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Searching for my first leather jacket……in Japan. Aero? Rainbow Country? (w/ pics)

Ishmael

Practically Family
Messages
546
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Call me Ishmael.

My first post. But I’ve been lurking for a while, and would like to thank all you knowledgeable gents for the treasure trove of info you’ve built here.

Looking for the white whale, er, I mean my first leather jacket. The curveball is that I’m in Japan. Hoping 1) you all can point me in the right direction and 2) I can provide the forum with a little bit of info on some of the Japanese makers.

Let me begin with the path I’ve followed thus far, just so you can get an idea where I'm coming from.

I’ve been thinking for quite a while of going for an Aero 1930s Half Belt. Love the look of Aero’s FQHH and the styling of the slimmer 30’s Half Belt. All of the wonderful pics on here have only made this jacket more desirous for me.

However, after visiting a couple of shops and trying a number of Aeros on, I’m not sure that the FQHH is for me. It’s really a bit heavier and bulkier than I’m ready to go at the present time (perhaps because I’m new to leather jackets?).

I then came across Jansolo and a few other member’s goatskin Aeros, and felt that the goatskin might be a better option for me (more pliable and wearable, at least at first). I’m still very much considering this option, and actually sent a mail off to Amanda over the weekend about a custom goatskin half belt. But, to be honest, I’m a little hesitant to go custom on my first. Not sure I have the knowledge necessary to get it right.

Also, I would prefer to sink as little money into customs, shipping etc, and thus began considering something locally made. As you all are well aware, there are a number of wonderful makers in Japan. I hoped to begin to explore this scene.

Although I came across a lot of great jackets, nearly all were military reproductions such as the A-2. It was quite difficult to find anything similar to a civilian Half Belt. Recently, however, I came across a wonderful 1930s “single rider’s jacket” by Rainbow Country, and also learned that these are made just a few miles up the road from me here in the suburbs of eastern Tokyo (far NW of Chiba prefecture). Don’t know much about Rainbow Country, but apparently the company is run by Miyoshi-san, a former employee (owner?) at Real McCoys. They do mostly repro military jackets, but also some really stunning western style leather / down vests! The factory is located in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture. They employ about 20 older women (“grannies” in Japanese) in the jacket making section of the company. They have no website or marketing. Their nom de plume is “California Manufacturing Company”.

But, without further ado, here are some pics of the “single rider’s jacket” scoured from across the web (many more can be found by searching “rainbow country”, for example on Rakuten).

Single Rider's Jacket-Black

rcl-10013h-1_zps138ec162.jpg


rcl-10013h-2_zpsc20e51bf.jpg


rcl-10013h-10_zps4877b6f1.jpg


Buffalo in red

img58741446_zps94d5c6db.jpg


img58741530_zpsd992ed39.jpg


"California Brown"

20100701_1426730_zps2f786f0a.jpg


From what I’ve gathered:
--It’s a remake of a Sears Roebuck “Hercules” branded jacket from the 1930s. (there is a picture of the jacket in Rin Tanaka’s “Motorcycle Jackets: Ultimate Bikers' Fashions”)
--It’s 1.4mm thick vegetable tanned horsehide that is aniline finished.
--The lining is 100% melton wool.

Here is a pic of me in a size 40 black.

IMG_4989_zps4785f724.jpg


And here are some better shots of me in a “red brown” size 40.

IMG_4994_zps31018f89.jpg


IMG_4995_zpsbe673ab2.jpg


IMG_4996_zps16115977.jpg


What do you think?

I think it fits like a glove. Definitely trim with no excess material. Not able to try on a 42 since it is custom order only. I’m about 6’1”, 185 pounds with a 38 inch chest.

The leather is substantial, attractive and much more pliable than the Aero FQHH. They have done this jacket in a number of leathers. I’m also waiting for the arrival of a seal brown version which is supposed to be in shop by the end of the month. The very helpful owner at "Mushmans" (a wonderful shop by the way!) suggested that the red brown works well for both me and my shoe/boot lineup. I tend to agree. But I definitely want to check out the seal brown as well. There is also a buffalo leather in the red color above available in my size. Thoughts on buffalo? Thoughts on the best color for me (yes, I realize this is a personal thing).

One thing that is holding me back is price. The jacket retails for 140,000 yen or about $1700 US. I have the money to purchase, but I’m trying to determine whether this is a reasonable price relative to other options. I realize that, in the end, this is always a bit subjective. But, as a newcomer, I would be happy to hear any advice you can give that would help me situate this jacket within the world of options out there.

I’m still learning, so if I’ve left anything out, or if you have any questions about the jacket, please let me know.

And, lastly, thanks so much for all the help you've given thus far, and any more you can offer!
 
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Worf

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,180
Location
Troy, New York, USA
You've got a custom maker in the neighborhood, the jackets you picture yourself wearing all seem to fit like a glove and you've the body to wear it. You need help how? LOL! No really, they look great on you. Order one in black, one in Brown and be happy... for now.....

Worf
 

damengineer

New in Town
Messages
8
Location
Oklahoma
I have an excellent original Hercules I thin a size 42, It was my Dad's. I started to put it on Ebay since he has been gone for a few years. But I just could not do it. He bought this jacket used in the 60's but it was only used for his "good" outdoor jacket. In his later years you could not pull his hooded Carrhart off of him. I know what Dad would tell me if he was here: "If you can get THAT kind of money for it, SELL IT". Dad was extremely thrifty, he grew up in the depression era, and was in WWII. A couple of these are blurry, my image stabilizer camera worked in reverse.
 
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Gancho

One of the Regulars
Messages
242
Location
Hamburg, Germany
It took me years and a lot of nerves to get jackets that really please me. YOU just go around the corner and come out with a real beauty. Buy one of these, I would go for the brown one.....

Cheers,

Olli
 

Graemsay

Practically Family
Messages
991
Location
Melbourne
What Worf said. :D

Buffalo tends to be thicker than horse (at least, the old Aero hide was), softer and has more of a grain. No idea how they compare for durability, but I suspect that any piece of quality leather will outlast you.

Damengineer, upload the images to a hosting site such as Picasa or Flickr, and then link to them in your post.
 

Ishmael

Practically Family
Messages
546
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Worf, thanks for the kind reply. I really like your new half belt--looks great on you--and also appreciate your good natured humor here in the Lounge.

As I've lurked here, I've definitely come to appreciate how fortunate I am here in Tokyo. Prices are high indeed, but there are more than 10 shops handling Aero within a short train trip from my house. Not to mention the many other options, such as Rainbow Country. (but for clarification, they don't customize to the extent Aero does. They are only willing, I think, to make adjustments in size).

I feel like this jacket fits me really well. After seeing how time consuming it can be to find a good fitting jacket, I feel like I've been somewhat lucky to find this one. But, as a newcomer, its hard for me to know whether I've just fallen for the first nice jacket out there, and whether I might be best served to keep searching.
 
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Ishmael

Practically Family
Messages
546
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Gancho, thanks for the input. As mentioned above, I do feel a bit lucky. Almost like it may be too good to be true. I'll assume you were voting for the "red brown" version?

Mrbuco700, thanks for suggesting the Real McCoys jacket. Will definitely check it out. Very similar to the RC riders jacket, but without the yoke. Not sure, but it looks like availability might be limited. Glad to know there are others here doing this style.

Graemsay, thanks for the input on buffalo. I hope to have a chance to check it out, but the only store with my size in stock is way up in Aomori!
 
Messages
11,002
Location
SoCal
Beautiful jacket, that's the one I've been looking for...
Last week I actually sent pics to US Leathers after seeing Worf's halfbelt, and they priced it around $850. $1700 seems a bit steep to me, but there is something to be said for sourcing locally. Just keep in mind an original 30s Hercules sold on eBay for $1600.
 

JanSolo

Practically Family
Messages
879
Location
Ever so sunny Westphalia, Germany
I can only agree with what the other guys said so far!

1. You are very lucky to have access to these beauties being so close to the factory. I've seen a number of their jackets in various issues of "Free & Easy". Great products!!

2. Just buy the russet AND the seal version. That will save you a lot of money in the long run


BTW: Superb introductory post!! Welcome to this unique place. Make sure you have your wallet ready...
 

philosophy101

A-List Customer
Messages
383
Location
MA
My two cents, Ishmael:

The size 40 clearly fits you PERFECTLY. Stick with it.

As to color, the red-brown looks great on you, but I'll go against the consensus here and say the black one suits you better. Perhaps a dark brown would give you the best of both worlds?

I don't see how you can go wrong here, so just choose one, have fun, and enjoy!
 

JakeHolman

One of the Regulars
Messages
175
Location
UK
All of the above. What a great find!

Another option may be to hunt down a genuine vintage... all the good ones seem to find their way to Japan. Free & Easy have their own store I believe, I think it's called The Rugged Museum, which sells vintage pieces alongside modern repros (haven't been there I hasten to add so someone pull me up if i'm wrong).
 

Grayland

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,062
Location
Upstate NY
I'm not usually a black jacket guy, but the black one is spectatular. I had to look close as it almost appears to be a dark seal brown. I especially like the contrast stitching - it looks khaki, but I'm guessing it is olive drab. You are very lucky in that you can try on the jackets prior to purchase. You are also lucky in that you seem to have the perfect physique for that jacket. It looks custom made for you.

Love the suede long wing bluchers! Alden?
 
Messages
10,181
Location
Pasadena, CA
I agree - if you walked out without that black one, you need to run down there now and get it! The red fits as well, but the black looks great on you.
I like the shirt too. Solid combo - and WELCOME to the asylum lol
 

ando.thun

New in Town
Messages
37
Location
Zürich
Could you please post the adress of the shop? The showroom looks spectacular too and I will stay in Tokio several days coming month...

ButteMT61 your right, the madness got me too. Perhaps Amanda can recommend a maker of fine straitghtjackets...
 

SpeedRcrX

One Too Many
Messages
1,116
Location
France
Welcome,

This is a really beautiful jacket!

If you want an opinion from a woman, I would say go with the russet one!
 

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