Today I visited a tea house in Yokohama with a group of moms from the kids’ school. Our guides for the day were members of the Kanagawa Systematized Goodwill Guide Club, or KSGG. KSGG volunteers organize outings, run tours–and help dress foreigners in yukata, or cotton, summertime version of kimono.
KSGG volunteers provided the yukata and all accessories. But ever the overachiever, I brought my own! Last week I visited a second hand store chain called Off House, and on impulse I picked up a pretty blue yukata for only 500 yen, or about $4.50. I had the belts and hair accessories from Tessa’s kimono adventure and brought those along as well. When I bought the yukata I wasn’t even sure if it was a woman’s yukata, or if it was the right size, or how to wear it–so I’m really glad that I brought it along. It fit perfectly, and I appreciated the tutorial.
Once fully dressed we knelt for the tea ceremony itself. The KSGG volunteers talked us through the steps and rituals which boil down to one rule: when in doubt, bow.
After rendering our feet completely numb due to 30 minutes of sitting on our heels, it was time to shuck the yukata, take funny pictures in the bamboo forest, and head home.