Thursday, November 25, 2010

Primping in Japan

I'll be honest.  This subject amuses me a little.  The amount of time and effort that people put into their appearances here in Japan is beyond what I've seen almost anywhere else.  Granted, I've only ever lived in Hershey, Pittsburgh, and New York.  So I guess I do have limited experiences.  Still, I was floored.

It is not uncommon to see women literally putting a new face on the train.  They start with their foundation (usually powder it seems for train makeup), move on to eye makeup, liquid eyeliner, false lashes, the whole bit.  Actually, it's quite amazing.  I couldn't put liquid eyeliner on while riding a moving vehicle :D

My host mom, who otherwise lives a fairly modest living, carries around Burberry and Coach purses like it ain't no thing.  So many Japanese women carry around the exact same Louis Vuitton handbag (pictured below)

{{  photo courtesy of }}

The same thing applies to men, which is somewhat different from what is typical in the US

{{  photo courtesy of Marchelle Mullings  }}

Although the above individual, admittedly, does have a very exaggerated primped look, teased up hair on men is by no means uncommon.  Men have their own man-bags and excessively large backpocket wallets.  

The drive towards fashion extends to couples as well.  Couples outfits are common, as are matching couple accessories.  The couple below has opted for a leopard print theme:

{{  photo courtesy of Marchelle Mullings }}

Aside from the desire to look good, I think this is another extension of the excessive consumerism I discussed in a previous blog post.  For whatever reason, the desire to commodify every aspect of one's existence seems very prevalent in Japanese culture.  My theory is that this stems from a yearning in younger generations to regress to an economic climate similar to that of pre-bubble-broke Japan, but an entire thesis could be written on such ideas.  So for now, I'll just conclude that young people in Japan really love brand name items and looking hot.  

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