Interpreter cooperation “A Walk with Kimono”
LVC worked as translators for a “Kimono de Sampo” event for the Gallery Himawari’s Dentogino Hozon Kumiai (protection of traditional performing arts association) in Shirakawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo.
Together with “Yasuneko Studio”
this event was held from 19th to 31st January 2016 at the gallery on the 2F of Amuse Museum in Asakusa.
It was on a very cold day in a forecasted once in a decade cold wave, that through 9 LVC members’ enthusiastic calls to passers-by, we were able to introduce the charm of kimono and goods remade from kimono to foreign visitors such as people from America, China, Britain, Germany, Australia, and Malaysia.
Although holiday makers usually have limited time, however, they tried wearing kimono and had their photographs taken. Some of the visitors were fascinated by kimono fabric and bought a lot of pieces of material. On top of that, some of them enjoyed the “Nuno-no-kaiga BORO~the beautiful old cloth exhibition” in the museum on the upper floor. Some people were moved by Japanese “mottainai culture”. We were glad that our guiding helped to impress foreign visitors.
The following are comments from LVC members who attended this project.
A young couple visited here. The young man had visited Japan many times on holiday, so this time he was showing his fiancée around his favourite Tokyo. He wanted to have an experience wearing kimono together with his fiancée; however, unfortunately the shop didn’t have any men’s kimono so the lady tried hers on alone. They took photographs of themselves and together with LVC staff, using their own smartphones. The beautiful patterns of the silk kimono suited her very well.
I met a woman from Scotland who was travelling around Hokkaido till yesterday. She talked enthusiastically of Japanese people’s hospitality. It seemed she enjoyed the conversation with me and she asked me to guide her around the “BORO-ichi” exhibition in the museum. In the museum, many old clothes from the Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) eras, which had had their tears mended several times, were exhibited with descriptions. In the museum, I was asked the meaning of the word “mottainai” which appeared in the descriptions, so I explained that in those days, people didn’t throw things away easily even when they got old. They mended and continued to use them for a long time, like these exhibits. She seemed so touched and said “I like this aspect of Japanese culture very much” and took pictures of each one of the clothes. Through the experience of this kimono volunteer activity, I also was able to learn good points of Japanese culture. Thank you very much.
When I told the Chinese visitors that these modern designed blouses and skirts were remade from old kimono, they seemed so impressed and bought some of them and said “We think it’s a wonderful Japanese idea. You should tell this more to the world.” I was so glad to hear that and told the owner of “Yasuneko Studio” . When the Chinese ladies were wearing kimono with the staff’s help, their spirits became higher. They were jumping around the floor with joy and took photographs of each other. “We are so glad the foreign people enjoyed wearing kimono this much. It seems all tiredness goes away” said the owner of the “Gallery Himawari” The excitement when you choose the most suitable kimono and obi (sash) for yourself and the anticipation of seeing yourself in the mirror are all the same the world over, right? They were so cute.