Japanese Festival Essays
I started to see how beauty and makeup diverged with culture — if American teens in the '00s were proving their rebellious nature via dark, panda eyes à la Ashlee Simpson and Avril Lavigne, then my Japanese friends were nearly the polar opposite, using makeup to look as feminine and doll-like as possible. As I approached my 20s, I discovered that as amazing as Tokyo's beauty scene was, it was still pretty exclusionary in many ways; I knew from a young age that I looked like a foreigner in Japan, but shopping for complexion cosmetics made that even clearer.Most beauty stores I'd frequent — aside from luxury department stores like Isetan and Mitsukoshi, which catered to a more global customer — offered as few as shades (maybe four, max) of BB creams or foundation, with the darkest option consistently far too pale for my medium skin.But it's still a surprise to people nearly every time I tell them my ethnicity.Growing up, I struggled with feeling "pretty" compared to my white friends.While Kami-ari-sai is a very unique festival that can only be seen in Shimane, it is merely one of the many interesting festivals held year-round at Izumo Taisha.
It was in these stores — many of them located inside expansive train stations — that I discovered Japanese beauty firsthand, and how it differed from the products I'd grown used to shopping for in American drugstores.
I think a part of me didn't feel connected to or somehow "Japanese" enough to celebrate it.
A couple of years passed, and at around age 10, I began spending every summer at my grandmother's house in Japan.
Two days of food, games, music, and Japanese cultural activities and bon odori dancing.
Start Date Long Beach Annual Japanese Festival arrives at the Japanese Cultural Center.