Saturday, April 28, 2012

Personalized Japanese Cultural Day

Some of my co-workers, my brother (who was visiting from the US) and I had the opportunity to have a Personalized Japanese Cultural Day a couple weeks ago.  The only knowledge we had of this event was that it was going to be kimono dressing and that we were going to be taught Japanese dancing.

The day turned out very special.  Us ladies were taken to a home where we were dressed in hand-sewn kimonos.  The lady whose house we went to made the kimonos.  They were all very pretty and we got to choose which ones we wanted to wear.  While we were doing kimono dressing, my brother was at a different location learning some Kanji and Calligraphy. 

After kimono dressing, the ladies wanted us to put our hair up with flowers.  Everyone else was fairing well since they had longer, thicker, hair.  I was struggling with getting the bobby pin to stay in my hair.  Someone had to put a small side-ponytail in my hair so that the bobby pin with the flower could attach to something.  It was pretty funny.  The Japanese ladies commented how soft my hair was.

Next, our hostess danced a Japanese dance for us.  We were all entranced by her dance.  When she was finished the furniture was pushed away and she taught us a dance.  It was really fun, and we even made my  brother participate.

Learning a dance.

Last, we had a non-traditional tea ceremony and snacks.  Another neighbor who spoke very good English, joined us for the day and acted as a translator.  We were asked where we were from, how many children we had, how we liked Japan, etc.  We learned that one of our hostesses had to evacuate to Yokosuka (where she was from) after the earthquake because of the radiation.  She only had 2 hours to go into her home to collect belongings before evacuating with her daughter.  Her husband continues to reside in Fukushima area to work at a Nuclear Power Plant.  Her story was very heart-breaking and made all of realize how grateful we are for the things we have.  Survivors of the earthquake/tsunami continue to amaze me at their resilience. 

Arigato gozaimashita to Kyoko-san and her wonderful neighbors.  Thank you for the presents and for making such a memorable day for us Amerika-jin.

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