by Kristin Surak (Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2013)
began to mold my foreign body into forms regarded as distinctively Japanese.
Turning Japanese? I Hardly Think そ
As a left-handed, cross-country skiing Jewish feminist, such a transformation is not likely, but something has happened and for some reason it has made its impact.
"I'm the only one in there."
As my body filled itself out naturally over time, I know now why the obijime is worn low on the obi if one is of middle age and older. While it may be a sign that one is young and available for marriage if it sits mid-way, the lower position is more likely practical to hold fast to the extra material when more of the long sash is need to circumnavigate the midriff, leaving much less "extra" flap to tuck upward behind the "pillow".
12/11/18 Post Script:
I am reminded of a situation where I was asked if I could help dress in kimono a younger Japanese woman, one of the participants in a new year's tea event held at a large western-style hotel in Los Angeles. I responded with a yes and was told to find her in an anteroom where other women were getting into their kimono. She showed me her official kimono suitcase, with various ties and sections, each for a unique tie or scarf, tabi or board and the major section that held a beautiful perfectly folded silk kimono and obi. She was quite beautiful, slender and ready for instructions. I excused myself and ran back to the mizuya to find my colleague who had sent me on this mission. "I can help her dress, but I cannot make her look Japanese. Only like an American in a kimono." I suggested that I help out in the kitchen cleaning tea bowls and that someone else should help her!