Some so-called “talent” was being filmed outside Nakano JR Station. Of course, I was more interested in the all-male crew, particularly the camera man concentrating on his work.
Favorite ramen maker at work in Nakano
Police pair outside Bluebird hair salon
Even crazy hail does not deter me from a Tokyo anti-nuke demo. Over the next week, I’ll be posting my bonus entertainment from the serious energy issues: admiring a wide variety of uniformed police. There must have been hundreds of uniformed officers on duty, doing nothing.
My favorite of all was this synchronized pair, securing the Bluebird hair salon with the power of their ear pieces. It must be nice to work with a buddy.
Am I wearing enough eye make-up?
In Tokyo, there are constant reminders, to the male population, that we could be working much harder to look good. Why are your natural eyebrows still visible, are you wearing enough eye-liner and shade, has your face been covered in pancake make-up and contoured? I often feel overwhelmingly inadequate as I move through public space and am reminded of all that I could be.
Male maid cafes
The Japan Times features a wonderful Christmas Eve story about the growing popularity of male maid cafes. What I love is that this trend of men assuming the maid costume is presented as having nothing to do with sexuality or gender identity.
1. Men like dressing as women, and it’s becoming more acceptable.
Behind this nascent trend, observers say, is that more men are beginning to enjoy dressing as a woman from a fashion viewpoint, and society is becoming more tolerant of the practice.
2. There are not enough women workers.
It started when one of the regular waitresses quit.
3. Male customers feel more comfortable being served by men.
“Men who are not used to being served by women can feel relaxed and talk to the ‘maids’ easily because they are male,” said Chaan Sarin, who heads the cafe’s waitstaff.
4. For the maids, cross-dressing provides stress-relief from work. It’s only temporary, the girlfriend does not know, and this personal therapy will be ended with marriage.
“I become a totally different person to release my stress from work. I have the feelings of a man and I will quit once I get married,” he said.
5. Manga makes them do it.
More male fans are also dressing like their favorite female characters in “anime’ animation and computer games.
6. Publishing houses are helping men look better in drag.
Cashing in on this trend, Osaka-based Yu-time Publishing released the book “Otokonoko no Tameno Henshin Gaido” (“Guide for Boys to Transform Themselves”) in October 2008.
7. Tolerance is related to looking pretty, and new media sources allow men to be prettier women today.
“People began to accept men dressed as women, saying it is OK as long as they are beautiful. At the same time, as there is more information nowadays on how to dress like women, men have gotten dramatically better at it.”
Japan has the most awesome combination of extreme kinkiness and feigned innocence.
Orange summer outfit on Tokyo train
Mid-summer in Tokyo is a wall of heat and humidity. A long day of work was suddenly perked up by the site of this hyper-coordinated youth. Showing that style does not have to be expensive or formal, this fashion super-hero matches his cap, t-shirt, shorts and Crocs in shades of orange and yellow. I ❤ Tokyo! おしゃれ！
Puppies in Shibuya
Shibuya is an area that I avoid, especially on weekend nites. My husband describes this busy neighborhood as full of “horny hetero teens” mostly from outside Tokyo and aspiring to big city life. A recent dinner with work colleagues found me there until close to last train time.
Poking around, we saw this incongrous juxtaposition: back-lit photos of sleazy girls next to “Baby Doll” puppies. Were these innocent puppies a metaphor, a bait-and-switch, a euphemism of some sort?
Holiday parties & booze
The holidays remind me how fortunate I am to avoid almost all parties, especially work and family-related. And, until moving to Tokyo, I almost never drank.
Here’s a list of what one New York Times author has overheard at holiday parties. Doesn’t it make you feel safer to be at home in front of the screen?
- “We’re not really budgeted for a vacation this year, what with the exchange rate and my gambling addiction.”
- “I have to apologize for not reading your new book yet. It’s just that the last one was so awful.”
- “That’s a great outfit! It really shows off your breasts.”
- “What I really want is a job where you don’t worry so much about money and prestige. Are there any openings at your place?”
- “So I told human resources flat out, it’s not sexual harassment if I can prove I’m impotent.”
- “Has anyone ever told you that you have the air of a much more successful person?”
- “Sometimes accidental electrocution can be a blessing in disguise, but try telling that to the other mothers in the playgroup.”
- “Did you have some work done? Because, you know, too little too late.”
- “I don’t usually drink this much, but you’re insufferable.”
- “I had pants on when I came in, right?”
- “Aren’t holiday parties great?”
What have you over-heard at holiday parties? I am counting down the hours until the Xmas music is turned off in Tokyo. .