October 22, 2009

Kimono Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Filed under: Asia — maryparadox @ 7:47 pm
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Jackie and I spent a day walking around in the Asakusa neighborhood shopping and relaxing. It was raining cats and dogs. We tried all sorts of novelty foods and looked at every shop for kimonos. My sister really wanted one but we had no idea how much they were supposed to cost and the different quality levels. After several hours we got a pretty good feel for it — there seemed to be cheap packages at the tourist shops which contained a cotton or synthetic kimono, an oobe (belt) and sometimes shoes. There were used silk kimonos for around the same price or up, but they didn’t contain the belt, which is required to really wear the kimono, and the selection wasn’t as good. Then, after we had just about given up, we found a store which sold new silk kimonos for the same price, and cheap belts too! Jackie was so overwhelmed at this point she wasn’t sure she even wanted to buy one anymore, but the women in the shop were *very* good at sales and convinced her that she should try it on.

This ended up meaning they would dress her up properly in the kimono, which was a rather long process.

First there is some sort of undergarment which keeps the collar of the kimono in place.


Next they put the kimono over it and tie a small belt around your waist to pull the extra length of the kimono up.


Then they tie another two layers of belt around your waist to really cinch things in. Jackie said it was really tight.


The oobe goes over that. Unfortunately Jackie couldn’t see what they were doing, but it was some sort of crazy complicated knotting method we will never be able to reproduce.

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When they were Jackie looked pretty happy! I hate to say shopping is satisfying, but we were pretty happy by the time we left that shop. I even almost bought a kimono, but I managed to stop them from putting it on me, which would have been the kiss of death. I almost regret it, there was a beautiful orange and cream one that was totally “me”. Jackie is going to hang hers on the walking stick from Mount Fuji (more on that later) in her bedroom, which I can’t wait to see.


Interestingly, the oobe isn’t supposed to match the kimono. We had a hard time with that, so ended up picking one that matched on one side and was a contrasting color on the other. I think the combination looks great.


And for when Jackie does want to attempt to tie that crazy oobe again — there is an whole instruction book to go along with the kimono!


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