Japanese women have long had a love-hate relationship with undies. On the one hand, for ages "innerwear" was "a taboo topic in the world of Japanese fashion - lingerie simply wasn't discussed in the same way as clothing." On the other, there's always been major pressure to sport sexy skivvies. Lately, women are embracing comfort and eco-chic. There's a spate of new, more functional underwear lines and an increasingly open attitude towards unmentionables: Says one woman who's started involving her boyfriend in underwear shopping, "It's become a bit ridiculous to equate sexiness with thongs and lacy, heavy bras...To me, a sexy woman is a happy and comfortable one who knows how to pamper herself in ways that reflect her store of knowledge and her personality." [IHT]