So, I was going to go out to Dogo today (just to poke around the shops and take some pictures, since I’ve already been in the onsen and it’s kind of mediocre), but then I decided that I didn’t want to go that far. Instead, I went to Gintengai (the covered shopping arcade) and shopped for three and a half hours. My primary purchase? A yukata. Because, while I do own a formal kimono courtesy of my amazing host family, I did not have a yukata, and that was sad.
A lot of kimono shops are doing sales right now, presumably because yukata are a summer thing and it’s almost September, so everything I bought was 30% off. It was a lovely shopping experience, too: the shop I wandered into is quite small and I was the only customer. The older lady working there, who was wearing a yukata herself, looked through the rack with me and helped me decide on the grey and pink one. It’s really cute, with a little bit of キラキラ (the onomatopoeia for something sparkly), and I really like the pattern. Then we tried two different obis to see which one worked better, and the pink and green was definitely the best choice. I don’t know when I’ll wear it just yet, but opportunities definitely arise here and it’s a nice thing to have regardless. And I was told that, when I do want to wear it, just come back to the shop and they’ll help me with it/teach me how to tie the obi.
I also bought a pair of geta, which I’m going to wear with jeans tomorrow if I decide to go out anywhere. I’m so glad I have small feet, or things like this wouldn’t fit, and they’re cute with western clothes.
To veer off in a tangentially related, but tonally different, direction, I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Alex Kerr, Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan, and I definitely have some thoughts, but I’m going to finish the book first. It’s a good read if you’re even remotely interested in this country – he talks about the problems with how Japan works (or doesn’t) and, even more importantly, he traces back the reasons and causes. A little too often, Japan is idealised by scholars and enthusiasts to the degree that they handwave all the things that are broken (to the point of being completely disconnected from reality), and Kerr doesn’t do any of that because he loves Japan enough to look at it honestly.
But, yeah, that’s a topic for another post and I will come back to it. With photos I haven’t taken yet, to serve as photographic evidence. It’s something I find really interesting, so it’s on the blogging agenda.