Mr. Sato always thought he was out of fashion. Turned out he was just way ahead of it.
For many people fashion is a mystery, an ever-changing entity that doesn’t seem to follow any rule of logic. The center of this enigmatic art is often said to be the Harajuku district of Tokyo where the latest of latest trends are out on display by shop and shopper alike.
Particularly for a man of science like Mr. Sato, the laws and patterns of a “cool style” are usually as confounding as how magnets work. But one day a ray of light shone on his dark, fashionless life. He heard from FashionSnap.com of a new trend that was right up his alley.
▼ “Fishing vests trendy in Harajuku”
FASHIONSNAP.COM (@fashionsnap) July 12, 2018
Born and raised in the rural prefecture of Shimane, Mr. Sato knew his way around a tackle box and could pick out a quality fishing vest as keenly as a Harajuku girl selecting shades of lipstick. Fashion had finally come knocking on his door, and he intended to answer it.
He quickly searched for the nearest fishing supply store, which bizarrely was right in the middle of downtown Tokyo.
There he scanned the fishing vests on display, most around 3,000 to 4,000 yen (US$26 – $35). It was a vibrant rainbow of olive, khaki, grey and beige, but Mr. Sato wisely knew not to be swayed by all the flashy colors.
No sir, when choosing the right fishing vest, it was all about the pocket-price ratio. Mr. Sato hit paydirt with this doozy of a vest by Gett, sporting ten pockets on the front and one huge pocket taking up the entire backside. All this only set him back 2,480 yen ($22) to boot.
Of course the really fun part was in the accessorizing, and luckily Mr. Sato was right in his element here as well. No fishing vest would be complete without a pair of sassy mirrored aviator sunglasses, such as these for 3,980 yen ($35).
And to show that he really knew his fishing gear, Mr. Sato picked up baseball cap with the name of Japan’s leading tackle maker, Shimano. At 1,760 yen ($16), it was considerably more expensive than other caps, but Mr. Sato knew he would get eaten alive in the mean streets of Harajuku if he wasn’t rocking name brands.
It didn’t take long before his trendy ensemble was complete. Not only did he feel hip and in touch with today’s youth, Mr. Sato also felt considerably less embarrassed to say things like “set sail” and “tight lines, friend.”
So he proudly announced to his coworkers that he was setting sail to the trendy Harajuku district to rub elbows with his fellow anglers. He actually wanted to take a boat there, but considering Tokyo is a heavily developed urban area, that would be rather inconvenient.
Instead, he sailed the Tokyo Metro, letting the gentle current of the Fukutoshin Line carry him to his destination.
After docking, Mr. Sato went above board and took a drag from tobacco heater. “Pffft, feels like a nor’easter comin’ in,” grumbled Mr. Sato, “Good weather to catch a haul of looks in.”
Mr. Sato stood at the archway leading into Takeshita Street, the main artery of trendy fashion in Tokyo and all of Japan. Others who were wearing regular human clothes like T-shirts and sneakers were intimidated by all the fashion going on within, and would only dare to look in from through the gate.
But not Mr. Sato.
Today he was one of the pretty girls.
Walking along the street among all the nicely pressed shirts and immaculately clean shoes, Mr. Sato felt strange. No one was looking at him!
In a way that was a good thing. The worst case scenario would have been everyone giving him stink-eyes and whispering to their friends, “What’s he doing here?”
However, no one was scoping out his crazy fresh styles either. No one was biting.
Mr. Sato began to think he must have made a miscalculation somewhere. Maybe the dad sneakers were a misstep? Or perhaps it was the murky irony of the Taco Bell T-shirt? Either way, he at least seemed to have found a certain balance that allowed him to walk among the fashion elite without their scorn.
Suddenly, Mr. Sato realized that he had nothing to do there. With his outfit all set, he didn’t need to buy any other fashion goods, so he headed to a crepe vendor. While ordering a Strawberry Banana Choco-Special the lady at the counter gave him a warm smile. Was she acknowledging Mr. Sato’s cutting edge fashion?
He tried to reel her into giving him an explicit compliment, but at the last minute she struggled free and swam away to the kitchen. “Almost!” thought Mr. Sato lamenting the one that got away. It felt like it was going to be a really big compliment too, but that was okay.
Sure, he didn’t end up being the belle of the ball. But Mr. Sato has been to Harajuku many times – usually for the food – but always felt like an alien from another planet. Today, however, and for the first time in his life, Mr. Sato finally felt like he belonged in Harajuku, and it was an amazing feeling.
He was finally one of the cool girls.
After sailing back down Takeshita Street, Mr. Sato stood on the stern of the Tokyo Metro and looked back at the sun setting over Harajuku.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not the fish they are after.” Mr. Sato, now understood what that meant. He didn’t catch a single glance, and come to think of it, he only saw one other person actually wearing a so-called “fashionable” fishing vest the entire time in Harajuku.
Nevertheless, it had always been the journey into the chaotic wilderness of fashion, the fresh crepe-scented air, and getting in touch with his inner teenage girl that made this yet another of our totally worthwhile experiment in style.