In the last few days, I've been working on a scene in Broken Dolls that centers around the celebration of Obon, a Buddhist custom to honor one's ancestors. It has brought back many memories of when I was a teenager and danced in my first bon-odori.
I remember first being awed by the beautiful assortment of kimonos. Women and girls wore every color and pattern imaginable. And when they danced, their long sleeves floated beside them like kites in a breeze. As I followed my beautiful mother, trying to mimick her grace, always a split second behind as she dipped and rose, clapped her hands, I felt like an awkward albatross among beautiful cranes.
They are still vivid memories to me - that desire to fit in and be like everyone else. It would be easy to blame it on the folly of being a teenager. But it seems even today, people fear differences and are most comfortable with that which is the same.