A spec commercial from YouTube.com apparently parodying the Nike, “Just Do It!” commercials.
Tengu geta enthusiast Marc recently sent email to us.
“Hello there. I sent you a mail last year about standing on Tengu Geta (link). Since then I
have moved to Japan and married.
Last month I climbed up Shichimenzan Mountain in Minobu and was suprised to find a shrine for Tengu at the first stop. I just had to get a shot of the monster geta they had on display as they blew me away. This is the biggest set of Tengu I have seen.
Please enjoy the photo and feel free to post it on your site if you want to.”
I wrote back and asked if he wore tengu geta for the climb and he replied, “Must admit that I did not climb in tengu but I am considering it for next year. The only issue is we climb in a group of 20 and if I break my ankle then I put a burden on the rest of the group, besides I left my tengu in London :(”
A few articles ago, I reviewed a pair of woman’s Chinese Manchu-era pedestal shoes. The site they were purchased from, stylishcn.com, also has men’s Chinese opera boots. The boots are about as colorful and fancy as the gaudiest American cowboy boots, were relatively inexpensive, and look great on the shelf next to the red Manchu shoes. Once again, these are not Japanese.
These boots are worn by male actors playing male roles in Chinese opera productions. The higher the rank of the part being portrayed, the higher the platform soles and the fancier the stitching. Stylishcn.com has them in red, yellow, and black. The yellow was so striking that for once I passed on red.
The soles are white painted wood with leather on the bottoms, about 6.5 cm (2 1/2 inches) thick, and surprising light-weight. The boot tops are about 38 cm (15 inches) high, and like geta, there is no left-right — either boot fits either foot. They’re comfortable, easy to walk on, and feel very stable in spite of their somewhat narrow, 7 cm (2 3/4 inches), bottoms.
So, if you ever have a yen (or maybe a yuan) to sing opera in Peking, you now know what shoes to wear.
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Many Japanese language internet searches for geta and other products return results from Rakuten.co.jp. Similar to Yahoo! Shopping, Rakuten provides a consolidated search and shopping cart service for their many merchants. Until recently, the entire site was in Japanese with no provisions for international shipping — at least not to my feeble Japanese language ability.
Recently, a search led me to a somewhat obscure landing page on their site — http://event.rakuten.co.jp/borderless/index_en.html. This page provides a translated search of merchandise from their merchants who will ship internationally.
Unfortunately, most of the ordering pages are still Japanese, with English guide pages giving instructions for filling out the various forms, also nearly all the Rakuten email was in Japanese and the email from the shop, Kimono-Kyoukomachi, was 100% Japanese. Needless to say, I put the order on a credit card that past experience has shown to have good problem support.
I searched “tengu geta” and was surprised to see this update of the traditional style. They’re available in 2 different colors of hanao — blue or gold on a light background, and with either a black or red tooth. I got the gold with (of course) the red tooth. Unfortunately, the only size is 24.2 cm — a bit small for many.
It took them about a week to quote the shipping and get the package underway. They sent it via DHL and it arrived in 3 days. Although DHL is no longer operating as a domestic shipper in the United States, they still have the infrastructure to deliver incoming international shipments.
The geta are smoothly finished, lightweight, and have rubber ends on the tooth and also rubber toe bumpers. The straps are very soft and thick giving a lot of latitude in fitting big and small feet. The finish seems very thick so any joins of separate wood pieces can’t be seen or felt — they could be a single piece of carved wood, or as many as 4 glued together parts. I’m not curious enough to scratch that nice finish just to find out.
The dimensions are 24.5 cm long x 10 cm wide x 10.5 cm high, and the tooth is 3 cm thick. In inches they’re 9 5/8 long x 4 wide x 4 1/8 high and 1 1/4 tooth thickness.
Being nearly 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) lower than my traditional tengu geta, they feel a bit more secure, but the slightly thinner tooth and looser strap make them just as hard to stand still upon.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a pair of one-tooth geta, but haven’t gotten them because you think unfinished paulownia is a bit “rough” looking, you’re going to have to think up another excuse now.