The Battle Against Unsightly Tans

Those cute little skirts on the handlebars of this lady’s bike aren’t the equivalent of doilies on armchairs – they’re to keep the sun off the rider’s hands while she bombs down the sidewalks of Tokyo. Even as fall slides into winter here, and long sleeves replace short ones, women are ever-vigilant against becoming <shudder> TAN.

In May, when cosmetic companies in the rest of the world start gearing up to offer bronzing gels, spray-on Malibu Barbie and sunscreens with extra tint, in Japan the billboards for skin whiteners appear. There’s a gigantic category of products that claim to make you even whiter than you already are, and every department store features a section devoted to long white gloves, deeply visored hats and little ascots to cover up the space between your t-shirt and chin, lest a stray sunbeam provoke a hideous freckle.

 The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

5 thoughts on “The Battle Against Unsightly Tans

  1. I find them ALL interesting, but it would get boring if I said that over and over and over again.

    Keep ’em coming, and know that I’m loving them all, whether I say so or not!

  2. What’s interesting to me as well is the subculture that rebels against this standard – the uber tanned. I went to a big reggae concert in Yokohama this summer and I was overwhelmed. These were not the delicate, well put together flowers I was used to seeing.

    1. Really true. The fringe is so interesting here, because it gives a glimpse into what Japanese people find too constraining about their own society. It’s often really different from what looks too rigid from the outside, don’t you think?

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