2008-07-21

yukata cruise!

So, one of the things Alina surprised us with when we came, was plans to go on a yukata cruise, which basically is just a cruise around Tokyo bay on a big ship with a bunch of people wearing yukata (it's not required, but a lot of people were). It was about a two hour cruise. Trina ended up not wearing the one we borrowed for her because she wasn't feeling well and thought the extra heat with the already hot and humid weather probably wouldn't be a good thing, but she'll have another chance to wear it this coming weekend. We were at Alina's church that morning, so we recruited one of the guys to help Alina's friend Jason and I tie our obis (the belt that goes around the waist) - Alina had already done it, so with just a little help from one of the women, she and Abby (Jason's wife) were able to get their yukata on and the obis tied, and we headed off to the train to go to where we needed to catch the boat.

Being foreigners in yukata walking through Tokyo and riding the trains, we got a lot of funny looks, a lot of smiles, a lot of giggles, and a few compliments. We had to take about three or four trains to get to where we were meeting the rest of the people going with us. We decided to get a locker at the last train station, so we wouldn't have to take all our bags with us on the cruise. We met Alina's friend Mike, whose yukata I had borrowed, and then the rest of the group started showing up. We decided to walk on ahead and meet them by the ship, so we headed out, and then decided we should take some pictures, so we did :)

Left to right: Mike, Alina, Me, Jason, Abby


Left to right: Mike, Me, Alina, Abby, Jason


Alina and I:


While we were standing by this pigeon statue, an older japanese man walked by and patted me on the shoulder and said "Kimono looks good on you!" :)

So, finally, we walked over to where the boat was. We got there about an hour before the cruise was loading, so we got our tickets, and just hung out for a while. While we were sitting in the lobby of the building where the tickets were being sold, a group of about 30 drag queens came in all dressed in yukata, chinese silk dresses, maid outfits, you name it. There were two guys sitting in the lobby who we had noticed smiling and chuckling at us when we walked in, and after the drag queens walked in, they were just laughing hysterically like, "what next! foreigners in yukata, and now 30 drag queens!?!?"

At 7pm, we boarded the ship - there were tables serving beer and wine and plum sour for free, and tables with yakisoba, yakitori and other kinds of things for a few hundred yen apiece (a few dollars). The boat set off, and we were going! We had a great time meeting a few new people, drinking a bit, snacking on some food, talking, laughing, roaming the boat a bit and watching people... we had a really good time talking with Alina's friends Jason and Abby, and due to the alcohol onboard, I think everyone on the boat was feeling the freedom to be a bit wild, which was a lot of fun :) Alina even was kind enough to show everyone how Americans dance:













We had a nice view of Tokyo from the bay, and it was starting to get dark, so I took a few pictures of the city:









The boat was pretty full, most of the open areas were just swarming with people, and it was about a 4-level boat:



About 30 minutes prior to arriving back at the port, we started hearing some loud music a floor up from where we were, and we realized, it was the yukata dancers! Three girls in yukata dancing on a dance floor to all kinds of different music - with people crowded all around dancing and singing and clapping and shouting - it was brilliant! I even took some video with our camera:





Abby and Alina were having a good time :)





On the way off the boat, we met this guy from the Netherlands who was just traveling to a bunch of places in Asia - we went up to him because we thought his shirt was funny :)



We met some random people, got into a few people's pictures because we were foreigners in yukata, were generally a bit loud and obnoxious, but we were with a bunch of Japanese people coming off the boat being loud and obnoxious, which was fun and really unexpected :)



We took a couple of trains back, said goodbye to Mike and Jason and Abby, and then headed back to Alina's place, exhausted, but very happy. It was a wonderful night :)

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