On Oct 6th, I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something I thought I’d never do. The Japan American Society of Pennsylvania brought in two wonderful ladies from Japan who are actually quite well known. Their day job is to dress people in traditional Japanese dress for weddings, which is a service widely provided, due to the fact that kimono has fallen out of fashion and most Japanese people don’t know how to dress in kimono. If you have enough money, however, you can be dressed in much more than the standard men’s kuromontsuki-haori-hakama and the women’s uchikake. Some people spring for something much much older: Heian Era dress (794 – 1185 CE). Known best for the Tale of Genji and being the Golden Age of Japan, it’s also known for the elaborate dress the women wore. Normally called juunihitoe (十二単）(lit. 12 unlined robes), the day-to-day version was formally called itsutsu-karaginu-mo (五衣唐衣裳） which refers to the five normal layers, the Chinese-style over-garment, and the long train. My friend Mizuki got to wear that (and I did afterwards) but I wore what’s called a Noushi (直衣). The outfits they brought were silk, even though they had synthetic ones, because the silk ones were lighter. I don’t know if I’d put that much trust in the US airline baggage system. Oh and my outfit was worth $10,000 and hers was worth $30,000. Anyways, here are the pictures:
The beautiful kimono and hakama.
I really hope that everyone who organized it, Katsuko-sensei who asked me if I wanted to do it, and the wonderful ladies who have me the opportunity to do this know how much it meant to me.