my friend Katie called me up and asked me to come to a little festival the temple near her house was having. i had no other plans, and said sure. she asked if i could put on my yukata myself, since i would be meeting her at the temple. i said sure, no problem. i forgot that while i have no problem with the correct ties and adjustments for putting on the actual yukata, i had only purchased a traditional obi, the long belt for yukata. back in the states, i often wore yukata, but i had a "cheater" one...where it's just a little stretch of fabric that ties with regular strings and has a pre-made bow that fits onto the back. i had tied a traditional obi once, but it was not on myself, and it was pretty sloppy considering how it is SUPPOSED to look. i realized my folly all too soon. i had planned on learning to tie the obi properly, but now i was trying to do a rush job because i'd forgotten i didn't have a cheater. between the instructions it came with and a little help from the internet, i found a bow i could BASICALLY tie myself. it still took me 6 or 7 tries to get it looking reasonably neat. an extra set of hands would have been nice, but no one was around, so i did the best i could.
i then had to get into my car (which is a challenge in yukata and obi) and drive to a place i didn't really know the way to. i knew it was by Katie's, and i knew there would be lights and things for me to find it. happily, finding the temple was no problem. finding parking, on the other hand, was a challenge. i went back and forth looking for parking, going down streets with no outlet and having to back up out of narrrow twisting roads. i finally stopped in front of the temple and very embarassingly asked an old man standing in front of the temple where i could park. Katie saw me in my car in the front, and she and the old man helped me find a place.
the festival was very nice, very small, and there were a bunch of really cute kids. Katie introduced me to some of her Japanese friends, and we talked and ate and had some drinks (well they did, i was my own designated driver). then, we decided to try the dance that everyone was doing. it was embarrassing enough that i'm a crappy gaijin dancer, but what was even worse...in the middle of the dance, my obi came undone!! driving around in it probably hadn't helped, but i guess i hadn't tied it quite tight enough. a nice oba-san came and saved me though, and quickly tied it back together, and it probably looked nicer than the one i tied that took forever. oh well. after the dance was done, the festival ended, and Katie was kind enough to have me over for a little coffee and chit-chat. she showed me some hilarious worksheets from her previous years' classes, like the students' new years resolutions. "I want marry to Katie!" and "I will travel in space". very cute.
tonight was a night of fun embarrassment. as much as i usually hate being embarrassed, there's sometimes not much you can do but live it up. and hopefully, when i go to another festival on saturday, i'll have figured out how to really tie this thing! this post is way longer than i expected, but oh well. i thought it was funny.