Slowly but surely it is getting cooler in Kyoto. We still have daily highs in the mid-twenty degrees, and I have seen that our lowest night temperatures are still higher than the day’s highs in Austria. Still, this will not last for much longer, and I am sure I have mentioned before that this very beautiful and old Japanese house does not have central heating…

Unfortunately, in complete ignorance of Japanese hiring procedures I have not brought anything warm to wear. I had expected to have received both a job and my belongings by now – including lots of money and all my winter sweaters. Neither has materialized yet, so I need to change my plans, at least regarding warm clothes; hence: I went shopping today.

The object of today’s desire after a rather cool morning: socks. Preferably long and thick and warm. I found a lovely little shop on Teramachi selling underwear and socks, and behold the result of my shopping spree: three pairs of wonderful socks in various lengths and materials.

three pairs of winter socksThe shop had plenty of socks, not only is it the time for it, but Asians are generally fond of nice footwear, mainly because you have to take off your shoes in so many places, private and public, and it’s always a good idea to show decent socks. I had the choice between socks with faces of cats and anime characters, socks with frilly lace and made of fleece, normal socks, toe socks, short and long…

However, what I found so very interesting about them all was… the frilly ones with the cat faces and sewn-on ears, the toe socks with each toe differently coloured, the ones barely grazing the ankle – those were all Made in Japan. The other, more boringly patterned, but obviously much warmer socks reaching to a decent height and made from wool and even cashmere were Made in China.

Conclusion: Japan stands for cute design, China for getting things done.