Posts Tagged yukata

July 29, 2006 – Walking in a yukata is HARD

Happy Birthday to me! As part of my birthday present, my roommate Klaxman switched his early shift for my late shift so I was able to go to Numazu summer festival with The Penpal. I went to her house after work, and her family helped me to get dressed in my new yukata which we had bought a few days earlier.  Overall it was comfortable, but the bottom of my robe was fairly tight around my legs.

I’m not a tall person, so I usually have a long stride in order to walk quickly. The bottom of my yukata prevented me from taking big steps, which took a lot of practice to get used to. Things got more difficult when I put on my geta; thong sandals with wooden blocks on the bottom.

The combination of the yukata and geta slowed me down quite a bit. Stairs were a very unfriendly sight for my restricted legs and awkward wooden sandals. When crossing the street to get to the train station I held on to the railing tight to avoid rolling an ankle or tumbling down the stairs and wiping out the rest of the people like a pale bowling ball.

We survived the train ride and walk into Numazu’s overcrowded downtown area, and watched an amazing fireworks show surrounded by tens of thousands of people, most of whom were also wearing yukatas. If you ever have a chance, see fireworks in Japan; they blow away anything I have seen from back home, with the exception of Canada Day fireworks in tiny Wabigoon, Ontario, a town that seems to spend their entire budget every year on airborne explosives. Numazu’s fireworks are launched from either side of a central bridge, offering great views from downtown and along the riverside, and amazing views if you are lucky enough to be on the bridge.

It was a very cool experience to see Numazu festival in traditional Japanese clothing. When I first moved away from Canada to teach English, I wanted to experience Japanese culture. Thanks to my wonderful fiancee and her family I have been able to participate in things that I wouldn’t have dreamed of when I left Winnipeg behind.

Although I had a fun evening, I was very, VERY happy to get back into my comfortable jeans and flat, safe shoes.

 

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July 26, 2006 – Yukata shopping

Today I worked an early shift. When I was done, The Penpal’s family took me out for dinner followed by yukata shopping.

I’m often confused by the differences between a “kimono” and a “yukata”. Usually I have heard the term yukata refer to a less formal robe like garment. I have worn yukatas before while staying in hotels, but I don’t have my own. My birthday and Numazu summer festival are coming up shortly, so the Penpal’s parents decided to get me a yukata for my birthday.

Buying a yukata was a lot like buying a suit; someone takes your measurements and then gives you a lot of different options including colour, fit, accesories, and price. We ended up with a fairly simple yukata set, complete with magnetic obi (so I don’t have to tie it) and geta; traditional Japanese wooden sandals. I expect that I am going to fall a few times using those.

Yukata shopping with my finacee and future in-laws really made me feel like part of the family.

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July 5, 2004 pt1 – We can’t go to Daiei anymore

My mother and sister in the kimono section of Daiei

My mother and sister in the kimono section of Daiei

After a few grueling days of traveling, my family decided that they wanted to take a day off and stay close to Hello House. I got a chance to catch up on some relaxing and video games, but my sister wanted to do some exploring.

The week before, I gave her directions to the Daiei department store near Mukogaokayuen station, which was only a 5 minute walk from Hello House. She returned after buying herself a Hello Kitty watch, feeling quite proud of herself because she didn’t get lost.

Today she went to Daiei again by herself. She came back an hour later looking distressed and said “we can’t go to Daiei anymore”. I asked her to explain.

It seems that she went to look at the kimono and yukata section of the store. The sales people came over to help, and before she knew it, she was trying on different fabrics, belts and accessories. “I looked like a princess” she told me, while trying to get through the story.

After trying on several combinations of clothing, the sales people started packing up everything and taking it to the cash register. My sister, who just went to look, had no ability to explain that she was not actually interested in buying. She somehow managed to communicate to the store staff that she didn’t have any money, but her dad would come back to pay for everything. When the message got through, she left the store and returned to Hello House.

Having been in a few awkward situations without the ability to communicate, I could completely understand her feelings. I tried my best not to laugh, and promised that we wouldn’t go back to Daiei before my family returned to Canada.

To the staff at Daiei, please accept our apologies for the confusion. Also, thanks for making my sister look like a princess, even for a few minutes.

 

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