SEP
2009
18

Laced shoes and Japan = “Dame yo”

Manolo says, the Manolo has received the note from one of his readers, offering guidance on the topic of shoes suitable for wearing in Japan.

Manolo:

The shoes that you recommended today for an upcoming Japan trip are very cute, but very impractical for the Western traveler to Japan. It’s very typical to take off one’s shoes when entering museums, temples, restaurants, workplaces, and some kinds of lodging. A tourist could easily have to take off and put shoes back on a dozen times in a day. Do you really want to have unlace and relace every time? “Ie” (no). So shoes without laces are the way to go on any trip to Japan (and true for most Asian countries where shoe removal is quite common.) And make sure your socks don’t have holes or that your toes look cute.

BTW, of course, Japanese people wear shoes with laces, but the backs are often broken down because they try to avoid lacing by stuffing their feet into the shoes as if they were slip-ons. And “dame yo” roughly means “not good”, “don’t do it”, etc.

Jennifer

Arrigato, Jennifer-san, for your most helpful comments.

Here, then, is the more appropriate shoe, the Cole Haan Air Harmony short black bootie, something comfortable, stylish, and able to be worn with both pants and skirts.

Cole Haan Air Harmony Short Boot   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Also, the Manolo’s internet friend Bob sends us the link to the very amusing Tokyo Street Style Blog.

SEP
2009
18

Manolo the Columnist: Onitsuka Tiger by Asics

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

In October I’m going on a three-week business trip to Japan. I’ve never been to Japan and so I have no idea what to wear when I’m not dressed in my business finery. What do you suggest?

Linda

Manolo says, sadly the Manolo has never been to Japan, Mysterious Land of the East, where peoples eat the raw fish and dress like Hello Kitty Lolita Samurai Warriors. Or perhaps like the Sailor Moon Gothic Rockabilly Shoguns. The Manolo cannot say for sure.

The problem is, that the most popular Japanophile websites and magazines prefer to highlight unusual youth subcultures at the expense of the more mundane. And thus even though we who have never visited Japan can easily distinguish between six types of Japanese Lolitas (Classic Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Princess Lolita, Punk Lolita, Sweet Lolita, and Grotesque Lolita) we cannot tell you what ordinary people are wearing on their days off.

Thus the Manolo’s primary rule for travel remains operative: that when travelling abroad one should not substantially change one’s usual mode of dress. Do not attempt to “go native”. Instead, you must do as the Victorian ladies and gentlemen did when making the Grand Tour, and maintain your own native costume even in the most unlikely of situations.

Here is the Onitsuka Tiger by Asics in the colors blue and mandarin. Who knows if the Japanese actually wear these? Who cares? They are super kawaii!

Onitsuka Tigers by Ascis   Manolo Likes!  Click!