Back in the day, when I was making the change from Shibata style to the Renmei, I figured I would do enough test til I reached Yon-dan and I could wear my Father-in-Law’s Kimono. Well I found out several things since then.
1. In Japan kimono are rarely worn for general practice, mostly for special stuff.
2. Some of the special events, anyone can wear a Kimono.
3. My Oto-san’s Kimono is not a Kimono but a Haole, like a jacket, not the “Whites” from the mainland. Not appropriate for a Kyudo Kimono.
So much for that. Still as a San-dan testing for Yon-Dan a kimono is part of the training, level, turf. For testing and events. I set about getting a Kimono. I found one on Japan Yahoo, which was said tailored for Kyudo. It is black, washable full length. All of which I heard was good. However i found out I need a Juban with it. An under kimono. I had planned on getting one from an on-line Kyudo store. That is until My wife said there is a used kimono store chain I should check for a better price. She found one, somewhat nearby. We went there and went to one store, they did not have it in white. However they called around to the other branch stores and one had just one. Maybe it would fit me. The other store was within a 5-10 walk. We went there, and spoke with a very helpful women, she had put the Juban aside for me. We checked the fit, it would work. She also said I would need this collar thing sewn on as not to ruin the Juban with body oil. They hd it there, costing three hundred yen for several of them. Ok, good deal we got the Juban and collar covers, for half the price of just the Juban on-line. We had lunch before going home.
Next up, I thought since Oto-san’s non-kimono will not work, an I am carrying on the family name use of the family crest would be a nice touch. I had checked with a person in the States to do the embroidery, however that was a last resort. lZ checked around an found a shop that would do it, which was on my way to the Dojo. I stopped in and asked if they had the”Mon”. It is a special Mon, so they thought they may have to order the pattern from a computer shop. It turns out they had it, at least they had one that was like it but more embellished. It could be simplified I am guessing. So I left the kimono with the woman, with instructions on were to place the mon. She said she could not do it right away as it was festival season and they were very busy. No problem said I, I am not in a rush.
After a day or two of thinking on this and checking it occurred me I had told her wrong about the placement. We quickly contacted her and explained. She said no problem it had japanese not been started. Whewwww.
It was arranged that I would drop off a picture of the correct placement. I did so a few days later with a print of the family Mon. Ok, I am thinking we are now on the right path. Then it turns out there is a seminar up coming in a couple of weeks. One of the things to be covered as a San-dan was the proper wearing and formalities of Kimono wear. Again we contact the woman at the company asking is it possible to have within two weeks. They were quite busy but would try.
As it turned out, I was unable to attend the seminar, but still went by to get the Kimono. It was nice ready. There was a big apology but I said no problem there was a change of plans anyway. So the lady says in a couple of days. In a couple of days comes a call. She is concerned about the “mon” did I have it reversed by mistake? None of her patterns were like that. She did find one on an old book, but was concerned now.
I checked a picture I had of the one built into Oto-san house. It was different from the one I gave her. Ohh snap! It was reversed! More phone talk, she did more checking, as did her daughter. It was a complex issue now. Ok, took a close look at the picture and see I had it hing upside down. And the image I gave her was correct. I dug up the original picture from Oto-san house and yes, the image I gave her was correct. She was relieved it was the rare single image found in the book. She could use that pattern. Ahhhh. Finally all was resolved.
I felt bad that she went through all the hassle for me, so took a small thank gift of snacks by when I went to pickup the finished Kimono. It was just a small thank you offering, as we were expecting to pay a fair amount for the work. Their shop was on the higher end of the cost range we found, but convenient to get there. I gave her the gift, she was quite pleased. She told me the price afterward I was quite shocked! It was less than half of what we expected! Sugoi!
I picked up the kimono and went to the Dojo. I asked my Sempai for help with the correct way to wear it. I also asked about the correct way to tie an Obi. I have been trying for a long time to find the right way. I came up with a way that worked , bit it was different each time. Now that o was wearing a kimono I wanted to do it right! He instructed me.
After changing I went out to the dojo floor. Everyone was impressed. The Kaicho said perfect, several of the ladies gave me the thumbs up. Yeah I was all that for a short while. Once o got my gear together, the Kaicho took me on the floor and showed me along with a couple of sempai the in’s and out’s of kimono wear form with the Yumi. It was not easy. My legs and feet hurt from being in Kiza whilst going through the steps over and over and over. I was dying! Also my sleeves need adjust on both the kimono and the Juban because my arms are long.
I did get the basic steps remembered, I am sure I may have forgotten some small part, but will be reminded again. I need to practice this a lot to make it smooth. It felt funny being almost topless in class.
Another lesson I learned today was not to ride my bike to class on a day I plan to wear the kimono. Unless i pan on taking a shower before class. Even though a cool day, I could smell my B.O. Also the Kimono is quite warm and heavy. A day of lessons.