Before my trip to Japan, I was stoked about buying a bunch of clothing that would look great in photos of my adventure – pretty much anything floral and satin, plus pom poms. Japanese women are known for their style and I was going to fit in.
I justified my series of purchases as the cost of traveling in a world where as a society, we’re “doing it for the ‘gram” all the time. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
What I am ashamed to admit is that I bought a potentially culturally insensitive outfit that turned out to bite me in the ass. Quite literally.
I bought a modern day kimono jumpsuit.
I took a poll before I left and no one told me that my fake kimono wasn’t legit, which is what I was hoping for. It was stylish, comfy and basically pajamas. I knew exactly where I would wear it: Bamboo Grove in Kyoto. A historic and well-known spot for Geishas, I was excited about the prospect of wearing my new garb. I figured it was better than renting a real kimono when clearly, I’m not a Geisha. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
The moment I got to Kyoto, I changed into my predetermined outfit and sauntered straight to the forest. It was going well. I snapped selfies, took in the tranquil scenery and discovered a sweeping view of the city. I visited a tea house and sipped the best matcha of my life, thinking to myself, life is good. Some ladies took a photo of me in my on-point outfit. Check.
It was all going well, until I needed to pee. I entered the bathroom, my bladder bursting, (I have a tendency of really pushing it to the last minute) and that’s when it happened. My zipper split.
I was stuck in my kimono.
I couldn’t pee and I couldn’t do it back up.
Let me clarify here that I’m traveling alone. I’m stuck in the bathroom with my ass hanging out the back of my “kimono”. I can’t pee and I can’t leave.
I stood there for several minutes silently cursing until I heard the familiarity of an English-speaking mother talking to her child.
I rushed out of my stall.
“I’m so sorry to bother you, but I have some bobby-pins – do you think you could try to fix this for me?”
The kind woman slowly and gently tried to fasten the sash on my outfit to cover my bare bottom, telling me when she was done to walk carefully as she didn’t think it would hold.
I hurried back. As I prepared myself for the one hour journey, feeling the cool Kyoto breeze on my backside – not daring to look at how much of my ass was exposed – I thought to myself, Karma, you’re a real bitch.