I’ve been practicing twice a week or so for the past two months, and this Sunday is finally the day of the contest! The regional kimono consultants’ contest is for the entire Chuugoku and Shikoku regions, with the top three winners in each category going on to the national (or world, as the case may be) finals in Tokyo on the NHK stage. There are various categories for Japanese women based on the type of kimono, a category for men, a category for children, and a category for foreigners doing whatever style they choose. It sounds like my friend Xiao Man and I will be the only two representating Matsue this time, but we have a little group going to cheer us on.

My furisode (long, flowing sleeves) is rather showy–it’s what young, unmarried women wear to things like their coming of age day, New Years, or weddings. Participants are judged not only on how fast they go and what the finished outfit looks like, but on their manner as they get dressed. Usually, I’m so concerned about finishing on time that I sacrifice a little of this manner, but that won’t leave a good impression on the judges! Maybe as long as I remember to smile (as Sensei constantly reminds us) my flashy and rather ungraceful antics will be endearing? Well, I can hope, or I can do my best to be refined.

Wish me luck! Hopefully I won’t come back with stories about ungraceful mishaps on stage!