Monthly Archives: May 2011

Experiences Photography

More views of the Tokyo Sky Tree

I’d previously posted pictures I took of the Tokyo Sky Tree almost a year ago, but I’ve just uploaded new pictures that I took on Wednesday to my gallery page.

Not only has the Sky Tree reached its final height, but the pictures are of slightly better quality this time as well. ūüėõ

I’ll do a further write up of Wednesday a little later, but for now I just wanted to get those up first.

Experiences

Gorilla toe shoes (aka Vibram FiveFingers)

I’ve always been fond of five-toe socks, and have been wearing them pretty much ever since I came to Japan. ¬†I find that they’re comfortable and help keep my feet dry and warm. ¬†Actually, I don’t like wearing “normal” socks anymore because they make my feet feel sweaty!

Early last year, I learned about a new kind of “shoe” produced by Vibram – a funky type of footwear named “Vibram FiveFingers” (I still don’t get where the “Fingers” come from, I’d think “FiveToes” would be a more accurate naming convention). ¬†For one reason or another, I never got them last year, but last week I finally broke down and purchased a pair of “Bikila” FiveFinger shoes. ¬†Today, I finally put them on and wore them throughout the day.

My experience in them so far has consisted of jogging from my apartment to my station (about 5 minutes), jogging from the Takadanobaba station to the park where I do taichi (another 5 minutes), and normal walking for an entire day. ¬†Despite this relatively minor exertion, I’m definitely feeling a little footsore tonight.

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I’ve got some pain from chafing on the back of my left heel. ¬†This started after the first 5 minute jog, but luckily I had thought to bring along some band-aids and socks, both of which helped tremendously. ¬†Most of the soreness though, I attribute to the adjustment of walking all day virtually barefoot. ¬†It was rather interesting to note how walking/jogging in these shoes really forced me to modify the way I walk. ¬†When I started my first jog to the station, I initially ran the way I usually would when wearing regular shoes. ¬†However, after about a minute or two, I noticed my feet automatically compensating for the loss in padding around the heel area (which is the normal design of typical running shoes) and I started gradually striking more with the ball of my foot. ¬†This felt good, but after a couple of minutes, I was already feeling the strain around my forefoot and ankle area. ¬†Luckily, the jog session was very brief; I can tell that I’m going to have to carefully ease into using these shoes.

I definitely really liked doing taichi in the FiveFingers though. ¬†I freaked out my teacher a little with my “Gorilla toe shoes”, but nevertheless I felt that the FF’s gave me a greater sense of stability as I could feel the ground under me and grip appropriately. ¬†I will absolutely keep on using the FF’s for taichi.

As for running in FF’s, I think I’m going to hold off on that for a little while until I’ve really gotten used to them. ¬†I believe it would be all too easy for me to strain my ankles and calves if I push too hard while my feet are not used to this new footwear. ¬†So, I’m just going to start off by walking around with them as much as possible.

Surprisingly, despite my feeling extremely self conscious when I went out, I don’t think many people noticed what I was wearing! ¬†In fact, the only odd looks I got today came from a cute little toddler on the train. ¬†I could see her staring at my feet and could almost see the question marks floating around her head (just WHAT is this guy wearing???). ūüėõ

Overall, I enjoyed wearing these new shoes. ¬†I’ll keep on using them for taichi, and eventually will give extended jogging a go in them as well once I’ve given my feet a chance to adjust.

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