Thursday, September 2, 2010

A few notes on Japanese style

Long train rides give me plenty of time to partake in my favourite pastime, people-watching. Like I mentioned before, I DO NOT live in the most stylish place in Japan. To be honest, I probably live in the least fashionable area, but it's okay, because it makes me well-dressed most of the time. Ha.

Japanese style is puzzling. It's difficult to describe, as it's very eclectic, and I never know if it's outdated, or avant-garde. Anything goes, really. Track suits, orange hair and mullets are quite popular in the countryside. I thought it was only a rural phenomenon, but I do have the confirmation that the 'trashy look' is also present in Tokyo, yet it tends to be less noticeable among the ├╝ber-stylish Tokyoites. Wherever you go, you cannot escape the trashiness I guess (harsh I know, but I don't know how else to describe it. Maybe it's fashionable here). Here are my latest notes on Japanese fashion.

Season v. Temperature
Japanese people dress according to the actual season, regardless of the temperature. For example, if it's officially Fall, they'll wear boots and sweaters, despite the weather still being insanely hot. Also, girls stop wearing tights as soon as March arrives, even though it's still freezing out. I do admire that, as I'm dying to wear tailored blazers and scarves because it's September... but I won't.

The shorter, the better
A few nights ago, I was hosting my first (lovely European) couch surfer. It was late at night and I told her I had to quickly go to the train station to pick up my bike. She looked at me in panic and said: "Is it safe for you to go out dressed like this?! I'm worried about your safety," I took a quick look at my outfit (tiny running shorts and a tee), and for a second I was confused. Then I remembered... oh yea. Short shorts.

In Japan, there is NO problem whatsoever exposing as much legs as you desire, no one will give you strange looks or stare. It's totally okay. However, don't dare showing your shoulders, as this would cause a problem. I would never, ever wear those running shorts back home (even for running, I'd get cat calls from passers-by), but in Japan, it's a normal outfit.

Footwear Fail
The Japanese sure love their Crocs. Sigh. Did I ever mention how much I HATE those? They're so popular here it's disturbing. Everyone from babies to teenage girls to grandmothers and fathers wear them. Whole Croc families. It's sad. I want to tell them how ugly their shoes are, and I don't believe they're comfortable. They're atrocious, dangerous and UGLY, and I have to stare at them on train rides, and in my classroom all lined up in the shoe area. Japan, I'm disappointed, I thought you knew better.

Anything Goes
Well, anything goes. And I LOVE that. I can wear whatever I please here, and not worry about my friends or people judging my fashion sense. Which means I take bigger risks here, and have so much fun trying out different things. I'm still quite conservative when it comes to style, as I prefer all black, white, and even (gasp!) grey for the occasional pop of colour... but Japan definitely freshened up my style. I started wearing red recently.

{Self-portrait taken in a Family Mart bathroom in Osaka. Near Dobutsuen-Mae. Just sayin'.}

That is all I can remember for now. This week has been killing me at work! I know I barely ever mention actual work, because I work so little hours, I love my students, and I never really have any issues worth writing about. Except for this week, which marked Parent Observations at school. This little event takes place twice a year, and it's the chance for parents to see a live foreign teacher in action. Must be entertaining for them, but makes me a bit nervous. I wonder what they think about me. The moms are usually very friendly and smiley, but the dads terrify me a bit.

Hello, Friday.


Jen said...

Wow, I'm so glad you're having fun with your Japanese style! So strange... I was talking to my mom last night, and she told me they recently opened a Gap store in Japan (she wasn't sure where). On the first day the store opened, they did over $200,000 in sales! Crazy!

Rosemary said...

CROCS?! I'm kind of sad to hear this! And so funny about the shoulders. You look adorbs, btw! :)

nmaha said...

I would love to come there just to try out some weird clothing combinations.

What's with showing shoulders?

Miyan said...

Israelis are into CROCS as well, I don't get it!!! Ugggg

{lovely little things} said...

I know! That was one thing Lindsay was jealous of - whenever we saw crazy outfits she would mumble, "you could never get away with that in LA!"

Anonymous said...

I don't have a special affinity for Japan, but you do make me wanna go visit rural Japan!

I think Crocs are all over the place really.

They're here in Hong Kong, and they were there in Malaysia when I visited. You get so many knock-offs of them at super cheap prices...they're unavoidable.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who wear boots (as in winter winter boots)in 30 degrees heat baffles me.

Nicole Marie said...

haha oh crocs. they are so ugly! but i'm not gonna lie my teaching feet hurt and i'm about to go buy a pair. so sad i know.

Vivian said...

Nicole- DON'T!! I'm begging you!! Don't be tempted!!! Resist the urge!!!!!!!!!!