Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place

TOKYO, Oct. 19 — "On a narrow Tokyo street, near a beef bowl restaurant and a pachinko parlor, Aya Tsukioka demonstrated new clothing designs that she hopes will ease Japan’s growing fears of crime.

Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.

The wearer hides behind the sheet, printed with an actual-size photo of a vending machine. Ms. Tsukioka’s clothing is still in development, but she already has several versions, including one that unfolds from a kimono and a deluxe model with four sides for more complete camouflaging.

But the devices’ creators also argue that Japan’s ideas about crime prevention are a product of deeper cultural differences. While Americans want to protect themselves from criminals, or even strike back, the creators say many Japanese favor camouflage and deception, reflecting a culture that abhors self-assertion, even in self-defense.

“It is just easier for Japanese to hide,” Ms. Tsukioka said. “Making a scene would be too embarrassing.” She said her vending machine disguise was inspired by a trick used by the ancient ninja, who cloaked themselves in black blankets at night."

Bull. Swaddle.

Anyone who has ever ridden the Tokyo subway system can appreciate the description of some Japanese as being rowdy, pushy, shovy, ranting screamers when the mood is upon them.

Just because Manuscript Tsukioka chooses to make a flaming idiot out of herself by emulating a poorly drawn coke machine does not mean that ALL Japanese are so inclined. Akin to following Nancy Pelosi around for a day and comparing her to all American women.

And please now, a fabric vending machine with feet is supposed to fool whom?

Even though they do remain an edged-weapon culture, how cool would it to be to report that "Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large .45 caliber pistol capable of blowing the ever-loving stones off a would-be assailant..."

Thanks to The War on Guns.

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