Thursday, June 21, 2007
On Sunday, Becky, Kumi, & I went over to Oe-san's house. She's my amazingly talented Japanese "grandmother". All Becky and I knew was that we were going to wear kimono and see some patchwork quilt exhibit.... We have come to not have any expectations or ask questions when we hang out with the Yoshidas.
So, after a filling lunch of about 9 different dishes, we were rushed upstairs where Oe-san (who was a former hairdresser) did our hair amazingly fast (20 bobby pins and a can of hairspray, sprigs and garlands of flowers!) and cinched us into our kimonos. My black kimono is a sheer summer one, but the underlayers and all the ties were suffocatingly hot (as was the weather). I borrowed one of Kumi's obis because apparently the obi I got was a "winter" one, so it didn't suit it. (sad.... I wish I took a picture of it- there was a beautiful blue peacock on the back of it!) Becky wore Kumi's light green kimono and red obi.
Finally we shuffled out of Oe-san's house and awkwardly climbed into Kumi's SUV, where we were whisked to an exhibition hall in Omiya. There was a beautiful exhibition on patchwork quilts made from old kimonos- some were really modern and abstract, and others looked like they were right out of some midwestern quilting bee! Of course, we were the only ones in kimono so we got a million stares (mostly Becky).
After about an hour, we went back to Oe-san's house to change out of our kimonos. Leigh met us there (she had done the same thing the day before). It was crazy, like 2 hours of prep work and hairstyling and all that, and then it was back into our tank tops. We looked at her handpainted obis (this woman is seriously multi-talented), and then she turned around and presented me with a gorgeous deep purple obi with maple leaves on it. Since I had to borrow Kumi's obi to match my kimono, she felt that I ought to have my own!!! I was in shock. She shrugged it off like it was no big deal and ushered us downstairs to have tea and sweets (probably all homemade and hand pressed or whatever).
Then, Leigh and I went to the mom & dad's (the Yoshida's). Kumi handed each of us a pair of muddy rubber work boots and shears. It was an interesting look with my skirt and my hair still all done up, and I was thinking that earlier, I was wearing an elegant kimono. We followed Masami outside and found a huge patch of blooming purple and lavender irises!!! He told us to cut a big bouquet, for each of us to take home and then showed us around their garden, pointing out the summer fruits and vegetables- eggplant, watermelon, asparagus, herbs, etc. Came back inside and they whipped up dinner in like 5 minutes. Grilled salmon salad, a grapefruit salad, some sort of root salad, and rice made with green beans. I love them, and am soooooo going to miss them when I leave!!!