I remember when I was 10 and visited Japan for the first time, I was so amazed with this country. The cleanliness, the high-end technology, the punctuality and courtesy of the Japanese people- everything about Japan was so perfect for me that I begged my mom to let me stay and live here with her. She wanted to do the same thing but my grandparents didn’t allow it because they would be alone once I leave our house back in Manila. It was a love-at-first-sight situation with Japan. I loved everything about it…except for one thing.
During my first visit until my early days of living here in Japan, I found Japanese fashion bizarre. I didn’t get the way they dress here. The androgyny, the normality of love for luxury brands, the mismatch of prints, materials and textures, the peculiar hairdos that looked like it took them hours to finish- all of the above and much more make this country look like it’s a different planet. I really didn’t get it at first and as a result, I was either making fun of their outlandishness or I get annoyed seeing them in the streets with their disturbing looks and larger-than-life accessories. But then, as time went by, it just grew in me like a spider web. Little by little, I learned to accept and, eventually, like Japanese fashion. I’ve embraced the truth that this is a part of an evolution of their modern culture. The Japanese, especially the youth, has their individual way of expressing themselves when it comes to clothing which gave birth to new subcultures in fashion. Currently, we have the lolita, maid and gyaru genres to mention a few, all of them are unique in their own ways but totally Japanese in a modern sense.
Forever 21 fedora hat and shorts, H&M blazer and shirt, Versace x H&M shoes, Lanvin x H&M floral necklace, gifted lens-less glasses, bracelets from everywhere, ABC Mart socks and John Galliano bag
Japan naturally injects fashion in the air which made me love everything about it. In Japan, I discovered that I have the ability to be whatever or whoever I wanna be through fashion. I learned that there is fun in expressing one’s feelings through your clothes and all you need is courage and the strength (and yeah, the budget) to do it. And since your look is an expression of who you are or how you are feeling, you start to love yourself more and more. Well, that’s my case. Unlike my mom who has been living here for more or less 15 years, she still can’t stand why Japanese fashion has to be the way it is.
Apparently, the fashion scene here in Japan is so popular that it even became a reason why people want to come and visit. Harajuku is well-known all over the world for being the cradle of Japanese fashion. It’s a sanctuary of fashionistas regardless of their styles. Minimal, hip-hop, hobo, vintage, street style- name it and you can see each one strutting in the catwalks of this area. It just breathes and lives fashion which sometimes makes a person think there is a fine line separating maximalism and exhibitionism. Whenever they visit Harajuku, tourists can’t stop themselves from asking these young Japanese fashionistas to have their photos with them. Living here for 5 years made me love fashion so much to the extent that I became fashionably eccentric myself. I have my fair share of attention-grabbing moments because of my clothes. Like last week, I wore this pink ensemble to drop by my friend’s gig in La Foret Museum. I was walking along the streets when some groups of Thai and European visitors and asked me to have my photos taken or have theirs taken with me. Thinking about it makes me feel hat I FINALLY belong in Japan. Yet when it comes to language capabilities, my Nihonggo will put my belongingness rate down to zero percent.