28 February 2010

Tokyo Impressions – A Year Later 一年後的東京

When it comes to men’s clothes, there isn’t much in Hong Kong to choose from besides European and American imports. In the advent of “vanity sizing” that caters to those ever-expanding waist lines in the West, foreign labels have one by one sized me out over the years. And so I turn to Japan, where the local demand is strong enough to support ready-to-wear clothing made just for the petite Asian man. Where else can I pick up pants with a 29” waist off the rack season after season?




A few weeks ago I found myself back on the bustling streets of Shinjuku (新宿) and Shibuya (渋谷) to catch the tail end of the winter sale. I raided the usual hotspots, checking off my shopping list and day by day filling up an empty suitcase...

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Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.



18 comments:

  1. Japan is just the best in shopping, new things and design!

    Thanks for the nice blogspot article. Keep writing and travelling.

    R.

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  2. Jason,

    Another splendid article on Japan, thanks, though it is sad to see its economic and cultural demise. I love Japanese things as a kid and now probably, but I remember that after watching a couple of movies set against the WWII in China and Hong Kong some time ago, I do loathe the Japanese. Still apart from their being so adamnant in sticking to their version of the history books, guess the present generation can't be blamed for what happend in the 1940s.

    Christine

    PS - remember to let me know once your book is published :>

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  3. Your statement of not being able to find the right sized clothes in HK is interesting. I remember when i went back to visit in 1998, there was quite a lot of selection of clothes for the typical smaller Oriental person. Most Chinese and other Orientals over here - Vancouver and other parts of North America find it hard to get clothes their size.

    F.

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  4. Hi F,

    Broadly speaking, you can find kinds of clothes in Hong Kong: (1) European and American labels ranging from the low-end (e.g. H&M and Zara) t to high-end (Gucci, Prada), and (2) mass market local labels like Giordano, G2000 and Espirit. Category (1) is what you will find anywhere in Canada, the U.S. and Europe and so it is impossible to find my size. Category (2) is not ready intended for the middle class.

    Jason

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  5. A really sad picture the article has painted - particularly to those materialistic city dwellers, such as Hong Kongers.

    Kelvin

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  6. Thanks a lot for the article... will read it over soon...

    Cheers!

    E.

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  7. Nice article about Japan. I believe that a lot of Hong Kong people love shopping in & travelling to Japan.

    C.

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  8. Thanks, all.

    Just in case some of you don't realize, this article is a follow-up on the original "(960) Tokyo Impressions" posted on February 22, 2009.

    Jason

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  9. What you have described here has reminded me of 2 men I met during the economic downturn. Both of them rushed and ate my leftovers immediately when I left. I felt really uncomfortable and sorry for them. I bought them meals and they were grateful. I could see the tears in their eyes. They were young and dressed nicely. I just couldn't believe it when I just looked at their appearance. Until now, I still can't forget these scenes.

    Lilymossy

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  10. Did that happen in Japan or Hong Kong?

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  11. In Hong Kong, one happened in a fast food restaurant and another in a food court.

    Lilymossy

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  12. Dear Jason,

    Once again thank you for the insightful piece on Japan. As a person who was born and raised in Japan, I find your article particularly interesting from a "foreigner's" perspective. I agree, it would be sad to see how the next generation of Japanese fare out in the world.

    Given how the Japanese economy is losing power to its neighbor, China, I believe Japan will one day become like France of Europe. Japan's culture is similar to France in that they both heavily focus on aesthetic and the arts. I would believe that in say 50 years, Japan would be a country known for its arts and its distinct culture (just like France now), but not very powerful economically speaking (also like France).

    Please keep up the great work!

    -jc

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  13. Very interesting article. I've been to Shinjuku once and very much enjoyed shopping there especially at Isetan :) Can't wait to visit Japan again soon, hopefully this summer or fall...

    MK

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  14. Thanks, JC. I loved your comparison between Japan and France. It has given me something to think about next time I visit either one of these countries!

    Jason

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  15. Hello,

    Your article came too late. japan's situation is declining since the nineties, see the stock exchange. i don't think they made everything wrong, but for such a small country there are also limitations. see the Philippines, prior second to japan and now on the way to nowhere. one other example: germany succeeds to resist to the current recession but only at the expense of other european countries. conclusion is of course each country will have their own story but in this time of globalization we are all in the same village and thats the challenge.

    however if you compare anything with china,you can state all the world is declining. anyway also this growth will come with a price! let's see how china can handle their own people's need (more freedom, more individialism).

    TMN

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  16. Thanks, TMN.

    Japan has indeed being declining since the 90s, and hence my references to the "Lost Decade" in this article and also in the original "Tokyo Impressions" posted last year.

    It is true that compared to China, all the rest of the world looks like it is in decline. However, Japan still stands out among G20 nations because it is mired in one of the most sustained and sharpest declines, especially in terms of asset prices.

    Cheers,

    Jason

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  17. It stings to note for TMN to say that The Philippines is up to nowhere. However hard I feel for Filipinos, I agree with that on the basis of "lack of political leadership", quoting J Ng. It comes across as true.

    Whilst it may be foreseeable that a Chinese economic bubble will be seen to burst, the authorities are seemingly set to implement tight policies to secure recovery and stable growth.

    This could be a lesson for all concerned. Not just on Hong Kong economic atmosphere, but do so for the rest of the countries seen to be burdened of any decline.

    MRT

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  18. To Christine,

    Loathe the Japanese bec of history. You'll never have seriously puked for one fact and facet of their past atrocities to my countrymen. Not mentioning.

    But we need to move on. Saying that in the best interest.

    However, i'd agree that some lesson must be taken into account, to prevent further economic damage and enhance growth. That depends largely on the strength of political leadership.


    MRT

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