There was a time when I watched every single anime (Japanese animated show) that came on television. As a kid I was intrigued by the storytelling. Most American cartoons were for children. Anime could become very suspenseful and tell intricate stories. When I was eleven I had a small group of friends who loved manga (graphic novels, er, comic books). We would alternate buying books each month and share them because of the expense. For a while I thought that I would like to be a graphic novel artist. I dreamed of going to Japan to study manga art but now I have a different reason: street fashion. (That and I don't have the patience to illustrate every second of a long story.)
If you look around the streets of any major city you'll find a multitude of styles and tastes. Despite this Japan has a reputation for being quite unique. Whats sets them apart you ask? They are fearless.
Online I found an image of a girl wearing a strawberry necklace. It did not appear to be a strawberry charm necklace, it looked like a daisy chain of actual strawberries. There was even a cluster tucked into the top of one of her boots. Another girl wore huge strawberry earrings but they were fake.
Leg warmer's, an item approached with caution, are really no big deal. Part of this is due to a healthy dose of humor. Many people on Japanese street style websites display their embellished cell phones. Others pin a mini stuffed animal to their clothing. There were people who kept tiny figurines in their pockets but displayed them for pictures as well. Kookiness isn't fear factor.
I also noticed layering. A few fearless individuals looked swamped in fabric while others confined this look to a skirt or sweater. One of my favorite images is of a mangled white t-shirt worn like a giant necklace. I also loved some looks reminiscent of Anglomania. The bright colors, stripes and pirate boots would make Viv Westwood proud.
Like a true former otaku, I couldn't help but notice looks that reminded me of anime characters. Some brought back fond memories of Trigun and Fooly Cooly. I found some childhood Final Fantasy nostalgia as well. There were a few modern takes on traditional samurai wear that reflected a current viewing pleasure, Samurai Champloo. School girls drifting in the background of some images brought back of pang of Serial Experiments Lain eeriness.
Some day I would love to witness Japanese street fashion in person. For now the Internet is my gateway to the world.