The Japanese for cheap is yasui. Speaking to customers at the largest branch of Uniqlo in Japan, this word pops up a lot. “It’s cheap and the quality is good, but the style is so-so,” a fashionable young man in thick-rimmed glasses tells me. “I buy my underwear here, but Uniqlo’s main purpose is not fashion.”
I returned to Japan on a press trip in October 2015 to write a feature on Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo for the Observer magazine.