As mentioned in this entry, I am learning to dress myself in a furisode (long sleeved) kimono within 8 minutes for a regional contest (regional covering the Chuugoku and Shikoku regions in Western Japan). It is a full day of competitions for women in different kinds of kimono, men, children, and then the foreigners all grouped together in whatever style of Japanese dress they choose. Of course most of them (or their teachers) choose to go with flashy styles.

As promised, I have pictures to show what a biyousugata is–that is, the tool I use to fold the obi in front of me in a hurry instead of just standing up and doing it as I wear it (the typical approach). Seeing as they are mostly used for teaching and competition purposes, biyousugata aren’t typically included in a set of normal kimono tools (of which there are plenty). I suppose after learning the basics with this I might be able to learn normal methods more easily, but I haven’t tried yet–and for the next month and a half, I don’t have time to attempt that!

I start by arranging the tools to fold the obi–as well as the tools to fasten the obi to myself, which are not pictured here. The first thing to do is set the biyousugata and obi in place together.

Seconds later, it looks like…

Then it starts to look like a football with flowers. Or an elephant.

After some other ninja-like moves, it’s complete!

Sensei says I need to trim my obi-making time down by at least a minute (though altogether, I need to trim my time down by about 4 and a half minutes! It would help if the elastic to keep my collar in place wouldn’t snap off!). But of course, when I hurry I tend to skip steps or make it sloppy.

This one I took a whole 4:23 to fold…

This one I did 33 seconds faster, but can you tell where I messed up?

Been practicing about five weeks now, and there are five more weeks to practice. Ganbarimasu!