Wednesday, June 01, 2005


When the chairman of Toyota said "This summer I will not allow anybody with tie or jacket into my office," I fell off my zabuton (as luck would have it I was sitting on the floor at the time). In Japan? Salarimen with no suits? What is the world coming to? No ties? What is the solar system coming to? Isn't that impossible? How will those hardy minions survive the summer blasts of arctic air conditioning in between the bouts of broiling street heat beneath searing serge?

It was all so... informal, so... radical, so... anarchic! As a long-time proponent of suit-and-tielessness I didn’t know what to think: how would suitless salarimen behave, having to function all naked like that in public? But then it was only confined to Toyota (one of the eco PR champions of the world) so I figured I’d never get to see any of this extremely radical social experiment involving tieless men rampant in offices in their shirtsleeves, since as you may have surmised I don’t live in Toyota City.

Then Prime Minister Koizumi had a brilliant idea: he would not wear a suit and tie to work! (Those edgy politicians are always so first off the mark.) This time my luck didn't hold: I was sitting on a chair. No suits, and no ties, in the very government offices of a country that for decades now has almost singlehandedly supported the world necktie industry! To say nothing of the suit stores on every other corner, which will now be pretty much reduced to flogging shirts and slacks, maybe a handkerchief. How will Japan function? This could cause a revolution! One day there could be no ties everywhere! Shirts as far as the eye can see! Maybe the bureaucracy will improve. Tieless Immigration would be interesting. More room on the trains...

How radical is this change, really?

Imagine the French eating American cheese.

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