Although I try to avoid going to Wal-Mart, sometimes I find myself needing something that’s convenient to buy there. Last night at 10 pm or so I asked my Japanese wife if she wanted to with me so she could pick up American make-up, soap and other items she likes to stock up on when in the U.S. Her response was amusing to me: “I can’t go. I don’t have time to put on make-up and dress nicely.” I explained that if she dressed up in special clothes to go to Wal-Mart at 10 pm she’d be in the only person in America doing so, and she decided that a T-shirt was okay to go out in after all. The episode illustrates the Japanese view of kakko (kah-koh), lit. style or fashion, and how they often place a lot more importance on how they look than we might in the U.S. It’s also common to find skiers, golfers or surfers in Japan with exquisitely chosen outfits and equipment, before they’ve even begun to learn the sport in question.
Do you dress up to go to Wal-Mart?