Sunday, October 30, 2005


Today (Sunday, Oct 30) and yesterday, I worked the Far East Bazaar, volunteering to help out at a kimono stand (where else), Le Kimono Galerie. I had the time of my life! Ikeda-San and I had loads of fun selling Kimono.

I got to practice my Japanese on Ikeda-san and my Kitsuke(Kimono Dressing) on lots of unsuspecting individuals. Even though we were missing a lot of the ginch for proper Kitsuke, I managed to make the kimono and obi look pretty good. As a matter of fact, I think a lot of people went home with an obi and a kimono when they just set out to get a kimono. Chris says he thinks Le Kimono Galerie did much more business this year than it did last year. =)

Every time a little girl came into the stall, I put a kimono or a yukata on her. No pressure, I just asked if they would like to try one on. We sold a lot that way, especially when the little girls were with their Daddies (sorry about your budget, Nic). One little girl was so cute, she came back to pick up her purchase and I dressed her up in her yukata again, and she wore it home!

The guys were the funniest. I helped a lot of clueless guys. One guy seemed so uncertain about an obi he had chosen as a gift for his mother-in-law. I hope that MIL really likes the obi, her son-in-law put a lot of thought into choosing it, spending well over an hour looking at different obis. The one he finally picked was really great and I hope she can tell the care, earnestness and thoughtfulness with which it was chosen.

The vendor across from us, a Japanese couple selling handmade pottery, came over to me as we were nearing the end of the Bazaar. The husband said he and his wife liked my shirt (a funky Japanese-print shirt that I bought years ago in the States) and they thought it was great I was practicing my Japanese. In addition, they were impressed with how hard I worked and how kind and helpful I was! They also said that they were amazed by my ability to pick out kimono and obi, and how well I was able to tie the obi. The wife said that most Japanese (herself included) don't know much about kimono and that they were glad that Ikeda-San had someone like me to help him. I'm still smiling from those compliments.

By the way, Ikeda-San doesn't know how to do the kimono, either men's or women's, so when he modelled a men's outfit for a customer (dressed like Elivs! I saw Elvis at the Bazaar!), I had to tie his Hakama for him. I haven't had a formal lesson in Hakama yet--but I know how to time them from doing Kendo!

Ikeda-San gave me a beautiful antique obi (Meiji Era) as a thank-you. I was astonished (and thrilled). As the Japanese say "Rucky (lucky)!"

The Bazaar returns in the spring and I'm planning on volunteering again. This time, I think I will wear a kimono when I am working. I was going to wear one today, but my skills aren't up to snuff just yet. Were it just Americans around, no problem, but at the Bazaar, I will be surrounded by Japanese vendors and shoppers and the Japanese have an incredible eye for detail, so I need to make sure it everything looks perfect if I am going to wear their national costume.

I also won a raffle item. I NEVER win raffle items but this time I did. I wish I had not. I won an ginormous ugly-ass blanket. I threatened to give it to Sly as a Christmas gift! It's got a tacky tiger on it. Too bad that you cannot see that the tacky tiger has a lazy eye! Messed up-yet warm! So here's my new ugly-ass blanket. I already pwned the ugly-ass spousal unit.

1 comment:

quitenak said...

i am so envious. that sounded like such a wonderful day!

i have to say - i live vicariously through your posts!

you and i are very similar in our approach to learning abou japanese culture. i am not obsessed, but i am fascinated and always trying to learn more and more. it sounds like your eagerness is well loved. the japanese folks i know here are always so excicted when you can discuss culture or even if i know what something is called in japanese. it's sad how things are slowly becoming more westernized - and the culture is slowly melting away... so i try to preserve as much as i can from my end.

if i make it to japan in the next few years, i'm going to be hitting you up for advice and pointers, that's for sure!