How to order shoes and attack a tree

As I once blogged, I’d like to think I have a decent groin. And if you believe the popular mythology, that may be why I have decent-sized feet.

The emphasis here, however, is on decent.

I do not have the Taj Mahal of groins. Nor will my feet ever be mistaken for Andre the Giant’s, clocking in as they do at a fairly average 10 1/2 American size (or 27.5 in the random and devilish system they use here). That being said, shoes in my size tend to be found at only one place in Japan.

Fucking nowhere.

No matter what store I go to, shoe sizes always peter out at around 25, 26 if I’m lucky. It’s not as if I’m after some Ronald McDonaldian, flipper-like things — all I need is a normal goddamn pair of shoes. But nowhere are they to be found.

This, friends, is where Nissen comes in.

I friggin’ love Nissen. They are an online store that I use on a frequent basis to order clothes and, yes, shoes that someone was kind enough to design with the bodies of us foreign devils in mind. Nissen is also incredibly convenient, with pictures on their website of all of their merchandise, and a shipping system that allows you to choose the day and time of delivery. Most importantly, if your clothes arrive and you don’t like them or they don’t fit right, Nissen will pick them up free of charge — again, at a day and time of your choosing — and you will get a full refund. I haven’t had a single bad experience with Nissen, and would recommend that you give them a try. One drawback: their site is in only in Japanese. This isn’t much of a drawback if you can read Japanese, but may prove troublesome if you don’t.

Today, my exotically large 27.5-sized Nissen shoes arrived, and I love ‘em. There is, however, something I’ve always disliked about new shoes. Some things are cool when they’re new. New cars are cool. New gadgets are cool. New shoes, though … They just seem really dorky. As in, “Ah. Got some new shoes there, I see.” They drive me crazy. So naturally, an hour or so after my squeaky-clean shoes arrived, I decided I had to go out and fuck them up.

I guess on some level I knew what I was doing, but I went to the nearby park without really thinking about it. The place is dusty as hell; you spend any time at all there, your shoes, clothes — everything is going to come away dirtier.

I walked up to one of a cluster of trees. I didn’t have the right kind of music on my iPod, so I went with Helmet’s album “Betty,” which has lots of nice, hard grooves. And went into full-blown capoeira mode for the first time in easily 12 years.

shoesAnyone watching me must have thought I was a bit of a weirdo. Not only for suddenly breaking into capoeira in the middle of a park and attacking a tree, but because my capoeira has become rather strange, undeniably Angola in origin but quite fast, with elements of Regional mixed in with karate, muay thai and some weird spontaneous shit I couldn’t identify even if I tried.

Now, I can hardly claim to be in the best shape I’ve ever been, but I’m back on the workout routine and can do a solid hour of Billy’s Boot Camp without stopping to rest, using dumbbell weights instead of the wimpy Billy Bands. That being said, just over 30 minutes of high-paced, hybrid capoeira, kneeing and elbowing the hell out of a tree and spinning around on the ground kicking up gnarly park dirt left me practically doubled over and gasping for breath, my insides feeling like frigid metal.

I also noticed that this is what had become of my shoes.


Perhaps a tad more fucked-up than I was hoping for.

Incidentally, that Strong Zero chuhai you see there — Suntory’s answer to the success that Kirin has seen with their own Strong line of chuhai and happoshu — has quickly become a fave. I’ve put away an embarrassing number of these since first seeing them in the store last Friday.

p/s – These recent martial-arts themed posts aren’t some attempt at carving out a new identity as an Internet Tough Guy. I could care less about that kind of stuff.

p/p/s – Regarding the totally unnecessary groin-themed introductory paragraph, I just really like the word “groin.” Which would be why this vid continues to give me such joy.


8 Responses

  1. This is excellent timing, having just made the discovery that my last pair of “good” shoes are rapidly developing in-sole ventilation. I see we even share the same shoe size. Though having discretely poked around a little (I loathe shopping for shoes, clothes etc.) I see however 27.5 is the upper limit of locally available sizes – I just bought a pair of cheap baseball-type things from Muji, so you (or I) might get lucky in normal stores.

    The only “off-line” place for “outsize” shoes I know of is “Big B” ( ) next to Gotanda Station, though I have yet to get my posterior into gear as to visiting there.

    On the groin front, I recently ended up buying some of the local protective equipment and was astounded – yet secretly delighted – to find that it seems to be designed for people with size 25 at most, and that I will have to stick to import goods in the future.

  2. Haha, yeah, Penguin is on to something there.

    The “Japanese sized condoms” is a post of it’s own and I’ve been thinking about posting about that for a long time but I’ve been reluctant to go official discuss my penis size for the world to see…

  3. “These recent martial-arts themed posts aren’t some attempt at carving out a new identity as an Internet Tough Guy”

    I once posted a pic of my “Heavy Bag” and got accused of trying to be a “Net Thug” 😦

    I buy my sneaks..and condoms in Hawaii 🙂

  4. 1. Sell big shoes the the Japanese. If an co-worker of mine and those who view him as a trend-setter are any indication, more than a few Japanese men want to be like Western men, and will buy shoes that are clearly too long for their petite feet. If necessary, apply marketing themed with the whole “guys with big feet” thing.

    2. The subtlety of Sailor Joker dangling in the bottom left of your pic is not lost on me. Well, aren’t you cool in your defiance of what we posters say? You run a blog and don’t give a damn what the posters think? Who do you think you are, some kind of tough guy?

  5. >The subtlety of Sailor Joker dangling in the bottom left of your pic is not lost on me.

    LOL, was waiting for someone to pick up on that.

    >Who do you think you are, some kind of tough guy?

    What are you gonna do about it … asshole? 🙂

    (p/s – Readers, it’s an in-joke; Pete’s as big a fan of the Glengarry Glen Ross rants as I am.)

  6. Choosing a day and time for delivery seems to be pretty standard with online shops here. At least we’ve been able to do that with the few we’ve used so far.

    Pretty cool that they’ll let you return stuff for any reason though. Does the full refund include what you paid for shipping? Or only the cost of the product itself?

  7. @ Chris, LOL! “Net Thug”! That actually sounds kind of cool.
    @David, the refund is all inclusive.

  8. ha ha beautiful

    but there is indeed a BIG MAN`S SHOE SHOP just 15 minutes walk from Shinjuku`s kabukicho exit!! Ask around man…it is where the sumo guys buy their shoes. 😀

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