Monday, July 19, 2010

Ya Ya Yukata!

A Yukata is a Japanese summer kimono. The yukata is more casual than the traditional kimono, it’s made out of cotton and very lightweight. Yukatas are seen worn by Japanese men and women to summer events. I just got my very first yukata and I am super excited to wear it!

My yukata packaged up all nice and neat! Gotta love the efficiency of the Japanese!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be dancing in the Bon Odori festival. All of the dancers have to wear a yukata! Lucky me, cause I like to dance and I wanted a kimono! The yukata we get to wear to the festival is very patriotic…red, white and blue! Love it!

I had to pay extra for my shoes because my feet are so "big"! (I mean, I only wear a size 9, but here an extra large is a size 8, so I am considered a giant!!!)

I don’t have pictures of me wearing it yet, but the first dance is this Saturday and I will be sure to get pictures of me dressed in it then. I haven’t been taught how to properly put it on yet and I do not want to mess up a Japanese custom! Seriously!

Luckily the bow is pre-made so I don't have to attempt to make my bow look like I know what I am doing!!!

For the last month we have met every Thursday for Bon Odori dance practice. This is where about 30 spouses get together and learn the festival dances taught by several Japanese women. I say “taught” very loosely, because they don’t speak any English and therefore the American girls have had to simply watch the Japanese women dance in order to learn. (I have discovered from this, that one can actually communicate without talking…this comes as a shocker to someone who can’t seem to keep her mouth shut!!!)

During one practice I was doing the dance, mimicking one of the Japanese instructors (who was no less than 2 heads shorter than me!) and she came up to me after the song was over and corrected me…again with no words but with a serious face and a mocking way of showing me that I was not in fact doing it exactly like her! I felt reprimanded! I was dancing like a dancer from the States would, using my long bird arms and extending them like I have been taught. However, due to the fact that her arms were half the length of mine, she did not like the length that I extended them and very sternly showed me that I needed to be softer and not so sharp! (I have danced my whole life, I am used to sharp movements, perfect and precise…but the Japanese women dance completely different, less defined and more flowy!)

That was my first practice, I have learned since then to try and make myself not so long, if you will. I don’t use my arms like I would in ballet, but like a Japanese dancer telling a story! For each dance is a story, you just have to pay close attention to figure out what that story is!

1 comment:

  1. What a beauiful garment! This should be a lot of fun for the women dancing and the audience. Take lots of pictures Nick.