Tokyo is known as a fashionable place. Have you seen it on the movies? The women are beautiful and always impeccably dressed. And I can’t argue with that. It’s the same in real life, although I often question their fashion choices. For example, shorts don’t come out until it’s winter. It’s the craziest thing.
Now something you should know about me is that I make up stories. If I make an observation, but don’t know the real story or explanation, I just make something up. The cell phone should have put an end to much of that since I can google things from any location. But it’s a habit now. So, when I saw the Japanese women wearing shorts, I made up an explanation. In the summer you wear shorts because it is hot. You expose as much skin as is socially acceptable in order to stay cooler. Well, maybe in Japan it’s not acceptable to show so much skin. So women wear shorts in the winter so they can wear them over tights. Right?
Seemed reasonable to me until I saw the young boys’ winter school uniform. Shorts. Short shorts. In winter. Why? They can’t possibly have six-year-old boys making a fashion statement. I was out to lunch with a Japanese friend the other day and we saw two very young boys in uniform and I asked. I’ll give your eyes and brain a split second to guess the reason that the winter school uniform is short shorts…
It’s to make them strong. You read that right. Japanese boys are being toughened up by freezing in the winter on the way to school. And my Japanese bowling teammate tells me that sometimes girls and boys are not allowed to wear socks in order to make their immune system stronger. But, like all cultures, this one is changing. Sometimes I see boys wearing tights under their short shorts. I have to think that’s cheating.
So you’re probably wondering now if the 20-something Japanese women are also trying to improve their immune system. Well, no they are not. For them it is actually fashion, but not for the reason I guessed. It turns out that Japanese men like “chopstick legs” – long, slender legs. Wearing black tights under shorts is very slimming. The color alone is flattering but when you have the tights sucking your legs into shape and then coming out of the leg holes of the short shorts, you have long, slender legs. (And, let’s be honest, Japanese women have incredibly slender legs without all of those tricks.).
I haven’t bought into Japanese fashion yet, but at the rate I’m gaining weight, I soon won’t fit into my jeans. As long as I have to buy a new wardrobe, I might consider that slimming tights-short, shorts combo. I can keep in mind that it has the added bonus of improving my immune system.