This is the first installment of the “How to Dress” series, where we tackle the topic of proper attire for various occasions throughout your JET career. The first of this series is dedicated to the new JETs and what they should wear upon their arrival in Ishikawa.
When you arrive in Tokyo, the Orientation Assistants are going to have you send all your luggage except for one bag ahead of you to Ishikawa. In your bag you should have at least three days worth of proper business attire (as well as casual clothes for evenings out in Tokyo).
Upon arriving in Ishikawa you should be in formal business clothes. You will be meeting your new supervisors, coworkers and possibly principals, various heads of departmental offices and maybe even the mayor or other higher-ups in your town. Many offices have implemented “Cool Biz” (クールビズ) meaning men can forego neckties and undershirts and women can dress in a more business casual fashion. It’s a great program, but it also means that the air conditioning will be set to a higher temperature in the office.
Since this is your first day and you may not know who you’ll be meeting, play it safe and opt for the full suit and tie. If your supervisor has any compassion, they’ll schedule all your important meet & greets early in the day so you can change out of your work clothes as quickly as possible.
Ladies, if you’re going to wear a skirt, it would be appropriate to wear pantyhose. Also sleeveless tops (even if it’s a blouse) are not considered proper business attire, so you way want your suit jacket or a nice cardigan to cover up bare arms. Again, this is more of a formality issue and something you may be able to get away with once the important meetings are finished.
Do your best to stay cool next week and we can’t wait to see you in the ‘Kawa!
Melanie is a 3rd year ALT in Kahoku. Her constant fashion faux pas in Japan led to an intervention held with some of her teachers. Please learn from her mistakes.