How to tie the California Sushi Roll

Welcome to our tutorial on how to tie an obi with the California Sushi Roll method!

We here at Tangerine Mountain were taught this obi tie while visiting California for the first time.  An Obaa-chan in a kimono-ya taught us this method, and told us that this was a method of tying obi that Californian-Japanese created in order to tie obi with the appearance of the traditional otaiko fold, but without needing to purchase or use additional tools (such as obi-makura and obi-age).

For this tie, you will need a Nagoya or Fukuro Obi.  (It is possible to do this fold with a hanhaba obi as well, but other methods, such as the bunko obi fold, may be more appropriate.)   To properly tie the California Sushi Roll knot, please follow these steps:

1) Place the end of the obi on the left side of the waist, and pull away from the body.

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2) Wrap the obi around your body.  Keep wrapping until you reach the wider part of the obi.

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3) Once you reach the part of the obi that becomes wider, pinch the obi together  with the part you just wrapped around your body.

(Please note: If you’re working with a Fukuro Obi, the width of the obi remains consistent throughout.  In this case, keep on wrapping the obi around you until the remaining part is roughly even with the bottom hem of your kimono.)

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4) As you straighten out the obi that is currently hanging in front of you, you should see a triangle form.  This means you’re doing things correctly!

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5)  Next, take the bottom of the obi, and tuck it under all the layers that you just wrapped around your body.

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6) Once you’ve pulled up all the way on the obi, you will see that the triangle stays largely in place.  It should look something like this:

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7) Then, repeat this process of tucking the obi several times.  Keep repeating this process until you are almost all out of obi.  Then, twist the obi around so that the rolled part is centered on your back.

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8) Lastly, tuck the remaining part of the obi partly under the layers you wrapped around your body, leaving part o the end (called the “te”) hanging out slightly.

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And now, this simplified version of the otaiko fold is complete!