Last Friday I headed to the kids’ school for the chance to get dressed in a kimono by the pros: the members of the Futaba Girls’ School Tea Ceremony Club. Loyal martayaki readers may recall that last spring I attended a class where these same girls taught kimono dressing using a fellow Futaba student as a model.
This time it was the moms’ turns! The girls brought complete kimono sets for us to wear–but ever the over-achiever, I brought what kimono items I had and borrowed the missing pieces.
We spread out to meet our teams of dressers, and the girls got to work. The downside of getting dressed by three people is that I essentially had no idea how they were tying everything together. I know some basics, like Left over Right, always. The right lapel goes over the left lapel only at a funeral, and only on the deceased. I learned this important point during one of my first onsen visits, when a fellow bather very kindly pointed out my right-over-left faux pas.
After about fifteen minutes of fussing and tying, we were ready. The girls brought each of us a tray with a bowl of green tea and a traditional Japanese sweet. While there were several different kinds of sweets, most were variations of sweetened red bean paste inside and rice flour on the outside.
After the tea it was picture time! We posed with serene smiles. And goofy grins. And selfies, of course.
Then my friend Maria got me going. Maria is Romanian, and a complete nut bar–and I say this with total affection. We ran the Eastern European booth at the school’s Food Fair last spring, and we practice aikido together on Mondays. So when you routinely flip someone down on a mat and try to make them tap out by twisting an arm, bending a wrist back–you have History. It didn’t take much for Maria to convince me to try some aikido moves, restrictive kimono notwithstanding.
A few minutes later we lined up for this photo, and she and I could not stop laughing and cracking completely juvenile jokes under our breath. If you look closely at the two of us in the photo below, you’ll notice barely hidden smirks that indicate that we’re clearly up to no good.
Once we finished the girls set about folding the kimono and accessories in the proper manner. Because of course there’s a correct way to fold everything!
A special thanks to the Tea Ceremony Club of Futaba Gakuen for the experience, and to the many friends who kindly shared their photos with me.