In a café, over a cup of tea, a friend suddenly brought up a conversation about Dragon Ball, to be more exact, about Bulma, the girl who started travelling with Goku and Kame jisan (the old man with a turtle shell).
I grew up with Dragon Ball, I had all the comics. At school kids were trying to get Kamehame Ha, that trick that emits energy power from the hands. Once I was working in the mountain, taking little kids around and on the break, I saw a thin and long stream shaped cloud was hanging from the big cloud. I said to a boy next to me, ¨hey look, it´s like a shenron!¨
The boy looked at me surprised. Yes back then I was already 19 or 20 and the boy was something like 10. Dragon Ball was still on the TV but for that boy, I was way too old to know anime. Excuse you, I was there when the comic was published when he still couldn´t even speak. Ha ha ha.
¨Give me a gal´s panty!!¨
Puff... it was dropped from the dragon.
I always had a doubt that how come an ancient Chinese dragon knew about "gal" and "panty". But this is another story.
The point is that this conversation about Bulma had triggered a traumatic memory of my schoolgirlhood.
It was a few weeks before my secondary school life started. I'd received my school uniform, bags and other stuff I'd need. I was in the living room sitting in the middle of the stuff with a bit of excitement.
I was picking up one by one just to check what I'd got. Then stopped.
Mmm? What's this?
"But how come the school gives us underwear? For the winter?"
I had no idea.
Then I realised that this thing was with some colothes for PE. Yet, I had a doubt.
How is possible wearing under pants in public?
I stood up and asked my mum. She looked quite normal and wasn't surprised to see it as a sportwear. She told me that it was called "buruma".
I was just shocked. I was wearing normal shorts for PE at my primary school and now with age 13, I had to run around with undie. Unbelievable.... I thought it was an insult.
Now I understood that this is worn commonly at schools as gilrs' sports wear. I see them in animation, too.
Then why boys wear normal shorts?
Is this some sort of fantasy for PE teachers to compensate being a boring job?
I still don't get it.
Buruma came from bloomers and the original version was nothing to do with underwear.
Not only it was shameful but also it was very uncomfortable because if you move hard, as it was worn when we do sports, your actual underwear would be shown.
What we did was, we were so aware of it so if we see someone's pants was showing, we quietly pointed at around her bottom or whispered to that person "your undie".
If you are a guy, I know you'd say "why not?" But still I don't think it's fair that only girls have to be embarrassed that way. Even now, I would say NO to wearing buruma!
Well, back to Bulma in Dragon Ball. I can't recall if she ever had worn buruma. If anyone does, please let me know.