For some reason rainy spring days make me want to wear kimono. I wore kimono more frequently when I lived in Oregon (mostly in the high desert, not the rainy valley), but since moving back to California several years ago I haven’t put in the effort. On Monday, while rain clouds moved in over the drought beleaguered Bay Area, I decided it was time.
The last time I’d worn a kimono was on the one rainy day of my two week trip to Japan in 2013. Here I am walking through the Ginza in the rain, wearing a chirimen kimono that I’d struggled with for half an hour due to being so out of practice. Five minutes after this photo was taken I walked into a kimono shop and bought a beautiful obijime that suited the outfit much better than the pink one I had been wearing. The shop girls were impressed that I’d dressed myself, and I apologized repeatedly for having done such a lousy job of it.
The kimono I wore yesterday was much easier to put on, considering I had the luxury of a trunkful of kitsuke tools to work with and the benefit of a large mirror. The hanhaba obi was a major plus as well. This simple striped obi is my all-time favorite, and it has seen considerable use from my days of kyudo practice and work at Japanese cultural events and anime conventions including SakuraCon in Seattle, WA, Kumoricon in Portland, OR, and Fanime in San Jose, CA.
The casual komon (小紋 – fine pattern) kimono is one I picked up in Asakusa last year. It’s a soft and subtle tsumugi in muted shades of… well, I’m not sure how to describe it. Parchment, persimmon, and teal? I love how the colors of the fabric are reflected in the colors of the dye used for the stenciled design. The overall effect is very natural; no screaming oranges or bright greens, just calm and gentle hues. It hadn’t been my first choice for the day, but it turned out to be the best choice.
I’m looking forward to making this more of a habit this year and wearing kimono or yukata every Tuesday. Do you wear kimono? I’d like to hear about your experiences!