My grandmother, (father’s mother), a woman of the Meiji period, was a professional tea ceremony teacher in an age when women did not work outside the home. My own mother was physically weak, and so when I was a baby, my futon was often placed at the edge of the tea ceremony room, while my grandmother worked. I grew up listening to the talk of the women who were involved in the tea ceremony. Although I heard many good things, I also heard them gossiping and saying harsh things and realized that the tea ceremony community was difficult socially. I always thought that I never wanted to be a part of that system. When I was in my 20s, my grandmother would send her kimono and obi, and instruct me to wear them for various tea ceremonies. I had to go back to Kobe and attend out of duty to my grandmother. When my grandmother grew old, we had no choice but to move her from Kobe to my mother’s home in Yokohama. It was a great stress for my mother to have her mother-in-law living with her as she was a severe old woman, so I volunteered to have her stay at my house in Tokyo twice a month and I arranged for her to teach the tea ceremony here. She would teach two classes, stay overnight, teach one more class and go back to Yokohama after lunch. These times were very hard work for me, especially if she wanted to serve a meal, but I really got to know my grandmother well, learnt about the tea ceremony and I now consider those times I had with my grandmother as a blessing. I started my own tea ceremony class, and had to learn to wear kimono. I bought a kitsuke book and had two lessons from a local friend who was a qualified kimono school teacher. Later I went to two more local classes and learned different ways to tie obi. My mother in law was good at sewing and although I haven’t learned wasai, (Japanese sewing), my mother in law taught me how to take out sleeves and do minor repairs on kimono. I have also made myself two obi.
My mother also liked to wear kimono, always wearing it at new year, and I have inherited a lot of kimono from my mother as well as my grandmother. My mother never had the “iki” stylishness of my grandmother though. They were different types of personality.
I occasionally borrow books from the library and gets hints from them about adapting or adjusting things or coordination. Recently I borrowed a book called “Kimono passed on from my mother”. 母ゆずりのきもの
私の着物コレクションの一番大きな影響は祖母とお茶です。祖母は明治時代の女性です。女性が働かない時代にお茶の先生として働きました。私の母の身体が弱かったため、小さい時、私の布団は茶室の隅に敷かれそこで昼寝をしました。そこで女性どうしの会話をたくさん聞いて育ちました。いい話もありましたが、あまり良くない話もたくさんあり、お茶の世界は厳しいと思い、絶対にやりたくないと考えていました。２０代の時、神戸より祖母が着物と帯をお茶会に着るようにと私に送ってきて、お茶会があるときは神戸に帰らなければなりませんでした。祖母が歳をとり、横浜にある母の家に移る事になりましたが、厳しい祖母でしたので母にとっては姑が来るのは大変なストレスでした。そのため月２回、私の東京の家に祖母に泊まりに来てもらい、ここで祖母がお茶を教える事にしました。ふたクラスを教えて、寝て、朝また教えて、昼食をとって、横浜に帰りました。祖母が食事まで出したいと希望する時は特に大変でしたが、今思い出すと祖母との貴重な時間と体験でした。自分でお茶の教室を始める際、着付けの本を買い、さらに近所の友達が免許を持っていたので着付けのレッスンを２回受けました。後でまた２回受けて、変わり結びの勉強をしました。私は和裁の経験はないのですが、縫い物上手な義理の母から教えてもらい、帯二本を自分で作りました。袖直しなども自分でできます。母も着物が好きで、いつもお正月に着ました。母の着物もたくさん譲り受けました。でも母は祖母のようにお洒落でも，粋でもありません。二人の性格は違います。私の着物はお茶にふさわしい着物です。ほとんどが小紋と色無地です。踊りの人ならもっと派手でしょう。でもお茶に来る人がおしゃれにしても、お茶を作る側はしないほうがいいと考えています。たまに図書館から着物の本を借ります。色合わせやお直しの方法を参考にします。今は” 母ゆずりのきもの” という本を借りています。