jet stream - ode to japan by rachel asimakopoulos...

Japan and Me: A Love Story

Descending into the land of geisha, sushi, and harajuku girls, I am once again astonished by the homogenous nature of the Japanese culture. It has been 8 years since I lived in Japan - eight long years.

The lights of Shibuya called to the shopper in me like a beacon, a star in the night, leading the way home. Home here comes in the form of the shopping districts of Tokyo. If this were my home, my closet would be filled with flannel shirts and puffy jackets. Every where you turned, buffalo plaid, window-pane plaid, madras plaid - plaid, plaid, plaid!!! It was a plaid plaid world in Japan. And puffy jackets weren't taking a back seat either. It was like walking into the world's largest outdoor retailer on the planet. As if all the Japanese stores took their inspiration from the likes of LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Land's End, and REI.

However, despite the over-stuffed store racks and repetitive window displays, there were few people actually sporting these looks. Instead, the apparent consumer choice came in a lace package. The vintage victorian influences were commonplace attire throughout the streets, especially for the female crowd. Subdued colors, in earthy cosmetic tones, grounded the liberty inspired floral patterns. Lace, gathers, and puffed sleeves helped emphasize the feminine nature of this trend.

Tying these 2 strong trends together were the ever popular Cowboy Boots. In every shape, size, color, and pattern - from animal printed to hot pink slouched, these boots were pounding the pavement every where I looked.

It took 8 long years for me to get back to Japan. Now here are 8 reasons why I will once again return some day:

#8 Sweet Bean Paste
#7 5 Tiered Pagodas
#6 Butt Biting Deer (If you feed them, they will come)
#5 Sumo Wrestlers and their rice throwing ways
#4 Warm Sake Under the Cherry Blossom trees
#3 The soft glow of lanterns at night
#2 Disco themed private Karaoke rooms
and the #1 reason...Easily Identifiable Fashion Trends!!!

Until 2017 - Sayonara!

courtesy Parapluies et Soleil contributor Rachel Asimakopoulos.
Rachel is a senior designer for REI in Seattle. She has lived in Japan and traveled extensively throughout both Asia and Europe.

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