Reasons To Ruv Japan #2: Indoor Shoes

Being a guy rules. Being a girl, well…not so much. A sampling of reasons:

1. Men can go the bathroom standing up, allowing me to easily and conveniently engage in one of my favorite pastimes; peeing outside (especially in the snow).

2. During childbirth women are subjected to incredible physical pain (or so I’ve been told). Men can stream 3 NFL games and update their facebook on their IPhone while “helping” with the pregnancy (or so I’ve been told).

3. When men (much better looking than me) gain intimate affection from a large variety of female friends they are considered “The Man”. When women do the same, they are called names that oftentimes start with “sl” and end with “oot”.

However, there is one arena where fortune favors the femmes, much to my perpetual irritation:

$8 rubber sandals as professional work attire? If you're a woman, sure!

footwear in the workplace. As a high school teacher in the States for four years, I was bombarded with this inequality on a daily basis, much to my chagrin. Female colleagues could come to school wearing any assortment of footwear, including the ubiquitous Old Navy thong sandals, the same ones worn for communal dorm showers, and it was all deemed acceptable. Nothing was out of the realm of possibility. And yet I, as a male, would slog to school in my leather dress shoes, pining for the opportunity to free my feet from the shackles of administrative injustice.

And then finally one day, after a 15 hour, 6800 mile plane ride and a quasi-career change, it happened; I was on equal “footing! Japan’s quirky “blind below the knees” culture has allowed me to finally be the man I want to be, free from the work shoes that bind us.

Below are the three “indoor shoes” I have worn during my 4 months of phalangial freedom.

Sanuk Flip Flops:
At home, used for going to the beach and to take out the trash. In Japan, perfectly acceptable to teach in. What a country!

Rainbow Flip Flops:
My “dress” flip flops for school in Japan. Isn’t life grand?!

Ol' Reliables

Kissmark Slipper Shoes:
Once the temperature began dipping below 55 degrees I realized that the flip flops without socks thing was probably not going to cut it much longer. When I found these puppies on the clearance rack at Sports Depot, I snatched them up and my life has been better for it. They are easily the most comfortable things I have ever worn on my feet to work in and I actually get bummed at the end of the day when I have to take them off and change back into my outdoor shoes for the walk home.

Fit like a glove

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7 Responses to Reasons To Ruv Japan #2: Indoor Shoes

  1. dieantwerp says:

    technically you should never show your bare feet in school- japanese people find it incredibly tasteless to be barefoot anywhere but the beach -hence all the socks with sandals you see – even women in high heels have to wear socks. teeny ones, but still. Bare feet in the workplace is a huge no no.

    • tigersensei says:

      Dieantwerp- Thanks for the advice. Since you are familiar with Japanese customs and attitudes, you would know that you are more likely to find out that you are committing a “no-no” from a blog commenter than from anyone in your workplace. I guess that is why I went 4 months without ever having any idea that bare feet was not acceptable. I had noticed that most of the women wore those tiny little socks with their sandals but I hadn’t really given it much thought. Also, I had a seen a few mail teachers actually going barefoot, with no sandals on even, in my school in the gym? Are there different rules for that?

      Luckily, I’m now armed with my slippers and your advice for next spring season. Thanks!

  2. Peggy Joy Swope says:

    Hey Travis! My husband and I often carry on a discussion about “shoes” as well.
    Our comment always ends up something like this, “If men had to actually WEAR those shoes that they, as designers, make for women to wear, the style of shoes would definitely change! The person who designed those 5″-6” heels never had to try to walk in them! So, sounds like life continues to be great for you and Heather.
    What is Heather doing? Is she teaching as well? You haven’t mentioned what she does while you are at school teaching! Anyway, hope that you have a wonderful holiday season – your first as a married couple! Any Sherry’s coming to visit over the Christmas vacation????? Miss you & glad that you’re doing well! I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog! Love, Miss Nix

    • tigersensei says:

      Miss Nix- I completely agree with your comment on heels, and that no man (aside from a few with certain lifestyles) would ever wear them. However, I consistently tell Heather that I prefer her in flats, since with heels she is taller than me, yet she always insists on wearing the heels. So maybe the fault can be found on both sides? Either way, I don’t understand heels in the least, the appeal or how anyone can survive in them.

      Heather is teaching English at a language school here at nights and on Saturdays. Her clients range from young kids to adults, so she teaches a variety of ages and ability levels. She loves the job but doesn’t love the hours, so we are looking for something where she is on a more traditional work schedule.

      Miss you too…Have a great holiday!

      • Peggy Joy Swope says:

        Lee Cliff is back with the Phillies! He chose to be with the Phillies because of the great organization and the comraderie in the club house rather than go with the Yankees for more money. Wow! An athlete with integrity! Pitchers and catchers in just a few more months – Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and now Lee! World Series here we come! Seven more school days until winter break! I can’t wait – time to sleep a little later, spend time with my family and friends and time to get a few chores done around the house. Life is good! I hope that you and Heather have a wonderful “First Christmas Together”
        (as husband and wife)! Enjoy because once the babies start coming, it’s a whole new ball game. Eric & Erin Ranieri just had a boy (Tyson Patrick Ranieri) on Sunday and there are two more female teachers who are pregnant! I’m staying away from the water at MHS – don’t want to take any chances to be the next one! LOL! Miss you lots!

        Smiles,
        Miss Nix

  3. Irv Salos says:

    I really like those Kissmark’s.

    How well do you handle all that tatami flooring over there?

    • tigersensei says:

      The tatami is much better now that I have an actual bed and don’t have to sleep on it. That was a rough go of it for a week or so. The tatami also stays relatively clean and I was lucky enough to come in to an apartment that just had new tatami installed, so once I got used to the overpowering smell, I was happy about it since there was no mold anywhere.

      Yeah, the Kissmarks are awesome!

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