Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back on my kimono horse

After a three-month break I climbed back up on it yesterday. Needless to say I was a little nervous about getting into my kitsuke classes again, especially since I haven't taken more than a week off since starting over a year ago. As with most hands-on skills however, it all came back fairly quickly and before long I was in kimono and sporting that ever-attractive summer sheen all over my face.

At the end of this shihan (master) course I am in the middle of, I have to qualify for national certification by dressing a model in furisode with a slightly complicated obi arrangement that is appropriate for that kind of kimono. During this course we learn three new ways of tying obi for a furisode ensemble and I have to choose one of them so yesterday I learned the last one. I still have about 15 classes left but need to decide on the obi for my test soon so that I can start practicing. I only have a few practical classes left, three of which are dedicated to bridal kimono, which will probably be more difficult than anything I've learned so far due to the number of layers and weight of the garments.

The rest of the classes remaining are lectures, where I get to sit at a little table on the floor and stare up at either my sensei or the head of the school while they teach me about kimono history, fabrics, manners and practical application. I always imagine this is what it must have been like in the Olden Days. If you recall from my previous posts, you'll know that lectures are my favourite type of class as they require me to sit in seiza for a couple hours. I can shift around a little and sit with my legs to the side but it really doesn't help and I am about ready for surgery with no anesthesia by the end of the lesson. I asked my teacher for some tips, which were helpful if you were sitting for 20 minutes but I find after the 30-minute mark all bets are off. I don't understand how Japanese people do it. They also complain about sitting seiza but I don't see any of them throwing in the oshibori faster than me. It's puzzling, as people here in their twenties and thirties probably didn't sit seiza much growing up unless they were participating in some extra-curricular activity requiring them to do so. So are they in fact better at seiza or just at forgetting about the pain? After all, gaman is slung around here so often you'd think it was going out of style. I'd love to know.


Lisa said...

That looks like fun! Do you own many kimonos? Do you get to wear kimono or yukata often?

Tornadoes28 said...

I agree with you about sitting seiza. After about 20 minutes, my long legs are in extreme pain. I had always thought that Japanese could sit that way for so long because they had been doing it since they were small children so their legs became used to it. There muscles and tendons have adjusted.

NeverBreakXPact said...

I read somewhere, unfortunately I forget where, that a medical study was done which proved that asian peoples' knees are slightly different than other ethnicities. I'm unclear on the specifics but I think its somewhat similar to double-jointedness. I remember the reason for the study had to do with artificial joints for the knees on prosthetic limbs. It was really interesting, sorry my comment is so vague.

jellybeanzkelley said...

You can practice on me and my furisode! Lemme get another obi first. Mine is a little short.

kathy said...

I'm uberly amazed by your ability to do kitsuke. I hope you go for the national accreditation, it will be something for you to be one up on the secretaries with :)

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Lisa: I own a few, but my buying habits are really bad - I'll buy here and there so nothing ends up matching. I'm going to have my measurements taken and have a couple made towards the end of the year so that I have a few proper outfits. I wear yukata in the summer to festivals and kimono only a handful of times during the year.

Tornadoes28: That's what I have always thought too but I wonder about younger generations as I imagine they didn't sit seiza at a young age as much as older generations did.

NeverBreak: Thats sounds interesting. I might take a look around for that on the net.

kathy: I hadn't thought of that but excellent idea! Anything to get ahead :)