Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I hope this is a fashion trend that spreads.

Was watching NHK at lunch time today. Due to some appointments was unable to watch お昼ですよ! so I missed getting a look at Vanilla Mood. Instead got to watch the Japanese Diet in Session. They, like the British House of Commons, have a question period where Diet members can question the Prime Minister. ( Although they don't seem to shout as much as British MP's do.....). It was interesting especially to see many of the Diet members in shirt sleeves, no coat, no tie.

As has been reported by Japundit, Tokyo Times, and Japan Today , the government is encouraging offices to dispense with coat and ties, and keep their thermostats slightly higher.
Koizumi wants thermostats set no lower than 28 degrees Celsius, a number that sounds warmer when converted to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The Prime Minister is doing his best to set the example:



Watching the proceedings however it is clear that some members are struggling with what, exactly , "business casual" means. For example Koizumi was in a white button down shirt with no jacket, several other members had jackets but no ties, and some die hard traditionalists had the 'uniform' on, black suit with a tie.

Now I have never understood in this age of so called 'enlightenment', why coats and ties have persisted as proper business attire for men. Especially, when women's fashions are emphasizing comfort over style these days. However in Japan, it is expected to wear a dark suit and a tie ( but not a black tie, those are for funerals; white ties are for weddings). This in spite of the fact that Tokyo summers are brutal. Once we come out of the rainy season at the end of the month, 90 degree days will be the norm. The humidity will match that.

Japan, because it imports all its oil and because of restrictions under the Kyoto protocol is trying to cut its energy usage. The cool biz campaign is one part of this effort. I for one hope this becomes a fashion trend world wide.

However if Japan really wanted to save energy, there are some more practical things they need to look at:

1) The sun comes up here at 4:30 am. Why the hell don't they have daylight savings time here? The S.O. says it is because of the train system. ( I explained to her that since train timetables are built around the minute, that could not be the case, the 4:30 train would run at 5:30 on daylight savings time, besides the train does not know the difference provided the minutes are the same.) A better explanation is one offered by a Japan Today reader, " The electric companies did not want to lose profits". Either way having less lighting on in the evening would save this country more money than simple shirt sleeves would.

2) Maybe a little less use of neon lights? After all how many signs for a Pachinko parlor does one business really need?



And of course, while they are at it, maybe Japanese women should do their part to reduce energy as well. Here's my suggestion for women's "Cool Biz" attire:



Ja ne,

Skippy-san

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