It’s “Golden Week” in Japan. By coincidence, three or four national holidays fall next to each other at the moment (e.g. the Emperor’s birthday, Labor Day, etc), so many people are getting extended vacations. Golden Week also happens to fall right after payday, which makes this a busy time of year for shopping. The city is busier than usual and lots of stores are holding Golden Week sales. I took the opportunity to sit outside the Motomachi shopping arcade – located next to the city’s main crossroad – to sketch people.
The weather in Kobe this time of year can be erratic. The days are warm, but some nights can be cold. To keep comfortable, people often dress in t-shirts and shorts, but carry a jacket or sweater in their bag for when the temperatures turn. I’ve also been seeing a lot of spring scarves lately, either draped around the neck or tied to a bag – the latter being not only a fashion statement, but also a way to stay prepared.
The gentlemen above had a very cool, but elegant look. He wore a tan sport coat, white pants, blue loafers, and a simple shirt. The scarf looked like it was made from a light, springy fabric – almost like the texture you’d see in a woman’s scrunchie. I admit I wasn’t taken by the material, but I liked the contrasting green and purple colors and how it clearly complemented his outfit. When contrasting colors are in a muted palette like this, they can really work.
This younger man was wearing a rocker, almost gothic look – black military jacket with slim, black jeans, black Chuck Taylors, and a black bag. He was also sporting a light daytime scarf. Like the previous gentlemen, the material looked gauzy, but the scarf itself wasn’t as large or springy. The pattern was a simple black and white gingham check that matched the rest of his outfit. I could see how a light, loosely woven scarf like this could help keep out the chill this time of year, but also stay breathable.
Lastly, I’ve been seeing these bags around a lot lately. I think the trend may have started in Tokyo, but they’re everywhere in Kobe. Younger boys are using simple drawstring bags as backpacks – usually made from nylon or canvas, but often small (about the same dimensions of an A4 sheet of paper). I imagine they can’t carry very much in them besides their wallet, phone, and maybe a bottle of water.
At first, I thought they were a bit strange, but they’ve since grown on me. They look smarter than backpacks, as they don’t have any extraneous pockets, buckles, or straps. This seems like the kind of bag you’d want on a day trip, as you could easily fold it up and put it in your pocket, then take it out to carry a day’s purchases. Maybe something to try when you’re out spring shopping this Golden Week.