Sounds of the real Japan: Geta
Geta are traditional Japanese clogs, but more like wooden flip-flops than an enclosed shoe. They are distinctive for being mounted of two blocks of wood, fore and aft, which in turn give geta their distinctive clip-clopping (in Japanese karan-koron) sound when being walked in.
My first three years in Japan were spent deep in the Japanese countryside in the late 1980s. Geta took my fancy immediately upon seeing them, and I bought a pair. However, a teacher at the junior high school I taught at - in a word, my Japanese 'mother' - took one look at them parked in my genkan (entranceway) on her subsequent visit to my place and told me most gently that if I were to actually wear them 'people will think you are a foolish fellow'!
Regretfully, therefore, I let them sit in the genkan, and eventually during one of my moves must have got rid of them. Now a lot older, and clearly no wiser, I indeed regret having let them go. The streets of Tokyo would, I'm sure, delight in drily echoing my foolishness.
Click below for one of Japan's most nostalgic sounds, the sound of geta, which you can buy here on GoodsFromJapan.
November 25, 2006.