But I want to be Nez Perce!

I used to get the American Girl magazine when I was rather young. This incident happened in 4th or 5th grade-ish.

Every Thursday, I was able to leave school to go to a program for gifted students to expand my horizons (it was called Horizons – surprise, surprise).

My Horizons teachers decided to celebrate diversity by having everyone bring in a traditional dish and dress up as some sort of culture.

At the time, I absolutely loved AG’s newest doll, a Nez Perce girl named Kaya. She was beautiful, and I wanted to know more about her and her tribe. And I was extremely upset when my mother told me I couldn’t dress as Pow Wow Kaya for the class party.

I don’t know if it was because we couldn’t think of ideas or couldn’t find costumes, but my mom ended up buying me a ’50s poodle skirt costume.

I looked effing adorable, and my teachers gave me half-points for coming dressed as a sub-culture.

So I was content.

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Adventures in Japan Part 1: Shopping in Shibuya

After shuttling from Narita to Ikebukuro and settling in Sakura Hotel (and catching some much-needed shut-eye), I woke up at 5 in the morning nice and refreshed. Tokyo was mine to explore.

I can’t explain how surreal this was. I’d had dreams of going to Japan since I was 11 years old – and there I was, 20 years old, touring the beautiful Meiji Shrine, eating crepes in Harajuku, and shopping in Shibuya.

Right now, I’m a solid size small and wouldn’t have any worries about fitting clothes in Japan, but back then (two years ago), I was slightly bigger – having to purchase mediums and larges in U.S. stores, so I was worried about not being able to fit clothes in Japanese malls. At the time, I found some Japanese mediums I could fit, but many were too small, and almost none of the stores carried any larges.

Sometimes, I felt like an elephant amongst gazelles, and it really kind of messed with my psyche.

But! It was always a slight self-esteem boost whenever I did find something cute that I could wear – all of which were mediums or one size fits all.

The inside of 109 (a huuuge department store) is pretty much every girly-girl’s dream. The shopkeepers are all so pretty and glamorous, and nice! Some stand in the doorways inviting people in with “Irasshaimasse!!” which means “welcome.”

So, I wandered into one of the stores. The shopkeeper initially spoke to me in English, telling me which outfits were on sale. After looking around, I found an outfit, and went up to her, saying, “Anou, sumimasen.” (“Um, excuse me.”) I gestured toward the fitting room and asked, “Haite mo ii desu ka?” (“Is it okay if I enter?”)

The longer I was in Japan, the more I realized how many Japanese people brighten up when they realize you can speak and understand Japanese. She then explained to me, in Japanese, that the outfit was not a set, so I could get a different color shirt with the cardigan, if I wanted to.

So, when I tried on the outfit, she gushed and said, “Kawaii!!” (“Cute!!”)

Needless to say, I bought the hell out of that outfit. (And it no longer looks slightly too small on me.)

~*~~* Want more life in Japan posts? Stay tuned. *~~*~