Friday, March 25, 2011

The Japanese love affair with all things French? Yeah not so much anymore.

     Well, finally! I actually wore something other than pajamas for once. Yesterday was my first day back at work (though only for about an hour, the first real day back will be Saturday). Since I was only in the office for a moment, I didn't really bother with office-y clothes, especially since I was running around Shinjuku beforehand hunting down packets of taco salad spice and Irish breakfast tea (the import supermarket's stocks have only recently been replenished). This weekend will mark the return of the pencil skirt, but for Thursday, jeans and boots were just fine.
Tweed jacket (Nordstrom Juniors), blush chiffon front cardigan (H&M), blush and gold sequined top (Zara), jeans/jeggings (Zara), and brown suede boots (Aerosoles)
Gold antler necklace and gold jeweled bracelet (anemone Japan)
     This top is one of my favorites from Zara, I think it was in stores last spring/summer. Forever 21 had a similar top this winter in grey (which I have), but the Zara one is made of better, silkier fabric and is more streamlined and figure flattering. When I bought the H&M cardigan last autumn I had no idea that it perfectly matched the color of the top, but now that I know, I always wear the two together. 
     H&M has a bunch of lovely clothes in store now, but I haven't had a chance to browse since H&M is one of the handful of foreign companies that inexplicably abandoned Tokyo since the earthquake. Most of them are slinking back and reopening this week (though H&M was still closed as of Wednesday), but it definitely annoyed a lot of Tokyoites. Not so much because we couldn't go shopping, but that the companies couldn't suck it up and serve their loyal customers, even though Tokyo was actually largely unaffected by the quake. Reduce hours to conserve electricity and let the staff head home early? Sure, by all means. Close up shop and worry that the people of Tokyo would start rioting and looting? Come on. I don't know about you ladies, but shopping, even if it's just browsing, is relaxing. It takes your mind off things, even if only for an hour or so. So I definitely felt annoyed to see perpetually closed stores or counters. I ran out of my Chanel concealer last week, and when I headed out into town just to buy it, I couldn't find a Chanel counter in any of the department stores. Not a major tragedy by any stretch, but it's a part of my daily life and routine. They came back this week, but if it weren't for the fact that their foundation and concealer is the best around for sensitive skin, I would seriously consider making the switch to a different brand in protest! Many Japanese are saying how their view of France and French culture (and that of other continental European countries) has been tarnished in the weeks following the megaquake. Conversely, they love the Brits and Americans even more. Now, to each country and government their own, but shifting cultural affinities and loyalties is a real, if subtle, effect of the recent disaster and hardship here in Japan.

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