Friday, November 8, 2013

Japanese Kimono: a traditional and stylish clothing?

Last month a friend of mine came to Japan and the first thing he asked me was where he could find and dress a kimono, a traditional japanese clothing. He was very interested on it, specially after seeing this picture of mine.

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The day I took this picture, went with some friends to a temple where some old ladies taught us how to make a pretty ikebono (japanese flower arrangement) and then helped each of us to dress the kimono and take pictures around the temple. I never imagined would be so difficult to wear a kimono, two old ladies had to wear it on me!

Anyway, was a nice experience. I think every foreigner who comes to Japan wants to wear it and feel like a real japanese. But what surprised me that summer day was seeing not just old people interested in kimono, but also young people. 

I was really surprised because normally young peop are not interested in traditional things. In Japan most of them don't like enka (old japanese songs), for example. But, kimono seems to be the exception of the rule.

I spoke to some of those young people and they told me they usually wear yukata (a kind of "cheap and simple kimono") for the summer and kimono for special occasions like the Coming of Age Day. This date, young women who have just turned 20 years old celebrate their majority wearing very nice kimono. Some of them take a long time (like months) to choose the prettiest one.

During the Coming of Age Day, japanese women dress kimono and japanese men dress suit, They can also drink alcohol for the first time (yeah, right, for the first time). 

So, maybe kimono is not just a traditional thing anymore, but also a stylish thing. And when traditional things become stylish, they become more expensive. The proof of that is the big money I paid only to wear that kimono for third minutes.

It's the same as watching a concert of Bossa Nova in Brazil, Tango in Argentina or Fado in Portugal, for example. They are traditional music styles which became very famous worldwide and some chic places can charge a high price for a presentation, reason why I could not watch Tango when I was in Argentina.

So, if you come to Japan someday, I suggest you to wear kimono just like my friend and I did. But, remember there are other traditional things you can do as drinking sake and listening to enka? Have you never heard it before? So, check this video with my favorite enka song.

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