So unfortunately I’ve fallen way behind in my posting, but this takes priority over tomorrow’s IS prep/reading comprehension/dictation worksheet/one other thing I can’t recall.
So a couple weekends ago, on the suggestion of my host mother, I participated in a Kimono pageant. At the time my host mother had recommended it, she had told me that while I would most likely be the first foreigner to ever participate in the Kimono pageant, she reassured me that it was very common for men to participate, since in my mind I had always thought the Kimono to be a more female oriented garment. So upon arriving, I find myself to be not only the only foreigner, but also the only male. The definition of hazukashii.
So I make my way back through the makeshift dressing room (they put up a divider), while the woman leading me back there makes sure to let everyone know that THERE’S A MALE COMING THROUGH as we proceed to the back of the dressing area. So I get dressed by this lady, she ties my belt and gets me all prettied up, and as I’m waiting to be sent on to the stage (a concept I am dreading fairly strongly at this point), I notice the three small Japanese girls who have apparently been staring at me for some time. One steps forward and timidly introduces herself, and as I’m amped to have anyone to talk to, I do my best to have a child-level Japanese conversation, which was perhaps more difficult for me than it should of been.
I’m not entirely sure what I did, but the kids started getting really excited and giggly, and seemed to be having a good time as we played various games of Jankenpo (rock paper scissors) and what I can only assume to be hide-and-seek (they told me to cover my eyes and then ran off). I was hard to keep a stern face with these adorable kids giggling at me and my broken Japanese, and I was soon playing along as they ran screaming through the plaza completely unaware of the shamisin performance occurring simultaneously. At one point they somehow made a game of trying to slap me in the ass (suppose I have a knack for putting myself in potentially criminal situations), and I figured that it was time to end the fun and get ready to go on.
As I walked up to the stage with my host sister (she was nice enough to go through all this with me), another Japanese woman, and the 3 little girls, I heard the gasps I had been expecting, and then the applause that I really hadn’t. Making my best “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here, but it’s a bit too late to back out now” face, I walked around the stage with my group a few times before descending and passing through the audience. Despite it being a pretty 不思議 experience, the audience members I passed gave me nothing but mad props as I embarrassedly thanked them.
After the show, a woman from the crowd asked if I’d take a picture with her kid who, after initially fleeing in terror from most likely the first foreigner she had ever seen up close, finally stayed still for a picture. According to Okaasan I was sugoks かっこいい, but I have my doubts. Regardless, I got cultured, and brought the diversity, and in my books that’s a good day.