Japan Images: Asakusa Geta
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
I spotted these two girls wearing two styles of Geta – apparently the tall ones are for wearing in snow or rain to keep whatever you are wearing from dragging on the ground – clever!
More about Geta from Wikipedia:
Geta (木屐/下駄) are a form of traditional Japanese footwear that resemble both clogs and flip-flops. They are a kind of sandal with an elevated wooden base held onto the foot with a fabric thong to keep the foot well above the ground. They are worn with traditional Japanese clothing such as kimono or yukata, but (in Japan) also with Western clothing during the summer months.
Sometimes geta are worn in rain or snow to keep the feet dry, due to their extra height and impermeability compared to other footwear such as zōri. They make a smilar noise to Flip-flops slapping against the heel whilst walking, but the disadvantage of flip-flops when worn on wet or dirt is that they will flip the dirt or water up the back of the legs. This does not tend to happen with the heavier Japanese Geta.
There are several different styles of geta. The most familiar style in the West consists of an unfinished wooden board called a dai (台, stand) that the foot is set upon, with a cloth thong (鼻緒, hanao) that passes between the big toe and second toe. As geta are usually worn only with yukata or other informal Japanese clothes or Western clothes, there is no need to wear socks. Ordinary people wear at least slightly more formal zōri when wearing special toe socks called tabi. Apprentice geisha, also called “maiko”, wear their special geta (see below) with tabi to accommodate the hanao.
The two supporting pieces below the base board, called teeth (歯 ha), are also made of wood, usually very light-weight kiri (桐, paulownia) and make a distinctive “clacking” sound while walking: カランコロン or karankoron. This is sometimes mentioned as one of the sounds that older Japanese miss most in modern life.
A traditional saying in Japanese translates as “You don’t know until you have worn geta.” This means roughly, “you can’t tell the results until the game is over.” Long before the 1970s and before platform shoes, Japanese women wore Geta sandals or clogs.
The reason for wearing these very high platform shoes were not for fashion, but for very practical reasons. If you are wearing a very expensive kimono that hangs all the way to your feet, you do not want to get mud on it when you walk outside. Geta are made of one piece of solid wood forming the sole and two wooden blocks underneath. These blocks may have a metal plate on the section that touches the ground in order to lengthen the life span of the Geta. A V-shaped thong of cloth forms the upper part of the sandal.