So, I live—and mostly work—here in Opelika, Alabama. I live in one of the best—if not the best overall—apartment communities in the county, which affords me a fantastic quality of life at home. There’s no doubt that I love spending time in this apartment…so much so that I sometimes hate that I’m on the road 14-17 days a month. But there has to be life outside of one’s home. Unfortunately, for me, that doesn’t necessarily exist in Lee County…not the way I enjoy it. This isn’t Tokyo, Seoul, Los Angeles, or DC…places I lived with really good entertainment scenes outside of the home. This is, for all intents and purposes, the boondocks. Aside from the campus of Auburn University, which isn’t really my scene, there really aren’t any places where I can gear up and go. Hmmm…speaking of gear, I literally just thought of something else to write about this week. I’m calling an audible: this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my Tokyo swag.
How I first came across this moment? If you ask AJ, Latisha, Alonzo, Pastor Shawn, Mama Sanders or just about any other person who knew me when I lived in Tokyo, they’d all tell you I had a certain style in which I dressed. I didn’t wear the same clothes all the time but what I did wear was similar in look and style overall. From late March until late September, I typically wore jeans or denim shorts (weather-dependent), one of my many emblazoned T-shirts, and my Reebok Classic sneakers. From October through late March, I mostly rocked jeans, a striped polo shirt, a black jacket, a black beanie, and black Timberland boots. There was a year-round element to the Tokyo swag, which I reserved for Sundays. That’s when I usually wore slacks, a dress shirt, a tie, and one of my many sweater vests over the top. I complemented that with my collection of penny loafers. My Tokyo swag was pretty much the same for the entirety of my 3 years. The only noticeable change was when I added the cashmere overcoat, black scarf, and Kangol hat to the winter look in 2009. And that was my signature style. It was simple but it was me. If you look at any pictures of me from that time, you very rarely saw me not rocking within the parameters of my style.
What it meant to me then? At the time, my Tokyo swag was part of the identity I created for myself while I lived there. I was big into embracing the city lifestyle and the way I dressed represented that to me. It made clothes shopping very simple for me.
What it means to me now? Today, only remnants of the Tokyo swag still lives. I used it to a small degree during my residency in Seoul but it didn’t have the same feel. It’s possible that I may bring it back as I recently applied for a job in Atsugi, Japan—only 30 miles away from Tokyo. If I get it, I’ll definitely be over there rockin’ it out like I did between 2007 and 2010. If not, maybe I land in a spot where I can experience all 4 seasons. That was actually the key to the swag.