When it comes to modern clothes shops, Tokyo isn’t exactly lacking. But move away from the city’s busy hubs, and the branded stores and cool boutiques slowly make way for considerably older outlets. Places where fashion often plays second fiddle to price and functionality.
Hideaki Kobayashi, or GrowHair as he is also known, has become a celebrity of sorts due to his love of wearing sailor suit schoolgirl uniforms. A man whose courage to hit the streets on his terms has to be applauded. Plaudits too for the city around him. There’s no judgement. No mean-spirited comments. Just enjoyment at the spectacle of a middle-aged man living life in a manner that suits him, not society.
Having seen photos of him online numerous times, I’d often thought it’d be interesting to get a picture of him doing something more pedestrian than his usual pose. And as luck would have it, the first and only time I’ve ever seen him he was doing just that. Inadvertently creating a scene that’s boringly ordinary, and also wonderfully out of the ordinary.
Tokyo has a wonderful knack of conjuring up surprises, but that said, it’s probably fair to say that bumping into this friendly fella in his tight-fitting schoolgirl gym shorts was still a tad unexpected to say the least.
Due to it boasting expensive brands and flagship stores, Ginza is obviously a popular destination for shoppers. But at the weekend, with its wide, pedestrianised main street, it’s also a place where many people simply go to be seen. A chance to get dressed up, turn on the style and hopefully attract a little attention. And when it comes to the latter, some people are clearly more accustomed to it than others.