Wardrobe for the April 19th Episode of SNS Eigojutsu on NHK Educational

At the top of the show this week, Gori-san had a little fun teasing me when he brought up the fact that there seemed to be a few users on social media who had taken a liking to my deep voice. He caught me completely off guard, leaving me unable to muster anything but a bashful look. Gori-san always makes me laugh during rehearsals, and even more impressive is that he always one-ups himself by being even funnier during the actual taping. He is a consummate pro.

Today was Tsukagoshi Kenji’s first appearance on the show, so he seemed to be a tad nervous, but the second he started speaking it was clear he was comfortable—perhaps because he’s a part-time college lecturer and does a lot of radio work.

I’m slowly but surely getting used to things, and I think I’m finally at a place where I can enjoy the taping for what it is. The problem is, my newfound ease led me to read my English lines more quickly than before, and the director had to ask me a few times to read the lines more slowly. Apparently there are some similar rumblings on social media, so I will try to slow down my native 1.0x speed down to about a 0.7x.

Presenting English language social media posts on the show comes with a certain difficulty that we wouldn’t have if we were using excerpts from published materials or major online media outlets. The person posting is not necessarily a native English speaker, and as such their English is often less than perfect. And then there are the native English speakers, who often post to these platforms casually—typos and shorthand abound.

The challenge moving forward is how we will present those types of posts. One way would be for me to point out any errors after I read the post aloud. The problem with that is that our show asks our audience to take a lighthearted, stress-free approach to posting social media, and me acting as the grammar police would likely make them hesitant to post. It’s a delicate situation.

At the same time, it would be wrong for an English-language learning show to present English language posts, errors and all, and not say anything about it. In terms of our show, my purpose as the native English speaker is to provide cultural context and explain new words-to-know, while the teacher—Torikai-sensei or Naito-sensei—is in a position to go into detail about grammar and put forth “proper” English phrases.

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■Cut Salon Ban

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Over the weekend before this week’s taping, I went to my go-to barber, Cut Salon Ban near Yoyogi Park, for a haircut.

They give haircuts for 2,100 yen, but I recommend getting the works with the “cut course” (4,200 yen)—haircut, shampoo, shave, and a light shoulder and arm massage.

Yamashita-san has been my guy since I first started going to this place, and he always takes in my slightly vague requests and turns them into haircuts that always have me leaving with a confident smile on my face. On the show the makeup person always puts hairstyling product of some kind in my hair, so this time I asked for an ivy league haircut.

The owner, Ban-san, is laid-back in demeanor but quite attentive and thoughtful. His hobby is surfing, which explains why there is always a summery, breezy air wafting in the salon. For me the place is a bit of an oasis.

The salon caters to everyone, from kids to seniors, and the staff has an enthusiasm that supersedes language barriers—so it’s no surprise I often see expats and foreign visitors inside.







Cut Salon BAN
Stanford Court101 1-14-16 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0063
〒151-0063 東京都渋谷区富ヶ谷1-14-16 スタンフォードコート101
TEL : +81- (0)3-3468-7808
Open 営業時間
平日 10:00~20:00 / 土日・祝日 9:00~19:00
Closed 定休日 :Every Monday, 2nd and 3rd Tueseday / 毎週月曜日、第2、第3火曜日

■Universal Language charcoal gray suit

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I ordered this suit from the Universal Language in Shibuya back in March.

Up until this suit I’d chosen entry-level fabrics exclusively, but this time I decided to go with fabric from a long-established Italian fabric mill called Reda. Reda fabrics are high quality, yet reasonably priced.

The fabric I chose has a pattern of small, repetitive diamond shapes, often called a “birdseye” pattern. Most often you’ll see suits in solid colors or with pinstripes, but I also recommend birdseye—the weave gives off a different impression depending on distance and light.

Universal Language makes suits based on one of eight model shapes. They specialize in Italian style, so I chose their Napoli model, which does away with shoulder pads and has a distinctive slope to the shoulders. The overall effect of the finished product is gentler than the other suits I had made in the past. I quite like it.

The key style choice here is the three-roll-two jacket. Whereas your standard suit has two buttons, a three-roll-two jacket has an additional button behind the lapel roll. The more compact V-zone means that even without a necktie, you present a slimmer chest and overall a more balanced silhouette.

When I received my order it was clear that the texture and the feel of this suit was different from the other that came before it. It’s only natural that a higher price means higher quality, but I really believe I was able to appreciate the difference only because I started with entry-level fabrics and am working my way up from there.








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Universal Language Shibuya Store
ユニバーサル・ランゲージ 渋谷店
coocti 5F 1-23-16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002
〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1-23-16 cocoti 5F
TEL : +81-(0)3-3406-1515
Open 営業時間 11:30-21:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / 不定休

■Fabric Tokyo white button-down shirt

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I had this button-down shirt made back in March. At first glance it looks like a regular solid white shirt, but get closer and there are subtle white stripes.

This shirt from Fabric Tokyo is wrinkle-resistant, so if you promptly hang it up and straighten out any wrinkles after washing, you’ll end up with a crisp shirt without any ironing.

New shirts tend to be a little rigid—a little too crisp—especially around the collar area, so I recommend putting it through the wash before wearing it for the first time.

The single cuffs are mitered, meaning that the edges have been sawed off at a 45-degree angle. Rounded cuffs give off a gentler impression, while these make you look sharp.






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Shibuya MODI 3F 1-21-3 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0041
〒150-0041 東京都渋谷区神南1-21-3 渋谷モディ 3階
TEL : +81-(0)3-4405-5075
Open 営業時間 11:00-21:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / 不定休

■Regal wingtip shoes

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The other day I purchased these Regal wingtip shoes from Kutsu no Hikari.

Kutsu no Hikari is a shoe store that caters to big feet in the 28 cm-32 cm range. They have a couple of stores right along the elevated train tracks that run between Okachimachi Station and Akihabara Station. One specializes in business shoes, and right around the corner is the second store, which specializes in casual footwear.

I usually wear a 29 cm or 30 cm, so I initially asked for a 30 cm, but much to my surprise I found that I could fit multiple fingers into the gaping space left by the heel of my foot. I tried out progressively smaller sizes until it became clear that 27.5 cm was the perfect fit. In other words, I lucked out that the big-foot store carried my size.

This goes for all shoes but is especially true for leather shoes: you don’t know for sure until you’ve physically tried it on. Online buyers take caution.

his was my first-ever leather-soled shoe (OK, the heel is rubber), and so on the day of the taping I took slow, deliberate steps from my dressing room to the studio, being careful not to slip. At this point the leather sole is still smooth to the touch, but hopefully a little wear will make them easier to walk in.







Mark City West 4F 1-12-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043
〒150-0043 渋谷区道玄坂1-12-5 渋谷マークシティ ウェスト4F
TEL : +81-(0)3-5459-0411
Open 営業時間 10:00-21:00
Closed 定休日 : 1月1日

KUTSU NO HIKARI Okachimachi Store / 靴のひかり 御徒町店
3-9-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0005
〒110-0005 東京都台東区上野3-9-1
TEL : +81-(0)3-5817-1192
Open 営業時間 10:00-19:30
Closed 定休日 : Year-end and New Year holidays / なし(年末年始を除く)

■Isetan Men’s original black belt

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I purchased this black suit belt in the belt section on the first floor of Isetan Men’s.

As I do a lot of translating work, I spend a lot of time seated in front of the computer. All that sitting down has the effect of warping the shape of the belt around my hip (and that is to say nothing of the effect on my hip).

This belt, however, has a curved design, meaning it goes along with the curvature of the body. As a result it goes perfectly with the shape of my trousers around my hips. We’re off to a great start, and I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The belt holes are also ellipses instead of circles, which I would guess reduces the strain of the prong against the leather.

All the slight adjustments that go into making a belt like this—it’s impressive.






■Isetan Men’s black socks

I bought these black dress socks—Isetan Men’s originals—in the basement floor of the department store.

The socks they carry in the basement are mostly regular size, with a small corner of 27 cm-29 cm socks. You can find some more options for larger sizes at the Super Men’s department on the 7th floor.




Isetan Shinjuku Store
伊勢丹 新宿店
3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
〒160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-14-1
TEL : +81-03-3352-1111
Open 営業時間 10:30~20:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / 不定休

■Zoff Black-Rimmed Glasses

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For this TV show, we shoot in front of a blue screen, which allows for a computer-generated background, so members of the cast are unable to wear anything blue. Consequently, putting a wardrobe together has been a challenge—because when it comes to suits and shirts for men, blue is the most common color. (Preparing my wardrobe for this show has been a reminder of that.)

The blue screen also means that any reflective surfaces that could potentially reflect that blue or the lighting are also no good. And it just so happens that glasses often have metal or metallic parts.

Up until now I’ve mostly worn glasses from places like 999.9, Hakusan Megane, and Kaneko Megane, but all of the pairs I had contained visible metal parts of one form or another, making them all unsuited for the show.

So with no time to waste I went to Zoff in Harajuku and Jins in Shibuya to find glasses with no noticeable metal parts.

I was surprised to find that both Zoff and Jins make same-day prescription glasses.

A self-proclaimed American model, who apparently had just done some sightseeing at Meiji Jingu, was likewise astonished at how fast she could have a pair made.








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Zoff Park Harajuku Store/ゾフ・パーク 原宿店
Corp Olympia 1F 6-35-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前6-35-3コープ・オリンピア 1F
TEL : +81-03-5766-3501
Open 営業時間 11:00~20:30
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / なし

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