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Society Report 9/30/95

One interesting aspect of society here in Japan is the uniform factor. It can be readily noticed in the work place with the women's clothing. They all have to wear the prescribed uniform which is often a white blouse with a uni-colored vest (or jacket) and skirt ensemble.

The [men] aren't so noticeable because they all wear suits and ties and white shirts. That itself is the salary man's uniform. Within companies you can notice a trend in the style and color of suits being worn by high ranking leaders and by those aspiring to promotions. Within Seino, the preferred suit color is gray; a very classic and conservative color.

Men who aren't salary men have a blatant and obvious uniform. It is the blue collar style uniform with minor changes made to the colors, depending on the company's color theme and logo. [For] example, Seino's truck drivers wear a blue tee shirt and some navy cotton twill pants.

Those in the construction industry don't have the regular blue collar uniform. These guys wear the oddest Japanese style pants that end with a big puff at the leg and only go 3/4 of the way down, like high-waters. That is because they all wear those black "Japanese moccasins" which are very fitted and have an indention between the big toe and the rest of the toes.

You might think that I've forgotten about the school children but I haven't. Those kids in [high school] and [junior high] are all miniature and conservative [replicas] of their adult counterparts with a few variations. The kuns don't always wear ties, but you can always see them with some uniforms. The uniforms are based on which school you attend, and there are a lot of different schools. The girls don't wear brightly colored uniforms like many of their adult counterparts do. The girls' uniforms usually have more conservative color schemes. The elementary kids just all wear a unisex outfit of short shorts and a white [tee shirt] with a yellow, red, or green hat. They all wear white sock and tennis shoes.

You might think that it ends there, but it doesn't. Japan is such a homogenous place[,] and everyone must have a [rank] or position to fill. The house wives even do it too. When they run errands and are working in the home, they often wear [a] large apron over their other clothes. This denotes[,] in some way, a devotion to home and family[,] I suppose. However, you can always find some women who just don't like the apron thing and are always dressed up to impress, or to go out and enjoy their relative freedom. Riding on a bicycle (with kids) always requires an apron though!

With all of this adherence to the uniform standard, what does that tell us about this society[?] It says that they are orderly. It also says that due to their homogenous nature, you can't tell what somebody does, what their rank is, or how to treat them unless a uniform is giving you that information. How very polite!