So in these matsuri, usually attendees wear the traditional summer kimono or yukata. A yukata may look beautiful on the outside but actually it is quite painful to wear one... There are two cloth himo (ropes) that must be tied around before the obi (big belt) is put on. They must be tied on very tightly or else the yukata will fall apart. If they are not snug, then the yukata doesn't look nice. At first I felt like I couldn't breathe, but this isn't my first time putting one on so it wasn't that bad. Last year I was constantly nauseous because the obi was so tight but this year was not too bad. I got a little sick when in the car but the standing position is actually the best.
In total there are about 3-4 rope layers before the obi is put on. I put two ropes, then one flat shaped pad to maintain the smooth appearance of the front of the obi.
Here is how I look in my yukata.
Since nowadays nobody wears the kimono as daily wear, many people feel like they are more 'beautiful' when wearing one (in my opinion). It's almost like a treat to wear one and receive so much attention and compliments. After the matsuri I went to a restaurant and everyone was staring because I live in the US, and nobody wears yukata here. I got so many compliments though! It was actually a fun experience.
Here I am with my very good friend, we went together. Some traditional patterns on yukatas are flowers (mine are sakura), fish (like goldfish and carps), and other nature related patterns. My friend's yukata have small goldfish but you can't see in this picture. I also have another light blue yukata with pink goldfish but didn't wear it this time.
These little girls were so cute I had to take a picture! Their obi are not hard like mine, they are like sashes, much softer and more comfortable! The wooden shoes you see on the right are called 'geta.'
I wore my hair in the odango style, the cute white flower hairpin is courtesy of Eki! Haha and if you spot that white thing sticking out of my obi.. that is not part of my obi. It is a napkin I just stuck there because I had nowhere to throw it out! haha! :D
Here is the Bon Odori, as you can see, mostly old ladies are dancing. Oh and if you see that cute guy on the right side, he was really good at dancing! Even better than me.
Haha.. Me trying to keep up with the steps. I've done traditional dancing before in Japan one time, I even performed with my other friend (but we messed up and had to go on the stage twice -_-). Even though it looks so easy, it is quite hard to keep up!
This is the Taiko performance. Wow what an ab workout! I can't believe they have to lie down and hit the taiko... They must be so tired after doing two performances. Watch my video to see how they sounded.
Hm if you noticed in the Bon Odori video I said "Video tochatta" hahaha it means "Oops I took a video." in Japanese... I was going to take a picture but then ended up in video.. Oh well that is kind of good, I have something to show you guys now!
Well hope you enjoyed this cultural post, it was lots of fun!
I promise to answer questions that all of you asked me in the entries, nice way to get to know me, right? :) Anyway, please try to spread the word and good luck!