On the last day of Obon week, a very special event was held at Hotel Subaru, a 10 minute drive away from our apartment. If you remember my post from last year, Trevor and I had to walk to Hotel Subaru to attend our very first summer festival. This year however, was a little different. Now that I have a car (and am finally licensed!), we were able to drive 10 minutes as opposed to the hour and a half walk. What was perhaps the most exciting thing for me was that I got to wear a yukata for the first time!
Actually, during my period of long blogging absence, while I was struggling with my driving test, on the positive side, I also had the great opportunity to join my high school’s flower arrangement club. During the semester, I befriended the flower arrangement teacher who told me that she would let me wear one of her yukatas to the summer festival! My flower arrangement teacher not only teaches flower arrangement, but she’s also a master at dressing people in kimono and yukata! She is a very traditional Japanese woman who always wears a yukata, but despite her being the essence of Japanese tradition, she is also a very sweet and funny woman who took the time out of her schedule to help me get into a yukata for the first time.
Wearing a yukata consists of several components. There’s an underlayer that sort of acts as the underwear, so as not to heavily stain or ruin the pretty outer layer that everyone will see. (Because remember, Japanese summers are brutal) After that comes the yukata itself. My teacher was very particular about the way it was wrapped and what areas should be pinched and tucked away. Then comes a thin piece of cloth that holds the yukata together. After that comes a large padded-like article that covers the string. I don’t know what these are usually called and if they normally have velcro, but the one my teacher used on me had velcro to easily secure it around my body. After that comes a very long piece of cloth that wraps around the padded cloth several times and then is tied into a bow in the back. My flower arrangement teacher did a very fancy bow which she showed off to her neighbor when we dropped by. (She looked really proud of it and Trevor and I were really impressed too)
When we got to the venue, a lot of the stands were finishing setting up, and the performers were getting ready on stage. The hulu group from the Bridge Festival made a return, and the special band of the day was a trio who performed beautiful instrumental tunes using guitar and a recorder. (They did a version of the Tonari no Totoro theme!)
Food wise, there was quite a variety of foods available. Kansai grilled squid, takoyaki, kakigoori, karaage, potato fries, waffles, onigiri, curry rice, yakitori, frank on a stick… for the area being small, you could have a hard time deciding what you wanted to eat! To Trevor’s delight, a friend of ours (we we made at the Bridge festival) was running a stand of tropical drinks that you could either have spiked or ノンアル (non-alcoholic). The spiked version was half shochu and half lemon-lime soda with a dash of whatever tropical flavor you wanted.
There were also several game stands for kids to win fun prizes. I decided to do a sort of scooping game (like last year) and a fishing game. But there were shooting games as well, and even a mini crane game.
The night ended with a beautiful fireworks show, the fireworks being blown off just down from the nearby dry riverbed. A perfect ending to a fun-filled night. Our second year of attending this village’s wonderful festival. And another year of creating some amazing memories.