Dec 3, 2017
Living in snow country, I should have realized how much I would need waterproof boots. For whatever reason, I moved here and discovered that I had nothing but dress shoes and Pumas. So I went to my nearest general store to find some new boots that would help me get through the season.
Sure enough, I was in luck. Since we just had the first snow of the year this past week, there were plenty of snow boots and galoshes littering the aisles. But now came the tricky part: finding a boot that would actually fit my feet.
My wife was sure that I would not be able to find boots that would fit. I wear size 11.5-12 men's in US sizes, and for the most part, it can be difficult for me to find shoes in Japan that don't crunch my toes a bit, especially out in the countryside. When I first started perusing the boots, I was a bit worried that the store was going to prove my wife right, especially when they only had letters to correspond to the shoe sizes instead of measurements.
S...okay, small. But how small?
M...medium. Makes sense.
L...Large, still tracking.
Don't get me wrong, I understand where they are going with it--LL instead of XL. Fair enough. So I tried it on. No good--toes compacted. I went to the next style of boot. LL was the largest size. Then the next style--same result.
Then the panic set in: am I destined to bind my feet all winter? Do I have to go home and tell my wife that she was right...again?
As my heart raced, I started tossing boots throughout the aisle. Please tell me there is a Largely Largely Large size...I thought.
And then I saw it. My salvation: the LLLs (as well as a handy size chart). Only three of about 15 different options of the boots in the store offered the LLL size. For your sake (if you ever need to go buy boots or other footwear at a general store), here is the sizing:
S = 24 cm
M = 25 cm
L = 26 cm
LL = 27 cm
LLL = 28 cm
LLLL = Better order online
So sure, I only had three choices of style, but when you see what I selected, you'll realize they were the only choice:
"Outdoor Boots RELIABLE."
Look, I know they are not the most stylish boots out there, but how could I pass up a boot that is so honest with itself?
The company that made the boots could have said literally anything on there to spice up the boots: "Outdoor Boots AWESOME." "Outdoor Boots INCREDIBLE." "Outdoor Boots BEST FOOTWEAR YOU'LL EVER OWN." Nope. These boots weren't pretentious--simply proud of the fact that they will be reliable, and they were happy to advertise it in English for me.
If only all apparel and footwear were labeled that honestly for me, life would be so much easier. "Cargo Pants FUNCTIONAL." "Glen Check Suit STYLISH." "White Sweatpants WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).