Monday, April 15, 2013

The traditional and the not-so

World Wide Sketch Crawl in Houston took me down to Hermann Park south of downtown. I have been to this park since I was a child. I am the 2nd oldest of 8 kids in my family so inexpensive entertainment was always a priority. On summer evenings when I was young, my parents took us to Hermann Park's large amphitheatre to see live musicals. I particularly remember the performance of "South Pacific" with a huge procession of actors coming down the hill carrying torches and even a dive off a cliff into a pool of water mystified me.
This weekend was the annual Japanese Festival. I had never been to the festival or to the Japanese Garden part of the park. I only ran into one other sketcher. ?! Part of the festival had the typical rows of tents selling trinkets and food. The stage had performances including Taiko drummers, which I always enjoy. But two colorful parts of the event that 'drew' my interest were the Vocaloids and the tent for dressing in a Yukata, which is a summer weight kimono. Vocaloids are mostly teens, girls and guys dressed as manja characters. They dress in brilliant colored fantastical wigs, some reaching below their hips and colorful cartoonish outfits. These three teens, watched over closely by their mamas, were very popular, teen boys wanted to have their picture taken with them. The girls played music on their phone and danced along in cartoony poses.
At the Yukata tent was a long row of beautiful kimonos with sashes, sandals and hair decorations. For $5 you could get outfitted and stroll around in the gardens for 20 minutes. I thought that was a tremendous bargain. Of course there was a lot of picture taking. All through the garden they teetered around on the wooden sandals.

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