Explosions of color on cloth

Three friends wearing yukata, Yamanote Line, two. The yukata is a summer-weight kimono, made of lighter material but used year-round in the privacy of the home or bath. I haven't decided to buy one yet - my re-appropriated hospital scrubs do quite nicely, thank you very much - but what's interesting about the yukata has nothing to do with bedtime fashion victims. The yukata's big sister, the kimono, is virtually shunned by the modern Japanese. It's fiscally prohibitive, it's difficult to put on without assistance by somebody who knows how to tie the four-meter-long obi, or belt. Usually, it's worn once during a coming-of-age ceremony, and that's often the only kimono that the wearer will ever own. Wedding kimono are almost always rented, and that's when the couple opts for a traditional wedding. The yukata, on the other hand, is affordable, looks (and I've been told is) comfortable and interestingly, provides an uncumbersome way to connect modern life in Japan, Inc. to traditional Edo stylings. As soon as the fireworks and festival season began, yukata began pouring out of the woodwork, and mostly on younger Japanese teens and twentysomethings. I've even pasty gaijin wearing them in train stations. Life in Japan can often be reduced to a philosophical struggle of accepting change, and then how much let go. The recent Howard French articles in the New York Times bear witness to that. However, it's encouraging to see a group like the three pictured above, keitais in one hand and bleached-lightened hair atop their heads. Maybe there is hope for a future Japan, where Western concepts of equality are as common as the yukata in summer.


3 Responses to “Explosions of color on cloth”

  1. Phil on

    The Monkey (From the annals of the Zen Koan):

    The Monkey is reaching for the moon in the water,
    Until death overtakes him he’ll never give up.
    If he’d let go the branch and disappear in the deep pool,
    The whole world would shine with dazzling pureness.

  2. Phil on

    Hi Seth, that apple was great. Can an Asian guy have an Asian fetish? Things that make you go hmmm…

    You are one crazy ass cool bastard. If I was a kawaii girl I would want to drip soy sauce all over your nipples.

  3. seth on


    Folks, this is what happens when you take Americans out of their natural habitat, and then re-insert them like a S.W.A.T. team or other highly-trained tactical squadron. Or a tampon.

    They get nipple fetishes…

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