The Tradesman’s New Kimono

When method becomes master, the obvious is missed.

An AI-generated painting in traditional Japanese style of a tailor's workshop.
A tailor's workshop. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

When the Master walked beneath the cherry blossom trees, he saw a tradesman wearing a peculiar kimono. It was made of splendid fabric, but oddly, it lacked a waistband.

“Good morning,” said the Master. “That is a beautiful kimono. The fabric looks exquisite.”

“Thank you, Master,” replied the tradesman, “and so it should be, for six hundred gold kobans.”

“By Ebisu!” said the Master. “Why so expensive?”

“It was made using the Supple Method,” said the tradesman. “The gold standard in tailoring, Master. A Supple Tailor crafts not all at once, but piece by piece, revealing needs as they progress. That way, no need is overlooked.”

“I see,” said the Master. “And what needs came up for your kimono?”

“Well Master, I have always issues with sleeves. They seldom fit me perfectly. So the tailor started with one sleeve, and asked me to come back to try it.”

“And was it to your liking?” asked the Master.

“It was, Master,” the tradesman replied, “But when I saw myself in the kyo, I thought something was missing. I asked the tailor, ‘Shouldn’t the kimono have another sleeve?’ And he agreed, and asked me to come back.”

“And the second sleeve, did it fit well?” asked the Master.

“Yes, Master. But as I tried both sleeves together, they kept falling on the floor. I asked the tailor, ‘Shouldn’t the kimono have a body to keep the sleeves together?’ And he agreed, and asked me to come back.”

“And did the body portion fit?” asked the Master.

“Quite well, Master,” said the tradesman. “Though it hung a little loose. I asked the tailor, ‘Shouldn’t the kimono be a bit more tight around the waist?’ And he agreed, and asked me to come back.”

“For a waistband, I presume?”

The tradesman looked at him in shock. “But Master, how did you know?”

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