Experiencing Kimono in Japan For The First Time
January 11, is the Seijin no Hi or translated as The Coming of Age Day. It is a ceremony for those who have turned 20-years-old to enter into adulthood. After reaching 20, in Japan, you are officially the part of society.
After 20 years, you can drink alcohol, buy cigarettes, and also vote. It was even more interesting if you are in some crowded district of Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka or Yokohama. You will get to see Japanese girls sporting lavish kimono with layers of makeup and bold hair styles.
The ceremony itself is called the Coming of Age Ceremony or Seijin Shiki. But then, just one day before the Seijin Shiki, I got to experience wearing the kimono, and fortunately it was the Furisode!
What is a Furisode? Furisode is a type of kimono which are worn by unmarried women. Furisode means swinging sleeve. I mean a really long sleeve! The sleeve it self can reach 114–115cm!
For me, attending this Experience Kimonos was like winning the lottery. I joined through one of the International Relation Committee in Kodaira City. This committee is really nice and eager to introduce Japanese traditional culture to foreigners.
So I began with first picked my tabi socks. Tabi are the special kind of socks that you usually wear with a kimono. After I put them on, they asked me to pick my own kimono pattern and color. They were so many gorgeous kimono with beautiful patterns and mesmerizing colors. But on top of all that, I chose the red one.
This is tabi, also the sandals (not the geta), that are made from something like cushion, which is really narrow but you have to get used to wearing this to walk as elegantly as Yamato Nadeshiko (the ideal Japanese lady).
There are actually several items or should I say underwear before you wear the kimono:
- Koshihimo : Is actually a leash made from cloth to tighten the first kimono inner which actually looks like another kimono with more flat pattern.
- Erishin : Is some kind of collar to make the Kimono’s collar stiff.
- Datejime : Also to tightened the outer Kimono to inner clothes.
- Obiita or Obi : Is a stiff cloth used as a belt to wrap the kimono start from just below the breast and cover the stomach and amazingly will make the stomach flat!
Kimonos typically require a professional to dress the wearer.
There many other things that I can’t explain to you how the professionals wear it in perfect order. There are also severals way to bind the Obi. You can bind it as a butterfly, fish, flower, or just some abstract knot, but yet still looks gorgeous!
The different kinds of Obi depends on how you tie and make the knot. The different styles a professional kimono dresser will select seem countless. They will help the wearer decide which is right for them.
Just looking at how difficult and complicated it is to wear a kimono, I was impressed by how Japanese keep this beautiful tradition handed down from their ancestors. Also, I was impressed by how the Japanese ladies in older times wore kimono on so many occasions. Since Japanese nowadays just wear it only on special occasions such as Seijin Shiki, university graduation day, or for a wedding ceremony.
So, if you are visiting some city in Japan, be sure to check out their websites for local kimono rental experiences.