Just a year ago I went to Japan for the first time and was amazed. It was beautiful. Totally different than I had ever expected, but entirely worth the journey. I saw a lot of things I’d never seen before and attempted to take it all in with savoir-faire. One of the things I saw in Japan that weirded me out were the construction workers.
Yes, that’s right. Construction workers.
At the time I saw one, we were on the bus from Shikoku back to Kobe and I was a little tired and drained, so all that happened was Boone and I commenting on the samurai guy on the scaffolding in a magazine we were reading. The advert at the bottom of the page had a URL for tobi.jp. Sadly the website was all in Kanji, and I tossed it aside for later.
Later on, I found PingMag.jp, who had an old post on Construction Worker Fashion! They pretty much explain everything, so the only thing I have to say is that I am so jealous! The clothes those guys wear are totally awesome! Can you picture life in Chicago with our construction workers dressed like that? No more butt-cracks!
The shoes are called tabi and the pants are sagyo gi. The workers who wear this outfit are called “tobi”, after the pole used during the Edo period in Japan. The shape of the pole looks like the bird, Tobi, and as with all things, the nickname stuck and now scaffolding men and women, who work in high places, are called Tobi,
The Flikr stream has a nice run of the images that will probably explain why Boone and I found them so fascinating.