Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Will Miss #182 - not caring about how I look
Some foreigners complain or are surprised that other foreigners don't care about how they look or walk around dressed like bums when they live in Japan. The thing about living for a long time in a culture where you are objectified is that you stop caring about what strangers think of you. If you're going to be stared at and treated like some sort of animal that has escaped from the zoo anyway, why trouble yourself to dress up when you go out in public? What is more, people validate the notion that you're undesirable in both subtle and gross ways on a regular basis by not sitting next to you on the train, inching away from you when they notice they're standing in the shop near a foreigner, or scuttling away in any number of situations.* Years (or in my case, decades) of this is bound to have an impact on your concern for how others view you based on how your dress.
Since you're likely to be randomly treated like some sort of smelly animal regardless of how you dress or act, there's really not much point in putting on the top hat and tails every time you go out, and I'll miss the time (and money) I save because I don't worry as much about how I look on a casual basis.
*(And, yes, I shower every day, wash and brush my hair, wear deodorant and brush my teeth. I'm told I don't exhibit any unpleasant odors by my husband.)