Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Man With the High-Heel Shoes

I was leaving the checkout area when I saw him, the man in the red tracksuit, grey socks, and high heel shoes. Black ones, chunky heel, heel-less peep-toed.God knows what I would have thought of him if I had seen him in New Zealand, but this is Japan, and I just assumed that he had rushed out of the house and grabbed the first shoes in the genkan, which just happened to be his wife's.

The genkan is an area just inside the front door, before the step up to the inside of the house. It's where everyone leaves their shoes. Ideally, there shoes will be stored in a nearby cabinet or at least neatly lined up, facing out ready to slip straight into. There should also be some all-pupose geta (wooden Japanese clogs) or outside slippers ready to slip into for quick trips out, like when you go out to get something in from the car. Or when you go out in the car to the convenience store, or the supermarket...

In reality it's often a bit more of a mess. In reality those all-purpose slip-ons aren't always there, and people often tend to slip into whatever looks most convenient. I will slip into Kanji's sneakers rather than mine, because they are bigger, so they are easier to slip on and off. At Kanji's parents you might find me teetering on Baachan's old shoes on days when I wore my boots to work and can't be bothered pulling them on and zipping them up for just a short trip to the Stand.

And obviously the cross-dresser at the supermarket was just some guy wearing his pyjamas who had whipped out to grab something and rushed out the door, using the most convenient shoes his feet found on the way. No doubt he had worn them numerous times to get the mail, answer the door, go to the car, etc, and didn't think twice before he slipped them on.

Or maybe he was just a weirdo

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