performance

In Japan, executives need two-handed hanky for tearful apology

honda_execu_tears

What a beautiful performance! Where’s his Oscar?!

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Uncanny imposters, or performance artists?

Tokyo continues a long tradition of positioning *male* door-bait outside shops, restaurants, and izakayas. This guard outside Omotesando’s gargantuan Ralph Lauren shop built to look like the White House reminds of the incredible capabilities of Japanese to import foreign looks and make it better than the original.

Much “American fashion” in Japan is far better than the original. Not unlike how a Jewish Ralph could become the world’s leading purveyor of WASP costume. Simulations that are more real than the referent reveal a mastery of symbols and performance.

I am left wondering whether inside that perfect surface is an overweight, acne-scarred senior citizen lady. Anything is possible.

 

Flamboyant straight men are what I love the most about Japan

Until recently, Japanese gays seemed content to fade into the background: a performance of normality bordering on boring. Not so for the straight men of Japan, who are truly some of the world’s most magnificent peacocks.

I love the attention to detail: the rolled up hem has a fruit pattern, zebra print can be fused with jungle print, hair fried and stiff, skin is kept eerily dark and flawlessly unblemished. Sitting hip-to-hip challenges no one’s masculinity.

When I feel frustrated about various aspects of a foreigner’s life in Japan, I look around the train and feel uplifted, inspired, and very much in love.

Excessive uniformed service

My friend Bryan captured this strange image in Shinjuku: it’s store closing, so two men in white gloves have their arms stretched wide as the gate lowers. Why? Are they afraid some desperate shopper will rush in? Or is it simply a performance?

Throughout Tokyo you can experience excessive service that borders on the nonsensical. Today I visited a big box store, and there were four uniformed men helping customers enter the parking lot. How can companies justify this excessive work force? And what could be a more boring job?