It is fun to discover what the current trend in fashion is every time I come home. On this trip, I've noticed a horrifying amount of stirrup leggings which kids are wearing UNDER their shorts, along with some gladiator wedges with zippers up the back, which my 16 year old niece is wearing everywhere she goes, including my parents' cabin in the mountains. But the best and most puzzling goes to two items that apparently protect you from UV rays. This trend seems to be most popular with middle-aged ladies.
First is the Darth Vader visor. It is a sun visor that is so long that it covers your entire face:
I'm not joking. People are wearing these as they ride their bicycles. It stopped us in our tracks the first time we saw it.
Then there are the elbow length gloves:
OK, so these are slightly cooler, but please picture a 60 year old Japanese woman wearing these and the visor while riding her bicycle. Some of them carry a parasol in addition. I've also seen long sleeves with regular gloves with the visor situation. My childhood friend I saw on this trip said, "I'm not sure what they think they're protecting, because while they are preserving their skin, they look like idiots."
Japanese people are very easily swayed by trends and I suppose if "everyone is doing it" the level of shame goes down. Hence stirrup leggings. Which is a different problem all together.