Has anyone seen the suit that LeBron James wore to the first game of the NBA Finals
this year? He wore an interesting Thom Browne suit whose pants were but a pair of shorts.
Not being a fashion consultant, “avant-garde” is about all that I can comment on LeBron’s
fashion. As odd as his style was, what was more surprising was that the whole ensemble
apparently cost more than $46,000. It was fashion that only LeBron could wear, in terms of
both style and affordability. But, high fashion is about setting trends, is it not?
I just got back from Japan where there is a company that is serious about jeans. Has
anyone heard or read about Momotaro Jeans? These are custom made jeans made in the
Kojima region of Okayama Prefecture of Japan. Momotaro Jeans, established in 2005,
produces possibly the highest quality, and the longest lasting raw denim on the market.
Why would anyone want to make denim by hand in this day and age? There is a great
difference according to aficionados of denim. The cloth generally lasts longer. Another
advantage only becomes apparent after wearing the jeans for some period of time.
Handmade jeans like that made by Momotaro age better, such that the colors of the denim
fade away in a more appealing way. The denim used at Momotaro Jeans is made
meticulously by hand by artisans on looms that can only produce five centimeters of cloth
per hour. This is what makes them so expensive. As a result, a pair of Momotaro jeans can
cost upwards of U.S. $2000.
I think that everyone has at least a pair of jeans tucked away at home somewhere. Think
about that pair. What is the worth of a pair of jeans to you? Well, I can only speak for
myself. I have quite a few pairs that I have used over the years. Basically, all my jeans
have holes in them. I really do not care for the distressed look; and I have a difficult time
understanding why anyone would pay top dollar for designer jeans that are already torn for
you. If anyone wears them as long as I do, holes would develop in them whether you like it
or not.
Sharon Takahasahi recently gave me a pair of jeans that her son used to wear. It caught
the eye of Commander Ron Iwasaki when I wore it to clean up at Rose City Cemetery. Ron
must have a keen eye for fashion, I thought, because he instantly understood that the pair
that I was wearing was one by True Religion. “That’s a fancy pair of jeans that you’re
wearing,” he commented. I am sure that he was referring to how the pair were premium
jeans, which made him wonder how I got a hold of them. I explained that it was a pair that
Sharon had given to me. This seemed to satisfy his curiosity. Anyway, I really like the
True Religion jeans, not just because they are comfortable or because it is a designer brand.
I like it because it reminds me of Sharon’s generous offering.
Each pair of jeans that I own has sentimental value for me. And, this sentimental value
is not affected by how expensive or durable they are. Neither do I hate them after holes
develop in them. They are important to me because there is a story to each pair. Why do I
bring this up? People often ask me why we offer prayers to our ancestors. I can easily
shutter it away by saying that it is a tradition. However, I think that we offer prayers to our
loved ones because we have strong memories about our relationship with them. And, each
relationship is personal and unique for each person. Even in the case of siblings, each
sibling has a separate experience with an elder who has passed away. Each’s experience
really cannot be duplicated. It is original, and it does not matter what the experience was.
They are all cherished memories. Factors other than the substance of what grew out of a
mutual interaction have nothing to do with one’s remembrance. In the same way that each
pair of jeans grows upon you, one’s unique relation to a loved is what makes a certain
offering of prayer special. (Eisei Ikenaga)