Kokura Spring 2005 Fashion Report, Day 1

This is the first of five posts of photos I took in April and May 2005 in Kokura. They’re a moderately random sampling of what people are wearing this season in this industrial Japanese city. I think I said enough in the introduction so we’ll go straight to the pictures. If you haven’t read the intro yet, here’s the link again.

Saturday April 16, 2005

Two photos from the newly opened “Kiddyland” shop in Riverwalk Kitakyushu. First a pair of young girls:

a pair of young girls at Kiddyland in Riverwalk

And then a mother. Her daughter is beside her, mostly out of view. And that’s Lia in the background.

a mother browsing the shelves of Kiddyland in Riverwalk

Three girls walking happily through the Kokura shopping arcades. They’re blurry, but give a good sense of the stylistic variation. The girl on the left is probably a senior high school student. The middle one probably an older junior high student or young senior high student. The woman on the right looks like she might be their mom.

a blurry photo of three girls walking through the Kokura arcades

Friends out on a spending spree. Short skirts, low shoes, and matching shopping bags.

a view of the backs of two women walking through the Kokura arcades

Everyone waits at this crosswalk. An older man, an older woman in a plain kimono with jacket and parasol. Some teenage girls in short skirts and high boots. Someone shading her eyes from the harsh sun with a small packet.

a parasol-toting woman in a kimono, some teenage girls, and others wait at a crosswalk in Kokura

Touts giving out handbills at the entrance to one of the Kokura arcades. Note the guy at the left edge of the photo, in the wild shirt. I call him “Mr. Shirt.” He’ll show up later. That’s also his shoulder in the bottom-right corner of the above photo. The older woman is dressed typically for someone her age out shopping.

Touts giving out handbills at the entrance to one of the Kokura arcades

A couple of toughs planning a heist at Crown Milan bakery? I think not. This is a high traffic area, and these guys had just left a cafe nearby. I think they might checking out some girls walking by. Or just posing while they decide what to do next.

two young men in colourful sportwear strutting their stuff in front of Crown Milan bakery in the Kokura arcades

Buddy, let me be the first to tell you that your girlfriend’s pink handbag just does not work with that ensemble. Even a fashion pariah like me knows that camo and pastels clash. Or fight. Or something. Not that it’s any more harmonious with her outfit. Perhaps she’s laughing at the way he looks.

a young camo-wearing couple walking through the intersection in front of Crown Milan bakery in the Kokura arcades

Here’s a front view of Mr. Shirt and his girlfriend. I can only assume that the two of them were doing the same errands as us, since they showed up at the same place we were on three distinct occasions. It’s possible that they were plainclothes police officers on patrol, but it’s more likely that they were simply wandering around, being seen.

a front view of Mr. Shirt and his girlfriend

Two views of some people waiting to cross the street. The denim-clad ladies are a mother (on the right) and daughter (on the left, in the miniskirt).

people waiting to cross a street in Kokura

A few moments later at the same intersection. The same people waiting, and others passing by. Lots of low heels, a short skirt, a pair of rolled-up jeans, and an ensemble with white pants. Have I mentioned yet how popular white is? In this industrial city with eight-storey smokestacks less than two kilometres away?

shoppers making their way past people waiting to cross a street in Kokura

If you have a cold, don’t leave home without your face mask. These are everywhere during cold and flu season. At my school, the teachers wear them in the teachers’ room but not during classes. This is one of the fancier models. The simpler ones are a simple rectangle of white cloth, with elastic ear straps.

a woman wearing a white germ mask

A couple of ladies sitting at the bus stop in front of Kitakyushu’s main branch of the Fukuoka Bank. The hat is a popular style that’s available in many colours. And runners go with everything

a couple of ladies sitting at the bus stop in front of Fukuoka Bank

This is at the same bus stop, looking in the opposite direction. On the left is the Fukuoka Bank, and behind the people you’ll find a major department store called Izutsuya. Just through the doors, on the right side are the Chanel and Louis Vuitton boutiques, which dominate the ground-floor window displays.

The trio looks to be about high school age, though they might be a bit older since people must be 20 years old to buy cigarettes. However, if you combine the stories about the kids at my school getting caught smoking, with the fact that I’ve never seen a cigarette vending machine ask anyone for ID, you might conclude that they are, in fact, teenagers.

a young trio standing near the bus stop, with Izutsuya in the background

Tomorrow we’ll look at these photos, taken Sunday April 24:

thumbnail images of the second day's photos

3 thoughts on “Kokura Spring 2005 Fashion Report, Day 1

  1. I must add that the “low shoes” Ed points out with the short short miniskirts look like they are near-impossible to walk in – at least one would think so to see the girls stumbling down the street in them! Could partially be because they are usually sized in small, medium, and large – yep! I’ve only ever seen shoes sized that way in Japan!

  2. well ed, you’ve done it. nice work. i’ve been waiting to see this stuff! i haven’t seen mr. shirt anywhere around here, but his gorlfriend has been spotted a few times – tell lia that was what i was talking about – the lingerie look with the jeans.

  3. Stay tuned. It gets better. And Lia, I think they do have measured sizes for footwear, but rarely for “fashion” shoes. But I haven’t looked that closely. Usually I try not to look too interested in the stuff on display, lest the shopkeepers catch me taking pictures.

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