Last week my Tuesday students/friends and I were talking about summer kimonos called yukata.
"Let's get dressed up in yukata! I haven't worn one for years and years."
Mrs. Ide is the only one of the three of us who knows how to put on a yukata, but she was willing to dress us up.
Today Mrs. Ide came to English class wearing her yukata. A few minutes later, Mrs. Okusa arrived bringing her yukata and the implements needed.
Okay, putting on the simple cotton kimono isn't that difficult. It doesn't need all the layers of under clothing that a regular silk or wool kimono might need. It is getting that obi tied, the belt, that is the problem!
Make sure the left side overlaps the right side (the other way is only for the deceased... whoops, we don't want to make THAT mistake.)
Now... how to get that long~~~~ belt wrapped around in an attractive way.
It takes a bit of maneuvering!
And some speedy finger work too!
Push here... Pull there. Pull harder! And.... voila! A pretty little stiff bow that sits up on the back.
And here is a back view of Mrs. Okusa yukata clad. My turn!
"Tanya, could you please take off your bra?"
Ah yes... I am much too busty for traditional Japanese wear. I complied and wore a camisole.
"Oh dear, this padded tie doesn't go all the way around you."
Hmm. I am also too big around the middle for traditional Japanese wear. Not much I can do about that today. (I do want you to know that Mrs. Ide was using her DAUGHTER's padded tie... Her daughter is smaller than many Japanese. Just thought you ought to know that....)
Now MY obi was an "instant" type that I picked up at a recycle shop. I figured that I'll probably never be able to tie an intricate obi by myself, but if I just have to pop into a pre-tied one, THAT I might be able to do! Not that I ever have... The instant obi comes in two parts, a flat piece and a pre-tied stiff bow on a wire that you can shove into the flat piece.
A little bit of tucking and pulling...
And then the tie plops into the back and is secured by narrow strings.
Ta-da! I'm finished too! You can see how there is a slight difference from Mrs. Okusa's obi.
Here is a picture of Mrs. Ide's obi that she tied herself before coming. It is the least gaudy way of tieing and it lies flat, making it easier to drive a car or sit back in a chair.
Now that we're dressed up, let's GO somewhere!
We ended up at a little cafe, a short drive from my house.
Ooh. A bamboo grove! Well, we do have to model in front of that!
Mrs. Ide, by the way, is wearing a yukata that used to be my mother-in-law's. When cleaning out Tetsu's mother's closets a couple of years ago, I came across two or three yukata that I was going to toss (I'm wearing one of my mother-in-law's too) and Mrs. Ide asked if she could have it. Looks nice on her!
And Mrs. Okusa is wearing her yukata from nearly 40 years ago!
"I wore this when I was in high school... What am I thinking trying to wear this at my age!"
The yukata is in pretty good shape, and so is Mrs. Okusa!
The cafe owners were so thrilled to see yukata clad customers! They said it was a first and asked to take our picture while we ate lunch.
Lunch was curry noodles!
And after lunch we went outside to enjoy matcha flavored snow "cones".
A fun day out... sort of like playing dress-up when we were little girls. Yukata can actually be very colorful but it just happened that all three of us had these dark blue ones... I guess I'd really be embarrassed to wear something more gaudy...
If I stand still and don't talk... will I pass for a Japanese?