Japan, in the summertime, is known for its many traditional festivals, and for the huge, elaborate, and colorful fireworks that light up the night skies. For the younger generation, it's an opportunity to play some pretty cool and significant dress-up.

Everybody in Japan, at one time or another, has taken part in a summer festival, whether a jam-packed-with-revelers famous one, or a small, local neighborhood one. There are stalls of street food and all kinds of sweets, kids playing games at the many booths lined up, and adults drinking beer and getting drunk on sake. Young couples everywhere are holding hands. It's a wonderful, very Japanese, night.

In recent years, the fashion-conscious younger generation have gotten into dressing up for these special occasions, and they're doing it in a style that represents their own country's present and past. It's now a trend to wear a yukata (light cotton kimono) to these festivals. Masses of young people can be seen walking to and from festivals in the summer, filling up trains to go watch a huge display of fireworks.

This year, some Japanese designers have come up with a new generation of yukata that feature both retro and modern designs. With prints and illustrations decorating what is generally considered by the youth "what they used to wear" clothing, designers and the young, themselves, have made wearing a yukata something to look forward to.

I gotta tell you, these festivals are so, so much fun.











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