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August 24, 2011

Some Thoughts on Dressing up in Fukuoka, Or Not.

One funny thing I've noticed since I arrived is that I've definitely been toning down my outfits in Fukuoka. When I first realised I was doing it, I wondered why- as Japan is a country known for it's vast subcultures and insane fashions. Wouldn't it be easier to dress with abandonment here? Apparently not, and I've come to a few conclusions why.

For starters, the percentage of people in Japan who dress crazy is small. Considering that most of my daily errands are to the supermarket, library, office or Starbucks (my "special office"), the people I encounter day-to-day are generally quite conservatively dressed.

Secondly, it is so hot/humid here that I generally can't wear anything other than cotton, which sadly limits me to about 4 dresses. But even then, I find myself putting on these dresses, and adding my favourite accessories (or... what's a less lame term than "statement pieces"?) but not being able to leave the house without putting them back in my cupboard. I think this is due to the fact that I stand out a whole lot already, as a foreigner, so if I started adding spice girls platforms, cat's eye glasses, big velvet bows and rose garlands to my outfits it would be like adding a neon sign to my head saying "Look at me! No, really... look at me!"

It's not that we stand out in a bad way, and it's not that people stare or treat us too differently, it's just the fact that most foreigners here in Fukuoka are Asian (Chinese and Korean mostly) so you rarely see a Westerner. This is different to Tokyo and the other Japanese cities we've visited as tourists, where there are plenty of fellow Westerners. It's not a bad thing, as I said, it's just a plain and simple fact that we look different. And this makes me much more aware of the way I look, and the way I will be percieved... and as a result I have subconsciously become careful not to wear anything that will attract too much extra attention. That's really weird for me, because in Australia I couldn't care less if people think my clothes are strange.

Perhaps when the weather gets a little tamer, I will regain my confidence and start to feel like myself again? And then I will wear my spice girls platforms around Fukuoka city with pride !


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