Saturday, March 10, 2012
Japan Day in Cambridge 2012
Today was my second annual venturing to the Japan Day in Cambridge. I knew that it was going on for a while, but apparently it was their 10th year today. The theme of this event was hope, since tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
As always, when I'm out to impress, everything will go wrong. It started out with my kimono not wanting to wear properly. Of course the problem was that it's too short, and I'm simply not used to wearing too short kimono in traditional way anymore. After two tries I've managed to get it to sit semi-nicely, but then the obi decided to act up. The obi I originally wanted to wear is extremely stiff, and guess needs to be in a special mood to sit on me properly, which unfortunately wasn't meant to be today. Instead of fighting with the obi for the third time, I just went with my plan B. Thankfully that obi was less temperamental, and everything worked out from the first try.
But wait, now I was running 15 minutes later than I originally planned on leaving, so by the time I got to Kaetsu, there of course was no parking. Actually, scratch that, there was couple of spots, but there was no way I could get my car in those. I barely had enough space to turn around and leave. I briefly entertained the thought of giving up and going home, but then decided to drive around and see if I can find a spot to park somewhere on the street. Thankfully I was able to find a place just 7 minutes walk away, BUT the max stay was only 2 hours. Better than nothing, so off I went to the Japan Day.
I've made it there with just a few minutes to spare before the Tea Ceremony demo, so I took a spot close to the stage, got my camera ready, took photos of and with kimono people, and prepared to wait. I entertained a not-so-secret hope about being picked as the second guest for the ceremony demo, but they didn't pick anyone from the audience this time! The demonstration itself was different from the last year's, with older (super cute in kimono) gentleman talking in Japanese, and older Japanese lady translating. Instead of giving a lecture about Tea while the ceremony was performed, they first described everything and only then the ceremony itself started. It's sad to say, but I was kinda bored... because I didn't understand Japanese, and the translations were not that interesting either. I was able to take notes though, while I "listened" to the Japanese part.
After the demonstrations, audience was again invited to taste matcha. I chatted to one lady while waiting for my turn, she was impressed with my kimono and surprised that I had nothing to do with tea. I gave her my card (she kept thinking that I either sell or make kimono), which she passed to her student (not sure why, maybe that student was interested in kimono?), and asked for another card for herself.
At this point I only had about 40 minutes left before my parking time ended, so instead of watching taiko drumming as I originally intended, I went to walk around and see what else was going on. The whole first (second for us Americans) floor was devoted to ikebana displays, and I'm pretty sure I've seen my instructor in kimono hanging out in the area. I'm not sure if it was her, since I only took one ikebana lesson about a year ago, but I asked her for a photo :) I loved the kimono she wore, because it looked extremely similar to two kimono I own! :)
Second floor had kimono dressing and Japanese embroidery display. There were also several wedding uchikake on display. I hung out in that room for a few minutes, taking photos and talking to people about my kimono. Had one older British gentleman ask me about it, and then say that I must have an affinity with Japan. I said that yes, definitely do, but when I said that I've never been in Japan nor speak any Japanese, he got this I-don't-know-what-to-say look on his face, and walked off. It wasn't rude, just more like he didn't expect someone who obviously knows how to wear kimono, yet never visited Japan. It was pretty funny to me, actually.
While walking around, my kimono was a hit with the younger Japanese population, they especially liked the lace collar and my bow obiage.
There was nothing else to do there at this point, so I just went back to my car and took some photos of my outfit. Overall, Japan Day is a good event to go to, as long as you're not alone. I was pretty bored for most of the time, because I had no one to talk to and no one to share my experience with, and there is only so much I can ask the organizers and people there.