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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Clothing With English?

Two bloggers I respect  - Peter Able and Mike Rogers - recently came up with two completely different blog topic... Mike about conformity, and Peter about the strange English on Japanese clothing.

I figured I would combine the two to create a Peter Rogers/Mike Able kind of blog.

The Japanese more often than not will wear a shirt or jacket or some other article of clothing that contains English words - or words that resemble English, but aren't actually English - like Italian or Spanish or German or stuff like that.

The first thing one (the gaijin) notices is that the Japanese are quite proud of their 'English' words on their clothing and will often proudly parade it in front of a gaggle of gaijin hoping for positive feedback.

That the feedback is often a gaijin stiffing a fit of laughter does not seem to perturb the proud Japanese person who only assumes that the gaijin is drunk... likely a 50:50 possibility.

Let's look at the Jacket... The outer Jacket is worn often by the young Japanese person of today and yesterday... usually someone in the 18-30 range. Or, if we are more correct, the range after high school and before one is supposed to get married and settle down and forget they ever learned any English for sarcastic wieners like myself.

So... why do the Japanese wear Jackets covered in crappy English such as: "ATMOSPHERE He stayed there for over ten years."

Yes he did... and when he came back from atmosphere, he was full of it.

The simple answer as to why the Japanese like things with English all over it is because they respect America and its fashion sense even if it makes no sense to Japanese fashion or their way of life.

Another reason for it is conformity.
"You're all individuals!"
"I'm not!"

Yes...  you are not all individuals, but in Japan, if every one else is doing it, you must too, for the the nail that stands up gets hammered down. It's a Japanese adage and one that actually speaks more about acting like a proper dignified Japanese person than anything else. And yet... the Japanese are people too... if there's a craze or a fad out there, pretty soon damn near everyone is following it. Hell... even I had an earring once... but in my left ear so you know I was cool and not gay... not that there's anything wrong with that.

So... if everyone else is wearing a jacket with dumb English on it that no one actually has a clue what it says or actually means, then kami (gods) help you, you better wear one, too.

It's a group identity mentality. It's wearing the same uniform as your classmates in Elementary school... as in Junior High School and High School. Beats me what the hell happens in University, but there's also a certain amount of conformity when you get a real job. Sort off... but that's where things like the English Jacket come in. It let's you be you - just like everyone else.

I should state that people like Mike Rogers have a style of their own, and thank god for that.

Check out this bit of English on a Jacket:
"Let's Tenis! Its the spilit of yuth and balls. Since 1986."

Thank goodness it's only since 1986. Spelling mistakes! Grammatical errors! Nonsensical English! Does anyone truly believe that tennis is the spirit of youth and balls? Sex might be the spirit of youth and balls, though I hear the kiddies no longer call them 'balls' and instead refer to them as parties and raves.

But... does the grammar, spelling and stupid phrases mean a damn thing to the Japanese? Or, is it simply more important that you have spent a lot of money to get a Jacket that has the beloved English on it? And... if you love English so much, why didn't you study harder and talk to the gaijin no sensei (foreigner teacher) when he was there beside you for three years?

I once was asked what the English was on a beautiful young Japanese woman's shirt... I stared at it, pawed at it and finally asked her to remove it so I could get a better look at her tits... and she didn't say a word as as she handed her shirt to me. A few hours later as we were getting dressed, I remembered what she had asked and told her the English on her shirt was Italian. I had no idea what the Italian words meant, but it did lead to another mini marathon of sex, so I think it doesn't matter all that much.

If you were to see a Japanese woman wearing a Jacket with the English 'phrase': "Young Woman's Univ City Having A Good Time Nice Day Just You And Me. No. 7, Yamada Kaori" ... you, my male gaijin friend have a great shot at getting laid. I know I did. And the same for "Split Person ality Play Johan Sebastian Bach. Totally Me and her and you. Since Yesterday, 1961." Twice, thanks to her split personality. My grocery store has no idea why I seem to run through so many bottles of orange juice every day.

The thing is... we gaijin seem to think the Japanese meek and mild-mannered. And they are... until they get to know you.... but to wear such outlandish clothing as this? This takes balls, my friend... which is something you may wish to avoid if you don't like tenis. Seriously, though... it takes guts... who was the first person to wear English on their clothing in Japan? Probably an occupying force called the US Army... but still... they must have made quite the impression on the Japanese - excluding those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who simply lived in a depression caused by an atomic weapon.

I have long wondered just who it is that is making these stupid bits of writing and placing it on over-priced articles of Japanese clothing and telling them they will be cool if they wear it?

And not only that... but who is choosing what writing goes on such things?

It seems like whomever is plucking the English for the wardrobe is cutting up swatches of text form various magazines, comic books and TV Guides - and then plucking various bits from a B-Cup bra.

Or... is it even more insidious than that? Is there a former junior high school student of mine (there are several potential candidates) who are writing these awesome phrases for a ton of money? Being a copywriter in Advertising has always been my dream job. I don't mind living vicariously through them.

Or... is it worse than that option... could it be some gaijin is actually writing the copy? And if they aren't mentally unstable, could it be that they are writing poorly on purpose? Could they be trying to poke fun at the Japanese?

If so, they are failing miserably because I obviously wasn't a good enough English teacher to have taught my students just what is good English and what is not. Epic fail for me.  As such... the Japanese are happy in their ignorance, and I am willing to leave them be. Though, if any Japanese clothing design firm wants to hire me to create really cool English for their clothing - I am available for hire. And I promise to make it not only grammatically correct unless it conflicts with the coolness of the phrase I create for you.

Somewhere "Having Sex With All The Japanese Women I See. 1990 - 1993",
Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. interesting at the same time funny post..just like those funny moustache backpack i see.