One of the most gratifying things about blogging and communicating with people about fundoshi is when someone's interest gets sparked and they take off in their own fundoshi-clad direction, coming up with new ideas and sharing their own experiences. It can be lonely walking around in a sea of boxers and briefs, if only figuratively, while believing yourself to be the only one wrapped up in a fundoshi. Maybe this isn't the case at all, and that shy barista or your auto mechanic wears a fundoshi too. But just as we don't know what people are wearing under their pants and skirts, we can't know how many people's eyes are sparkling because they've twisted a gauzy loincloth around their hips and are secretly enjoying it as much as we are enjoying ours.
It's been a pleasure to get to know another fundoshi wearer, Alan Prufrock, through Fundoshi Fabric And Photos, his magnificent blog that details his experiments with different types of fabrics, dyes, and photography. He's modeled each of his creations while being creative with lighting, pose, and of course his fundoshi! Alan has been kind enough to write a response to some questions I posed, and he has included some new photos exclusive to Fundoshi 4 All! Thanks, Alan! I've scattered the photos through his thoughts below, and included a few of my personal favorites from his blog too.
Click the "read more" link below to get Alan's story of fundoshi awakening and and to see some of the results of his experiments with fabric and photography!
1. What was it like the first time you wore a fundoshi? Can you remember the sensations? What did you do? How did you first learn about fundoshi?
2. Do you wear fundoshi regularly, or under your clothing? How tightly or loosely do you usually tie your fundoshi? Are any close friends aware of your fundoshis?
3. What is the nicest fabric you've discovered for fundoshi? What is the most interesting? What's coming up in the next year or so for your blog?
4. What advice would you give to aspiring fundoshi wearers?
I’m sitting at my computer wearing a 12 inch turquoise fundoshi, listening to the rather excellent new CD ‘Cookie Cutter’ by Jim Bianco thinking how odd life can be. ‘Cookie Cutter’ was written by Mr. Bianco sending the same set of questions to a bunch of his kickstarter fans and here I am, answering questions posed by someone I am a fan of.
I am a fan of Ryan and Fundoshi 4All! because this blog got me interested in wearing, and ultimately, designing fundoshi. The story is a bit contorted since I was actually doing research on the malo of Hawaii. I am originally from Hawaii and have taken a few hula workshops lately, and thought it would be interesting to wear a malo. Through the wonder of search engines, I jumped across the wide pacific ocean and stumbled onto fundoshi.....specifically rokushaku fundoshi. This style is extremely similar to the malo worn in Hawaii during battles. The rest is a minor blip in blog history.....
If you read much of Fundoshi 4 All!, Ryan often asks for submissions, stories, getting involved, etc. I took it to heart by first sending in some submissions of me in my first attempt at wearing a fundoshi. At the same time, I became interested in studio photography. I simply combined these two new interests in my life and created fundoshi, fabric and photos. The fabric interest isn’t new. Over the years I have done tons of costume design and construction for theatre. I have stopped doing that, but found the aspect of designing fundoshi fascinating. I don’t need a sewing machine, which I have grown to loathe. I could try to find items around the house to work with. The fact that a simple strip of rectangular fabric could become quite elegant and erotic was something I couldn’t resist.
My, my....I don’t think I’ve answered anything Ryan wanted me to touch upon.....speed round.......
The first time I wore a fundoshi, it felt similar to wearing a dance belt, but more comfortable. I liked the fact I could adjust the ‘pocket’ to meet my personal needs since dance belts tend to compress your privates.
I do wear fundoshi almost every day. For lounging, I tie it rather loosely with very little twisting. For hiking, I tie it rather tightly, with lots of twisting. Under street-wear, I tie it somewhere in-between the two.
None of my friends are aware of my fundoshi wearing, but they also are not aware of the type of underwear I favored before discovering fundoshi. This may change as I am thinking of giving everyone fundoshi as Christmas gifts. We’ll see if this gets me any other models so I can concentrate of taking the photos instead of doing double-duty as photographer and model.
I’m really liking the darker colored voiles I’ve bought from fabric.com. They are thin, soft and cool and wick away moisture. I’ve found the lighter colors have a little thicker weave, so they are in 2nd place for comfort. I’ve shown a couple of the brown ones on my blog, and there are some black ones coming soon. And though cheesecloth pushes the boundaries of my reserved nature, it is very comfortable.
Speaking of coming soon, I have a series I’m especially proud of that will be shown in my birthday week at the beginning of November. It is the first in a ‘fundoshi as prop’ series. It has lots of bright light and focus tricks in an attempt to show a very simple design in an unusual manner. I’m also putting together a photographic ‘how to’ on the discharge dyeing technique I use for the designs.
Advice, advice, advice.... Wear a fundoshi today. If you like it, wear one again tomorrow. Still like it, now start to design your own. Once you’ve done that, send me a photo and I’ll share it in my blog.
I couldn't restate enough what a fantastic piece of advice is on record above: wear a fundoshi today. Really! If you've been wanting to try one on but haven't yet, go get an old bedsheet and rip it lengthwise into strips that are about 10-12 inches wide. Take your clothes off, stand in front of a mirror if you like, hold the cloth in front of your hips so that about a third of it falls from your waist to your ankles. Throw this part over your shoulder while you draw the other 2/3rds of the cloth backwards between your legs... then upwards between your butt cheeks... then around your waist counterclockwise, crossing over the part that's tossed over your shoulder. You can twist this part as you go if you like.
Keep going all the way around your waist till you get back to your buttocks. Now pass the part you've encircled yourself with under itself to form a thong and belt. Pull it back, in the opposite direction (clockwise) as tight as you like and tuck the extra underneath the belt you just formed.
Now let that first third fall from your shoulder and drift to the floor. It will look like you are wearing a long loincloth. Take that long loincloth and pull it backwards between your legs, the same way you did the first step. You can twist it around and around the thong portion if you'd like. Pull the part that you tucked under the belt earlier free, and cross the two ends over each other. Now pull them tight, in opposite directions, and wind the extra around and around the belt in each direction.
Voilá, you are wearing a fundoshi! Admire yourself. How does it feel? Some of the sensations are a little different, admittedly, if you're used to boxers or briefs, or even jocks. Take a while and lounge around or move around, getting used to the feeling. Snap some pictures of yourself to submit to Alan's blog. Do you like it? Wear one again tomorrow!
There are light fabrics for hot days and thicker weaves for cold days. A snug fundoshi will stay tied all day even if you wear it swimming, until you or someone else unwinds those two ends you tucked into your waistband. People of Japan have been wearing fundoshis for over 1,000 years, and it's a great time for others to discover the marvelous feel and ingenious design. Join the converted! We can't wait to see you in your fundoshi, or at least to see more twinkling eyes in the world.
Alan's blog is full of great ideas for customizing your fundoshi. He's been blowing my mind with some of the colors, dye techniques, textures and patterns he's been trying out and modeling. Not only that, but the pictures are sumptuous and plentiful!
I'd like to thank him for kind permission to share these with you. These images are copywritten and all rights are reserved. Please do not share these images without his prior permission.