Wearing a Kimono

Kimono's are worn for big Japanese traditional and cultural events. While I was in Ashikaga I saw some mothers wearing them for their children's opening ceremonies for the start of the school year in the Spring. I also saw Japanese travelers wearing Kimonos around Asakusa in Tokyo and taking pictures with the city in the background. I did not see any foreigners wearing Kimonos around the city, so if you are a foreigner who is not Japanese you may feel slightly uncomfortable and people may look at you oddly because Japanese culture is so rich that it may look out of place. However, I am sure that foreigners before have work Kimonos around the city. BUT don't let that stop you from going to a Kimono shop and getting one put on you and taking pictures at the shop with friends.

I was with my family and they wanted to take me to get a Kimono on because I am 20 years old, and that is the age at which women celebrate, and wear kimonos. This was a very long process. Underneath the kimono you are wrapped around the abdominal area, kind of like a corset. I highly recommend using the bathroom before the process beings, as I can imagine using the bathroom with the Kimono on. It's safe to say that I could NOT access my diaphragm while wearing the beautiful dress (I say "dress" as in clothing, not an actual Dress). However beauty is pain, and that shows in the end result. The fabric wrapped around your waist is folded in the back similar to the way origami is folded, and is quite beautiful. The women who dress you are excellent at the folding and making you look very very beautiful. This was my first time in a Kimono, and I really enjoyed it.
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My hair was put into a bun and they added fake hair around my bun to make it look more curly (Asian hair is usually straight, curly is always a nice change). There as also a flower similar to the color of my kimono placed into my bun. As you can see, my (half) American arms are a little long, so the sleeves were a tad bit too short for me. As for taking pictures, I have been told, by my German friend, that I have an "American Smile" which I think means that my smile is very big and bright. While I do love my smile, it felt slightly odd smiling too big with this beautiful, traditional outfit on. In many Japanese pictures of formal events, smiles look much more subtle, or many people, especially men, will not smile at all. Wanting to be culturally appropriate, while taking pictures I did try my best to have a subtle smile. This is something you may need to practice if you like your pictures to be perfect. I am not a subtle smiler, but I tried to make myself learn last minute. So to all the girls out there that smile big and bright, it may be worth your time to find out a good angle/smile that is subtle enough to fit the part of a traditional Japanese woman, while still having pictures you like. The traditional Japanese dress is so beautiful that I wanted to match my facial expression with it, which is why I tried to smile accordingly. 

However, that is just my opinion and feel free to smile however you would like. No matter what, I'm sure you will look great in this amazing Japanese outfit. I am not sure how much it costs to get dressed in the Kimono, but do expect to pay the dresser. Would very much recommend this for the experience and the beautiful pictures!

Lindsey Kosaki