Riding the Yamanote with an American friend who has lived in Japan the past four years, I was telling him about how San Francisco’s homeless population, thousands of people with high rates of mental illness, drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, make street life so unpleasant for all but the wealthiest neighborhoods. It’s common to see people shooting up, defecating, and ranting. When a homeless man spat on my husband’s face, I think he never wanted to live in San Francisco again.
Then my friend pointed out this guy sitting behind me. Clearly he was homeless and sleeping in the train that continually circles the city. I was amazed by his hand-quilted pants. For a person with few material resources, he has the vision to create an art project of his own pants: safety pins and thread holding hundreds of fabric scraps, and even wrappers and face masks.Very high-fashion, and clearly expressing creativity and dignity in spite of his hardship.
There is no end to people watching in Tokyo’s JR trains and metro.
JR Nakano station is always a people-watching pleasure. Less self-conscious than Harajuku and less desperate than Shibuya, Nakano’s station attracts the hip, the funky, and the downright strange. This is the first in a 3 part series of JR characters.
I love how nonchalant is this lady wearing a sparkly pink top, fluorescent blue skirt, several handbags, and a hat that will not stop. Japanese are so polite that no one stared, and I was the only one who immediately pulled out my camera.
The hat is a marvelous creation. Perched on top of the main quilted, multi-patterned hat, which nearly obscures her (?) face, there is a blue sequin mini-hat, pink butterfly wings, many feathers, a stuffed lady bug, and an over-sized candy inside a rolled up wrapper.
What other objects do you think would go with this hat?
Yesterday was Tokyo’s Pride Festival, and this home-made couture costume of Isetan department store bags was the best outfit. The festival was small but lively, with a stage, booths, food, and lots of young people.
The stage show included a very large band with brass, wind instruments and percussion; Okinawan dancing and drumming; and a panel of celebrities being filmed for an NHK special on pride and being out.