Today I wore yukata for the first time. Putting it on was a whole process that took nearly half an hour, but it was worth it. Thank you to Kitamura-sensei at Nishimachi International school for dressing me properly. I started with a plain white t-shirt and white shorts underneath. The Japanese wear a small slip-like item that ties in the front. Then the yukata goes on. After that, there is a tie around the hips and a special “puffing” out so that the hem comes up. It doesn’t matter how tall or short one is – a yukata fits. (One of my friends is so skinny that sensei had to make folds in the cloth so it wouldn’t appear so huge – there were perfect little tucks all across her back when the sensei was finished.) Then there’s a string around my waist, nice and snug. The finishing touch is the obi, which can be tied in many many different ways. An obi is nearly 9 feet long – it wraps around me twice, and then it’s thrown over my shoulder to start the bow, and pulled back to finish off. Here are a number of steps in the process:
Putting on – “wearing” – the yukata is an art. Not everyone knows how to do it properly.
From start to finish, it was quite an experience. It was snug, but not overly tight. A yukata differs from a kimono in its formality and fabric. The yukata are lighter in weight, and mostly worn in summer and therefore, they are less formal. While it was snug, it wasn’t uncomfortable. I actually felt very um…supported. I felt all loose when I took it off. It was a very interesting sensation – putting it on and removing it.