When is the last time you consciously thought about how you walk through a doorway? I don’t mean the philosophical choices of choosing one path from another, although that could be a topic for another post. I am referring to the actual physical act of opening and closing a door. Do you rush through? Does the door close quietly or is there a resounding slam that follows you as you move forward?
I never gave this much thought until I started wearing kimono as daily work clothes. With its large flowing sleeves the kimono presents numerous challenges with doorways. I have been abruptly brought to a standstill by doorknobs catching my sleeves. Once, while rushing out my office to get to class, the door slammed behind me capturing one of my sleeves. To unlock the door and regain my freedom required physical flexibility worthy of an Olympic gymnast! Stairs prove to be another challenge. The long “skirts” of kimono or hakama will consistently get under foot and it is necessary to lift them up to step clearly.
Doorways and staircases require me to slow down and become more aware of my surroundings. Wearing kimono means I have to be more careful of office chairs, and climbing in and out of cars. I even walk a bit more slowly down the hallway. Wearing kimono means I have to be aware.