Shoe Dilemma -草履の問題

I was so thrilled to have made it out the door for Hatsumode (the first temple visit on the first day of the new year), that I went without proper shoes *gasp* I'm so torn, I want to be respectful and wear kimono in a way that neither embarrasses me nor anyone involved in this project. Plus, I don't want to appear to be 'flaunting' tradition, but when it came to shoes I had a struggle. My friends, advisors, the shop clerks and even my Kimono-school sensei told me that traditional zōri (proper kimono shoes as seen above) are meant to be tight and uncomfortable. My shoe size is European 40 or North American 10, 25.5 in Japan, however the largest women's shoe size sold in most Japanese stores is European 38 or North American 8.

初詣に出かけた時、私の着物姿は完璧だったはずだがちゃんとした草履を履いていなかった。本当に困った。モノを知らない人だと思われたくないし、このプロジェクトを手伝ってくれた人々にも失礼なことをしたくない。日本の伝統をバカにしていると思われたくないが、私のサイズの草履を見つけるのはかなり難しい。友達や着物学院の先生も全員私に草履はきつく履くべきだと言った。私の靴のサイズはヨールッパの40、アメリカの10、つまり日本の25.5なのだ。しかし日本の店の一番大きい女性の靴サイズはほとんどヨーロッパの38かアメリカの 8だけなのだ。

I was able to find socks and but couldn't find shoes that I could get on my feet let alone walk in. Now, traditionally zōri are not meant to fit but are meant to make the foot look smaller and thus are worn several sizes too small. After searching high and low I finall found a shoemaker online who would make me an LL size shoe in extra wide (they will still be 2 cms to short and 1 cm too narrow). But they hadn't arrived in time for Hatsumode, so I wore my Harley Davidson boots.

足袋は見つかったが私が履けるような草履がなかなか見つからなかった。一生懸命探してみたらインターネットでLLサイズを作ってくれる草履屋さんを見つけた。それでも幅は1 cm、縦は2 cm小さすぎると思う。私の新しい草履は初詣には間に合わなかったかのでハーリーブーツを履いた。

If I could, I would wear these always. They are so comfortable, but they are really not very graceful, and don't lend to walking in a delicate manner. A new solution had to be found, so with the online shoe maker saying they couldn't deliver my custom zori for another 3 weeks, I headed to Asakusa and found a shoe shop that could help.


Getaya have been providing Japanese footwear since 1912. And finally I was able to get a pair of yaki-geta (wood-bottom sandals) not as formal as zōri but they fit! And are more suitable than the Harley Davidson boots.


I was also able to pick the colour swatch and had them adjusted to fit the height of my foot. Yay - now I can carry on with the kimono wearing challenge in style.


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