What Happens in Japan, Stays in Japan

It’s been getting kind of serious around here, so it’s time to write about something that is absolutely ridiculous.  Consider this a PSA.  I’m here to help.  Japan Syndrome: It’s for real, and it’s not pretty. 🙁

If this post can spare even one person from a similar fate, than I can say that all the effort was worth it.

Let me set the scene for you.  You are in a far off place — exotic, perfumed breezes, not a care in the world.  You are feeling good about life.  You’re on top of the world.  And then you see it:  that item that encapsulates everything you are feeling in one article of clothing.  And you just have to buy it.  So you do.

Then you return home, and no matter how hard you try to make it work, it just doesn’t. That thing you just “had to have” — it doesn’t quite fit into your real life.

So there it stands, day after day, week after week, just gathering dust in your closet.  And if you are ever brave enough, bold enough to wear that article of clothing in public — it falls flat and you find people staring at you strangely for the rest of the night.  🙁

In our family, we liked to refer to this as “Japan Syndrome” — inspired by my own dear husband who bought this gem of a shirt a few years back in Japan.

If you can kill somebody with your pinky finger, only then have you earned the right to wear a dragon on your shirt.

John insists that we actually bought it together in Malaysia, and that I even helped him pick it out.I can neither confirm nor deny such accusations, for I was traveling in Malaysia with 4 children, including a nursing baby.   I can not be held responsible for my actions at the time.

On that same trip, I decided I needed my own version of a dragon shirt:

This pale-skinned Irish girl has a hard time pulling this look off. 🙁

Needless to say, neither of us has ever been able to pull off wearing these shirts in our real lives.  We’re just not hip enough. 🙁

There have been times when we have bravely walked down the stairs for an evening out, wearing one of these shirts, but one look from our kids confirmed what we were feeling inside:  #NotCoolEnoughForThisLook.

Here’s another example: a traditional full length kimono. Who doesn’t need one of those? In John’s defense, it was required dress on a business trip, and it has come in handy on many occasions.   Halloween and All Saint’s parties are always covered with a kimono like this, so it’s gotten more wear than we ever expected.

Actually it does come in handy once a year.

We have a string of reckless clothing choices that span the length of our marriage.

Like the time we found ourselves in Ireland.  There we were, mist on our faces, steady breeze blowing my red hair in the crisp, Irish air.  I could almost hear my ancestors calling to me — rooting me on from heaven.

I just had to run in from the hills and remember that moment by buying this outfit.

Actually, it looks much better on the hanger than it does on me — now I know why I bought it.

As individual pieces, it just might work — but I have only ever worn it all together in one outfit.  It adds lumps and bumps I never knew I had.  It goes all the way down to my feet, so I literally look like the Irish version of the stay-puffed marshmallow girl. 🙁

Moving on…Here’s some accessories that I have to say I actually love.

We must have imagined away our six kids at the time of purchasing these little beauties.

They are cute, but completely impractical.  We must have been imagining away our six kids when we made these purchases — they don’t actually close and there’s no room for half the junk I carry around for all the kids.

Every so often, John will say, “Why do you never use those purses that I bought for you in Japan?”  To which I reply, “Six Kids.”.  That answers that.

After so many years, you might have guessed that we would have grown from all of our bad choices — but, nope!  Even as recently as last year, I bought this shirt from Positano.

Look at me in my fancy shirt from Positano. So wrong on so many levels.

There I was on the beach, wind in my hair (I’m beginning to think wind in my hair is a dangerous thing), hanging with fancy Italians in resort wear, and I just had to bring back a memento of my time.

Then I saw this shirt.  It seemed to scream “beach, sun, surf, wine (maybe wine was the problem)” —  I bought it along with a necklace that looks like seaweed, to complete the look (not pictured).  Just look at the wings on that baby!

Maybe it made me feel like a seagull floating over the Mediterranean Sea. Whatever it was, I haven’t worn it since.  Oh well.

Fly away, little seagull — never to return. 🙁

Our kids have also fallen pray to it.  It seems to be contagious.  So consider yourself warned.  Don’t make the same mistakes that we have made over and over.  Don’t buy clothes that will just gather dust in your closets.  Just don’t.

I’m talking to you, man who shall remain nameless, who purchased these leather pants in Dublin on the recommendation of a cute girl who assured you they were the “cool”.  I will not believe you when you insist they proved “incredibly comfortable” while dancing till dawn in a Dublin disco tech.  Not buying it.  Also, gathering dust in a closet…

These pants practically stand up on their own — giddy up!

I could go on and on.  But I won’t.  I will say, though, that there is once exception to the rule.  The exception comes in the form of my father-in-law.

Years before I met John, he travelled with his father throughout France and Italy.  It was the trip of a lifetime for his dad.  During that time, his father’s enthusiasm for the art, the people, the food, and the faith was contagious.  He was just so darn happy to be there.

It seems that he too fell pray to “Japan Syndrome” while in Paris. He bought two french berets:  one for John and one for himself.  John still has that beret amongst his possessions.  Here’s a picture of them in Paris.

John’s beret — noticeably missing — but his dad wore that thing everywhere.

We inherited his dad’s photo album of that trip.  It’s so fun to look back at the pictures of his dad, just loving life in that beret!  He wore that thing everywhere — Paris, Lourdes, Florence, Rome and Pisa.  It’s hard to find a picture of him without that beret.

We like to look at those pictures and remember that plumber from Detroit, just sucking the marrow out of life.  You wouldn’t know it from this picture, but he was slowly dying of emphysema at the time.

And so he is the exception to the rule. Maybe it’s because he knew that his time on earth was slowly to coming to an end.  He proudly wore that French beret for all to see.  I gotta say, I love that about him.

Wear it loud and wear it proud!

For most of us, who aren’t so brave, perhaps it’s best to invest that money in a good meal with good wine, or an experience your frugal side wouldn’t normally stand for.  And maybe even forego the selfie and dare to ask a perfect stranger to take a photo of you all gathered around that meal or that experience.

Keep that picture as your memento and hang it up to remind yourself of the good times spent with people you love.

Whatever you do, I’m hoping you take the time to go on an adventure or two before the summer has passed you by.  It doesn’t take a passport either.  Sometimes, it’s right in your own home, your own back yard or your own neighborhood.

Whatever it is, I hope you do it.

And this is the end of my Public Service Announcement.

Linking up with Kelly.

Please follow and like, if you would:
Follow by Email

4 thoughts on “What Happens in Japan, Stays in Japan

  1. Oh yes I’ve found this to be true! We’ve tried to be way more intentional about the souvenirs we get on vacation and largely focus on spending on activities instead.

  2. Moira,
    Don’t you dare get rid of that Positano shirt, you look beautiful in it…or give it to me. Give the girls your silk Japan one, they can pull that off. And the thing i most need to say, how do you get your bangs to look like that and would it work for me. Fun read, love you..I’m telling my husband about John’s leather pants. He threw guys out of clubs back in the day for wearing pants like that! Love you, Megan

    1. Megan,
      The bangs are easy — you might notice my hair was still wet in back — they always look better after washing. :). I definitely think you can pull off the bangs. However did you know I was referring to John with the leather pants? He, he. I just feel like the Positano shirt is too much for me somehow. P.s. I absolutely love that mug for Fatima Anniversary. It’s perfect! Thanks for thinking of me! Love you too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *