Confessions of A Simple Traveler



aybe this string of thought is another example of that shrinking planet syndrome, or just the infl uence of Hollywood or even it’s just the woes of capitalism, but quite possibly, it’s just human nature. After spending the last three days wrapped up in a Malay wedding, I am reminded of my last visit to Japan. I can’t say I’ve been to many weddings, I think I can count them on my fi ngers and toes. The diversity of those few that I have attended extend across several continents and cultures and have led me to create a sort of component breakdown for this globally appreciated momentous occasion. Fond memories of a visit to Osaka that brought myself together with a number of old friends

Flute solo

that almost felt like a reunion led me to share this reason for a visa stamp in my passport. Weddings are made up of three basic components: fashion, food and entertainment. The three basic elements seem to be standard regardless of culture, just carried out and expressed in the localized form. A Japanese wedding is really no different. Fortunately, my friends weeding in Osaka was no small affair and afforded me an experience that I’d like to use as a basis to share a few photos and discuss. So now, after spending three days in Ipoh, Perak watching coordinated outfi ts change like the weather, and the pride and joy people expressed seeing myself, a mat salleh, attired in the traditional baju melayu, I realized how special these customs are. This brings me back to Japan and on a broader level, textiles. The two weddings were worlds apart, not only in the literal sense, but also in their details. In the bigger picture, the fundamental elements are similar. The sharing and appreciation of custom, both traditional and modern played out in the dual usage of fashion, in this case the kimono and tux and gown. In the serving of traditional Japanese dishes

Japanese Style Wedding Dress

alongside more modern global fare. And the musical portion, which held deep sway with the mother of the bride actually learning to play the fl ute to perform a special song in the wedding. On an aside, I’m still traumatized from the fi fth grade at 10 years of age when I spent an entire year trying to make a whistle out of a fl ute to no success, so I have this huge respect for any one playing the fl ute. Back to the particular of this short celebration of ceremony, I’d like to highlight the kimono, particularly in relation to Asia’s tradition in the art of resist dyeing textiles. Formal wear in many areas of South East Asia include textiles that are of an ikat nature. Japan has been known to practice this form, but the more common currently is the kimono. During a wedding a special kimono called a furisode is often worn. As a huge fan of traditional textile arts, any occasion that employes traditional garments is an opportunity to share in the variety of culture. Japan is a wonderful opportunity to experience this. And if you don’t happen to have a wedding to attend, check the local depâto as they may very well have a textile exhibition on in one of their top fl oors.



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  1. Kimono
    aybe this string of thought is another example of that shrinking planet syndrome, or just the…