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Jan. 14 snowfall brings unexpected windfall for kimono dress-up services

Shukan Post Feb. 1
Shukan Post Feb. 1
Last week’s Seijin no Hi, the Coming-of-Age Day holiday in 2013, saw Tokyo inundated in heavy snow, with traffic disrupted to the extent that over 500 domestic flights had to be cancelled. Distribution of fresh foods and other items to convenience stores was also hit, compounding the problems.

One type of business that did very well despite of, or perhaps thanks to, the inclement weather, notes Shukan Post (Feb. 1) was services that assist wearers in putting on traditional Japanese kimono.

It seems that many new adults had planned dates following their coming of age ceremonies, but the heavy snowfall made walking difficult for young women. The solution for many was to “evacuate” to warmer, and cozier, facilities. Like love hotels.

“From fairly early in the evening, we began checking in quite a few young couples, the females of which were dressed up in kimono,” confirmed a hotel employee in Shibuya’s Maruyamacho love hotel district.

The problem surfaced sometime after this. It seems that young women who had removed their robes in the hotel rooms (for obvious reasons) found they had no idea how to put them back on again. They wound up having to place emergency calls to nearby beauty salons and other establishments that offer dress assistance services.

“Since coming-of-age ceremonies are mostly in the mornings or around noon, most of our business normally peaks early in the day,” one such operator told Shukan Post. “But this year we were getting calls for assistance from evening onward. Typically we do these jobs only on an appointment basis; but the places phoning in the requests were nearby, and when we weren’t busy with other work we were able to take care of them.”

“When we arrived at the hotel rooms, both the guys and the gals looked a bit strained and out of breath from their…exertions,” the source winked.

The prim kimono-clad belles thus had memorable keepsake photos from their coming-of-age ceremonies shot earlier that snowy day. And thanks to the assistance from professional dressers, who trudged through the snow to come to their rescue, they were able to return home as orderly and organized as when they’d departed — thereby avoiding suspicions of play — foul or otherwise — from their parents.

Source: “Ooyuki no seijinshiki ato ni ‘rabuho de kyukei’ no shinseijin joshi wo sukatta ‘kitsuke naoshi-tai,'” Shukan Post (Feb 1, page 151)