Puzzle Pieces #1

Boz and I were chatting Monday morning and I asked if he got a lot of questions about Japan while we were in Ohio. He claims he did not...which I find odd because everyone asked me for details about Japan. Then again, perhaps it's not odd as Boz likely never actually heard my question because he was watching the Master's while we were having this discussion.

(The man can take pictures of me posing with geese at Town Lake...while he monitors Pancho's off-leash shenanigans...while running an international conference call for work...and yet he cannot process a single question while watching golf. I have tried to understand this phenomenon but I suffer from golf-induced narcolepsy, so I never get very far.)

I think it's safe to say that neither of us did a great job of answering Japan-related questions while we were stateside (we were distracted by other events...our wedding and whatnot). Also, while my long, picture-filled, posts about our weekend adventures paint a fun overview of specific events, they don't address the day-to-day differences between life in the U.S. and life in Japan. I considered starting a twitter feed as a way to post quick interesting facts throughout the week, but I would rather post everything on the Veggie site than have multiple feeds. So...I'm going to start regularly posting very short blurbs called "Puzzle Pieces" that will address the eclectic mix of questions people toss our way. Each little post will address a piece of the fascinating puzzle that is Japanese culture.

Also, our visitor schedule is quickly filling, so we're receiving emails from friends asking about the weather, the food, tips on packing clothing, etc. Hopefully Puzzle Pieces will be both entertaining AND informative for the friends and family who are heading over here in the coming months.

Alright...without further ado...here's Puzzle Piece #1.

There is only one footwear option for women in Tokyo...the stiletto. If you're planning to visit, don't worry!...both pumps AND boots are completely acceptable (assuming the heel is at least 3 inches, of course). I sense that this news will instigate a few follow-up questions, so I will try to anticipate them:

Question 1: Are stilettos part of the daytime uniform or does this just apply to evening outfits?
Answer: This is Tokyo. There is no distinction between day and night. Dress to the nines at all times and you'll be good to go.

Question 2: I am going hiking. Is it ok to wear something other than stilettos?
Answer: Technically, no. But the guidelines can be loosened a bit just for outdoor activities. Consider something like this:

Question 3: What if I don't have a car? Do I have to wear stilettos if I'm taking the subway and walking around town?
Answer: The point of stilettos is to show them off. The more walking you need to do, the more important it is for your heels to be ridiculous. Also, if you find yourself running late in the subway station, feel free to run. If you have lived in Tokyo for any significant length of time, you should be able to run at a reasonable speed, in heels of varying heights, for at least 400 meters. (And let's face it,  if you are new to town, you will probably walk...or teeter...too slowly to make most of your trains. Tough sh*t. Don't even think about changing your shoes.)

Question 4: Can I wear stilettos of any color or do they have to be black?
Answer: This isn't the circus. They should be black. (disclaimer: This post does not apply to the entire neighborhood of Harajaku and 3/4 of Shibuya. I'll teach you about those 2 'hoods another time. If you head over there before I can properly train you, wear something that you think might be illegal in the States and you'll fit in just fine.)

Question 5: How many pairs do I need?
Answer: You can never have enough (because you need them in all varieties: peep toe, closed toe, boot, bootie..you get the point. I mean, it's the only thing you're allowed to wear...you'll need a bunch.) Fortunately, there are stilettos for sale everywhere. That being said, Tokyo doesn't pride itself on being affordable, so most of these shoe shops are quite high-end. There are reasonably priced stilettos available somewhere...surely...but they are elusive.

Internationally relevant Question 6: How am I supposed to afford all these shoes?
Answer: Get a joint credit card with your husband, space out your purchases, and try to target stores that have men's departments so that you can buy him something at the same time (thereby disguising the exact price of your shoes).

So now you're up-to-speed on the shoe situation over here. Every time I see my Japanese friends, they are in stilettos. We'll go to a 3 hour, standing room only, cooking class, and they'll wear stilettos. Fortunately, I am a high heel addict so this isn't much of a stretch for me, but it very well may kill Boz. He naturally walks everywhere very quickly...whereas I could normally be outpaced by an obese snail. The stiletto staple has widened this already great divide. Boz has resorted to occasionally pleading with me to wear sensible footwear. I am confident that I am the only woman in the world whose husband begs her to not wear stilettos.  It's going to be my claim to fame.

ps. Upon its initial publication, B had feedback for me regarding this post. He wishes to clarify that stilettos are more 'girlfriend attire,' and that married couples should be primarily interested in getting efficiently from Point A to Point B. Unless Point B is the bedroom, in which case I should feel free to totter on over there in some 5-inch heels.

Okay then.