Not quite a little black dress

Several weekends ago, I traveled to Tomo-no-ura for a kimono-wearing event organized by the Fukuyama Association for Global Exchange. Basically to sum up the story—we got dressed in kimonos, strolled around the town and several weeks later a Fukuyama monthly newsletter was waiting for me on my desk. Why is this newsletter “blogworthy”? Well, because we are in it. Not because we committed some sort of kimono-crime, but rather, because what is more entertaining than a few foreign gals in kimono? Quite a lot actually, but that’s not the point.

It's like "Where's Waldo," but much easier...

It’s difficult for me to remember if I had any specific associations or impressions of kimonos prior to coming to Japan. But, if I remember correctly, kimonos made me think of geisha and those brightly colored parasols. After my arrival I found that, once again, I was completely off base.

Instead, many Japanese people wear kimonos. Old men and women, little boys and girls and everyone in between can choose to strut their kimono on any day or at any time. Usually kimonos make an appearance on special occasions including holidays, festivals, graduations and weddings. Also, there are many different kinds of kimonos depending on one’s age, the occasion, one’s marital status and who knows what else.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many layers are involved in dressing oneself in a kimono. Fortunately, in our presence, there was an absolutely gorgeous elderly lady who seemed to be an expert in the art of kimono. All of the other women called her sensei (teacher), and she seemed to have the ultimate say in who was dressed in which kimono and which accessories were perfect for one’s hairdo. All I can say is, on that day, I hope she dressed me in a single-lady kimono and adorned my head with single-lady hair accessories because I’m not trying to miss any opportunities. Kidding.

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