SOLSC #18: Winter Short-Shorts

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.


17 thoughts on “SOLSC #18: Winter Short-Shorts

  1. jarhartz

    So interesting! I love your made up stories, sounds like a practice you shouldn’t give up. And the information in your slice just added to my life knowledge. Perfect slice, entertainment and information I can use.

  2. Adrienne

    ” If I make an observation, but don’t know the real story or explanation, I just make something up. ”

    My sister and I refer to this as embellishing a story. It also applies to details added to make a story more interesting, though, perhaps, less true to life.

    1. readerlee Post author

      That makes me think of this Malaysian Air story. I fear that we will discover that our embellishing has led us down crazy paths. Embellishing is great with fiction. I hope it won’t be hurtful in this real case.

  3. Tara Smith

    I have a Japanese stdent whose parents make her walk to and from school (not an insignificant distance) no matter how cold or snowy it is in order to…make her strong! Such an interesting way of thinking, right? By the way, my students wear the same shorts and tights combo – must be a fashion statement thing.

    1. readerlee Post author

      Tara, they always have school here, even when it snows (which is rare). We’ve always assumed it was because no one is taking a bus to school. They either walk or take the train. I do think that has something to do with it, but now I also think it might be that strength thing. That would make sense with your student’s experience.

  4. arjeha

    I must say that the reason you mentioned for the boys wearing shorts was not one that I would have come up with. As far as coming up with your own stories to explain things, where would we be if writers haven’t been doing that for years?

  5. Kim K

    I have to tell you, I have shared your slices with some of my colleagues. I’m learning so much from you! This is such an interesting fact to me and it’s so interesting to hear about other places and the customs and beliefs they hold. Keep em coming!

    1. readerlee Post author

      Thanks, Kim! Actually, having to write things that I will share with others is making me learn more too. I’ve had great conversations with my friends and colleagues as I’ve brainstormed ideas for posts this month.

  6. Julie Johnson

    Hmmm…I’m wondering if those black tights will help my legs look slimmer. 🙂 Your post made me smile tonight. It’s so interesting to learn about other cultures and their way of thinking. My daughter spent a gap year in Turkey last year as an exchange student. She was not allowed to let her hair air dry because they thought she would get sick for sure.

    1. readerlee Post author

      That’s so funny… at lunch today I was telling my Japanese friend about living in Turkey and never wearing shorts because people just didn’t do that. (It started to change while I was there, so I’m sure it’s quite different now.) I’m so glad your daughter got to go there. I loved living there!


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