Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Betty Crocker for an Arm and A Leg

At the supermarket in the Shibuya station, I saw a Betty Crocker Box Cake Mix, priced at 500 yen, or about $5!!

  • Socklets (I don't know what to call them) are pretty lace shoe-liner/socks that you wear with fancy stilettos, the lace peeks out from the edges of the shoe. They also make the shoe more comfortable I've heard.
  • Knee High Socks: it seems fashionable here to wear stockings to just above the knee, then show bare skin from there until the skirt hem. If you were to do this in the States, I think people would wonder if you put on too short of stockings!!
  • Matching Issues: people wear odd color combinations, like black shoes with an entirely navy blue suit. Or, brown shoes with black pants. To me this seems clashy, but it seems respectable enough for the Japanese businessmen and young gals.
  • Stilettos! Everywhere. Here I am, wearing really comfortable shoes, and my feet are tired, while all the Japanese gals wear tall stilettos with pointy toes... while walking a lot between trains and commuting.
Cultural Amusements
  • Japanese people seem to be confused/intrigued/surprised to see multi-ethnic combinations of friends. For example, when my Pakistani friends and a ghostly-white friend from the States went to dinner together, they got strange looks. I think Americans feel free to associate with anyone.
  • In Japan, people more quickly say their hometown/racial/ethnic information. In the States, I am always afraid to ask someone of their ethnicity, but here, it is a matter of national pride, since ethnicity and nationality go closely hand-in-hand in Japan. (compared to America, where being an American doesn't prescribe your appearance/ethnicity).
  • Confidence: we were asked to introduce ourselves in class (jikoshokai "self introduction). Many Japanese students whispered, head down, and were generally very shy. Then there goes Tammy, having no problem speaking to 70 people. My teacher told everyone to model after me while public speaking!!! ("Learn from her")
  • Japanese college students often live with their families, so they seem less independent and mature than perhaps their American counterparts who generally move out to attend college.
Bikes: no one wears helmets. Japanese mothers have child-carrying baskets on the front and back of their bikes (like a soccer-mom-bike). Japanese laws prohibit even riding someone else's bike, and you must register your bike (like a car). Kickstands are pretty nifty, and people only lock bikes such that you can't ride them (i.e. lock around the wheel), instead of locking the bike to anything. Bikes ride on the sidewalks which is a pain for us pedestrians.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Eep, not to diminish the exoticness of the fashion. I saw the socklets for the first time a few weeks ago in Vancouver (which pretty much is Asia!) Said black socklets were worn with bright yellow vinyl flats. The term that came to mind at this first sighting was 'foot thong'. It looks like something that won't last, but you never know.

Well done showing them how Americans can speak!