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If you, like me, are coming straight out of university to the wonderful world
 that is Japan,  then I imagine you are wondering what you're supposed to wear.  
 And if you aren't wondering, then you should be.  This is important.  You can't 
 wear your pajamas to class anymore.  At least not in the first month.  

 Before I came here last summer, my wardrobe consisted of about seven 
 mix and match items.  Including the pajamas I wore to class.  So I went 
 on quite a shopping spree, eliciting the advice of friends and family on what 
 exactly one should wear to a real job.  I also raided my mother's closet, 
 looking for suitably modest clothes.  The result was a closet full of clothes 
 that didn't get much use.  They blow this whole 'professional' thing way 
 out of proportion.

If you are fortunate enough, however, to have a real job in the states, then 
you probably already have clothes.  But I'll give you a rundown on what you'll need.

First of all, Japan has four seasons.  (Get used to hearing it, they are quite 
 proud of that,  despite the fact that most of the world has four seasons.) 
 But if you are coming from either a northern or southern climate, its important
 to take note.  I come from St. Louis, and I'd say the climate is about the same. 
 The only problem is that your apartment and school will probably not have 
 any climate controls.  You'll spend the summer bathed in sweat and the winter 
 caked in ice.  hehe.  So I recommend you not come without a coat, and don't 
 plan on wearing black long sleeves when you arrive.  In the summer, its normal 
 to see men with short sleeve dress shirts and ties.  And women can go quasi-sleeveless. 
 But only in the summer.  Summer ends in September.  It doesn't matter if its still 200
 degrees, everyone dresses like its fall.  You'll notice a definite shift in dress styles 
 around this time.  So be mentally prepared at least.  If you show up to work in 
 October in anything less than long sleeves, everyone will ask you 'aren't you cold?'.  

You also might want to consider that large clothes are not easily found here, 
 especially if you won't be close to a major city.  And by large, I mean like 
 an American size 12.  Sweaters actually aren't so hard to find, but again, 
 they don't come in XL.  Button down shirts and pants, if you can find your 
 size, are cut for Japanese proportions.  (i.e., no bum, hips or chest).  Most 
 all men sizes are pretty easy to come by.  After a couple months, you'll be 
 dying to go to Tokyo and spend 80$ on a pair of jeans from GAP.   You can 
 probably forget about shoes.  I wear a 25.5 cm, or a size 7 1/2 American.  
 I can easily find tennis shoes cheap, but dress shoes in women's sizes only 
 seem to go up to a 24.5 cm.  I don't know about men's sizes.  If you have small 
 feet, woohoo for you! Japan is the land of cool and funky shoes.  There are more
 shoe stores than convenience stores.  As for underwear, all bras here come 
 padded.  90% of them also come covered in flowery lacy patterns and foofoo colors. 
 They don't come bigger than a B cup.  And that's a really small B cup.  
 Oddly enough, you can easily find nylons and socks in tall sizes.  I don't know
 what they think you are wearing over the top of them, though.

O.K., so moving on to styles.  You'll need one nice dress outfit at least.  A nice 
 tailored suit in a dark color.  Think funeral.  That's the sort of thing Japanese 
 people wear to formal occasions, weddings, funerals, graduations.  There is one
 formal dinner at the Tokyo orientation, but it will be 90% foreigners, so you 
 don't have to wear the funeral clothes then.  You'll also probably want a less 
 formal suit with a jacket, for all your initial introductions to people and your
 first day at school.  Unless you don't care if you make a good impression.

Other than that, you won't be wearing suits to work everyday.  In fact, around 
 November, you'll be wondering if you can't get away with jeans.  You probably 
 could.  Unless you're going to be a CIR, which seems to be a real office job.  
 But in that case, you probably already have a real job and real job clothes. 
 There will be certain days at school when you should dress nice.  Unfortunately, 
 you won't be warned ahead of time, but when you show up, everyone else will 
 have suits and ties, and it will be too late for you.

My everyday work clothes consist of khakis and sweaters or relatively casual
 button down shirts.  They're usually wrinkled, too, though they usually do 
 match on any given day.  Come winter, you'll be wearing your coat all day. 
 You'll also have separate shoes for inside.  No one makes any effort to match 
 these inside shoes to their clothes, so just use tennis shoes, or slip-on sandals.  
 Since I just take my shoes off anyway, I almost always wear tennis shoes, even 
 with my nice clothes.  If you don't think you'll be able to buy shoes here, bring 
 a cheap new pair with you for inside.  Otherwise you'll have to borrow the 
 school slippers, which come in lovely shades of un-disinfected green.  

A lot of teachers do club activities, so you'll see them changed into sweats half 
 way through the day.  You probably shouldn't do that, but if you did, no one 
 would say anything to you, so use your own discretion.

So its pretty simple, really.  You can dress nice everyday if you want, but you'll really 
 only need a couple nice outfits.  Depending on how far from a city you'll be, you might
 find yourself needing to plan for not buying clothes until Christmas break.  Unless 
 you're about a size seven or smaller, then you're in luck.  Japan is the land of cool 
 and funky clothes.  They're just tiny.



  Hey! What time is it in Japan?

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