Sunday, July 22, 2007

He's looking more and more like them....

The summer months are quite festive in Japan, with Tanabata - a star festival - occuring July 7th, a myriad of fireworks shows in every city (as well as more private shows like in the parking lot of our apartment), and Obon - one of the biggest festival/holiday times of the year - happening in August. These festivals, like many things in Japan, incorporate eons of tradition of which we understand probably only the most superficial layers. Most observably, a great number of people wear 'funny clothes' which they like to call "yukata" (a kind of summer kimono). This past weekend Tara and I, with a little (lot of) help, had the opportunity to don the traditional summer garb and venture out into public.

Key members of our team included Hime and her daughter Yumeka, both ex-students of mine from Nova. We had been invited over for a delicious lunch on Saturday, but lunch turned into yukata-shopping, which lead to a long and complicated session of yukata-dressing (the young Yumeka fortunately quite talented in the extremely complicated methods of obi-tying), and finally to a feeling of "Now that we're all standing around wearing yukata, we might as well go to a festival!"

And so we headed to Nagoya, making it just in time to catch the absolutely spectacular finale of the fireworks display. We probably only managed to catch the last 10 or 15 minutes of the show, but everyone knows that they save the best for last! When we showed up, most people were already heading home, tired from standing around for over an hour.

My yukata has TIGERS!!! COOL!!! And Tara looks pretty, but hers has flowers and not TIGERS!!!

I admit I felt a little nervous walking through the station wearing yukata. Particularly in the main train station where we were the only ones wearing traditional clothing. On the subway line, closer to the festival, many people were dressed for the festival, and we felt more in place.

Yukata pros:
- See Tara's big wide sleeves! Those are sewn at the bottom and you can keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, etc. in them. No need for cargo pockets!
- Hot weather? Light material, and that refreshing up-yukata draft keep things cool even on the most packed subway cars.
- They look cool!

Yukata cons:
- That thin material sure provides a thin boundary between you and the guy behind you on the cramped train car.
- The proper method to tie an obi (sash across your waist) is a skill requiring serious training (they really do have lessons, and people who do this professionally).

Down at the fireworks show we met up with the lovely Yuki. Her mother happens to be a professional kimono dresser.

Come on Charles! Wear yukata! Everyone else is doing it!!!

Hmm... unlike the fireworks show, I save my least impressive comments for last.


There... Finished.



alexandra said...

nice pics! ... that's really all I have to say...:P

I miss u guys!!!!!!

MomE said...

Thank you for the yukata lessons. I'm glad you clarified that it's tigers; I thought it might be Felix the Cat. Getting a yukata is one thing I think I would like to do there so I hope you have worked out the details now! MomE

Derrick Matheson said...


Anonymous said...

Great pictures, nice to see you both. I enjoyed the kimono lesson I had while there. Still don't know what I'm doing but it was fun!! I miss you guys!! Lots of Love Momd

aaron said...

Very nice pictures. Here in Vancouver they're having the symphony of light soon, 4 nights of fireworks put on by 3 different countries. It starts tomorrow and apparently TIGERS!!! it's like nothing I'll have ever seen before.

anita-san said...

WOW! Sounds spectacular!! Grrrrr.

Justin said...

I hope that when you finally get back to Canada, you keep the Japanese style, ie. Yukatas or at the very least, kimonos. Yes, very nice pictures. I also like the lions on your shirt.

Mom d said...

Have a wonderful time with your family. Love Momd