Naoko (Tokyo)

Naoko belongs to the 55-64 year old age group. She is working as an English teacher in junior high school. She was born and grew up in Fukuoka prefecture and now lives in Tokyo. Her first kimono memory was wearing a yukata in a summer festival in her childhood. Her parents made a furisode for her coming-of-age ceremony. After Naoko wore the furisode twice after coming-of-age ceremony, it went to five of her relatives like her sister, cousins and nieces. They made good memories by wearing the same furisode, but each one with a different hair style and character.

Since she belonged a tea ceremony club in university days, her parents made a kimono for her for a tea ceremony party. Then they made another kimono for her when she attended high school graduation ceremony as an English teacher in Fukuoka. Naoko could not wear kimono by herself, she was dressed by a hair dresser in her neighborhood. In Japan, many hair dressers are licensed as kimono dressers. She moved to Tokyo when she married. She was so busy looking after her two boys that she was far away from kimono for long time. She started to learn kimono in 2010 with her friend and she started to buy kimono herself at the same time. She tended to pick darker colored kimono because she does not like to worry about getting stains on kimono and making expensive cleaning bills. This is a big change from her favorite kimono colors which were pink or pale orange when she was single. The kimono school she went to sold kimono to the students. Naoko’s class mates bought a lot of kimono there but she tried to not be involved with this. She realized that only a limited few rich people with money, and the space to store kimono, have the time to wear and have places to go in kimono. Only those people could buy the kimono. She learnt to dress people in kimono recently. She made people happy by using her skill, for example by dressing non-Japanese in a kimono wearing experience or on her mother’s 80 years old birthday party. That was the first time for Naoko’s mother to wear a furisode. It became a good memory for her mother and relatives.

Naoko has 14 kimono at her place. Half of them are formal kimono including two black mourning kimono and the other half are casual kimono she bought for herself. For now, going to tea ceremony lessons is only chance she has to wear kimono. She thinks kimono makes her back straight and beautiful and it fits Japanese women’s body shape. Also kimono help us to notice the change of the four seasons and understand Japanese culture through the color combinations and traditional patterns.

尚子さん、55歳から64歳の年齢のグループ。中学校の英語教員をされています。福岡で生まれ育ち、現在は東京にお住まいです。夏祭りの浴衣が子供時代の最初の着物の思い出です。成人式にはご両親が振袖を作ってくれました。その振袖は尚子さんが成人式の他に2回着た後、妹さんや従姉妹、姪御さんなど5人がそれぞれの成人式に着ました。同じ着物でも着る人や髪型で雰囲気が変わり、それぞれ良い思い出になりました。東京での大学生時代は茶道部に所属していたためお茶会用に、また福岡での英語教員時代には卒業式用に着られる着物をご両親が作ってくれました。ご自分では着られなかったので、着物を着る機会があるときは美容院で着せてもらっていました。結婚を機に再び上京した後は、二人の男の子の子育てで忙しく着物から遠ざかっていましたが、2010年にお友達の影響で着付けを習い始めました。それと同時にご自分で着物を買うようになりましたが、独身時代に好んで作った華やかなピンクやオレンジ色の着物とは逆に、シミ取り代やクリーニング代を抑えられるよう汚れても目立たなさそうな地味な色目の着物を選ぶようになりました。その教室では着物も販売していて、一緒に着付けを習っていた人達がたくさんの着物を買っているのを見ていた尚子さんは、周りにつられて買いすぎないよう、必要最低限のものを買うのにとどめました。着物を買い続けるのには、収納場所、着る時間、着ていく場所やお金を含め余裕のある人しか続かないと思いました。最近は他装を習いました。外国人に着物を着せてあげたり、先日のお母さまの傘寿のお祝いには振袖を着せてあげ、初めて振袖を着たお母さまとご親戚に喜ばれたりと着物を通じた交流に役立っています。お手持ちの着物は14枚。夏用と冬用の喪服や付下げなどご両親に揃えてただいたフォーマル着物とご結婚後にご自分で買った小紋や紬、など半々くらいでお持ちです。

着物は再開された茶道のお稽古に行く時くらいしか着る機会はありませんが、着ると姿勢が良くなり、また日本人の体型に合って日本女性が美しく見えると思っています。

着物を通じて自然や四季のうつろいを感じたり、色遣いや文様など、日本の文化を理解するのに役立っています。

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