Monthly Archives: May 2009

Japanese Construction Worker Fashion – by Emmett

The first time I saw a construction worker in Japan it was in the early morning at the train station and I thought he’d had a rough night coming back from the club, not that he was wearing a work uniform. The picture to the left says it all. On his feet he wore split-toed cloth boots; in other words, ninja shoes. Who was this guy and why did he look so awesome? He was a tobi, a construction worker.

We have been entranced by this style ever since we saw it. To the Western eye, having excessively baggy pants and cloth, flat-soled shoes with no ankle support seems like a dangerous sacrifice of safety over style. However, there is, like everything in Japan, history and reason behind the madness. Continue reading

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The People Pushers – by Melissa

During rush hour in Tokyo, if you’re not willing to push your way onto the train, some one else will do it for you.  The oshiya, metro workers paid to push people from the platform into the train cars, bare the burden of rush hour rudeness.  This system began in the 1970s as commuting trends in Tokyo grew more rapidly than the frequency of running trains. Now perhaps non-existent in Tokyo proper, oshiya can be found in the suburbs in the morning pushing “salarymen” onto inbound trains to downtown Tokyo.  Continue reading

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