for sleeves, so the sleeves are always going to be too short. Oh well, I had my fun with them, massively punctuated with a huge exclamation mark last month!