One of mz elderly friends is still full of energy, but she says she wants to prepare for old age, and tries to make things more easy for her. For example, she moved her bedroom to the ground floor of her house and had a very small kitchen installed there. She says, in case she’s sick, bed, bath, and kitchen are now all within 20 steps of each other, so she can stay at home. Another way to prepare for her is to get rid of stuff. She is not quite as sentimental as I am, but still, she prefers to give her things away to people who would use them further, rather than just throwing them away.
And this is how I came into the possession of 12 of her old kimono. Not expensive, formal silk kimono, of course, but rather casual ones from cotton and similar light fabrics, mostly intended for summer. I have made it clear that I cannot wear them – besides having the wrong body shape, she is much smaller than me – but she says it’s fine if I cut them up and use the fabrics to make something else. So, I have made rough plans for one jinbei, one pair of summer pants, three dresses, and two jackets. And one lovely summer yukata I will keep for myself, even though it is a bit on the small side. The rest I am not sure about, there is one with a really strong pattern that should be kept intact if possible.
So far my plans. I have talked about my unexpected gifts to my English students, and they were quite excited about it. So, I invited one of them over last week to have a look at the kimono and maybe give advice on what to do with them. And when I was unpacking them one by one and put them in front of here, there was one she went all crazy about: “Oh, how beautiful!” She was so excited about it, that I asked her to try it on – and when it fit, I gave it to her. That’s the nice thing about kimono: As long as the fabric is holding up, age does not matter at all. In fact, many expensive kimono are passed on through generations of women! Size does not matter much either, so it really boils down to whether you like the pattern and color or not.
And with one simple act, I have made two of my friends happy: By taking from the one, and by giving to the other. If life were so simple all the time!