Today I had a few minutes before my Japanese class, so I stopped in a store that sells inexpensive clothing and accessories for young women. Its equivalent might be something like Forever 21 in the States.
That's where I spotted the yukata!
Yukata are casual kimono-like robes that are worn in the summer here. Unlike kimono, they are cotton and machine-washable-- no intricate embroidery or fine silk-- they are cheap! Even better, the store was selling yukata sets (robe, obi, and shoes) for only 3900 yen (about $39).
So, my new thing of the day was-- you guessed it-- to buy a yukata.
My Japanese teacher told me yukata are worn on special days to festivals, fireworks shows, or temples. I asked her if anyone ever wears them out to dinner and she looked at me kind of funny, but then said it would be okay if I did since I'm obviously a foreigner and can do pretty much what I want with my yukata.
At first I questioned my purchase... do I really need it? When will I wear it? Is it practical? But then I remembered that this month of living dangerously is EXACTLY for decisions like this... in other words, when else in my life WILL I ever get to buy and wear a yukata?
So, I'm planning to wear my yukata in all kinds of situations here-- like the bridesmaid dress you always hope to wear again, only I'm really going to since I know I have a free pass as a wacky foreigner.
Striking a typical Japanese model pose...
Hmm... do you think my feet are a little big for these shoes? Some old Chinese emperor is horrified in his grave by my monstrous feet...
It should also be noted that had no idea how to get the robe on... there's some rule I think about whether to cross left over right or right over left, and I'm pretty sure I did it wrong. If you're in the know, please HELP!
So, a question for you... what's the most useless or impractical thing you bought in a foreign country?