|Advertising|Jobs 転職|Shukan ST|JT Weekly|Book Club|JT Women|Study in Japan|Times Coupon|Subscribe 新聞購読申込|
|Home > Life in Japan > Features|
Saturday, April 6, 2002
Sweat suit boys and psychedelic kids
By AMY CHAVEZ
On my planet, the United States, we have all kinds of people, even centaurs and mermaids. But there are a few types of people I have seen in Japan that we don't have in the U.S.
Sweat Suit Boys:
These are the guys who refuse to wear anything but sweat suits, preferably in bright yellow or orange, with varying degrees of bad English in bold lettering on them such as "Bad Boy Bad" and "I like nice good, do you?" There's a sweat suit boy in every crowd, even cocktail parties and funerals.
Why is this OK? You don't see people hanging out in their ballet costumes or equestrian gear. So why have sweat suits come into fashion? I have never seen a fashion show featuring sweat suits. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure this is the very reason fashion exists: to discourage people from wearing sweat suits in public.
Sometimes a sweat suit boy has a slightly overweight sweat suit girl with him, but mostly it's men who are enamored with this fashion. I suppose they are supposed to look cool, ready to act should they be called on to move a heavy object, such as a building. Since this never happens, however, they have made a full-time job out of hanging out, usually smoking, trying to generate bright yellow and orange sex appeal.
Ironically, sweat suit boys are the most unathletic types. Many of them are even overweight. Perhaps they are trying to avoid the transition to real clothing that would require them to make a major decision: to cinch the belt around the stomach or under the stomach. If it's not a major stomach they're hiding, what could it be? Ducks? Pachinko chocolate? I have a feeling the real reason they wear sweat suits is because it's the only thing that matches their sneakers.
Perhaps the sweat suit boys are just overgrown psychedelic children. These children, aged anywhere from 1 to 5, typically have sneakers with red, blue and yellow panels and a cartoon character on them, baggy pants with applique yellow bears and red hearts, a shirt with purple trains and bad English writing in green, and a hat with a bear face and teal whiskers. I mean, how many colors can you fit on one child? Girls are further burdened with white frills on every cuff and hem and colorful hair thingies galore. And parents expect these children to grow up with a sense of fashion?
These are lethargic girls who appear to have zero energy. A girl zero wears big shoes that are so heavy she is always leaving her feet behind, then having to drag them back to catch up with her body. Her hair hangs down, covering her face, and she never pushes it back. She is tall and thin until she sits down, at which time she forms into a glob and, with her cell phone plastered to her hand, slips into a slumber, not even taking the time to nod off. Really more of a beast who slinks from place to place, she's malleable and conforms to whatever chair or sofa she happens to slither into. She can conveniently nestle her head into that narrow space between the train seat and the window pane.
If you ask a girl zero about her lethargy, she'll wake up long enough to utter the words "iron deficiency" before returning to her slumber. Many of these girls really do have a major iron deficiency, while others think it sounds like a good excuse.
Girl zeroes are often found in high schools, universities or any place with lots of chairs. After they graduate, these girls are seldom seen because they are married off through "omiai" and continue their slumping and slinking activities at home.
A girl zero typically marries a sweat suit boy and has a couple of psychedelic children.
Contact Amy by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the "Japan Lite" home page at www.amychavez.com