One of those myths about Japan is the used panties vending machine. Well, these blogger at least has heard of genuine panty vending machines (at least the machines were real, though we can’t vouch for the validity of the “used” factor) but at any rate, they were very much in areas of town not visited by most of the population.
Now this may well do something to off-set the myth — or it might just tip the balance further into the “wacky Japan” zone.
Wacoal, one of the country’s leading lingerie makers, will be offering products from the wireless bra series Fun Fun Week by its subsidiary une nana cool for a limited time in Shibuya Parco. Okay, nothing new there, right? Except that the new autumn collection products are being sold via a vending machine.
So there you have it. A bra-dispensing vending machine.
You can purchase your bras at the vending machine from August 9th to 31st at Shibuya Parco, and then from September 1st to 30th at the une nana cool store in Futako-Tamagawa.
No decent pictures are available of the vending machine itself yet, but no doubt after it opens today there will be some floating around. Will this perpetuate more myths? Or are une nana cool bras cute enough to raise above the sniggering tide?
For its latest concept bra to announce its new range, Triumph has come up with the Branomics Bra.
Yes, you’ve guessed it. This is a reference to Prime Minister Abe’s “Abenomics”, the fiscal policies aiming to raise inflation, consumption tax and the value of the Nikkei.
Check out the rising arrows, like the surge of the yen in recent months, and the other little in-jokes on economic growth and inflation. The bra is also meant to offer an increase in volume thanks to extra padding, which isn’t a bad metaphor for government policy in general.
It is, of course, just a gimmick meant to promote Triumph International’s regular line-up of bras, so don’t expect to see it on a shop shelf any time soon.
Every season Triumph — which is actually based in Switzerland — has a stunt like this in Japan in which it pays tribute to something topical or trending. This normally results in a bizarre-looking piece of underwear made with unusual materials that must surely be very uncomfortable to wear for any of the unfortunate models who has to show it off to the world press.
Past examples include a metal bra to promote a female revolution (the Women’s Lib movement apparently did not penetrate Triumph’s world), plus a Quit Smoking Bra, a solar-powered bra, husband-hunting bra (not as risque as it sounds), and even a “jury system” bra to celebrate the belated introduction of jury trials in Japan.
Fashion and beauty aids often overlap, and here’s a great example of one product that does it in a medically proven way too.
We spotted these recently at a trade fair and feel they desire some exposure.
It’s tough being a Japanese woman — and this is meant without any chauvinism or irony intended! Japanese society puts a lot of emphasis on female beauty and it’s very rare to see women without make-up on. And with this of course comes the prerequisite high heels. All of this takes a strain on skin and feet.
The Ashipita DX is a new kind of footwear to help posture and blood circulation.
It is designed to be easy to slip onto women’s feet when they are working or commuting, or even doing more strenuous activities, like yoga or exercise.
If you suffer from swollen feet due to all those office hours imprisoning your feet in tight shoes, the Ashipita DX will assist your feet returning to a healthier shape. They also support your posture so you use the whole of your foot, stimulating and strengthening your foot in a natural arc suitable for walking. And perhaps best of all, they aid blood circulation and thus keep you warm in the winter.
The design has already been patented in four countries and was developed at the University of Nagoya.
At the moment there are two colors available, black and beige, and three sizes.
We’ve already blogged before about la farfa, Japan’s first fashion magazine for pocchari larger ladies. Well, now it has held its first fashion show to celebrate the launch of the debut issue on March 21st.
Comedienne Naomi Watanabe, who graces the cover of the magazine, led fourteen dokusha moderu (reader models) in a showcase of the smiLeLand 2013 Spring & Summer Collection. smiLeLand is an apparel retailer that specializes in larger sizes.
Of course, Japan is a land where the girls are known for being decidedly on the slim (if not skinny) side, so the editors and producers of la farfa, while obviously hoping to change attitudes and broaden the market, are still being realistic about demand for the magazine.
La farfa will be initially released just twice a year (spring-summer and autumn-winter), though with the first issue print run clocking in at a healthy 50,000 copies.
In spring 2013 Japanese women’s fashion will surely be dominated by a vintage and retro look.
We’ve been searching some shops and catalogues for great examples of the new season’s trends.
Inspired by the awakening nature, trend colours are ecru, beige, brown and light blue. Basically every pastel tone is set to be very trendy this spring!
The comfortable, baggy style creates a cute and innocent look and also round collars are very popular.
Flowery patterns seem especially to dominate the spring fashion, but also other patterns with cute images or a simple spotted pattern is in.
Another must-have are accessories in pastel colours and shades of brown. Also for accessories flowers seem to be the trending motif.
Continuing the trend of the winter, the best color for shoes remains brown, but also other light colours fit the style very well.
Good news for all campaigners for a healthier and more representative fashion industry.
Japanese magazines already seen to have a rag for every possible niche, hobby, social tribe and more — and here’s yet another for their ranks.
The first publication to focus specifically on pocchari (which we might render as “chubby” or perhaps more politely as “well-padded”) girls’ fashion hits the shelves on March 21st.
The debut issue of “la farfa” is expected to shift 50,000 copies. (Cynics might counter that there aren’t as many rotund ladies in this land of wafer waist nymphets, but there’s no need to for chauvinistic sniggering from the gentlemen at the back.)
The face of a Japanese women’s fashion magazine is very important. Models who grace the cover will often do so for the length of an entire contract, becoming the image for the whole magazine’s identity and frequently defining its success (think Yuri Ebihara and CanCam). La farfa has chosen the current pocchari-san of the moment, comedian Naomi Watanabe, to be the first cover girl.
La Farfa is also currently recruiting ampler-sized ladies aged 18 to 40 to be dokusha moderu (reader models).
The magazine is published by Bunkasha, who also produce lots of comics and fashion magazines like Jelly, Gina and Ranzuki.
This might simply be a flash-in-the-pan kind of publishing event in the very crowded world of fashion magazines, though there are signs that la farfa can tap into a growing (sorry, no pun intended) market.
smiLeLand, a retailer specializing in generous sizes, has expanded (stop it!) from online to bricks and mortar as well, opening up a further four stores in addition to its Shibuya flagship.
Qusca is part of a recent boom in “third spaces” (i.e. not work or home) that allow you to sleep or rest in private. Internet cafes have for years now been as much about overnight accommodation and reading manga as surfing the net — even before smartphones, Japanese mobiles were online moons ahead of their western counterparts, so being online wasn’t such a biggie — but they are noisy places hardly conducive to the more strained or stressed of patrons.
Located in Akasaka, a key business district, it is aimed squarely at hard-working women in Tokyo. The charge is ¥150 (about $1.60) per ten minutes, or you can get a lower rate if you buy four-hour slots (¥3,120, just over $33) or more. In this way it will no doubt appeal to women with only thirty minutes at lunch to spare — or who are between appointments for a few hours and want to relax. (You can also rent the cafe for seminars.)
There is free snacks and drink provided, plus wifi. They serve lunches and desserts, and have a special area where you can touch up your make-up.
But most importantly, it’s women-only, so tired ladies can nap away without having to worry about prying colleagues or leacherous guys.
A special earphone is distributed to the nappers so that the staff can give you a wake-up call when your time is up and you have to return (a little less weary) to your desk.
Of course, these kinds of services do little to improve the Japanese working culture, the insane beast that gave birth to a new word, karoshi (death by overwork). Qusca’s website promotes its concept boasting that taking a power nap will improve work efficiency by twenty percent.
However, I’m sure that everyone going home at a decent hour, spending quality time with family and friends, and then returning to work the next day to perform tasks that are adequately managed is even more efficient!
Shinto, the native Japanese (quasi-?)religion, has never been averse to merchantile environs. Major corporations have their own shrines (jinja) and department stores may often have one on their roofs. No Jesus cleansing the traders out of the temple in this religion, that’s for sure.
Until Valentine’s Day, Tokyu Hands Hakata (Fukuoka) is also showing no qualms about bringing a jinja into the “den of thieves”.
In the store visitors will find a torii gate like the kind you pass through at the entrance to a Shinto shrine. The heart-themed design of the fake shrine is a copy of the actual Koinoki Jinja, the shrine for lovers located elsewhere in Fukuoka prefecture.
At the “shrine” you can buy a love fortune (omikuji) for ¥100, write a message and then post it on the heart-shaped board. At the end of the promotion, all the “offerings” will be collected and taken to the real Koinoki Jinja.
The same area of the store has also been holding chocolate-making workshops for those girls who want to give something unique on February 14th (in Japan, the women give the men something on Valentine’s Day, and then the men return the favor on March 14th).
Other than Koinoki Jinja, shrines famed as places to acquire fortune in romance include Kuzuryu Shrine, near Mt. Fuji, and Kasuga Taisha in Nara. Tokyoites can console their lonely hearts by heading to Imado Jinja in Asakusa or Tokyo Daijingu in Iidabashi.
Japanese underwear brand Triumph regularly unveils a rather silly themed bra as a stunt advertise’s its upcoming collection of clothing.
For their new range the promo item is the Girls’ Ishin Bra, or “Girls’ Revolution Bra”. Before you start thinking that Japanese apparel has literally gone radical, please keep in mind that this is certainly very tongue-in-cheek.
The revolution refers to girls “taking over from the guys” in the workplace, and that’s a very worthy cause indeed. Women are still grossly under-represented in Japanese board rooms.
Triumph always chooses its themes and motifs based on recent trends — ecology, cool biz etc — and this year it was apparently inspired by how well women had done at the Olympics.
However, at the risk of sounding like a cynic, you could argue that having girls pose in bizarre bras in front of all the local media is rather counterproductive to the feminist agenda.
Created in collaboration with a blacksmith and a foundry artisan (both female), the metalwork latticing on the “cups” was made and then married with a metal cherry blossom leaf that hangs over the stomach area. The result is kind of half underwear, half armor.
There is also a pouch for a compact mirror.
And Wacky Japan theorists, be warned. This is just a marketing stunt and won’t ever be on sale for real.