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26 February 2010

Unsuitable — Japanese snowboarder busted for bad fashion

Pay no attention to the foreign characters or language unless you understand them. Instead, focus on the dreadlocked gentleman on the left. You'll notice his outfit looks just a little different than his teammates'. That's snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo. He's apologizing at the end of the clip because Japanese officials aren't too happy with the way he wore his suit.

With his sagging pants, untucked shirt, and loosened tie, Kokubo looked like any sloppily dressed 21-year-old. But that's not going to fly. According to one Japanese Olympic Committee official, "It is not the way the Japanese delegation should dress themselves while taxpayers' money is spent on them." Uh-oh.

Kokubo, who is expected to contend for a medal, was banned from a welcoming ceremony in Vancouver after there were complaints about his clothes. The snowboarder followed that up by saying the Olympics are "just another snowboarding event," and that they are "nothing special." Uh-oh again.

The anti-authority stance permeates snowboarding, but there are certain times when you have to play nice. One of those times is the Olympics. Your country is paying for you to represent them. You get the chance of a lifetime to do something hardly anyone else gets to do. And it's all free. Pretty sweet deal. So just go with the flow.

Plus, if you're wearing a suit, wear it like a suit. It's basically the easiest way to look good.

Y'all have no idea about the concept of image in a place like Japan-- a place which I happen to live in.

This is a place where there are beaches and swim parks that won't let you in if you have a tattoo; and I don't just mean the kind that are glamorized by the Yakuza-- I mean tramp-stamps, tribal bands, etc... meaning the whole lot of American pro sports athletes, rappers, and even my 65 year old father who has a Vietnam vet tat would have to cover it up somehow.

I have one earring in my left ear. For years at a very corporate job in America, I wore it-- I'm a journalist, and whenever I would encounter some opposition, I'd simply say "Ed Bradley" (the late Ed Bradley of CBS's 60 Minutes, is one of my heroes in the journalist world; He was known for his chatty, witty interview styles, ballsy topics, and of course his earring he'd wear ON CAMERA without fail.) Even here in Japan, I'd never had one person in 10 years say "take that out" until I started working for a very buttoned down English language academy. The upper management of some of Japan's biggest companies send their execs there. There I am wearing my most conservative suit, red power tie, looking like Ward Cleaver all the way. I'm touting my career and my experiences, in both English and Japanese. The interviewer's only statement after my 10 minute introduction was "Does that earring come off?" in Japanese...

Image is everything. It doesn't matter if you have a PhD in Nuclear Fusion Hydronics, and have the plans to make unlimited power from garbage where the only by-product is water and apple pies. You won't work in Japan, without conforming even a little bit to the IMAGE that has been bestowed upon you beforehand.

Posted via web from ...all about starrwulfe...

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