Out to Sea

by

The typhoon veered slowly away from the coast early today, leaving behind sunny weather. A festival at a youchien (幼稚園), or kindergarten, was originally planned for Saturday night, but was postponed until today because of the weather.

July and August are a time of many festivals. Partly because the weather is hot, partly because there is a school break, partly because spirits of dead relatives are believed to visit. The kindergarten festivals are a chance for the kids to: perform for their parents; dress up in yukata and jinbee; and play fun games. At the end of the event we got to watch fireworks.

Yukata (浴衣) is a lightweight cotton kimono. The women’s yukata are often brightly colored and decorated with fun patterns. Jinbee (甚兵衛) are casual summer clothes for men, consisting of short pants and a loose kimono-like top. Wearing them is kind of like walking around in pajamas. The first time I wore them, I rode a train and got odd stares from another gaijin; I’m sure she thought I was out on the town in my PJs.

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