For my first Saturday free in nine weeks I decided to take the day off…kind of. Every year for my school’s sport festival I try and find a way to represent all of the teams since I’m never assigned one. Last year I made myself a multicolored headband out of scrap fabric I had. This year I wanted to try something a bit bigger and more complicated: tie dye. In the US deciding to tie dye is a simple matter of running to Michaels and picking up a kit.
In Japan, it’s a little more difficult. Tie dying is not really a thing, despite it being a traditional Japanese craft. For me, tie dying was an annual event. We always tie dyed shirts at camp and I would proudly wear it until the colors faded, I grew out of it, or my mom made it disappear (I’m like 80% sure that’s what happened). Since I was already planning on tie dying, I decided to introduce my two remaining conversation group members to what I see as a kind of quintessential American summer vacation experience. At 10 on Saturday, Tomoko and Izaki-sensei came over with the things they wanted to dye. I had set up my kitchen table with a plastic bag as a tablecloth, got the dyes ready in some squirt bottles, and pulled up a few examples of tying techniques for them to see.
I think they had a lot of fun. (The next day I went back to the mall to pick up some different dye because I wanted to see if I could make something a bit better than I had made while with my friends. I ended up having extra dye that I didn’t want to waste, so I wandered my apartment grabbing almost anything that was white.) I may have gone a bit overboard.
After we were finished, Tomoko and Izaki-sensei left. I made a grocery store run and then spent a few hours doing meal prep for the next week.
That evening after dinner, I jumped into my yukata (a summer kimono), and Laura picked me up. We picked up Andy on the way to Kadogawa and met up with Anna there. A few of my students (of course) saw me, much to my chagrin. I don’t normally mind when my students see me outside of school, but I always feel strange when I’m wearing some kind of traditional Japanese garb. Does it look weird for me to be wearing a yukata? Do they not like foreigners wearing traditional clothes? Am I being somehow offensive?
Regardless, I’m pretty proud of how quickly I was able to dress myself and how good it looked. I was getting compliments all night and no one believed that I had put it on myself.
In Kadogawa, we met up with Andy’s teacher. We thought she was going to lead us to an area where a bunch of other teachers were hanging out, but instead we ended up hanging out with her personal friends. I had some great conversations with a few of them and they fed us (the generosity of Miyazakians never ceases to amaze me) some delicious grilled food.
Plus, of course, the fireworks were great.