Summer Festival Season

We're down to the last week and a half of school before summer vacation. The kids are getting excited about dressing up for this year's neighborhood BON dance festival in the park next weekend. A few days ago, the superintendant relayed that that an elderly woman on the 4th floor hoped she could lend me a yukata (casual cotton summer kimono) this summer as she knew how difficult it could be to find one big enough for the large foreign woman with the cute children. I told him that I had one of my own and that I'd be too scared of spilling something on borrowed apparel.

He stopped me in the lobby today to tell me that the woman was still eager to lend me the yukata and that she was confident that it would fit me well as she had had it tailor made to fit her wider than average dimensions. I decided to stop by and thank her for the kind offer. She was expecting me, the yukata laid out on her coffee table with all the paraphenelia for properly putting it on and a beautiful woven OBI (2 or 2 1/2 yard long, 1 foot wide waist belt). She said she'd had it all out since the previous day, when her regular day care helper had been there. She invited me in to show me the best way to wear it.

I tried it on over the clothes I was wearing and we both worked out how to tie the OBI as it had been a long time since she had worn it. Her response to how I looked was a gusty "Bravo!" and an apology for Italian instead of English. She had aspired to sing opera when she was younger, she explained, so her chest had developed too much for off-the-rack yukatas. She was pleased that I recognized the OBI as a special pattern from Hakata in Kyushuu, where S is from, and told me more than I wanted to know about how special the silk belt was. Now I'm afraid to wear it to the festival where L or N will think nothing of wiping their sticky hands...Of course it would be rude not to wear the outfit though.

The wooden sandals she offered me were, as to be expected, too small to get my feet into but she happily insisted that my usual summer sandals would look wonderful with the ensemble. I thanked her for the loan and walked downstairs to give the superintendant and his wife a laugh before returning home to take it all off and carefully fold it until next week's festival. I'll definitely try to get some pictures.