February 1, 2013
Hello, my name is Daniel, I'm French, and I'm the director of a French language school in Hamamatsucho. I've been living and working in Japan since March 2012 and am totally enjoying the city of Tokyo.
Speaking of France, we have famous Fashion brands such as LOUIS VUITTON and Hermès. However, we usually don't purchase those brand items. I see more often that Japanese girls carry those brand items. To be honest, I found it very strange that even high school girls own fashion brand bags.
In general, the French is said to be stylish. We don't try to be stylish, but we naturally care about the fashion coordination of bags, shoes and hats. Especially when ladies buy new shoes, they definitely scream out that "We have to buy bags that go along with shoes!" That is how we grow up and it is now a part of our life, I suppose.
In France, we don't have school uniforms. Parents buy clothes for children and they choose what to wear to school. Not only clothes, but school bags are normally chosen by children. Parents only check its quality. Although lately you see more kids using suitcases with wheels to carry heavy textbooks.
For the French, it is more important to choose what suits your life style rather than fashion brands. Therefore, we focus more on what material they use rather than expensive or fashion brand items. For example, it is said LOUIS VUITTON use strong weather material and that is why their suitcases are famous and popular. Small bags do not require that level of quality.
I have to say that we care more for shoes than Japanese people. We do not take off our shoes at home, so that means that Taking off shoes is the same as taking off clothes for us. That is why we naturally coordinate the shoes as a part of important fashion. For my shoes, I usually want cordoban (horse leather), because it's highly resistant to weather, lasts 10 to 15 years and, more importantly, it doesn't need weekly maintenance. For belts, watch straps or wallets, calf leather is fine enough, but cordoban belts or crocodile watch straps can be good-looking too !
Another difference between Japan and France regarding leather goods, I would say that the most striking difference is bags. In Europe, men usually don't have "hand bags" like women, so it's a bit surprising to see Japanese men carrying some the first time you set foot in a Japanese big city. On the other hand, Japanese men are much more fashion-conscious than European ones, so it doesn't look weird on them.
Japanese bags seem rather simple compared to the bags in Europe, which have zippers, pockets and strap. Maybe that doesn't look too weird for men to have "hand bags" I suppose.
Manufacture-wise, it stands up to the standard of manufacturing you've come to expect from Japan: top notch. I actually know of a Japanese manufacturer who went to England to learn the ropes of bag sewing, leatherwork and saddler. Fashion brand are always good, but looking back what you always have, high quality Japanese leather products would be worthwhile.
How Japanese Leather products are perceived by foreigners living in
Japan and Japanese overseas?
“Mekakushi” from outside may shed a light on and help you open the eyes to the undiscovered.
- Vol.16 Japanese Leather - Full of Surprises!
- Vol.15 Leather goods of South Africa have taken root in my life
- Vol.14 Traveling life lightly: A Permaculture Designer's experience with Japanese leather
- Vol.13 As tough as leather
- Vol.12 In France, taking off shoes is the same as taking off clothes
- Vol.11 In Praise of Pen Cases
- Vol.10 Japanese leather products in the eyes of an English gentleman
- Vol.9 Awareness for leather product
- Vol.8 The appeals of the leather bags made in Japan
- Vol.7 From the smell of leather―To those nostalgic days
- vol.6 Mainland shoppers towards Leather Products
- Vol.5 Readily Available or a luxury- the leather culture difference between Korea and Japan.
- vol.4 Japan Leather Award 2011
- Vol.3 Professional Pride in Monozukuri
- Vol.2 My first encounter with Japanese leather
- Vol.1 Hidden Treasure