04 September 2011

A Guest Column: "Enter the Fundoshi!"

Fundoshi 4 All! is pleased to present another guest column, this time by longtime blog reader John. John has taken to wearing the fundoshi like a fish to water, and we're proud to publish his experiences and insights!

My introduction to the Fundoshi came when I was a kid and saw a page in the International Male catalog. They sold a “Fundoshi brief”, designed to mimic the traditional style in a western brief and they also sold a “real” Fundoshi. I even ordered one. When I got it I realized they had taken something inherently simple and had complicated it so it was a mess. The “sewn loop” eliminated the tying and created a huge bunch of cloth in the back. It was horrible.

Fast forward to the joys of the Internet years later. I saw a photo online of a Japanese man in a Fundoshi and began searching for more information. That search led me to this site where I learned a lot more and found resources for buying and later making my own Fundoshi. The first ones I ordered from Xzytes.com. They are of excellent quality, made of breathable material with very nicely-finished edges. They’re a bargain at $11.90. After a few attempts at tying one, I was hooked.

I see the Fundoshi as the most masculine of all garments. It accentuates the male anatomical curves beautifully but in a subtle, Japanese style which draws attention without being too obvious. Some modern underwear is just over the top obvious in what it is trying to do and to me, ends up trivializing a man’s masculinity. The Fundoshi makes a powerful, masculine statement, tapping into the ancient past while doing something really practical in a simple way.

I live in Arizona where in July and August, we regularly have temperatures in the 105-110F range and humidity from nightly thunderstorms. The only “underwear” I have found halfway comfortable in this environment is a narrow-band jock. Sweating and chafing are unavoidable and by the end of the day I was always miserable. Enter the Fundoshi. While I was not sure I could adapt to cloth being “up there” in the back, I realized in one day how great this can be. The Fundoshi hugs all of the areas where perspiration is a problem, wicking it away. Gone are the talc sprays and lotions. I don’t need them. My Fundoshi provides support and cool, dry comfort. After a couple of days I was so used to the fit of a Fundoshi that I forgot I had it on. It doesn’t bunch or slip or creep. It’s just there doing its job, quite elegantly and in a way which makes me feel my own sensual masculinity.

I have read one comment online about how a Fundoshi should not be worn by others than the Japanese. The writer went on to talk about co-opting of culture, etc. If this were worn to ridicule the Japanese, I might say there was a point but that certainly is not how I view a Fundoshi. I see this as a gift of an ancient civilization which was thinking out of the box before our culture even existed. I also don’t see my wearing of this garment as co-opting of culture any more than I see Japanese cars as a co-opting of western culture. In fact, having once owned a Chevy which would not start below 65 degrees, I’m grateful for my Toyota, but I digress.

Economics of the Fundoshi are hard to ignore. A popular underwear website recently sent me an email advertising a sale on some brand name boxerbriefs at $32 plus shipping. I recently ordered three different fabrics, each of which will make six Fundoshi. The total cost was $35 or less than $2 each!

Fundoshi is more than a garment. It’s a lifestyle and a mind set. It’s about daily personal organization and to use a phrase which shows up in various ancient texts from Homer’s Iliad to the Bible, I “gird my loins” each morning. There is something intangible about tying on a Funoshi to meet a new day. It’s a sense that I’m ready to get started and that I’m prepared. Since my “conversion” I have not worn any other type of “underwear” and I wear my Fundoshi (commercially made and home-made) for loungewear, for working in the back yard and as swimwear. I can customize the fit by the way I tie it to achieve a variety in fit and appearance. A Fundoshi is a most amazing, simple piece of cloth, the product of ingenuity and a lot more relevant and useful than the piece of decorative cloth we westerners tie around our necks for looks alone.

(Note: we added a few pictures along the way, just for fun. Thank you, John, for being a faithful reader but more importantly for spreading the gospel of fundoshi! Here's a few more, for good measure...)


John said...

Wow! Thank you for making my words look so good! Tis site was very instrumental in helping me learn about and enjoy the fundoshi lifestyle and I feel it is important to try and give back. I'm very grateful for your work here to spread the word!

Tim said...

Fantastic column, John, always a pleasure to read your input on all things fundoshi :)

John said...

Many thanks. The fundoshi has been a very positive change for me in many ways, both tangibly and psychologically and it is fun to share experiences with others who also appreciate its unique (and fun) properties!

The TOVASO! said...

Hello dear friend, we are "Esteban Bellota and Toni Valiente," I write to inform you that our blog has been canceled RETROARTSEX REMIXED by blogger has nothing to do with us, because that name is now used by another platform, or persons .
This fact makes us to open another blog, with the same content as above, but changing the name, now use BELLOTA VALIENTE is artistic and commercial brand, and the firm with which we seal all our work.
We are slowly moving forward and bringing to an ever more, and our designs and creations are giving us great satisfaction, that as you can see on the blog, we informed each time we published an illustration.
We at the new blog, BELLOTA VALIENTE , we keep the link of your blog, and we keep on our list of favorite blogs, we would like you included the new blog and especially the old REMIXED RETROARTSEX void, no longer run us. We would appreciate this gesture and we lost all the supporters and fans, if we you please change it
http://bellotavaliente.blogspot.com/ will have the opportunity to regain all those people who stayed through the link in your blog, we visited and admired our work.
Remember, BELLOTA VALIENTE http://bellotavaliente.blogspot.com/
Greetings from Esteban and Toni, and many thanks

Tim said...

You're very welcome :) I forgot to ask, but I saw that you have worn fundoshi while swimming, and was just curious if it had been at a public or private pool?

John said...

I have worn a rokushaku fundoshi at private pools but also at a California beach this summer. I did go to the beach wearing board shorts and took them off after a while. It's a beach where guys wear Speedos and thongs so I was not out of place and it felt very comfortable. The freedom of movement in water is even more apparent than in regular daily wear.

Anonymous said...

Are there ever any wrestling events (sumo or other) held where the guys wear fundoshis?

Anonymous said...

That's how I always felt about the fundoshi! Because of their history, the whole underwear itself is very appealing. The fact that it had a perfect fit and being breathable at the same time made it too awesome.

Tim said...

@ John: That's awesome that it's been a place where they are wearable and not out of place :) I've only swum in akafun in a private pool, and while *I* would feel comfortable wearing one at a public pool, I'm not sure if others would be so accepting :D Out of curiosity, was your swimwear also akafun, or other colored fundoshi?

@ Anon 1: Have you tried google?

@ Anon 2: Absolutely, the fit and breathability really is unbeatable, the fundoshi truly is the Ultimate Garment :)

John said...

@ Tim: Yes, I chose my akafun for the beach but in the pool I have worn several colors and different fabrics. I think my choice of the red akafun was prompted by the beach photos I have seen right here.

Tim said...

Yes, I think it influenced me as well into focussing selectively on the akafun as swimwear, rather than the other dark fundoshi in my collection (although I did once wear a dark blue fundoshi for an unplanned quick swim)

Mickeyboy said...

I was introduced to fundoshi by the International Male catalog too. But there's no need to buy when they are so easy to make! When I figure out how to post a phot I will send one.

I love this site!


John said...

After almost four months of wearing nothing but various colors of rokushaku fundoshi, yesterday I tried some regular, western underwear. By noon I had to change, I missed the secure feel, ease of movement and the wonderful dryness on a hot day. I guess there is no looking back now!