All she said was, “I want to diminish this rule that women have to wear high-heel shoes or pumps at work. When I was a student, I worked at one hotel for 1 month wearing pumps and it was not sustainable. Why women have to suffer from foot and legs to be hurt when working while men can wear flat shoes, I wonder?”
Yumi Ishikawa tweeted the above in January in 2019, and her tweet was re-tweeted almost 65,000 times since then. She started to collect petitions and I heard that 30,000+ were collected. I assume she didn’t mean to start this giant feminism movement, but all she wanted to do is to remove this social pressure of “women are supposed to look like women,” starting with the form of shoes.
I have a privilege to work at the company in the U.S. where I can wear anything (almost) I want to. I only have 2 pairs of high-heel shoes in my wardrobe and I wear sneakers and flats at work everyday , so I hadn’t thought (or forgotten, rather) about the culture of femininity of Japanese society. Knee-high skirts and high-heels…the most uncomfortable attire to work, especially when you are on foot all day. And mind you, they also have a long commute on the train and/or the bus, standing.
I don’t oppose to people, man or women who want to wear high-heel shoes. I am not stopping them at all, and neither is Yumi. What I want for all of us, I mean ALL of us, is to have liberty of choice. What to wear, how to act, what to eat, and how to speak.
I grew up in a household that my father would say something like, “You should act like a woman.” I always wonder that the fuck that means.
I called our dog sitter today and she told me she was going to take care of my overweight Chihuahua. Right after getting off from the phone with her, a flush of excitement went through my body. It was quite strong.
I am leaving for Kyoto exactly in three weeks. My parents and my brother’s family still live in Tokyo and I am not telling them that I am coming to visit Japan. This is a huge deal. Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting my family every time I go back. I have to admit however, I don’t feel like I “travel” when I visit my family. I enjoy the food, hanging out and catching up with them but it is visiting my family, not a travel experience.
Kyoto’s history starts in year of 794 when Emperor Komu stated Kyoto as the capitol city. It is 1200 years old and there are over 3,000 temples in the city. Millions of old buildings are still intact. Not like in Seattle (ugh! Ugly new developments!), they don’t demolish old architecture. During World War II, the Allies actually did not bomb Kyoto because of the conscious choice not to destroy tons of historical sites. In a way, it is like Paris. Kyoto tries very hard to preserve the way of living and Japanese historic culture. It does not mean they are not open minded. It just means they embrace and respect its history.
My grandma was born in 1906 who passed away in 2004. She had been through a lot. She was a strict Asian grandma yes. I remember she never wanted to do things in a convenient way. For example, she taught me how to make bonito/kelp stock (dashi) from scratch instead of buying ready-made packets at the store. She showed me how to filet a fish yourself instead of buying fileted fish. Those thing take time. To me, people in Kyoto in general seem that they choose traditions over convenience.
I am beyond excited. I have my passport, Green Card and the bestest travel companion that I can ever ask for. I am all set.
What would you like to do if you have a chance to visit to Kyoto?
Every year I experience this bitter sweet feeling. I grew up in Tokyo, Japan. I had been waiting for getting out of that country since I was five even though I am very proud Japanese. I felt like I was living inside of small box and there was no way to go and I was dying to search for my independence and freedom. Now, I love Seattle. This beautiful city has been treating me so wonderfully and it has been delighted to be here.
It is spring and cherry blossom (sakura) season. I think sakura is very special to majority of Japanese people and the most admired flower/tree in Japan. I see gorgeous sakura trees in Seattle as well. Every time I see it, my heart aches. I feel slightly homesick. It is interesting indeed to feel that way because I always tried to be away from Japan.
When I retire, I want to go visit Japan every spring to see these sakura trees. Then I die, I want my ashes to be spread underneath of my favorite cherry tree. It would be nice if the tree is one of these in the photo (this is very near to where I used to live).