Tokyo Tango

source: Allure Korea, August 2008

Outside is cold and gloomy and the rain seems going on forever. I've just poured myself a cup of tea and want to finally tell you about a book I've recently finished reading. It is called Tokyo Tango, written by Rika Yokomori, and it contains all sorts of fashion& existential related stuff.

So yes, I've written about this book before and tried to explain just how much warmth it transmits. It's partly a sad story, but so lucid all the way! Japan is a great resource for any kind of inspiration you could possibly want. It was so interesting to discover a whole new world, see how each layer of this culture is being peeled off.

Tokyo. Saya embarks on an extreme love affair with an older man. His name was Bogey and he was a gambler. Their life together resembles a carousel ride. Insecure. From extreme poverty to wealthiness, everthing is possible. I went through the pages of the book really fast. I enjoyed every single word on the pages. Why? Because of a different sort of living life. Where one moment you can ride the wave of excess and the next thing you know is having to sell your body to be able to survive. University student by day and hostess by night in clubs. The time of the story is positioned somewhere at the beginning of the economical growth. As times were getting worse or better, depending on the financial circumstances, society loses its center. Saya really wanted to be a fashion designer, but she lets her mom convince her to go to a proper university.

Like so many other external aspects, clothing is regarded as being the very exponent of one's wealth and way of living. Through the novel, the clothing varies from extravagant party outfits to men and women daily wear and even traditional costumes. It was so interesting to read descriptions of this large range of garments. Young and witty, Saya reflects upon her way of living. She even takes upon herself the challenge of turning Bogey into a more modern, well-groomed man. Saya's voice can be discovered in many paragraphs like this one:

Men, like women, have different shapes and builds, so naturally the clothes that suit them also differ. Unfortunatelly men think of clothes as a kind of uniform: I'm middle aged so I've got to wear this. And they all end up looking dull and dowdy.

I myself was as cool as a cucumber and thoroughly enjoying the new experience of partying in an all-white, antique-style wedding kimono. Yes, fashion is a truly splendid thing. Appearances do matte, because when you are dressed like the real thing you feel like the real thing.

At one point, Saya lets herself get drawn into an affair with another man, whom she portrais like this: He was embodied with lust and glided smoothly around in a casual suit by Comme des Garcons Homme.

After a couple of years Saya decides it's high time she moved on from her old life, but she sees herself in the impossibility to do so. A careless life with Bogey meant putting up with anything and having to ignore her true feelings. The lack of money didn't allow her to do otherwise. Resentments start showing and Saya finally makes her way out her old life for good. In the end, Saya takes everything from the start and manages to enter the design school, in the pursuit of her own dreams and desires.

Sweet treats,


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