Let me make something clear first – I am a size 7 in Australia. That is the smack-bang-in-the-middle-average size there. I do not have a huge size in feet!
I was really looking forward to shoe shopping in Japan, especially after what I saw on offer in the FRUiTS magazines that I love. I already knew that Japanese shoe sizes tended to be small, but I was still pretty sure that I’d fit in the range.
But no, it couldn’t ever be that easy in Japan.
First of all, shoe sizes are (usually) measured in centimetres. That’s not so bad, it’s logical and I could measure myself easily to find out what size I was. Note, however, how I said ‘usually’. Actually, ‘usually’ should be replaced with ‘occassionally’…
In my shoe shopping adventures in Harajuku and Shibuya, I found that shoes weren’t generally marked with 21, 22.5, 23, etc. but rather S, M or L.
Small, medium and large shoe sizes?
After a bit of experimenting, I figured out that L was equivalent to 24cm. Generally, the store staff can help you if you say what your size in centimetres is. But really – Small, Medium and Large? Is there a Medium-and-a-Half size? What happens if you’re 23.5cm?
Not that that was an issue for me, giant gaijin that I am, with a whopping 25cm foot! Oh no, not even a ‘large’ could fit a freak of nature like me!
When you see the damn cool, sexy and sometimes so-weird-that-I-must-own-them shoes on offer in Tokyo, being 1cm too large is enough to break a person.
Wandering around Harajuku a bit more, I noticed that some stores sold “extra large” sizes. The range wasn’t very good though, and many were imports from Europe anyway, not the kooky Japanese fashions that I wanted.
Eventually, I stumbled upon a shop that sold a depressingly-named “Queen Size” range of shoes…
Bite me, Japan! You’re the freaks of nature, not me! What the hell kinda sizing system is S, M, L anyway? Oh, LL! How very generous of you! There’s billions of people in the world with my size in feet, how bout catering for th…..oooh, those are cute! Furry!
Nyaa! They curl up at the toes!
Ha! They fit! Muahahahahaaaaa, they are mine! Mine!
*ahem* anou…kore o kudasai.
Okay Japan, I forgive you this time. But I do not want to resort to buying men’s shoes in the future, got it?