Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tokyo Streetwear of the last decade

These photographs were taken on my first trip to Japan in 2002. I had only learned about Gothic Lolita fashion recently and was soooooo excited to hit the streets and check out what people were really wearing. Let me say, I was not disappointed. People really dressed like this. It was surreal. In fact, it was solely because of Gothic Lolita fashion that I learned my first Japanese phrase:

すみません、写真を撮ってもいいですか?

It means, "Excuse me, may I take a picture?" In English, we would probably say "may I take your picture" or "may I take of you," but in Japanese I think that's kind of implied. I mean, I'm not gonna walk up to a group of grown women dressed like Victorian dolls and ask their permission to photograph the sidewalk. Of course I'm asking to take a picture of them.

The irony of it all is that at the time, that was the only Japanese phrase I knew, and now that I can actually speak Japanese, I would NEVER approach a stranger and ask to photograph them. It's just too embarrassing and I'm too culturally sensitive. Basically, now that I actually know what I'm saying and can understand their responses, I would feel foolish approaching them. 

Therefore, these photographs are not only a relic of a time in fashion history (though people still dress like this 10 years later), but they are also a relic of my personal history, of a time when I could roam the streets of Tokyo without a care in the world.














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