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It’s suit-shopping season!

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2002-03-08

With many students recently graduating from college and pursuing new careers, thousands of young people are in need of suits to wear to job interviews. According to 2002 statistics, graduates are out in force interviewing for potential jobs, but as the job market is currently relatively small, many students are having a difficult time taking their first steps towards a career.

This year, 17,779 high school seniors have graduated, and out of the 2,621 who are currently seeking a job, only 991 (37.8 percent of all seekers) have been hired. This is the worst year Okinawa has had for high school students seeking employment. A total of 3,731 two-year college students will graduate in 2002, and out of the 1,956 looking for a job only 674 have been hired so far. However, this represents a 25.3 percent improvement over last year. Four-year university graduates are having their second-worst year in Okinawa’s history finding a job. To date, only 34.5 percent of graduates have been able to secure employment. Finally, technical students have had the highest percentage of graduates hired. As Okinawa is quickly becoming more technically oriented, more and more IT and language students are being hired.

Though the numbers are down, thousands of graduates are submitting resumes and applications and flocking to interviews. They find that they must trade their casual clothing for business apparel, which they have never needed in the past and of which they have very little. To remedy this, many fashion stores all over Japan have sales on suits and other dress clothing to prepare these new job-seekers for their upcoming interviews and positions. Two such franchises on Okinawa are Aoyama and Haruyama.

Aoyama

Aoyama is currently holding a Sotsugyo (graduation) Party Suits Fair. The store has an excellent suit and accessory selection with sizes to fit the smallest to the largest men on island. No matter how tall you are, you should be able to find your fit here. There are currently two sales taking place until the end of this weekend. For only ¥9,000, you can purchase a suit complete with a shirt, belt, tie and handkerchief, or if you buy a suit costing at least ¥18,000 and pay an additional ¥10,000, you will get a pair of shoes or a business bag, socks, shirt, belt, tie, handkerchief and T-shirt. The first set is a ¥22,700 value for a mere ¥9,000, and the second is a ¥45,000 value for only ¥28,000.

The store also has two coupons in effect until the end of March. Simply clip them from this story and bring them into the store. One is a ¥13,000 discount on any suit costing ¥30,000 or more, and the other is a ¥6,000 discount on jackets priced at more than ¥15,000. Also, if you purchase any two suits, you will automatically receive a ¥10,000 discount; however, you cannot use the coupons in combination with the five-piece or seven-piece specials.

The store also has many name brand-name suits from manufacturers such as Polo, Michiko London, Renoma Paris, Hang Ten, Fila and Pierre Cardin for ¥17,000 as well as suits and accessories for kids. Also, if you need any alterations, Aoyama is a big chain with over 600 branches in Japan, and they will make sure you get a perfect fit by tailoring your suit to your specifications. If you purchase an expensive suit, this is a free service, but if you buy one of the less expensive brands you may have to pay an extra few hundred yen for this service.

There are currently three Aoyama stores on island in Mihama, Ginowan City and Okinawa City. Aoyama has an enormous selection, and American customers are always surprised at the amount of name-brand clothing available. For more information as well as samples of what the store has to offer, check out www.aoyama-syouji.co.jp.

Haruyama

Haruyama is another great store with just as many specials for suit-shoppers. While shopping at Haruyama, if you purchase any suit and pay an extra ¥10,000, you get seven accessories including shoes or a bag, shirt, belt, handkerchief, tie and socks, as well as a ¥1,000 gift certificate for your next visit. This is a little bit better deal than Aoyama’s because at Aoyama you must purchase a suit costing at least ¥18,000. The store also has a “starter set” special including an ¥8,000 suit with eight accessories for only ¥18,000. Haruyama has coupons for ¥13,000 off any suit costing more than ¥30,000 and ¥5,000 off any jacket costing more than ¥15,000. These coupons are valid until the end of March and can be found attached to this article.

Haruyama currently has 250 branches in Japan, with four of them here on Okinawa. Two are in Naha, one is in Okinawa City and the other is in Mihama. The store also has many name-brand suits on sale for ¥16,000 and up by manufacturers such as Regatta Club, Junko Koshino, Kazutaka Katoh, Kansai Yamamoto and Polo. The savings at Haruyama on name-brand suits are very, very good. For example, you can buy a ¥59,000 Junko Kashino suit for only ¥29,000 -- about a 50 percent discount. The store has a great selection of suits of all sizes, so you’ll likely find your match here. The Japanese trend in suit shopping is to find one with a tight fit, while Americans are looking for more of a loose fit, but Haruyama feels it is able to match any demand. For more information as well as examples of suits on sale at Haruyama, check out www.rakuten.co.jp/haruyama.

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