Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Student pants with split toe construction workers shoes.

Here you can see the weird curve from thigh to ankle.

While I lived in Japan, the students wore uniforms which were very strictly monitored and which severely limited their self expression. The girls had certain hair styles that they could choose from according to their age or grade level. They were not allowed to wear jewelry or make-up. At certain times throughout the year, teachers would measure the length of their skirts to see if they were either too high or too low. The boys also had restrictions on waist height, cuff length, and so on. But it was the girls clothing that most annoyed me. As a teacher in Japan, I was disturbed that male teachers would have their hands on these girls legs measuring the length of their skirts. Why should girls be forced to wear skirts in the first place? Skirts are so limiting. I could go out and play hacky sac with the boys at lunch but not with the girls because they wore skirts.

There were no restrictions on the teacher's clothing, so I went to the student uniform store and ordered myself a pair of boy's student pants that pushed all of the boundaries of the school restrictions. It had the longest thinnest waist, the widest possible thighs, and the most narrow cuffs allowed by school rules. In this way I demonstrated my solidarity with the students.
None of the teachers ever mentioned my pants, but several of the students made sure to let me know they admired my outfit.

Wagamama is a Japanese word meaning something like, independent minded or strong willed. I did not get the impression that it is a positive thing to be called, but it seemed to fit me. I can not tell you how many times people in Japan told me the Japanese expression, "The nail that sticks up, gets hammered down." I guess it is just my nature to stick up.
This post was prompted by The One Minute Writer.
On the road again next week y'all. Go make some trouble while I'm gone!


  1. Don't get me started on the horrors of school uniforms.
    This is a wonderful story.
    How we like to push the limits.
    in London Wagamama is a restaurant chain with lovely Asian food!

  2. Wagamama is onomonpedic. Very cool story. You are quite a rebel, aren't you?

    Have fun on your journey.

  3. Woah, you are so cool...

    I had to live through the uniform thing as a student and then later I had to measure the skirts as a teacher.

    Now at the library that I work at I can only wear black (or dark gray) long pants. I love the color black but having to have to wear it everyday is starting to get on my nerves, so (my wagamama of the week) I wore dark colored jeans yesterday and got scolded....

  4. Is that you? That is you, isn't it? You are beautiful and in more ways than one. Spirit, stick up!

  5. I like the idea of school uniform, where all the students have the same clothes: for various reasons. Most importantly, it doesn't allow for the rich ones to come to school in a different outfit every day, thus making the others feel inadequate. This post is not really about that, but it has many elements of control in it. I think what you are saying is 'not with me, you don't!' You are spirited and individualistic, otherwise you wouldn't be where you are, doing what you do. Stay true to yourself. My son no. 1 is the same. He is like a wild bird, he can't be caged. He takes after me.
    Blessings, Star

  6. Good story.
    While I can see some point to uniforms, I have never been a fan. Most schools here wear uniforms, but neither of my children has gone to uniform schools.
    As another commenter mentioned, in this part of the world Wagamama is a noodle restaurant.
    Hope it was a fruitful trip.

  7. Yep that's me 17 years ago. I offered free modeling for lunch and adventure. I also received several albums of my image, incase I wanted to have an arranged marriage. Apparently, there was a big photo art show of me in Kobe, but I didn't even know about it. I just went to Sanomiya in Kobe one day, and everyone seemed to know who I was. I look a little different after children.

  8. Gorgeous babe/ wagamama! I'd run with that. And I'd bet on you as the nail, against any hammer!!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. oops! that was me, my daughter must have been on my computer...

    I said, oh MY! you are the most gorgeous wagamama Japan's ever seen. What an interesting post Butternut, i always learn something from you.

  11. fashion is always so tasty with a story-great job!

  12. Every thought sna feeling is a blessing in dsguise. Self-expression can be internal. To be given freedom about where and how you choose to express yourself is as meaningful as having external freedoms restricted by power outside yourself Consider Viktor Frankle in is book, Man's Search for Meaning. He explains how he learned during concentration camp confinement that nobody changes what he thought inside but him.

  13. thank you for sharing your tale. I am smiling at your bravery and your ability to act on your feelings and fairness!

    It has been too long since I have visited you!

  14. I went to Japan in 2005 and I was surprised at how short the skirts were. It's no wonder they are fetish items.