Tag Archives: Kichijoji

Happiness Resule

Lesson learned: One should never buy second-hand shoes. About a month ago I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon cycling to and around Kichijoji looking to buy some sneakers. The location was originally chosen because there was an Oshman’s next to the station, which I knew carried some items of interest. Instead, I got lost on the way – what a fucking surprise – and ended up going to a nearby Mode Off. Those who have read previous entries about Book Off should be able to sense a pattern here.

I think often of these lines, both when I am glad. I think of them when I am sad, because their rhythm teaches me that the timeless.

Besides enjoying some of the best Engrish pieces in a while, I also managed to find second-hand basketball shoes that a) fit me like a… glove? and b) only cost ¥1500. In retrospect, the price alone should have risen some suspicions on my part, but I was too naive and desperate to think clearly: my sports shoe dilemma had finally been solved and for only a fraction of the expected price. Turned out later that the problem persisted, and as an additional lesson I learned that second-hand shoes vendors are about as dangerous as second-hand car salesmen, though to a lesser financial degree.

I went on a trial run the very same evening to test how the shoes felt and how my right knee responded to strain. I got as far as a kilometer from the apartment before the increasing pain in my knee forced me to withdraw. During the depressing walk home, I realized that the feeling I was experiencing did not quite adhere to the image I had about what walking should normally feel like. It literally felt like bits of me were falling off with each step, which was partly true. The shoes, while having shown no issues when tested in the store or for the first kilometer of running, had begun disintegrating rapidly. I made a damage assessment at home and could hardly contain my disappointment when the results of my small excursion clearly indicated both that running is still a no-go and that I payed ¥1500 for the privilege of throwing a pair of old Nikes in the trash, the collection times of which are abhorrent. The previous sentence makes perfect sense. Read it again.

"What you've done is a perfect example of shoe... FRAUD?"

Two weeks after the incident I returned to Kichijoji, walked straight into Oshman’s and bought the Vibram FiveFingers I had been aching to try ever since a friend at Gaidai had run the Nara Daibutsu Marathon with that specific type of shoe. I was also projecting unrealistic expectations towards the FiveFingers putting less stress on my knee since they require a different, more natural (?) running technique.

Promotional picture. Luckily the colors are very neutral and fit_any_kind of clothing.

Until today I had only used them for walking and cycling. In these two areas, they definitely get the job done. Also people tend to stare at my feet now, which is an upgrade (or actually downgrade) from them staring at my face all day long. This morning marked the moment when I finally gathered my courage and embarked on a new test run. It ended up putting some extra effort on my leg muscles not only because I hadn’t run in four months but also because it’s not really possible to step heel first when wearing these things due to a lack of cushioning. However, I did survive the ordeal and rewarded myself with a nice bowl of tonkotsu ramen afterwards. Compared to the rubbish from Mode Off, I’ve been really satisfied with these shoes, for now. The only thing I’m concerned with is their lifespan. When used almost daily, I wonder how long these expensive footgloves can actually last.