This trip seems like years ago when in fact it was only a few months. Yet my memories are fading and I guess it’ll be hard for me to write a proper account of what we did or where we went, especially in Osaka which I’m totally unfamiliar with and the road names are hard to remember. But I’ll try. Here goes…
3rd Day of trip, 2nd day in Osaka, we woke up early to get our makeup done. We were going to Kyoto to dress up in kimonos and visit a temple. Mel was very busy helping most of us with our makeup that day, and despite the chaos in the tiny apartment, we still made it out in good time. It was quite a long train ride but don’t ask me which train we took and how long was the ride, I was merely a sheep following the many shepherds (and my memory isn’t that good at all).
Pictures of that day: Outfit of the day, train ride, walking to the kimono rental shops, typical Japanese houses along the way…
The rental shop, Yumeyakata, was very well organised. Shoes had to be removed first before entering the shop. A helper explained the process and gave each of us a recyclable tote bag to place our picks of kimonos and accessories. We went up to 2nd floor to pick our kimonos. Another helper explained the types of kimonos for rent (which ones are the basic types and which are premium), and the accessories available for rent. Bags were free for rent. After picking our dress and the matching ribbons (the shop helpers will help you find something that would suit you if you have trouble deciding, and also help you match the ribbons to your dress), we made our way to the counter to make payment.
Then it was up to the 3rd level where we were helped into our kimonos in front of a wall of mirrors that were numbered. It was all very organised. We were given tabi socks to wear. Then we were each called to stand in front of one of the numbered mirrors (1st come 1st served, of course) which served as our ‘dressing room’. Since the room was all females only, it didn’t matter that there were no curtains to separate us. Besides, we were allowed to wear our Heattechs and leggings with the kimonos.
The lady dressing me was an elderly lady, hence more experienced and strict with the proper wearing of a kimono. At first I thought she would chide me for wearing perfume as I had applied some Espa body lotion on my body in the morning after shower and the bergamot fragrance was quite strong and lasting. The shop’s website states that perfume is not allowed because the fragrance might stick to the kimono. Luckily the lady did not notice, or if she did, didn’t mind at all. She had me stand with the big toes of my feet touching each other, no gap allowed, and started dressing me up with an inner white gown, then a small white blouse. Then she tied a sash around me and took a look at the mirror, nodding and mumbling her approval. Phew! Passed the first test!
Then, she reminded me to bring my feet together again, raised my arms to the side, and dressed me up in the kimono. She took great care with tying the middle with a sash and adjusting the length, then putting a cardboard around my stomach and tying it with a small cotton towel tightly wrapped around my waist. Then she put the ribbon around it, making sure the kimono was wrapped as tightly as it could around my body. At this point I didn’t think I could breathe as she tugged the ribbon very tightly and then tied the ends behind into a beautiful knot. Another look in the mirror and she said, “Ii desu ne!”, pleased with the end result 🙂
After dressing up in the kimono, we went up another level in the building where we had our hair done (thank god for the elevator!). Then we shuffled (yes, shuffled cos we could hardly walk with our feet bound so tightly together by the kimonos!) to another counter where we handed over our tote bag with our belongings to be stored in their lockers (we stuffed our money and handphones into the small bags they provided). Then it was back downstairs where we picked our sandals and we were good to go!
**note: the sequence of the dress procedure may not be entirely correct since my mind is a little muddled these days! I had to think very hard what we went through to get dressed.
Outside the shop there was a gentleman who was like a traffic warden, and he was very friendly even though he had to keep shooing us to move along, not crowd on the pavement, and to keep us off the road since the pavement and the road are not separated and we kept straying onto the road.
Pictures after being dressed up in an efficient production line by the kimono rental shop:
- before hairdo
- Front and back of my kimono
- The excellent hairdo for Stef and Mel
- Ready to roll!
- Our Tabi-ed feet
- Before we could set off for our adventure, we needed sustenance so we stopped by a restaurant for a quick meal.
Pictures from the temple grounds (don’t ask me the name of the temple!)…
We asked a tourist to help us take a group picture and his friend/family joined us. We caused quite a stir there because we were such a big group of kimono-clad ladies, and there weren’t many others wearing kimonos in the temple grounds. Many visitors surreptitiously took pictures of us.
The young girls doing the dab..
Walking back to the shop…
A tourist stopped to take our pictures so we stopped to pose for him LOL On our way back to the shop we decided to drop by a cafe to have affogato to quench our thirst and also to enjoy a bit of air-condition since we were almost melting in the kimonos.
I think we went to some shopping centre after that, can’t remember much, except that Mel went and got me Lotso the Bear from a Disney shop nearby where we were shopping. I saw Lotso in HK Disneyland but decided not to buy it, and then regretted that decision, so Mel surprised me with it 🙂 Love you, Mel!
For dinner, we went back to Dotonbori to have Ichiran Ramen. There was a long queue for it but it was worth the wait. It was a new experience, sitting at the counter, not alone yet felt alone cos the counter was partitioned into small cubby holes, with wood partitions on the counter to your left and right, and your front facing the inside of the counter was also covered. The space is just big enough for you to eat in privacy without having to converse with the stranger sitting beside you. The server would open the partition from the inside of the counter and slip in the food you ordered (via an ordering machine downstairs, something that’s being used in many of the smaller restaurants there), and you start slurping up the noodles and the soup which is spiced up according to your choice of spiciness level. The Chinese ladies sitting next to me were talking to each other non-stop while the other Japanese patrons just ate and go. The ramen was delicious, just the right level of spiciness, and so even though ramen is not my favourite food, I polished off the whole bowl.
There was another spot of shopping, some desserts from Pablo to go and back to our apartment to recharge for the next big day…(can’t remember what we did offhand, will have to look at the photos :P)
The queue at Pablo:
Mel and a bit of teasing from her cousin:
That’s all, folks!
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