[English below] 木工作家『ぽっぽじいじ』こと
Message of the Week
Hello! I'm Yuka Ozeki, a hairdresser.
Do you know that kimono dressing is part of a range of hairdressers' techniques? As one of the important skills we should learn, we study how to help our customers get dressed in kimono. Needless to say, we can get dressed in kimono by ourselves as well.
We work as a professional kimono dressers in various events. For example, at "Shichi-go-san" festival (which literally means "seven-five-three": it is an annual Japanese festival to celebrate the growth of children. It is for boys aged three and five, and girls aged three and seven), we help young children get dressed in special kimono for celebration. At "Coming-of-age" ceremony, we help 20 year old ladies to get dressed in beautiful long-sleeved kimono called "Furisode" (their sleeves are nearly 1 meter long!). And of course, at weddings, we are in charge of assisting brides to get dressed in bridal kimono. We are fully responsible for their hairdressing and kimono dressing, that is, we have professional skills to help our customers shine out literally from head to toe! I should say not all the hairdressers have these total skills, though.
Back in the old days, people used to be dressed in kimono on a daily basis. When I was very young, I used to see people dressed in kimono quite often.
But how about these days? Kimonos are worn only for special occasions or life events like I mentioned above. It's not at all unusual that some young ladies wear "tabi" (Japanese socks) for the first time in their life when they are dressed in kimono on their coming-of-age day!
Certainly I do kimono dressing as part of my job, but I myself do love kimono, obi and things Japanese! The idea of dressing kimono in a sophisticated way always thrills me and strolling around the streets or having a cup of tea at cafe...such daily actions become very much different when you do these in kimono. I'd love to tell people how wonderful kimono culture is; I really wish to launch the kimono society and enjoy going out with members dressed in kimono. I believe helping people get to know the beauty of kimono is one of my missions as a professional hairdresser. Also I am planning to give lessons for those who wish to wear kimono by themselves. The most important thing is, anyway, to help people feel familiar with kimono in their daily life.
It seems like the time has come for us to think of the post-pandemic new normal. Gradually people are starting to spending more time outside. Well, isn't it a good time for me to start my missions?
I think I can tell people how wonderful kimono is simply because I am deeply in love with kimono myself. Not only as a professional hairdresser, but also an enthusiastic lover of things Japanese, I'd love to organize some get-together with friends who also love good old things Japanese.
Times are changing, and we just cannot stop it, but kimono culture is what we can present to the world with pride. I will keep on searching for what I can do as a hairdresser. The best is yet to come, just like Al Jolson said in "The Jazz Singer"; You ain't heard nuthin' yet.
-- Yuka Ozeki (1, December 2021)