Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm Here! and Department Store Yukata Shopping

Yes, I made it! Thanks for all of your well-wishes and messages! :D

While I'm waiting for my resident card, the level break that unlocks the mighty Cell Phone, Bank Account, and Home Internet, I'll be posting sporadically for the next few weeks.

I think, after emails and messages from y'all, my readers, that I'll do a 50/50 split where when I post one thing about kimono, etc., I'll post a separate one with tips and observations about life living in Japan, under the super-creative header of Life in Japan. ;) That way it'll be searchable for those who are interested in seeing past ones, but also obvious for those of you who would like to skip the non-kimono stuff. :)

Today's photos are from national-chain department stores here in Akita (the first one I've already shared on Facebook, but can go into more detail here).

This is a set-up advertising summer yukata, the simple cotton kimono worn to firework shows and summer festivals. Most department stores will have a temporary yukata corner set up this time of year, and those with year-round kimono shops will set out a ton of yukata.

Yukata are the only type of kimono still worn by most women in modern times, and a smaller number of men. The two on the right are for women, and the one on the left is for a man. From what I remember the prices were around 15-20,000 yen (~$200-240 USD) per yukata. The obi on the middle one is a heko obi, a soft, floppy and often translucent obi you tie in a simple bow in the back: it's the friendliest for yukata newbies. :)

The modern young woman's yukata ensemble allows for lots of cute touches, like these flower hair accessories sold as large, simple flowers or bright, fun versions of the traditional dangling hair ornaments called hana kanzashi. Prices were between $10-$40 USD.

Pretty, feminine fans for the ladies...

Masculine colors and patterns for the gentlemen. I think they all were around $20-40 USD?

Men, if you're reading, you too can use a fan in Japan without ridicule as fans are seen as normal for both genders. :)

In fact, riding the bullet train up to Akita, I was actually sitting across from an older man, very down-to-earth and tough-looking, who would occasionally get out a fan like those above and fan himself as he looked out the window.

For either gender, you can use your fan everyday, in Western clothing as well. Waiting on the bullet train in Tokyo, I saw several ladies fanning themselves as they stood on the platform. I carry mine with me everywhere this time of year!

Regarding the prices, don't let these scare you away if you're thinking of buying a yukata. Department stores are the most expensive places to shop for them, and you can get much better deals at lower-end stores like Uniqlo, resale shops, or online at places like Rakuten. :)

Here are some sets over on Amazon, too!

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