Socks & Underwear ー 靴下と「楽ぱん」
I lived with the Nakae family for several months in 1984. This was near Hirakata, Japan, smack half-way between Osaka and Kyoto. I had — and still have — a Japanese dad, mom, and three sisters: the eldest a year older than me, the middle sister about my age and the baby of the family, Yuko, who was just going into the 9th (10th?) grade when I was a college student at Kansai Gaidai (Kansai Foreign Language University).
I will talk a lot more about the Nakae family and what they’ve meant to my life — and the life of my American family — in stories to come. Many adventures and emotional wringers, highs and lows, have intertwined my life with the Nakaes’. I love them all so.
Yuko inherited the family’s sock business, design and manufacturing, when her dad retired from it close to ten years ago. They don’t manufacture anymore, but Yuko’s an incredible designer. She sells socks and other apparel online. Her company is “Heart Message Socks.” (or, in the Japanese, ハートメッセージ靴下).
Heart Message Socks make women’s socks, men’s socks, children’s socks, baby socks, socks for special occasions and holidays, athletic socks, knee socks, and can embroider socks with names or special, personalized messages (from “Happy Birthday” to “Thank you, Daddy”). And . . .
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Yuko’s also designed a new type of men’s underwear. That separate company and the product’s called “RakuPan” (楽ぱん) - literally, “Happy Pants.” Unique in the world, in fact. They have the look and feel of very comfortable briefs, while the front provides a separate compartment for one’s, uh, Joy Department.* Here’s a rather graphic — by American standards — set of design drawings and schematics, an example here:
Even better, this 1-minute video . . . that rocks:
I don’t have the time or inclination to translate all this, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me. Enjoy.
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* Hat tip to Red Dwarf.