The Yukata: Traditional Japanese Summer Kimono

When I got to Japan it didn’t take long to figure out that summer time meant yukata time. For those that are not sure what a yukata is, it’s a summer kimono typically made of cotton and is often worn to Maturi’s (summer festivals) or other special events.  It’s common to see men and women wearing yukata’s all summer long.  Soo of course I wanted to join in on the fun.  However, I’m not Japanese and I didn’t own a yukata…que my fellow Nagoya housewife friends, a trip to Osu Kannon, and a long awaited event and you have me, my yukata, a castle, and a whole lot of stares from Japanese folk wondering what the “gaijin” is doing wearing one.  Alright, maybe I exaggerate just a little, there are plenty of non-Japanese people that wear yukata’s.

One of the first activities I joined, in what I now fondly refer to as “wife camp” is yukata class, where one learns to hand sew their own.  Side note, “wife camp” is what I like to call some of my daily activities, random crafts, and Japanese cultural events I go to, to keep myself busy here in Japan (in case you were wondering).  I’ve been working on my yukata since we arrived in Japan and am no where near finishing it.  My goal is to have it done by next summer, so I can enjoy playing dress-up, and of course attending cultural events in something that I made myself.  Makes it just a little more special I suppose.  Here is a photo of the fabric for those interested.  It will hopefully turn out like the one I purchased and am wearing in the photo next to it.

Of course the last day of summer (even though it’s still hot as hell here in Japan) I finally got an opportunity to play dress up and wear my purchased yukata out into the world.  I’m being totally serious here, I really had a hard time not laughing at the whole situation…if you can imagine four “gaijin” and a dog wandering around Nagoya, in yukata’s, for no particular reason you’d laugh too.  We did however have fun visiting a shrine and Inuyama Castle, which allows free admission to those wearing yukata’s.  Here’s a few photos of the day.

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There you have it, a short little blurb about my day playing dress-up and immersing more and more into this culture.

At the end of it though, it is days like today the make me grateful for the adventure, the friends, the laughs, the stares, and of course the culture that I’m getting to embrace with these little mishaps, misunderstandings, crooked bows, and poorly tied yukatas…until next time!

Sayanara!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another great post Nicole
    How fun next summer to have two Yukatas to choose from
    Shirley

    Like

  2. Jen D'Angelo says:

    It is so fun to read about your adventures, Nicole – keep ’em coming!!!

    Like

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