Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don’t know about yet.
Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel in that it cleans and dries your flanks, underside and phalanges after you’ve taken a shit, without you having to step foot in a shower.
The Japanese are known for the careful care and discipline they have in every aspect of their lives. This extends even to clothing, which remains in immaculate and pristine condition, even if it’s many years old.
If you are a sartorial seeker as I am, but you also baulk at the idea of spending money on fast fashion on the high street, then Japan and particularly Harajuku in Tokyo and Nishiki markets in Kyoto are great places to go for second-hand gear.
It’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that other cities throughout Japan also have second-hand clothing stores which are brimming with high quality goods.
I was concerned that my western, AU size 12-14 tall Amazonian frame would not be able to be clothed in their munchkin sizes, however I was pleasantly surprised. Particularly in traditional kimonos, haoris and yukatas, these clothes are all designed for people of all sizes. They are also designed to look flattering on just about any body type.
In a second-hand store in Kyoto found a beautiful haori (short, less formal overcoat for wearing over a kimono) which is embroidered in mauve, purple and white flowers and made from chirimen silk (this is the true silk used in traditional kimonos and craftspeople who make bags, gifts and ornaments out of this material).
Although you do get your Zara’s and Uniqlo’s here, fashion in Japan is different. It’s a country where artistry, high quality and materials seem to be valued higher than fast fashion and the quick sale. People look after their things and buy higher quality more expensive clothing here that lasts many years. It’s also a place where women are impeccably stylish, they set the bar high here. I had literally arrived into my own intoxicating fashion nirvana.
So these were the four things that were welcome revelations to me in Japan. I am sure others will find this information helpful too. Japan is an astonishing place, brimming with overstimulating activities in its cities, and quieter, more contemplative and ethereal pursuits in its quieter places. It’s a place to completely readjust your view on the world and to see everything with new ideas. The danger though – as in my case, was that now the western world seems far less exciting, interesting and deeply culturally rich as the Far East. Coming back to it has left me in a state of withdrawals, as though from a high-octane speed cocktail. I guess sleepy little New Zealand will have to do…at least for now.
Have you been to Japan or any other place in Asia? If so, what did you think compared to your home country?
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