Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stuff The Japanese Like

While on my trip to Japan my husband and I kept a running list of things we noticed the Japanese liked... Not to be confused with the website Stuff White People Like, especially b/c that website made me a bit annoyed (ie. before we went on our trip I read that apparently white people like Japan and REI, 2 places I was headed... I don't want to be considered stereotypical... grrr.)

So anyways, while this is all just my opinion there were just many things we kept seeing over and over again in the cities and towns we visited. By no means is this meant to be negative, we loved Japan and the Japanese and we loved everything they loved!

Stuff The Japanese Seem to like:
- high heels - most women were wearing cute heels or heeled boots, the shoes I saw were just inspirational!
- thigh highs - lots and lots of thigh high socks/stocking/etc. They were always paired with super short skirts, dresses or shorts.
- knee high socks - not always worn with school uniforms, also paired with short skirts, dresses and shorts.
- stirrup tights - I fell in love with this look and saw it everywhere! Women old and young wore these tights. Stirrups were the most common but to be fair tights were also a hot item.
- tights - see above comments
- English writing on shirts - the best versions of these were the ones that were in English but not English that made sense. However there were many shirts on men dn women where there was large printed words usually about love, peace or some sort of combination of the two. We had fun looking for "Engrish" versions of shirts, I brought home 3 as gifts (see above picture).
- boots - as mentioned before, there were some hot boots and had they actually had my size I may have come home with a suitcase full of them!
- mini socks - not sure this is the correct term for them but here in the States I have seen them called peds but have not seen any as cute as the ones in Japan, I bought 2 pairs and WISH I had bought way more! They basically allow you to wear a sock type of material with your heels or flats. In Japan they had so many variations for straps, thong sandals, etc. They are so smart!!
- beer - beer ads are everywhere and in these ads people (typically men) are actually drinking beer or really enjoying it (as seen here). You can buy beer out of a vending machine, drink it on the train, etc... Beer is popular.
- plastic bags and containers - everything comes in some sort of packaging whether it's a small clear bag or in a box. The Japanese are very clean and seem to be pretty eco friendly but all of these bags and containers create a lot of waste. On the flip side their packaging is always really cute so maybe it will make you want to save it and not waste it.
- trains - their trains are amazing. We bought a rail pass and spent so much time using their trains to travel the country. They are clean, easy to figure out, ALWAYS on time and so much more.
- surgical masks - we saw a lot of people wearing the surgical masks while we were there. I wasn't sure if it was due to them being ill or afraid of getting sick from others. Could be a mixture of both.
- hand wipes - you get one with every meal you eat and it comes in a little plastic package bag, unless of course you go somewhere where they give you a warm wash cloth. They may create waste but they are so nice to have!
- alcohol - not the drinking kind but the sanitization kind. When you enter a store, station, hotel or basically anywhere there is a small table with a container on it so you can squirt the alcohol on your hands to then rub in and kill the germs.
- cell phone charms - EVERYONE has a cell phone charm, some have many... I even saw 80 year old men with cute little bear charms on their phones. They basically tell a little story about you and what you like. I saw one that looked like a curious George monkey, a rice bowl, lots of Hello Kitty, bears, a shoe... I could go on!
- anime - it's everywhere... posters, tv, kids bags, etc... Anime is super popular but you should know that, unless you've been living under a rock.
- anything cute - this was one of my favorite things to look for, cute things. Advertisements used cute little characters to get the point across (ie. a dog scooping it's own poop (see picture), and alligator looking sad b/c some kids music on the subway was to loud, all kinds of animals pimping out drinks, food and snacks...
- cell phones - everyone has a cell phone and they are by far cooler than any cell phone I've seen in the States. People are constantly texting, playing games, checking email, watching TV, etc. on their phones.
- short skirts - mentioned earlier
- shorts with tights - mentioned earlier
- being fashionable - "fashionable" can mean many things in Japan, just depends on the style of the person. That being said I saw some really cool fashion choices and some really different choices, none the less, all cool!
- neon signs
- vending machines - they are everywhere!
- sugary drinks - can be purchased in the above vending machines or basically anywhere. I tasted some of the best drinks ever in Japan!
- green tea
- McDonald's/Starbucks
- bikes/scooters - way more popular than cars and apparently not expensive to have
- small cars
- uniforms
- tennis shoes - saw some really cool tennis shoes and so many different styles.
- snacks
- tissues - they hand out tissues on the streets as promotional items - you will never need to buy kleenex again!
- chimes - every subway station has it's own chime and they even sell little charms that have those chimes on them for souvenirs.
- beauty - everything seems to be maintained, organized, cleaned, and the presentation of pretty much everything is just beautiful.
- gardening
- pickled food - you gets lots of picked side items and every one we had was yummy!
- specialty foods - according to hubby most all of the cities have a food specialty so we tried to make sure to taste those when we visited.
- bathhouses (onsen) - the bathhouse is a wonderful experience and seemed to be loved by everyone we encountered while at them.
- cleanliness
- organization

I don't think the Japanese are stereotypical at all and this post isn't meant to make them look that way, just highlight some of the cool things I observed them enjoying on my trip. Thanks for such an amazing time Japan, we can't wait to come back!


Kelly said...

from my experience there, i would say your list is pretty accurate! and yes, also wished i had bought more mini socks!

Tarah said...

It will now be mu mission t o search out more cute mini socks... surely I can find them online somewhere!

Youa said...

Nice write up! What I love most about Japanese fashion is personal style. Everyone owns their style and goes all out! :)