衣 – Clothes/Fashion

People put on American/European-style clothing in everyday life. Kimono, Japanese traditional clothes, would be seen on special scenes these days. It could be roughly divided into two categories: formal and expensive kimono, casual and reasonable ones. The former are made of 100% silk, while the latter of artificial textile, flax and cotton.

You could find beauty of fine embroidery on the silk, precise weaving and delicate dying techniques on the kimono masterpieces. Along with OBI, a sash belt for kimono, they are artworks worth window-shopping.

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Kimono shape and color depend on the occasion, age and marital status. Above is furisode, meaning long sleeves, for young women before marriage. Besides, putting on a kimono properly (=kitsuke) includes a lot of items such as obi, kimono shoes (=zori), kimono socks (=tabi) along with technique to tie obi.

On the other hand, YUKATA is affordable and easy to put on. People in ancient times put on yukata to bathe. It was used as a bathrobe in 16th century, before becoming daily clothes in the Edo period (1603-1868). Lately, it is one of the most fashionable summer-wears. It also contributes to keep the atmosphere of Japanese tradition of kabuki and sumo: actors and wrestlers put on yukata to relax after their performances. Yukata service is available at many Japanese-style hotels (=ryokan).

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Kimono Shopping: Luxurious kimonos and kitsuke-related items are available normally on the upper story of department stores. Most of private kimono shops are for custom-made ones.

Yukata Shopping: Department stores, supermarkets and kimono shops sell yukatas.

Looking around used, but nicely antiquated kimonos is a highly recommended experience. Please check up flea markets and secondhand kimono stores.

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Kaishi: written懐紙, means Japanese facial tissue. White ones are preferred on formal occasions, while others with seasonal patterns printed on are very pretty. How to use it depends on you – as a handkerchief? As a saucer for popcorn? Or as a piece of letter paper to write waka on like noble people in Heian period (794-1185)?

kaishi, m

 

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