I am sorry for not having written on my blog for so long. I have been working on my PhD and also on keeping up posts on the kimono facebook page, which I think is going from strength to strength. I am going to write about the art of kitsuke, kimono dressing.
I started learning kitsuke in a kitsuke school, almost before I could speak Japanese, so I learnt the language and the kitsuke together, really. There were about ten girls in the class and I was the only one who seemed to need to ask questions, but my teachers were patient with this strange foreigner and appreciated my desire to learn how to do it all properly. At first I thought I would just learn to dress myself, but then I wanted more and more, and I ended up staying in classes for two years and becoming qualified as a kitsuke dresser and teacher, after taking a written and practical exam. I teach kitsuke in my university, just the basics, but one of the most fun things I do, as a little part time job, is to dress people. I have dressed all kinds of ages, nationalities and shapes of people, and it is fantastic because we always have such fun, and they love being turned into a prince or princess and wearing all that silk. Mainly I dress non-Japanese, but occasionally Japanese people also ask me to dress them. I dress visitors to Japan, families, children for shichi, go, san, and high school girls for graduation, and also twenty year olds, for seijin shiki, (coming of age) in Japan. It is always a challenge because often I dress people who are taller or larger than Japanese, and I want to make them all look great. I help them to choose all the separate parts of the outfit and then we also have fun choosing interesting locations for the photographs. I usually lend them the kimono set and also take photographs and put them on a CD. It is fun to get to know people this way, and I think it is a privilege to be able to dress them and give them these CDs.