Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hita, land of clogs 日田、下駄の国

This weekend we drove up to Hita in Oita prefecture (70 km north of Kumamoto City) with two purposes in mind. The first was to stroll down Hita’s scenic old streets and the second was to find clogs. Hita produces more wooden clogs or geta than any other place in Japan, and I’m very particular when it comes to certain things. Thus, it seemed that to find a clog that I’d be happy with, a trip to Hita would be necessary. (Eden also wanted to pick up a pair of geta, but going to the source to find them wasn’t really necessary in her case.)

Hita market 日田市場

North of Hita station is an area called "Mameda" 豆田. It has been kept quite traditional with a number of nice, well-worn, old buildings. Having visited Uchiko内子, in Shikoku the week before, Hita seemed a little less special, but it does have the finest old street I have found in Kyushu. (Yanagawa 柳川and its canals are just as pleasant, but there are fewer old buildings.)

On my search for the ideal geta I found a few interesting pair. One was a duel support stilt geta which would make me about five inches taller. Another was a single support stilt geta which would prove rather difficult to walk in. The third interesting pair had a very round arch, almost semicircular. At last, I did find a pair which appealed to me, (dark wood, wide, rectangular, dark strap and with a short, dual support so that the clog rocks when you walk) only to find out that they were just too small. Eden, who is less particular than me when it comes to geta was able to find a lovely pair for only 1100 yen, about $13 CND.

Currently listening to: Pearl Jam - Ten
Eden is reading: Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
Josh is reading: The Hanging Garden - Ian Rankin


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