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MIT lab technician serves as an expert on the human brain and kimonos

MIT lab technician is a kimono expert in his spare time


MIT lab technician is a kimono expert in his spare time

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BOSTON – In a house in Dorchester, Ara Mahar is busy picking out an outfit for an upcoming event. This isn’t the usual shirt-and-pants dilemma. Mahar sorts hundreds of brightly colored kimono accessories.

The ancient Japanese clothing started as an everyday garment, but has grown into a highly artistic and meaningful tradition.

It starts with an underlayer.

“Flat everything until you’re one big tube. Then you can wear a kimono,” Ara explains, chuckling.

Expert in human brain and kimonos

Mahar’s dressing room is a converted bedroom with tatami mat floors and large mirrors. It’s cozy and comfortable and very different from their working environment.

Across the Charles River, Mahar is pounding on the keyboard of their laptop. Mahar is a laboratory technician at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

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“My main role is as a histologist, which means we cut up brains and then stain them with fluorescent dyes. Then look at them under the microscope to see all kinds of different proteins and cell types,” Mahar explains in layman’s terms .

Passion for the kimono

Mahar loves the work, but their real passion is the kimono. It started as a curiosity more than a decade ago, but Mahar became so enamored that he moved to Japan in 2016 to formally study it.

Mahar became an expert and moved back to Boston two years later. Mahar now gives demonstrations and lectures throughout the area.

You can follow Mahar by visiting their website.

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