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Amparo Bertram

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05:17 pm: International Festival
a.k.a. Get Naked with Your Teacher Day!

I showed up at the International Festival, which was held in a meeting hall across the street from City Hall. The first event on the lineup was a group of five women playing a type of instrument that I believe they called taishougoto.

The instruments were electric, and they were composed of what looked like a small keyboard for the left hand and a small harp for the right. Interesting combination.


After listening to the harp for a while, I went over to the charity bazaar. I had only brought about $10 with me, thinking I wouldn't really need it for anything. Well, I spent it. (I'm such a sucker for pretty dishes.)

Next I went to the second floor, where they were having demonstrations of Japanese cultural things like calligraphy, flower arranging, and tea ceremony. In the very back room, they had a space to let you try on a kimono. When I arrived, the Hawaiian exchange student from my school was just ready to take hers off. There was a cloth draped across one corner of the room to serve as a changing area. Business looked kind of slow, and I had some time before my interview, so I decided to give it a try. I was given a plastic bag and told to go behind the curtain and put my clothes in it. Keep in mind that my student was still back there changing, but we're all girls here, right? ...So how many chances do American students have to strip with their teachers?




The proper way to wear a kimono is to tie it on really tight with one belt...then tie it really tight again with another belt...then tie two more belts on top of that for good measure...then stuff a colorful scarf inside the belt (just in case there was any extra room). If you can breathe, you're not wearing it right.

Since there wasn't any great demand in that area, they told me I could wear the kimono around for a while. This entails putting on narrow thong-like shoes about four sizes too small for your feet and walking with baby steps. Somehow I managed.

I went back downstairs and watched a group of dancers.

This performance was called "folkdance." I thought it would be Brazilian dancing, but the outfits looked very square dance-ish. I only got to watch a few minutes, though, because an English teacher from one of the middle schools grabbed me to start chatting.


It was about 15 minutes before the interview section, so I turned to go back upstairs to change out of the kimono. Just then, one of the organizers snagged me and told me to go to the front of the hall with the other Americans. I said I was just going to change my clothes, but she responded that the kimono was pretty and I should just keep wearing it. ^_^; So I continued to wear it all through the interview and for leading the games afterward.

By the time I went back up to change back into my clothes, they had already taken down the "changing room" sheet.

Oh, well...we're all girls here.

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Comments

From:mangaroo
Date:March 6th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC)
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If you can breathe, you're not wearing it right. - LOL! and very pretty.
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:March 6th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
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she responded that the kimono was pretty and I should just keep wearing it.
Haha, somehow this doesn't surprise me. It is really pretty, though! *kimono envy* I've never worn a real kimono. Just a yukata.
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From:melf42
Date:March 6th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC)
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I've never worn a real kimono. Just a yukata.

Me neither! And it is starting to bug me when people say they will dress me up in a kimono and it turns out to just be a yukata (like when my parents came.) When do I get to wear a REAL kimono??
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 6th, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
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When do I get to wear a REAL kimono??

Technically, a yukata is a *type* of kimono. But I agree it just doesn't have the same effect.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 6th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)
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*kimono envy* I've never worn a real kimono. Just a yukata.

I have several. If you come visit, we could play dressup. ^_~

I'd have to learn how to tie the belt, though.
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:March 6th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
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I'd have to learn how to tie the belt, though.
Yes, that would be the tricky part. I can't even do a yukata obi. Experimenting could be fun, though. ^_~
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 6th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
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I can't even do a yukata obi.

A quick search turned up this kizuke page. It has all kinds of belt-tying instructions. (Wow, there were more pieces involved than I realized...)

Experimenting could be fun, though.

Indeed...
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From:sara_tanaquil
Date:March 6th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
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Haven't I read something somewhere about how Japanese women often don't tie their own ceremonial kimonos because it's too hard... they go to a local beauty shop instead? (Sort of like having your hair done for a big event, I guess.)

Picture of kimono is so cute!
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 6th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
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they go to a local beauty shop instead?

While I was searching for belt-tying instructions, I did in fact run across a hair salon offering such a service. So it seems you're right.
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From:megory
Date:March 6th, 2005 08:28 am (UTC)

Tell us more...

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Can you tell us more about the charity bazaar? Besides dishes, what other kinds of things were there?

Was there any food?

So, it sounds like interviews, games, (what game did you play again?), trying on kimonos, bazaar, interesting music and instruments and dances, cultural calligraphy and flower arranging...anything else? How long did it last? We want to do an international fest at our school, and I'm looking for ideas.

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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 6th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Tell us more...

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Can you tell us more about the charity bazaar?

It was to benefit the tsunami victims. People would bring things from home to donate, and then other people would buy them for a few dollars.

Besides dishes, what other kinds of things were there?

There were appliances (coffee maker, food processor, etc), winter clothes, children's toys, cushion covers, all sorts of random things. Since this is Japan, everything was in excellent quality and still had the original box.

Was there any food?

There was some. Paella, some Korean dish I couldn't pronounce, some Japanese fish thing...the only thing that didn't have meat in it was the mochi though.

(what game did you play again?)

We did two. First we had everyone line up in five long lines and handed out spoons. Then we had to pass a ping pong ball down the line using the spoons, and the first one to the end won. Then the lines formed into circles holding hands, and each circle got a hula hoop. They blew a whistle to start, and we had to move the hula hoop around the circle without letting go of hands (there were two people holding the hoop, so the people in the circle just had to lift their feet to let it through). When the whistle blew again, the circle that had gotten the hoop past the most people won.
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