February: my graduation ceremony for the third graders at my JHS is March 11th, and I decided to wear the traditional graduation garb that day. My set had to be altered a bit, so I dropped off my kimono and hakama with my teachers, who then proceeded to play dress up with various kimono after discussing the alterations. Kenji looked on, amused.
This is not really a flattering angle Kenji….
My kimono classes usually go one of two ways. One: Shimizu-sensei is cooking dinner, Kanda-sensei helping her, and Kubokawa-sensei helping me dress, then after we eat.
Two: my teachers dress me in a random kimono, then proceed to sit in seiza (what is this in English, kneeling? sitting with legs tucked under you) in a line, and discuss in Japanese while I stand there.
Recently it has been number two, which makes me feel like a giant dress-up doll for my teachers. I think they enjoy it.
March: two of my teachers were planning to come dress me the morning of my ceremony, but they weren’t able to in the end, so I had to learn quickly how to put on my graduation stuff myself. This was perfectly fine, as a) it is good to know how to do, and b) I can tweak it to my liking without offending my teachers XD I’ll get to that bit in a second.
Under kimono, kimono, tying the obi, and finally the hakama.
Now what I meant by tweaking it: Traditionally, the hakama for girls favored a sort of “junk-in-the-trunk” look in the back, which you can see here:
This is an odd look for a westerner, and apparently for the younger generation of Japanese, because every book and picture of a girl wearing hakama under the age of 35 has minimized the hump in the back by tying the obi smaller and using the hakama strings to batten down the obi bow. I much prefer this look, myself. The hakama HAS to have at least a small bump, because the back is longer than the front and it falls weird if you don’t have it entirely, but when I put it all on myself I make sure to make it much smaller, like this:
MUCH better, but shhhh don’t tell my teacher please!
Anyway, upcoming: THE FINAL PRODUCT, AKA Graduation Day 😀