What a CROCk

June 7 2006

So I was in Evanston Illinois last night, home of Northwestern University, grabbing dinner from LuLu's, one of my all-time-favorite restaurants, when I saw something so hideous, so offensive that I had nightmares.

The pink CROCS.
On a woman who was otherwise professionally dressed (as in like a blouse and slacks).

Image:What a CROCkImage:What a CROCk

What is up with these shoes?  I gotta be honest, the first time I saw shoes like this was in 1998.  In Japan.  And how were the Japanese so ahead of this fashion trend?  Well, they weren't trendy at the time, they were functional.  In Japan, fastidiousness is so important that there are often different shoes to change when using the toilet.  And at a temple in Kyoto, green shoes just like today's Crocs were the available "toilet shoes".

So hopefully you'll understand that when I see these supposedly-fashionable shoes now, I start thinking about Kyoto toilet shoes.  And remembering that functional experience also for the fact that the toilet was basically exposed to passers-by.  I'd like to tell you about which temple it was, but eight years later, the toilet seems to have been more memorable than the rock gardens.  I guess that Japanese toilet culture trumped zen through the lens of time.

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