Things I don’t understand about Japan: The Obsession with Crocs

This is exactly what it looks like. A Disney-Themed Croc phone case.

This is exactly what it looks like. A Disney-Themed Croc phone case.

What is a Croc?

If you don’t already know, good for you.
If you do know, you’re probably thinking “Oh look, another Crocs hater writing a blog. How original.” But bear with me. I have a reason.

Crocs are light plastic slippers whose comfort is only rivaled by how ridiculous they look. People who don’t particularly care about how they look tend to wear crocs (case study: my father).

IMG_1994

Why I don’t understand the Japanese obsession with crocs:

If you are a married, middle aged man who works full time, cooks fantastic multi-course meals every night, and has raised three children… you aren’t expected to be fashionable (once again, case study: my father). You’ve reached a higher plane of existence – absolute comfort with who you are and an affinity for dorky, yet comfortable, clothes. That’s normal.

It stops being fashionable when you think about Japan – arguably one of the most fashionable countries in the world. Men and Women alike (regardless of age) are always impeccably dressed, while avoiding gaudy or inappropriate clothing. I’ve seen entire stores devoted to “Men’s casual shoes,” 200 US$ shoes that range from not-quite a sneaker to not-quite the leather shoes you wear with a suit.

And then there’s those awkward foreigners who come to Japan and wear crocs paired with somewhat “off” Japanese inspired fashion and loudly tour around the famous “nerdy” sightseeing spots in Japan, like the Mitaka Ghibli Museum (a museum entirely devoted to Studio Ghibli’s movies).

Like the person in the picture below.

Oh wait, nope, that’s just me.

I'm not proud of this phase of my life...

I’m not proud of this phase of my life… Even the Laputa robot was judging me

So why do they wear crocs?

No one wears flip flops – even in the summer. I was warned about that before I came to Japan. Instead, most men wear shorts with socks and “casual summer shoes,” most women wear high heels.

Or they wear crocs.

Why the two extremes?

Why I really DO kind of understand it:

Last summer I was teaching English and working as an intern/missionary at Asian Access in Sanda, a small town in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, about an hour outside of Osaka. My first day there,  I realized I had forgotten my Teva flip-flops at home, so I went to the huge mall nearby to but a new pair of cheap, flip flops. Except they didn’t have any.

They did, on the other hand, have an enormous wall of cheap, fake crocs. Everyone else was wearing them… so I just sucked it up, shelled out 10 US$, and bought them.

My feet have never felt so comfortable. It was amazing.

I almost felt bad about throwing them away when I got back to America. Almost.

To be fair, Crocs probably matched my awkward teenage fashion...

To be fair, Crocs probably matched my awkward teenage fashion…

Final thoughts.

Did you know that they have a whole “underground” market of “fake” crocs in Japan? Because apparently normal crocs cost around 40 US$. So I’m pretty sure last time I was in Japan I bought knock-off crocs. I’m not sure which is worse…

Did you know that they have crocs accessories? They have little characters on pegs that you can clip into the holes in your crocs to make them more fashionable.

Did you know that they have high-heel crocs? They are thinner than “traditional” crocs, come in all sorts of colors, and sport a nice 3 inch heel. And, for some reason, people actually buy them.

(Here’s a link to the US store, if you want to buy some high-heel crocs~)

Did you know that they have crocs accessories? Cell phone charms that are tiny crocs shoes, crocs phone cases, and so many other weird things?

IMG_6576

For other “Things I don’t Understand About Japan” posts, check out:

Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Melon Soda

Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Job Hunting Suits 

Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Lucky Bags (Fuku bukuro) 福袋

Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele

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6 responses to “Things I don’t understand about Japan: The Obsession with Crocs

  1. Pingback: Things I don’t Understand about Tokyo: Why do women wear high heels all the time? | Texan in Tokyo·

  2. Pingback: Things I don’t Understand about Japan: the Structure of College Classes | Texan in Tokyo·

  3. Pingback: Things I don’t understand about Japan: Why are there cats everywhere? | Texan in Tokyo·

  4. Pingback: Things I don’t understand about Japan: Job Hunting Suits | Texan in Tokyo·

  5. Pingback: Things I don’t Understand about Japan: Melon Soda | Texan in Tokyo·

  6. Pingback: Things I don’t understand about Japan: Fuku bukuro (Lucky Bags) [福袋] | Texan in Tokyo·

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