Friday, May 11, 2012

Private Kimono Lesson

 I know I have a serious case of blog backlog, but I can't help myself. Last night was so amazing that I have to post about it now, before these feelings wear off!

If you've been reading for a while, some of you may know that I took kimono lessons back in the fall. It only cost about 3,000 and we met once a week in some kind of a community center with tatami mats. At least, I think it was a community center. It was more like a back alley, but anyway! Looks can be deceiving, right? My lovely friend Kumi arranged everything for the class, even to lending me her kimono, yukata, obi, and all the accessories and undergarments that are needed. Kumi and her husband have been very kind to Matt, myself, and all the ALTs in our area. She attended kimono class with Jenni and me for support. The class itself was led by Oe-sensei, and there were about 15 other students. Some were middle-aged women, others were girls around my age. Some were genuinely interested, others were forced by their mothers to take up the art.

The lessons technically lasted two hours, but sometimes time went over. Just wearing kimono is intense, let alone putting it on yourself. There's a reason it's considered an art. For those two hours, we would either be sitting in seiza style, or standing on our feet, trying to make sense of how to put the garments on correctly. The entire class was also in Japanese, so I would have to heavily rely on demonstration. We also didn't really get to use mirrors. Needless to say, as much as I enjoyed these lessons, they were exhausting on top of my already-exhausting schedule of teaching 5-6 elementary classes that particular day. It was also almost an hour's drive away from my apartment. I would get home late, go to bed late, and it would affect my work performance the next day. After about 6 weeks, I made the decision to discontinue the lessons for my physical and mental health.

2 hours later: a little tired, but pleased with the results.

Thankfully, Oe-sensei took a liking to me and is good friends with Kumi. Thus, private lessons were arranged. Yesterday after work, I met up with Kumi and we caravanned to Oe-sensei's home. To my surprise, Dave was there with his visiting sister, Sara. I was happy to have both of them for the company, and Kumi had lent one of her kimono sets for Sara to use. Even though I hadn't done this in months, putting everything on was much easier this time around. It's amazing how much difference one-on-one instruction, mirrors, and a little English translation (thanks, Dave!) can make. As usual, we spent two hours doing it. Oe-sensei even made us tie the obi twice, but it was much easier the second time around.

Nice surprise!

After the lesson, Sara and I changed and we all went downstairs to leave. To our surprise, in the midst of instructing us and answering the door to guests, Oe-sensei had prepared a lovely meal! How could we say no? Everything tasted amazing, especially the crab miso soup and whatever kind of mochi was served as dessert. It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening. I didn't even notice how long it took me to drive home, and I still managed to get 8 hours of sleep since we started earlier than normal.

I love being able to have experiences like this, and just wanted to share! ♥

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