It’s a miscellaneous time of year, which sounds like an American song from the 1940’s, but isn’t.
The most important thing going on at the dojo is gaining more control over my body in the various taihai moves, trying to do kiza with an injured foot, using my whole body in the draw, and then what I think of as nobiai to infinity, shooting the arrow as if the target were miles away (both in front and behind), rather than just 28 meters in front.
Also yesterday we were told to hold the bow differently in toriyumi no shisei, and to use a way that is closer to the tenouchi used when shooting. I suppose the idea is to create the correct form through constant repetition and use, but it’s awfully painful, at least right now.
And then, I ordered a tailor-made kimono and formal grey striped hakama. They’ll be delivered in about a month depending on the backlog. Prices offered by various shops were all over the map, depending on the material used. As a practice outfit my teacher recommended a synthetic (washable) kimono, but a good silk hakama because that’s something I’ll be able to use for years and years. For reference, the shop making the kimono can use any art work at all for the kamon, no extra charge, so that may be useful information for people reading from abroad who haven’t inherited one of the standard designs.
The hardest part was getting the measurements right, since I’m doing this all remotely. The best page I found for that is here. They say the most important one is the yukitake, the sleeve length, which for kyudo makes a lot of sense.
Prices are still stunning, so much that I’m embarrassed to mention them, but I’m pretty sure my total clothing purchases for the past decade (two?) won’t come up to the price of these two very simple bits of cloth. Kimono in particular don’t seem very complicated, so anyone with sewing ability might want to consider learning to make their own. A lot of people at the dojo also buy used kimono for their practice outfits: a few thousand yen and then tailor to fit. The trick is the mon, which you need for formal occasions. Unless you can use a family kimono, chances are that will have to be a custom order. Also, with used kimono, obviously you have to be careful of the sleeve length.
But I am thinking… once this kimono arrives, I will analyse it and try to make one myself, just out of cheap cotton. Once I figure out how it’s done, I could probably save a bundle.