And I’m SO excited.
I’ve been dragging a little this week because I’m in the final stretch of work for the season
(I’m done monday) and I’m tired. But I’m finally excited about my time off, because this past weekend I did my taxes and promptly bought a plane ticket. As you do.
And so I’m headed back to Japan at the end of April for almost three weeks of visiting with dear friends, eating delicious food, and shoving as much washi tape as possible in my suitcase to bring home.
I. can’t. wait.
So I thought I’d share a few photos (real film ones I had to scan!) I took the very first time I visited Japan back in 2001. I was such a baby. And my hair was long. And blonde.
And upon arriving my friend Nami’s mother excitedly asked if I would put on kimono. Of course I said yes, thinking that she meant in the living room or something. But no. She excitedly hurried off, made some phone calls and circled a date a few weeks away on the calendar.
Then one day as the circled date approached, a woman from the kimono shop came to the house to pick up the kimono (many many boxes of kimono!) and a few days later I found myself in a kimono shop in Koiwa being layered and padded and wrapped in a ridiculous amount of red silk. Hair and make-up too. Then photos. Then walking through town to the local shrine to throw prayers and coins.
This is typical for one’s 20th birthday in Japan, and my Japanese family recreated it for me beautifully.
I was the first gaijin (foreigner) to ever put on kimono in that shop and I imagine the first to wobble down the streets of Koiwa on too small Zori. More than one incredibly tech savvy old lady whipped out a camera and demanded I pose for a picture on our way to the temple. Gorgeous kimono aside, they were probably amazed at the size of of my giant gaijin feet hanging off the edge of my friend’s zori.
And kidding aside, I feel incredibly lucky to have had that experience.
I’ve worn kimono, seen the requisite temples/shrines, and done lots of karaoke (and the drinking to go with it) on my previous trips, but this time I’m mostly just excited to spend time with friends I consider family. Especially after last year’s tragedy.
And the washi tape.
I’m excited about that too.
Are you planning any trips this year?
And do you have any suggestions for where I should eat/shop/visit while I’m in Tokyo?