Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend Update - Mitsuwa Summer Festival

So last Saturday 8/8, I went to the Summer Festival aka Natsu Matsuri (夏祭り) held annually at the NJ Mitsuwa in Edgewater. In Japan around the summer months of July and August it is Obon season. Although an Obon matsuri (festival) is a lively event, Obon is a holiday held to honor the deceased ancestors. Usually every weekend in Japan there is a festival in different towns consisting of fireworks celebrations, food vendors, taiko performances, and Bon Odori (bon dance). Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend one in Japan because it was a little too early in the season and I missed the really big Sumidagawa fireworks (also too lazy to go because it was so crowded).

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!

28 comments:

eki said...

ahh you look so kawaii with yukata!! looks like so much FUN! I wished that i was there I miss summer festivals T__T

mitsuwa festival looks like its in Japan after watching the vid!! XD

Shopn'Chomp said...

Mika you look so pretty! Thank you for sharing your day with us.

Catherine said...

Ah, looks like so much fun! You two look adorable in your traditional dress. =)

aniiita89 said...

you look soooo pretttty in your yukata !!! omg i wish they had those kinda festivals here :P

May said...

You look gorgeous and kawaii in yukata. Thanks for sharing your pics, it looks fun!

Zwala said...

u luk so pretty in yukata..
i know the pain in wearing ethnic dresses..but the compliments u get make it worth.. :)

adin_22 said...

it look so much fun...U look so lovely in your Yukata....

saintangelius said...

I love draging my yukata's out once a year to shake all the 'cupboard smell' from them only to dance around with other sweaty japanese boys ^^ Good time ^___^ I couldn't never get the hang of my geta's tho...

Jamilla Camel said...

You look adorable in your Yukata!!

I used to go to Bon festivals all the time in Seattle, and of course, when we lived in Tokyo!

Thanks for sharing the pics!

mint said...

wow i love your kimono!!!
they're so cool, i want to try wearing one too.

♥akisa♥ said...

you look adorable!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Judy said...

ooh are you a japanese?

Zoe said...

You look so pretty in Yukata..Love ur pictures^^

Natgn said...

You look so pretty and it looks like you had so much fun~! I guess beauty is pain XD.

dreamer0703 said...

You look gorgeous with that yukada!

wendycakes said...

you look so cute in your yukata! i'm going to the torrance mitsuwa festival this weekend. :)

Keely Valentine said...

I'm so jelous! I'd love to get a yukata or kimono and wear one, they seem so expensive online though. You look stunning in yours!

Emily said...

wah u look so cute in your yukata its so pretty!

Xine said...

You look so cute! I remember a scene from Yamada Taro when I saw you in a Yukata. haha :))

Dana Yoshimizu said...

aww WoW thanks for sharing this with us Mika. What nice pictures. I haven't been to an Obon in such a long time, makes me want to go

K said...

Mika-chan, I didn't know you spoke Japanese! You look very lovely in your yukata! I haven't had a chance to wear mine this year!!!

IchigoBunnie said...

how cute!

i wanna wear a yukata!! or if im rich enough a kimono haha.

i just feel id get so many weird stares if i wore one here in my city. but they really do look so good and you look great in it!

atelierbeauty said...

Your kimono looks so kawaii!! I have one too, but it's more like a pajamas lol

Maybe I'll snap a pix of it someday

denise said...

woooow
i love the music!!! :D
thanks for this cultural post, its so interesting!

M o J o B a n B o said...

love your blog sooooo cute.

Blair said...

I thought I left a comment in this entry but it seems that I didn't =(

You look beautiful in your yukata!!! I wish that I can wear one too! Do you have others besides this one?

fuzkittie said...

Aww you look soooo pretty Mika!! One day I wanna try those on too! Hehehe. You look like a perfect poupee! :P

MiuMiu said...

you look so pretty! i wish i could wear one XD
i was in tokyo during the "golden week" obon festival, sadly i didn't see many people dress up, nor did i know where to go to see any of the events.