Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beware of shirts made in Tokyo after lunch

I was in Japan for three months in the early 70’s for the company.
As I said before it was a great experience, but some odd things did happen. I used to have lunch at the Hilton Hotel a couple of times a week with some of the staff. It was essential for me to make contact with members of the Creative Department since the previous Creative Director neglected the local staff a bit.

Needless to say, there was some drinking involved with lunch, actually quite a bit. Look, let me be honest, I had just come from England and drinking was part and parcel of advertising (see Mad Men).

The hotel had a Hong Kong custom shirt maker on the lower level. Since it was a novelty for me, and it was much cheaper than Turnbull and Asser in London, I naturally had some shirts made. Very John Wayne, tapered waist, I was slimmer then, big sleeves high collar, mother-of-pearl snap buttons, very 70’s. It seemed every time I went to the Hilton after lunch and had a few drinks, it was down to the shirt maker.

I really do not remember what color fabric I picked; they always gave me the finished shirts in brown and yellow, which fit perfectly. I was sure I hadn’t selected those materials since I am not partial to those colors. I thought I had picked blue, white or even pink. Yet, every time I picked them up, it was always the same brown and yellow shirts. Once there was even a black and white paisley shirt, I could not have been that drunk. I must have had 30 shirts limited to those same colors.

They must have had a surplus of brown and yellow material and God knows how the paisley came into the picture; they must have figured I was too drunk to remember. To this day, I still think that Japanese booze causes color blindness. The shirts fit great and I was sort of obligated to wear them, otherwise, I would have to explain the state I was in after my boozy lunch, when I ordered them.

If you go to Japan, and go to the Hilton, have your shirts made before lunch. There is a bigger color selection then, after lunch it is just brown or yellow, with an occasional paisley shirt thrown in.


  1. Very funny. I guarantee you selected the colors and I am sure you thought they were pink and white, even the paisley. More Sake.

  2. Do not be a wise guy, it was vodka, not sake

  3. Ha, ha! Classic story - I love it, Dad! Color selection is primo before lunch - rather hazy and bleak after - got it! ;) Tell us more Japan stories !

  4. I certainly remember that black, white and grey paisley shirt...It was beautiful, I loved it and you never wore it. I wanted to wear it except it was way to large for me and we eventually gave it to a Spanish artist friend who thought it was one of the great shirts. You always insisted that you never ordered that shirt, however the shirt maker insisted that it was you and nobody else but you.