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Sunday, 01 January 2012

Memoirs of a Koshimoto - Page 3

Written by Andrea Oikawa
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April 8th

      I brought the multitude of papers and head measurements to Yukie and Kanako’s class.  Thankfully they were both present this week.  Kanako whipped out her mobile phone, dialed the festival committee and imparted my measurements while getting detailed directions to the venue. 
      She even offered to show me personally, but I didn’t want to further impose on her and was reasonably certain of the location: an historic Feudal Lord’s home called Hotta-tei. 
April 18th

      T-minus one week until the big event.  Not wanting to be the weak link holding up the large procession of Japanese characters from bygone eras, I wandered up to the Hotta-tei to confirm the way.  When I informed the other students we all became quite excited.  All set, apart from this scratchy feeling I had in my throat.
April 24th

    Grrr.  Scratchy feeling became full blown cold.

April 25th – Parade Day!

    No improvement in cold symptoms.  However, apart from the sizeable sum of yen I parted with on costume rental, it was an opportunity that I reasoned I couldn’t afford to lose to a common cold.  I fought back with the following:  Kakonto, a hot liquid Chinese medicine students swear by, Dayquil, Otrivin, herbal cough syrup, and a throat lozenge.

    By the time the friendly greeter bowed to me at the Hotta-tei, the medicines were thankfully in full effect.  I was ushered to the tatami mat-covered changing area and easily located my costume; it was the only one labeled in English.

    Getting into the costume,  however, was not so easy.  Thankfully an efficient attendant came along to wrap me with the first layer of the traditional kimono and bumped me out to the wig and make up area.  The wig master then appeared.  His thick stature was suitable for a sumo ring, and came with a hairstyle to match.  He began to fit my top-notted wig, decorated in mustard colored combs and tinkly silver decorations, with the serious expression and precision of a neurosurgeon.

    Despite the requested head measurements, the wig was far too roomy.  Perhaps erring on the side of caution to ensure it would fit over my big foreign head.  Thankfully there was a backup, set aside to be the finishing touch.

SAM 0376    Time for the intense china-doll-style make up.  But before I was called to the makeup chair, attendants bustled four teenage boys in ahead of me.  So instead I observed these fresh faced youth being transformed into old men with bald caps and flowing beards like Harry Potter wizards.

    When the petite, smiling makeup artist finally waved me forward, I was pleasantly surprised to hear her welcome me in English.

      “Part of Seven Gods of Fortune.” She nodded in the direction of the bearded youths.  As she deftly transformed my western face into one typical of Japanese women approximately two hundred years ago, she wished to chat with me in English.  I did so with minimal facial movement for fear my make up would resemble Alice Cooper’s. 

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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