USF's Japanese Club invited me to their Haru Matsuri gathering. It was so much fun!
Even though it was a relatively small event, I liked the gathering. It was big enough to be fun and exciting, and small enough to not be overwhelming and too fast-paced. And I got to wear my rabbit yukata for the first time!
There were about a dozen booths or so, not including things like food-related stuffs, including Otani-sensei's calligraphy booth, the "Tanabata" wish tree booth (a paper 'tree' that you could tack pieces of paper containing the script of your wish onto), the Consulate booth with visitors from Miami, the tourism booth (who I believe sold sheets of stamps unavailable in the US!), and so, so many more awesome people who showed up to vend, demonstrate, or otherwise help out.
Towards the end, a few more people showed up. In some places, the festival was written to be lasting until 5pm. But because certain segments (such as the cosplay portion) ended up being much shorter, the festival ended at 4pm. Also, around 3:30, we started getting that super-light sprinkle of rain of the variety that could* stay sprinkle-y in Florida... or it could literally be ten seconds to a downpour so thick you can't see anything but grey two feet in front of you. Either one could damage the kimono I had out, so I decided to put them away during the last portion of the speech contest.
One person of interest who came around 4:30 was Susan Carter, one of the Henry B. Plant Museum curators! I got to chat with her for a few minutes before leaving. She mentioned that the museum is hosting an upcoming exhibit entitled "Japan and the Victorians: The Influence of Japanese Art in the Gilded Age". Of course, I'd already signed up ahead of time for the lecture next Friday night! I intend to wear some late Meiji/early Taisho era items. Probably, the kimono from this post, and the Meiji-era obi that goes with it. Or perhaps, I'll look up ukiyo-e and other actual photos from that time period and dress as those women did. If you're going to a formal event, you might as well go in style! Even so, I want to keep it to dark, unobtrusive colours. Subtle is iki. I should probably adjust the hanao on my geta while I still have time... I'm looking forward to this exhibit! I hope it will be a great learning experience!
The J-club organizers were most helpful when it came time to getting my things back to my car at the parking garage. It was so hot (to me, at least) that even in only the yukata, I was getting dizzy... and that was after drinking three bottles of water in only a few hours. To carry three buckets of kimono items and two copy paper boxes of dishes and supplies (like the receipt pads, business cards, etc.) across the Marshall Centre and to the third floor of the garage... oy. They had a trolley though, so all was well. I think I need to look into getting one for myself; if only I knew where to hide one in this small apartment!
E and others took the photos for the festival this year, in case anyone is wondering. To see more, you can visit the J-clubs' FB page! I didn't bring my camera. I figured I'd be too busy getting people into yukata. I'm glad I didn't have to think about it!
I hope to really join the J-club one day, when I can start attending language classes at the university. Just one more thing to put on my list of stuff to do... I can handle it, right? ^_~