I enjoy the precise nature of Japan. There’s precision in the timing of the public transport and precision in making up a futon. There’s precision in the way you take your shoes off and turn them around for when you go back out. There’s precision in the movements of the traditional tea ceremony. There’s precision in eating Hatsumabushi (grilled eel on rice). Calmness and efficiency in what is a busy and very driven society.
Let’s talk about my favourite precision of all. Putting on a kimono.
First, (take your shoes off and turn them around of course) enter a tatami room where several older Japanese ladies are getting a little excited about helping you dress up. Next, strip to your underwear and put on a petticoat, or bloomers and a thin cotton ‘under kimono’ (I’m unsure what they’re called, can someone enlighten me?). Don’t forget to put on some socks too. And then, it’s time to be wrestled into a silk clad sausage shape by aforementioned excited Japanese ladies.
The ladies used several pieces of cloth to shorten the kimono so that I could walk in it, and also to secure it closed. The left side should be over the right side. Then they added padding, and wrapped around the obi, and somehow tied a bow in it. Finally they added a cord and tied pretty knots in it at the front. It was all quite tight by the time they had finished with me.
For the grand finale, we were allowed to walk around a beautiful park in Nagoya, where the autumn colours are fully on display.
And unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to wear my kimono home!