(PICTURE: How could I come to Japan and not learn the crane move from Karate Kid?)
It was only a matter of time before I got to wear a kimono. Despite common thought, Japanese people rarely wear kimonos. Actually, I should correct that. Japanese men rarely wear kimonos. Kensuke told me that he wears a kimono one time a year. I asked my students how how many times they've worn a kimono and the consensus was that they have only worn one twice in their lives. Once when they turned 7 and once when they turned 20, both important milestones for Japanese.
Masumi loves to wear kimonos and actually takes a "kimono wearing class" every week. Basically she and other women get together and practice putting on their kimonos. From what I've been told women's kimonos are much trickier to put on correctly then men's kimonos. Well, after my cooking class at Kensuke and Masumi's house they asked me if I wanted to try on Kensuke's kimono. How could I say no?
Kensuke came downstairs with a very flat box. Inside was his neatly folded kimono.
(PICTURE: The box the kimono is stored in.)
Kensuke took out the kimono and proceeded to help me put it on. There were a number of steps to wearing a kimono properly and I really couldn't recount them now if I tried. I was very impressed though that Kensuke was able to put his kimono on me since he had never dressed anyone before. Imagine having to tie a Windsor knot on someone for the first time...if a Windsor knot had like 20 additional maneuvers to be worn correctly.
(PICTURE: Kensuke practicing on himself in order to get it right on me.)
After Kensuke started to dress me, Masumi wanted to get in on the fun. She quickly ran upstairs and got dressed in one of her kimonos. I think we can all agree, she looks much better in a kimono than I do:
(PICTURE: Me and Masumi wearing kimonos. To top off the Japanese-ness of the moment, we're standing on a Tatami mat.)
If you're keeping score at home, I can now make sashimi and wear a kimono. All I need to do to become fully Japanese is learn to speak the language and develop some sword skills.