I got my first kimono in Kyoto during a trip in 2006. Here it is.
I had come to Japan as a tourist, and I knew nothing about kimono except for (a) I thought they were beautiful, and (b) I wanted one as a souvenir. I had no idea what to look for except what was aesthetically pleasing to me. I walked into a used kimono store and was looking around for The Perfect Kimono. At the time, I thought it would be the only kimono I would ever own, and I didn’t want to regret my decision. I picked this one because it has all my favourite colours in it, purple, pink, and blue. I remember the shopkeeper telling me it was a very formal kimono (he probably told me it was a furisode, but I spoke no Japanese at the time and I couldn’t remember the word.)
Then, I wanted to get an obi to go with it. Again, not knowing anything about kimono, I asked the shopkeeper what she would recommend. She brought out a pink hanhaba obi. She told me it would be easier for me, as a foreigner, to tie it. At the time, I accepted it. Now, I cringe at the thought. After living in Japan for several years and studying kimono for two, I know what a faux-pas that is.
I also didn’t get any undergarments. No nagajuban, no datejime, no koshihimo. Just a karihimo that the shopkeeper threw in. I thought I was set and ready to wear my kimono. But I also realized that I needed footwear. I spotted a pair of geta at the local market (again, I knew nothing) that had straps that matched the pink in the kimono. I got them, but I’m proud to say that I never wore them. Not because I learned better, but because I realized that they were too small for me.
So to summarize, my first ever kimono outfit consisted of one furisode, one karihimo, one hanhaba obi, and one pair of geta. Sigh.
Everyone starts somewhere. This is where I started. I’m going to go hide in a hole now and burn any pictures I have of me wearing that embarrassing combination.