belt

Does someone find this sexy?

I try to ignore most Japanese ladies fashion, particularly any clothes worn by anyone younger than 60. Young girls wearing belts or long shirts instead of skirts, famished waifs, and lollicon (Lollita complex) jailbait are all things I’ve learned to ignore.

This billboard in posh Aoyama made me stop and wonder. Ayumi Hamasaki is a very popular, youngish J-pop singer. Do large numbers of men and dykes enjoy looking at robotic ladies impersonating spooky aliens staring at us from the future?

Hamasaki-san’s “love songs” are all the more uncanny perched above a fading 1960s building with the exotic and upscale name of Aix-en Provence. Like a dying flower, this fantasy mix of future and past reminds that beauty and riches fade fast and leave their temporary marks on our awareness.

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From baby to elder Pipo kun, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Mascot

I was surprised to discover recently that Pipo kun, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police mascot, comes in many generations. Normally he’s the youthful character with open mouth and clothed only in a belt and shoulder strap (center image). But as I discovered on a rare visit to Roppongi in the evening hours, he can also be seen as a baby with a bottle, a girl, a housewife, a salaryman, grandma and grandpa with a cane. I am not sure how much protection all these characters offer, but I guess they are cute.

More boots-in

This department store shopper manages to combine “boots-in” with several other current trends. The low slung and non-functional studded belt. The dangly purse that resembles what hair dressers use to hold their scissors and clippers; for non-pros, it’s like a mini-man purse for wallet and cellphone, often wide open and facing the backside. There’s also the bag that looks like a fanny bag but is worn like a messenger bag across one shoulder. Plus a long, gratuitous extra chain.

Summer obon festival

Summer obon festival Dog Yukata

The rainy season is officially over, and two nights ago we went to an Obon Festival in Tsukudajima. Summer is a time for wearing yukatas, which are light cotton, simpler kimonos. This dog’s yukata has a dragonfly pattern, and a big red belt.

The festival also features lanterns strung across the street, a senior citizen beating a huge drum, another singing on the loud speaker, and a third leading school children in a dance of twirling and clapping.

Obon in Tsukudajima Obon in Tsukudajima with kids dancing

And an altar for prayers to the dead.

Obon Tsukudajima altar

Afterwards we went with our friend Claudia for okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake, and soba noodles, admired the many yankii boys with their small children, and left the restaurant too late to buy a flavored shaved ice on the street.