Monday was a national holiday, so I had a nice three-day weekend. Before my accident, I had planned on using the weekend to visit Yakushima, a beautiful island off the coast of Kyushu that is famous for it’s hiking trails. It is also famous for being the inspiration for the forest in one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films, “Princess Mononoke.” However, as hiking typing requires not moving like a robot, the trip has been postponed for the foreseeable future.
Instead, I had a pretty relaxing weekend spent mostly at home. I got to go the beach on Sunday and hang out with Alissa and a few of her visiting friends. Even though we got rained out about thirty minutes after getting there, it was still fun. Other than that, I spent most of the weekend doing household chores. There was a festival going on from Friday night to Sunday night, but I couldn’t really get to it unless I wanted to spend money on a taxi and try to walk more than my ankle could probably take at the time.
However, the festival finished with a fireworks show on Monday night. The Japanese take their fireworks very seriously (in that there are plenty of amazing firework festivals throughout the year so you never have to go too long without seeing some). To top it off, the fireworks festival was the first opportunity I had to wear my yukata out in public.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it here, but as a “congratulations on being discharged from the hospital” present the teachers in charge of the second year homerooms from my school got together and bought me a beautiful yukata (a summer kimono). As yukata are typically summer festival wear, I hadn’t had a chance to wear it in public.
I spent about twenty minutes watching an instructional video online and trying to put the yukata on before I realized that a) I should have worn a tank top under the yukata and b) I had to go to the bathroom. I had about thirty minutes until Lauren and Julia were going to pick me up anyway, so I took off the yukata, dealt with what I needed to do, and tried again.
Thankfully, third time’s the charm and my third attempt looked better anyway.
Lauren and Julia picked me up shortly after that and we headed to the festival.
I love Japanese festivals. Not just the fireworks, but the whole atmosphere makes me feel just warm (in a good way) and happy. The longer I stay here, the better they are because the longer I’m here, the more people I know at each festival. At the fireworks festival I ran into about twenty of my students (most of who at least smiled and waved at me), a few people I knew from the area, and (strangest of all) one of the nurses from my stay in the hospital.
While I am sad that I will be missing the city’s biggest festival next weekend, I am very glad that summer festival season is fairly long and extensive. There will always be plenty more festivals for me to attend. Maybe next time I will actually remember to bring my camera along.