Friday, March 4, 2011


Mayumi Balfour was born in Japan and currently resides in Wyoming, Michigan. She is active in promoting and supporting the Japanese community in West Michigan. Mayumi brought a portion of her kimono collection to our March guild meeting this past Wednesday at the Holland Area Arts Council on 8th Street in Holland.  When I walked in, my senses were bombarded with the most delicious smells.  Our guild president, Jennifer Gould, prepared a sumptuous dinner of

-Tori Gohan 
(chicken and rice with green peas and shiitake
(blanched spinach with soy sauce and ground sesame
-Peach candy (from Japan)
Mayumi's kimonos, supplemented with several beautiful pieces from Jennifer's collection, were arranged on three tables. The colors and patterns exploded in the plain room.  Members volunteered for Mayumi to dress them from head to toe in Kimono.  
The first layer worn is a two piece undergarment; a wrap around shirt and skirt, which can be made of white silk or cotton.  The first kimono is put on over the undergarments and secured with several cords wrapped about the body, including toweling for padding.  The second kimono is layered over the first, with just a 2 cm peek of the under kimono showing at the sleeves and neckline.  

The obi or sash is put on last and that is quite a procedure.  If the woman is dressing herself, she must put the obi on backwards and then shift it around from front to back.
 The evening was totally inspirational.  As the members put on the beautiful silk garments, they really were transformed into Japanese royalty.