While I’m over in Japan taking language courses, I’ve been doing some side research on a project of my own – that is, I’m trying to find out if it’s really as hard as everyone says to find clothes that fit.
For reference, I’m not a small guy. I’m 183cm and pushing 100kg, and I wear an american size 12 shoe that equates to a Japanese 29 or 30. I’m a little above average size in the US and I’m a freaking giant in Japan.
I used to be a much larger guy, at 135kg, and if I was still that guy I wouldn’t want to come to Japan. I got down to 85kg at one point, and that would be an even better weight to be here, but 100kg it is for now.
Anyway, from a not terribly scientific sample, I’m not really able to buy shirts off the rack here. Japanese “LL” shirts will fit, but they’re not the kind of fit that’s particularly comfortable, and they’re not even that common. Most places stop at “L” for shirts. I also have a bit of a problem with jeans – I have a 90cm waist and most of the ones in the shops stop around 85cm. Slacks are easier, they go all the way up to 90.
That being said, I picked up a men’s mail order catalogue and it has shirt sizes all the way up to 5L and waistlines up into the bigger numbers, so if I actually NEEDED to buy clothes here I could. I’ve also heard that there are a few “big & tall” chains around; it’s possible that even my much bigger self could have gotten dressed here. I’m going to check one of those out at some point, just to see how “big and tall” they really mean. I expect some amusement. 🙂
What I was more worried about was shoes. I’d heard that Japanese shoes were readily available up into the 26 size, with 27 not being too hard to find, but that beyond that was madness.
Either things have changed or I’m in a part of Tokyo where they have particularly monstrous inhabitants, because I walked into both of the shoe stores near the station and found size 29 and 30 shoes in both. One of them actually had the bigger sizes set off to one size, presumably so customers needing that size of shoe wouldn’t accidentally step on, sit on, or eat the smaller shoppers, but the other store had them mixed neatly in with the more common 22 and 23 sizes.
For reference, that’s american men’s sizes 4 and 5.
I bought a pair of sneakers that were size 30 and EEE width and they’re actually roomier and more comfortable than the shoes I wore over here. They were also only Y2900, which I thought was pretty damn reasonable for athletic shoes.
Granted, if you’re over an american size 12 shoe, I wouldn’t try buying shoes here, but then you might have a difficult time even in the states.