One-piece wonders. Love the jump suit tucked into rubber boots. And the purse-shaped handbag casually slung over the shoulder. I swoon just remembering this apparition.
The only way to improve this look would be the adorable “dirty labor” white boots worn by butchers, ramen shop cooks, cleaning crews, and the like.
On Yamate Dori between Nakano and Shibuya under an elevated freeway.
Yesterday was the 3 month anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. No better time than now to look closely again at one of my favorite Japanese male fashions: gatenki (ガテんキ). As J-son noticed immediately on his first visit, gatenki combine making-stuff masculinity with super baggy pants that are vaguely Yoji Yamamoto in styling.
On weekdays I escape the tedium of rote learning for a balcony break overlooking a construction site for a 20-some story office building. It’s fun to watch the cranes, steel, and heavy equipment, but even more sublime when my break time coincides with theirs.
I feel safer and intrigued by daily sightings of these ninja-like male fashion icons.
Marui Nakano is re-opening in its new building tomorrow, January 28. I admit I am pretty excited for this burst of renewal on the south side of the JR Nakano station.
They are advertising a Tokyo Hands. I hope they’ll also have Le Petit Mec, their great French bakery, or the Italian gelato store (both at Marui’s Shinjuku San Chome store). Will there be a food court in the basement?
I took this photo a few weeks ago, and marveled at the pride of the construction workers who line up their super-clean equipment in front of Nakano’s only department store.
Construction workers in Japan (called gatenki) wear the most fashionable work clothes. Often paired with two- toed shoes, they wear these huge balloon pants. My friend J-son thinks they are very Yoji Yamamoto. Many also have colored and fried hair, few eyebrows, and what seems to be copious tattoos. I like how they interact with each other and the city: aloof from outsiders, intimate with one another. I wonder how many are gay.
Spotting gatenki taking a break or walking through the city always cheers me up!
There should be a global competition for construction worker fashion, and Japanese would definitely score gold. From the Yoji Yamamoto wide pants to the ever present small towels to the super plucked eyebrows, Japanese construction workers are always riveting. Plus, what’s with workers wearing white rubber boots?! I find that *very* hot.
All images from a website where you can order these fashions, called Tobi.jp.
This digitally remastered 80s music video from the Pet Shop Boys depicts the gayest version of heterosexuality seen in the 20th century. I love the no-shirts-on-boys theme, the gratuitous construction helmets quickly tossed aside to reveal 80s hairdos, the vaguely Barcelona backdrop, the horses, and the ocean wrestling. Ahh, a more innocent time, indeed.
Their new album Yes continues the same sound and high Brit gaydom: “Did You See Me Coming” and “Love Etc.“
Japan always provokes odd questions. Is construction related cuteness superior to construction related bowing in apology? What do you think is more awesome?
Above is the lit-up sewage mascot announcing construction in Ginza, and seemingly suggesting that your waste will immediately contribute to the world, or at least Asia-Pacific.
Below is a sign apologizing that one of the two elevators is out of order. The outage probably lasted not much longer than it took to hang the sign on all ten floors. I love the apology for the even slightest inconvenience.
You don’t need to be Donald Richie— noted American film critic, high culture interlocutor, and lover of Tokyo construction workers– to swoon over this neighborhood banner celebrating the association of skilled laborers. In Japanese, they are called gatenkei no hito (ガテン系のひと).
What says solidarity more than singing karaoke in hard hats and head towels? The husband reminds me that skilled workers, like yakuza, have a reputation for chosen male families and gay sex.