Talking Bras? Thanks, Japan

Jason Davis | Staff Photographer—If only bras could talk. In Japan, they already do!

Women everywhere, rejoice! Japanese lingerie brand Triumph Japan has just given us all a new reason to turn Japanese. I really think so.
Introducing the “Welcome to Japan” bra. Modeled after a tour conductor’s uniform with three gold buttons that belt out welcoming messages in English, Korean and Chinese, the verbal undergarment stands to change the very dynamics of male and female social interactions. Ever plagued by the heated female admonishment, “My eyes are up here,” men can finally and honestly reply, “Excuse me, but you’ll have to wait. Your breasts are talking to me.”

Maybe the bra doesn’t have that much of a groundbreaking potentiality, but one has to agree the appealing inanity of the idea. The bra’s removable push-up pads are miniscule plush versions of Japan’s hottest tourist attractions, such as Sensoji Temple’s Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa and Mount Fuji. An optional wraparound miniskirt carries a map of Japan on the backside that allows the — assumedly female — tour conductor to pluck the plush tourist attraction push-up pads from the cups and stick them on to the fabric map so as to point out to her audience where the landmarks, situated on her geographical derriere, are. The bustier also contains a clear plastic sleeve to keep postcards on top of the abdominal area. Tour guide flags can be inserted into both sides of the bra, as well.

As outrageous as the “Welcome to Japan” is, the company releases gimmick bras once or twice a year. Other bras they have made include the “Grow Your Own Rice” bra, of which the cups are literally Styrofoam cups of dirt in which the woman can cultivate her own rice crops. The “Marriage Preparation” bra looks normal enough, but includes a digital clock at the bottom which counts down the days to the couple-to-be’s blissful marital entrapment. There is the righteous “Jury System” bra, the golden cups of which can be detached and hung from a set of chains to serve as a scale of justice; Japanese characters inside the cups translate to “equality.”

In a not-so-serious effort to motivate people, primarily men, to vote, Triumph Japan unveiled the “Voter Turnout Lift-Up” bra in August 2007, which contains a small ballot box under the cups. For those with too much free time or no personal shame, the “Make the Putt” bra converts into a fold-out putting green, the cups serving as the holes.

The bra congratulates the putter with a vocal “Nice putt!” every time a putt is made. Ladies who are willing to sacrifice fashion can make up for it with free electricity should they choose the “Photovoltaic-Powered” bra; a large square of solar panels resting on the abdominal area takes in sunlight and converts into energy, which women can use to charge their cell phones and iPods. The nearly purely aesthetic “My Chopsticks” bra is comprised of a plastic bowl of rice as one cup and a plastic bowl of miso soup as the other, with pockets for foldable chopsticks next to either cup. And what is perhaps the most efficient bra of the bunch, the “No More Shopping Bags” bra converts into a full-sized lacy shopping bag so the wearer doesn’t have to keep dropping yen on new reusable “green” shopping bags.

Japanese men’s underwear makers also have us covered. Japan doesn’t offer briefs that you can strain your spaghetti with, or boxers that double as a fire blanket, but you will find, by the hundreds, silky lace men’s underwear and men’s thongs (such underwear is the general standard for Japanese men).

Sorry guys, if you want to find wacky-yet-functional underwear in Japan, your options are limited to the world of silk man-panties.