Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dinner And A Kimono

A few nights ago I was invited over to Kyoko's home for dinner. Kyoko is in the English conversation class I lead. She had invited myself and fellow ALT Kyle over, excited for us to meet her daughter Nori, and share in her cooking and some general conversation. 

 Kyle and I were greeted at the door by 30 year old Nori, currently living in Australia, just home for a bit to visit Mom and Dad. Kyle and I smiled trying to put our best face forward, as the rest of us look rather pathetic. We had biked 20 minutes, uphill, in a sudden downpour, accessorized by thunder and lightening, to get to their home.
The storm of course stopped minutes after we arrived.

We dried off a bit and started chatting. Talking to Nori about her boyfriend in Australia, and the fact that she went to the elementary school where Kyle is now teaching. While we waited for Nori's father to come home from work so we could eat, Kyoko asked if I wanted to put on a kimono. I wasn't completely dry, nor did I feel remotely attractive biking in a downpour will humble anyone, real fast but I was here and she was ready, so why the hell not.

She took me to an adjoining room with the different parts of the kimono laid out. I looked at the 10 or so different pieces and wondered if anyone could ever put this on, on their own. Kyoko chatted with me during the roughly 20 minutes it took to get me dressed. I watched her as she picked up each piece with care, then thought, tied, adjusted, thought, and tightened the various clothing items. I asked if people were able to do this on their own, or if they needed to have help. She explained that professionals could probably dress themselves, but the average person needed at least one extra pair of hands. I completely understood why. 

When we were finally done, I stepped in front of a full length mirror and stared back at myself. Despite my wet hair, and make-up less face, I felt surprisingly beautiful. The kimono, though not entirely comfortable, was extremely flattering. While I usually slouch in my standard jeans and a t-shirt, I was now standing stick straight with the best posture I'd had in years. I was aware of every move I made as I glided around the house, taking pictures in various poses. 

Kyoko explained that the kimono had been her mother's who had purchased it in Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan. Apparently, her mother, herself and her daughter Nori, had worn it on their Coming of Age Day. Coming of Age Day is an annual holiday in January, where anyone who has turned 20 in the past year gets dressed in traditional Japanese garments and visits a shrine or prefectual office for a ceremony, celebrating adulthood. 

Kyoko went to the bookshelf, then came over and handed me a picture. 
It was a picture of herself taken on her Coming of Age Day.
She was striking.

circa 1970
Kyoko & Kate
Can you see Kyoko in the background?
We did take a picture together, but I don't have a copy of it. 

 Then it was time for dinner. I went back where my jeans and t-shirt were thrown on the floor. What took 20 minutes to put on, took 2 to take off. In a second I was back to Kate from California. I sat down at the table and did my best to sit up straight as I reached for my chopsticks.

Standing tall in jeans and a t-shirt, 

[The Latest]

Must Read: The Story of Obama`s Kenyan Sister...from The Root via
Google Search: Jackson Pollock in Tokyo.
Tune: Call Me Maybe By Carly Rae Jepson. I'm obsessed with this song, even though it makes me feel 13.
Accomplishment: Sticking with, A Visit From the Goon Squad.
Obsessions: Vanilla Tea.

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