Thursday, April 19, 2007
I ended my exhausting first week of school with a fun, late night of belated birthday festivities, eating, and drinking....
Saturday night: Jazz concert in Amino (Becky's town, about an hour away from me). All the guests were requested to wear kimonos. Of course, the kimono girls were there: Kumi, Leigh, Becky (w/ Emiko), and surprisingly, Jun! Even though she is japanese, she's only worn a kimono a couple of times in her life, so Kumi got her decked out in one of her hundreds of kimono. We were all a little uncomfortable but it's amazing how easily Kumi moves around in hers (and walks in those tiny constricting zori) like she's walking around in a bathrobe and slippers!!
Sunday: Becky, Shinobu, and I headed to the big Kimono Festival first thing on Sunday morning. It sounds awful, but we were getting kind of "bored" with our kimonos, so instead of wearing our own, we "rented" (or I suppose "borrowed" since there was no charge) these GORGEOUS kimonos that they had on display. I fell in love with this silk sea green kimono with very long sleeves (to indicate that I was "unmarried"!) and the women who worked there quickly and nimbly put them on us (uh, constricted?) in no time. There were hundreds of new and used kimono, obis, and other accessories for sale, as well as beautiful fabrics, shoes, bags, hair pins, etc. There were also some traditional musical performances and tea ceremonies being held.
Outside, the streets were lined with stalls of food vendors, childrens' games, and a big stage for taiko and dancing performances. The weather was spectacular and there were several spots in front of old cherry blosson trees where the festival organizers would take and then print out complimentary photos for us! Becky, being the "gaijin" elementary / middle school teacher (aka local celebritiy), was such a hit in her beautiful kimono that people kept stopping her on the street to take her picture! At times like this, I was sort of glad that I blended in!
If I could spend the rest of my time here in Japan with nice, warm weather and going to festivals like this, I would be very happy... :)