And some photos, too.
Crocs are not yet dead in Japan, at least not according to my informal survey of footwear on crowded trains. Why the sudden interest in what the Japanese are wearing on their feet, you ask? It’s born out of necessity.
If I’m lucky enough to get a standing spot in front of the seats on the Chou line, I can hoist my backpack up on the rack, then zone out and watch the Tokyo megalopolis whizzing by. At least until it makes me dizzy. Then I engage in some 漢字練習 (kanji practice) by attempting to read the ads posted in the trains. (I’m not a very good Japanese consumer yet.) Thankfully they are changed pretty regularly, so they always keep my mind working.
Anyway, back to the shoes, or more to the point, why I know that crocs are not dead. If I’m lucky enough to snag a seat on the commute, my eyes are immediately met with a wall of Japanese midriffs lined in front of me. And while said midriffs are some of the most nicely dressed midriffs I’ve encountered, it does make staring ahead slightly awkward, “Why hello there, handsome pair of freshly pressed pinstriped trousers! How are we on this hot Tokyo morning?” And since I seem incapable of napping on my commutes (which is probably best for everyone), I resort to doing what everyone else who is not playing with a smart phone or PSP does and look down. At shoes. Thousands and thousands of shoes I have seen. It would make an interesting book if I could get a camera into my glasses somehow. The shoes vary by train line and even by car. And I can always tell when we’ve reached Ochanomizu and Akihabara, by the number of men’s business shoes that enter and exit.
In my next life, I want to be a podiatrist in Tokyo. Judging by the shoes that the 20-something PYTs wear, they must make a fortune!
P.S. This week (week 4, if you’re not counting) I finally figured out the optimal cars to ride on the Chuo for both morning and afternoon commutes. This practically insures I won’t be stuck in the dreaded door zone, from which there is no escape unless you exit the train: unable to stow my backpack and afraid to set it down, because the doors on the other side will be opening momentarily and on-rushing and off-rushing will ensue; and unable to move into a better position because of the on-rushing and off-rushing. So, the optimal cars are? Shall I let you in on the secret?? The key is to get as far away from any platform egress points as possible while not selecting the ladies-only car (where it’s a sure bet that you’ll never get a seat). Most everyone in Tokyo is tired and/or in a hurry and so tends toward the quickest/easiest route, which translates to middle of the train. Of course, my brilliant solution does NOT apply on the Chuo line anytime after 19:00, when it’s just a crush of not-quite-sober businessmen on their way home.
P.P.S. I was thinking it would make an interesting photo essay on the view from each car on a certain train route, as I know from experience it differs quite dramatically from car 1 to car 10. Time to work on my photography skills.