Thud! Thud! I move slowly in the heavy wooden sandals that have been given to me so generously by my host. The geta are the least of my worries though, because I’ve also been tied into my summer kimono so tightly that I think I might pass out in the heat. I look in the mirror and cringe: a tall, gangly blonde dressed up in traditional Japanese summer wear. I’m starting to understand what author Dave Barry meant when he referred to Americans in Japan as “water buffalo”. I feel so conspiciuous.
We arrive at the Yokohama Fireworks festival, and the throngs of people dressed in traditional wear only further my insecurity. The Japanese girls move gracefully in their stylish cotton yukata, while I amble along, hoping that I don’t get splinters in my feet.
We turn a corner onto a street of festival vendors, and the discomfort of my outfit fades away with the first wafting scent of grilled chicken skewers. We make our way down the street past colorful awnings of the stalls and sample the different yakitori offerings – thighs, gizzards, hearts – they have it all! Other stalls offer snacks like takoyaki (battered bites of octopus) and noodles that sizzle with crisp vegetables over habachi grills.
This was my first photo of the scene, and I took many more after I realized that this one was blurred and out of focus. Looking back at the images, this is the only one I’d show to describe it.