Saturday, June 16, 2012


Ok so I'm starting to realise that the Japanese are EXTREMEMLY conscious about the sun damaging their skin and turning them brown. You often see women on bicycles with  pull-on sleeves to protect their forearms, big plastic face protection and light scarves to protect their necks and chests. On the train yesterday, I sat next to two women who were both doning this sun-smart 'arm protection', discussing where they bought them and for how much (Osakanites love to compare bargains!).

Sleeves, face-shield and scarf

It seems so strange to me coming from the land of singlets, shorts and thongs, to see the Japanese ADD layers to their outfits as the temperature rises. Even on 28deg+ days, the guys at uni are getting around in jeans, lace up shoes and long sleeve button-up shirts and vests. While that might have more to do with fashion than sun protection, I feel faint looking at them!

There seems to be this idea amognst young western people that a golden tan is healthy and beautiful as opposed to pale skin which is seen as a little daggy and/or sickly. In Japan however, to be called white and pale is actually a compliment.

Where Australian girls would be out on the sand praying for a tan, the Japanese are lathering up on suncrean, in long sleeves and taking light umbrellas with them whereever they go.

girls at my university- a common sight

 There are endless products out on the market with bleach components that supposedly whiten the skin. While I was shocked when I first learnt this, my Japanese friends call me crazy when I ask where I can get a good gradual tanning moisturizer:p

What I would like to know is why Japanese sunscreen is spf50+, and yet in Australia, the land of suncancer, you would struggle to find much more than 30+. Is it because once over 30 it doesn't make a difference? A manager at a cosmectic store at the Goldcoast told me that we can't even import spf50+ products. Fascinating.

Anyway, one sun-safety item which isn't big in Japan are sunglasses. I always feel like I'm the only one wearing them. When I put them on around my friends they squeel "Ahh Anna! you're so cool! haha like a movie star!!" etc. When asked, my friends claim that sunnies don't suit the typically flat Japanese face so aren't worn by many people, but that they are mostly worn by the high-fashion girls as big loud accessory pieces.

Don't feel like coming up with some profound thought-proving conclusion this morning, just some food for thought:P

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