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Tobi or not Tobi
August 15, 2006 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Who needs boots when you can have steel-toed tabi? An overview of Japanese worker clothing.
posted by oneirodynia (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap, I never realized I wanted steel toed tabi before. Now I must have them!

Though the gold ones are a bit absurd.
posted by quin at 3:19 PM on August 15, 2006


Hahah, nice link. Thanks, oneirodynia. Very enjoyable. I'm picking bits of mortar of my clothes as we speak.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:21 PM on August 15, 2006


Cool! Tabi and Tobi in one post!
posted by ooga_booga at 3:31 PM on August 15, 2006


I have always wanted a pair of tabi. Always.
posted by Freen at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2006


Good lord the Japanese are stylish! Wow, never have I had so much envy for a construction worker's uniform.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2006


That garb kind of looks like the Beastie Boys on the Intergalactic Video. Kind of...ish.

Pretty suave anyway.
posted by djstig at 3:50 PM on August 15, 2006


Oh, and that website is fantastic. The "MisFormers" article and the "Private Time" links are also really cool! In that last link (very slightly NSFW--one or two pen and ink naked women) I was especially taken aback by this snarky-sophisticate comment:
"Who isn’t making erotic amputee pop art in Japan?"
Who, indeed?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2006


steel-toed tabi

These will be perfect for my Grendel costume. Now I just need an electric fork...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:11 PM on August 15, 2006


The baggy pants are supposedly good for highrise workers. Apparently workers who wear them are injured less often. Something about the pants allowing you to sense obstacles earlier.
posted by robofunk at 4:11 PM on August 15, 2006


I really like these clothes.
posted by Tenuki at 4:13 PM on August 15, 2006


Ebay has some steel toe tabi --> (not associated / affiliated or whatever)

Anybody else want the model of tabi from the article? (not gold)
posted by isopraxis at 4:17 PM on August 15, 2006


My boyfriend has been wanting steel-toed sandals since forever. I picture something a la Tevas but with reinforced toe. He's a sound guy and does a lot of outdoor festivals in the summer - moving heavy equipment around in the heat. Don't think I could get him into any tabi, however.
posted by melixxa600 at 4:25 PM on August 15, 2006


Hummer H3! Get your Tabi on!

I want some of those Tabi, and I want them now. I could be a Thirtysomething Mutant Ninja Student.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:33 PM on August 15, 2006


I used to see guys like these all the time when I lived in Osaka- I started to think that Japanese construction workers were all either superheroes or extras from the recruitment scenes of The Seven Samurai. Then I read Oyama Shiro's A Man With No Talents. Not quite as awesome as I had hoped.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:47 PM on August 15, 2006


I thought about getting my brother to send me a pair of tabiwhen he was on Okinawa, but he's such a sphincter that I didn't bother asking. Oh, well, I doubt they're available in twelve-wide anyhow.
posted by pax digita at 7:24 PM on August 15, 2006


isopraxis writes "Anybody else want the model of tabi from the article? (not gold)"

You mean that tall drink of water with the long hair? I already called dibs. He is fine.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:05 PM on August 15, 2006


It's weird how the intarweb can take even the most mundane crap from Japan and make out like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
posted by nightchrome at 8:57 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


nightchrome,

I agree with you in general, but you have to admit that Japanese construction worker clothes ARE the greatest thing since sliced bread. At least, that's what I thought when I first saw them in 1989, and that was a few years before having an internet connection.
posted by Bugbread at 9:22 PM on August 15, 2006


Anything that comes out of a tube is sexier, natch.

Hence the popularity of boba tea, astronaut food, the London Underground, and pneumatic message systems (pneumail).
posted by oneirodynia at 9:23 PM on August 15, 2006


I gotta mention, too, aside from the skyscrapers, that these guys can gut and refab a 2-3 story bldg in a couple of days.

Not to impugn superhuman characteristics to the Japanese or their outfits, or to wonder about how much overtime their contracts pay...but, just saying'...
posted by kozad at 9:37 PM on August 15, 2006


These shoes ROCK. Combine these with those fuck-off big pants and trucks decked-out in more chrome than seems humanly possible and you've got the coolest construction crews on the planet. Imagine how much better the Village People would be if their construction worker was dressed like these dudes.
My wife and I spent a large part of our honeymoon (quite happily) traipsing about Kyoto trying to find tabi that would fit us. Now, whenever her band takes to the stage, there's always this low murmur from the crowd between songs - all the kids at the front are saying: "Look at the violinist's shoes."
posted by bunglin jones at 10:27 PM on August 15, 2006


TheWhiteSkull : "Then I read Oyama Shiro's A Man With No Talents. Not quite as awesome as I had hoped."

You're kidding. It had the exact opposite reaction for me. I always thought of all construction workers being pretty much the same level, but Oyama makes a big deal of pointing out how there are regular construction workers (like Oyama himself), and then there are tobi, a whole class above. I read the Japanese version; perhaps in the English translation the difference is somewhat obscured?
posted by Bugbread at 10:31 PM on August 15, 2006


I like the tabi sneakers.

Aqua tabi. Tabi low tops. Ninja tabi boots. Tabi in color. With designs.

Tibetan boots are cool too.
posted by nickyskye at 11:58 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Anybody else want the model of tabi from the article? (not gold)
posted by isopraxis at 4:17 PM PST on August 15 [+] [!]

Not to worry. I'll take the gold. I will skip the bloomers/plus fours however. Just too reminiscent of elderly British gentlemen playing golf.
posted by Cranberry at 12:54 AM on August 16, 2006


So the Japanese have Construction Samurai? Cool.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:20 AM on August 16, 2006


Do tabi shoes and shocks remind anyone else of camel toe?
posted by nickyskye at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2006


Great, now somebody's gonna have to ride back to town to get a shit-load of tabi-socks.
posted by isopraxis at 8:40 AM on August 16, 2006


Tough to find size 13-14's, but Tabi are comfy.

Carpenter with 10 years of experiance, master of semantic pleonasm.
“I love to wear things I like...”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:39 AM on August 17, 2006


I can see Tobi on the catwalks just about .. now!
posted by deborah at 11:11 AM on August 18, 2006


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