Next year is Year of the Monkey, so...

Good morning everyone,

Highs all week are going to hover between 19C and 20C, so that means it'll be pretty nice weather. Overnight lows will be around 10C, so I guess it's a bit cool, but still not too bad. Only Monday is looking like rain, so that means I'll have no excuses not to go out for a long run tomorrow morning...

As 2016 will be the year of the monkey, Japanese underwear makers are gearing up to employ their once-in-12-year sales tactic of marketing red underwear to cash in on a legend that one can stay healthy by wearing such garments in that particular year. I'm sure it's just a silly superstition, but you can't be too cautious, right? Who knows? It might help!

Gunze Ltd., one of Japan's largest makers of undergarments, has gone to Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto to pray for health and long life for those who wear the company’s Year of the Monkey Lucky Underwear products, which were launched in September. The lineup, including undershirts, briefs and shorts, are made of Egyptian cotton known for its silk-like texture, and are selling better than expected, a company official said.

Gunze will enhance its red campaign in November ahead of the year-end shopping season, when it will add 50 items to its regular lineup of 28 red products aimed at people in their 20s to 40s.

Some of Wacoal Corp.'s lineup of red underwear is displayed at its shop in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday. | WACOAL / KYODO

Wacoal Corp., another of Japan's large clothing companies, said that during the last year of the monkey, in 2004, red shorts for women sold five times more than usual. According to a company spokesperson, red is also regarded as a lucky color in Europe and China, so Wacoal is hoping that not only Japanese consumers but also foreign tourists visiting Japan will purchase its red items. The company will increase the number of red products under its Bros brand for men to 10.

Gunze Ltd. will put red briefs like this garment on the market in November ahead of 2016, which will be a year of the monkey in the Chinese zodiac. | GUNZE / KYODO

A survey conducted by Wacoal on 1,236 women across a broad age range uncovered solidly positive support for red underwear. Respondents said red undergarments can empower their wearers and bring good luck. At the same time, only 17 percent of them said they currently own any red underwear — giving Wacoal good reasons to believe the company should urge consumers to grab “a once-in-12-year chance to wear red underwear,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Daimaru Umeda department store in Osaka said it will set up a special section for red underwear as a feature of its year-end shopping campaign this year.

Let's hope they do the same here in Hiroshima, I'm going to be picking up 365 366 (it's a leap year next year) pairs of red underwear so I can stay as healthy as possible next year! In case any of you are out shopping and have a few extra yen lying around, I wear 'M' sized underwear...ha ha!

Have a great day!