Japan is home to a lot of weird fashion. From gothic Lolita to princess fashion, the Japanese fashion industry is the place for the avant garde. Some, though, are just too weird to catch on anywhere. These
The Vest from Space
The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has designed a vest with space technology to keep you cool. It actually look pretty good, as long as you don’t count the IV unit you carry around on your waist. The vests are made from space age materials, but the main cooling effect is from a series of tubes that circulate coolant throughout the vest. The coolant is pumped by a unit strapped to your waist, out from which poke two tubes that remind me of Bane’s VENOM supply.
The vest’s makers claim it can bring down your temperature by as much as 6.7 degrees Celsius. It’s also made with a sweat-resistant material to lick away any moisture. There are only two downsides. The fashion faux pas of carrying around a coolant tank, and the price. $590 USD. Because 6.7 degrees may not be worth as much as a deluxe-edition PS4, they only made 1,000.
A bagel head is where you inject a saline solution into your forehead, which causes temporary swelling, and make a depression in the middle by poking it with your thumb. The result is vaguely demonic, or looking like you have a bagel on your forehead. This is fashion.
After a spot on national geographic’s “Taboo,” it was portrayed by the western media as a hot new trend in Japan. Unfortunately for bagel lovers, the idea that something like this could go mainstream is completely absurd. The name bagel head–obviously–was invented by the same people who want you to believe that everyone in Japan’s doing it. It’s really called a saline drip, by the way, and lasts for about 24 hours before you urinate it out. Most Japanese only heard about it after the attention it received abroad. Every Japanese person I’ve shown the pictures to says the same thing: “it looks gross.”
So, it looks gross, is very expensive, and lasts for a day. I don’t think it’ll catch on.
A former Sony technician says he’s invented a jacket that produces a layer of circulating air which enhances sweat evaporation, thus working with the body’s own natural cooling system to combat the summer heat. In layman’s terms, he’s put a fan in a shirt.
Naturally, pumping air into the back of a shirt has an effect on appearance. In his own words, the shirts balloon up like the Michelin Man. He claims, though, that employees such as factory workers would be more concerned about staying cool than appearances. And on that point I have to agree. Since the Japanese government has been encouraging their “Cool Biz” campaign to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, companies have been keeping the AC on a balmy 28°C even during the hottest summer days. And while Cool Biz encourages government workers to go jacket and tieless during the summer months, companies sometimes require their employees to maintain appearances, keeping them in full office getup despite thermostats being set high. If you happen to be an office worker in Japan and are interested in the shirts, the fans can also use batteries charged via a USB port, so you can charge your jacket as you do reports.
Hollywood’s perfectly aligned teeth are not important to a woman’s overall beauty in Japan. In Japanese, yaeba are protruding K9 teeth, though the word can also be used to refer to generally misaligned teeth. Some Japanese think yaeba make girls seem more youthful and innocent, like how a child’s baby teeth are not perfectly straight. In the world of Japanese media, cuteness is far more important that beauty. So while not exactly mainstream, there is a market for fake yaeba tooth caps for girls who want to look cuter.
There is even a group of singers called Yaeba48, modeled after the megabit group AKB48 and composed of young girls with yaeba. Yaeba48, though, is more or less unknown to the larger Japanese population. Being sponsored by a dental association, it likely doesn’t receive much funding. I’m wondering if those same yaeba will still look as cute twenty years from now. Fortunately, fake ones are removable.
In response to the lack of energy caused by the Fukushima meltdown, a Japanese undergarment company launched the “Super Cool Bra,” a bra with ice packs. Aside it also comes with a variety of other cooling additions. There’s a mini fan, and, somewhat erotically, a ladle so ladies can pour cool water over themselves. There’s also a wind chime and a sprig of mint, because the company believes that coolness is a product of all the senses, not just touch. It’s a bra for the sweet tooth, because there’s a pouch to hide sweets in. If that wasn’t enough, there is also a pouch full of salt, to replenish the salt lost during sweating.
And to keep things even cooler, the company has also produced cooling skirts. These may not be office safe, however, being made of nothing more than mosquito nets and bamboo blinds. We think that walking into the office with a hard, puffy chest, pouring water over yourself while eating mints hidden in your bra–and your underwear hidden behind nothing more than a mosquito net, might not go over well with most bosses. Or, maybe it will. Anyway, the publicity stunt certainly earned the company world-wide recognition.
Another Japanese company has designed a solar-powered bra that can charge a cell phone. It’s marketed as an environmentally friendly undergarment, which is likely why it’s colored green. The bra comes with a solar belt that wraps around the stomach. One might wonder how a bra, which traditionally goes under another garment, would be able to absorb enough sunlight to charge a phone. The company’s spokesperson, Yoshiko Masuda, says that it can’t. Also, it shouldn’t be washed or get wet at all as it will damage the solar cells.
The company says that it won’t go on the market “anytime soon,” likely because it’s a publicity stunt to encourage its line of other eco-friendly undergarments. Those garments, while not quite as a ridiculous, nevertheless compete with the solar bra in terms of weirdness. One turns into a reusable shopping bag. Another includes metal chopsticks to promote reusable chopsticks.