Geta 下駄 are those Japanese raised-platform sandals. They are wood platforms on top of wood blocks. Nowadays, you usually only see them being worn by geisha in the Gion area, but in the past they were common for everyone.
I don’t know much about their origin, but I have always assumed that they were invented to keep feet off mud and snow. In a culture where people value cleanliness and take their sandals off at the doorway, it makes sense to wear something that keeps your feet clean and dry.
I have taken to wearing zori 草履, or straw sandals, everywhere in Japan. But Andy-sensei gave me geta months ago for some torturous Kenshusei adventure he was planning that never materialised. So I had never worn them, and I was just waiting for a day with snow and slow to slip them on and keep my feet high and dry.
We finally got it yesterday. As you can see from the hourly weather history at the bottom of this page, it was pretty much snow all day. Here’s what my bus stop at Imadegawa-Omiya looked like…
There’s no way I could make it to work with dry feet in this weather, so I broke out the geta!
They’re a lot more comfortable than they look. The problem is that they started to disintegrate after walking more than just a few blocks. The blocks got wet from the slush and then started splintering from rubbing on the sidewalk. I haven’t figured out if they are cheap or if I am doing something wrong. Luckily they were free!