第2回 Nippon学の感想



My 67-year-old father recently had a hip replacement. After surgery, he called me and said he wanted to “test drive” his new hip in Japan. So he came to visit us the weekend of our Nippon Gaku Kimono class. Muraki Sensei graciously invited Dad and me to be models. She was kind enough to dress us in her priceless family heirloom kimono. We were honored by Muraki Sensei’s generosity and patience.

We learned that kimono once worn by grandparents can be cut apart, redesigned, dyed different colors, and worn by three generations or more. I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous variety of color combinations and fabrics. Some students brought their kimono in a special suitcase, carefully folded so that they looked fresh and perfectly creased at all times. I was surprised to learn that the hidden undergarments are just as beautiful as the outer robe of the kimono. This attention to detail, even when no one else can see it, strikes me as “very Japanese”.

We worked in pairs or small groups to dress each other under Muraki Sensei’s supervision. As expected, the women needed more time to dress than the men. This seems to be true wherever you go in the world. Wearing kimono changed not only our appearance but also our behavior. We spoke more softly, moved more gracefully. We were aware of the dignity and respect that kimono demand of both the wearer and the observer. It made our tea ceremony a special event that required something extra from us that our everyday clothes don’t require.

My Dad’s new hip required something extra of me, too. He has recovered well but he still needs help with his shoes and socks. Before I came to Japan, this would have been a problem for me. In my culture, if an adult needs help dressing himself, it is often a sign of weakness that places an unfair burden on the helper. Also, my Dad has always been an all-powerful, heroic figure to me. When he asked me to help him with his shoes and socks, it was an unfamiliar situation for both of us. Fortunately, my previous adjustment to life in Japan prepared me for this moment.

During the past year, I have needed help with most of my everyday activities like reading, writing, speaking, shopping, and even bathing, using the toilet and washing clothes. At first, I was embarrassed and frustrated by how much help I needed. Yet rather than feeling like a burden, my Japanese friends have made me feel welcomed and cared for. I have learned to be grateful for the help and for the bond of friendship that results from it.

That’s why, during Nippon Gaku class, I didn’t feel embarrassed as I knelt at my Dad’s feet, took off his shoes and socks, and put on his tabi. I felt honored. It was an act of dignity for him, not shame. The Nippon Gaku Kimono Session was a unique privilege for us. My Dad and I will never forget this rare experience that made Dad’s visit to Japan the opportunity of a lifetime. We thank Muraki Sensei, Kakegawa Lifestyle Design College Staff and the other Nippon Gaku students for what we learned and for the beautiful memories we made together.
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posted by スローライフ掛川 at 2007/12/30 14:53 | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | アクティビティプログラム>NIPPON学
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