Sunday, September 26, 2010

illustration friday (old-fashioned)

For this week's IF challenge, I chose this etegami depicting geta (traditional wooden clogs) from my Japanese proverbs series. The accompanying words mean [There's no knowing the outcome] until it's time to put your geta back on. The saying has its roots in the unpredictability of Go matches. Go is "an ancient board game for two players that is noted for being rich in strategy despite its simple rules." (Wikipedia). Hence, you never know the final outcome till the very end, when it's time to put your shoes back on and go home. Another traditional touch in this picture is that the person belonging to the feet is wearing indigo-dyed samue, the traditional (=old-fashioned) working clothes of Japanese artisans.

I've attached more "old-fashioned" footwear etegami with proverbs below. The first two show waraji (cheap sandals made from straw rope), and the next two show zouri (thonged sandals, made of better material, and more fashionable, than waraji)

1. To wear two pairs of waraji (one person doing two jobs or fulfilling two roles).
2. Find yourself a wife that is older than you, even if you have to wear waraji made from metal. (ie: Metal waraji, if there were such a thing, might make walking difficult but would not quickly wear out. A woman who is a year or more older than her husband has great potential for making a good wife, making it worth a long and difficult search for her.)
3 & 4. To screw up just as you're putting on your zouri. (No matter how well things are going at first, you can ruin all previous success by screwing up at the very end.)


  1. Very nice. I enjoyed your post very much. Lovely pieces.

  2. Thanks for your encouragement. There are actually many, many more proverbs and sayings about footwear in Japanese, as well as other languages. I'm sure you know a few in your own language.

  3. Hi, I just discovered your blog and is so interesting! I started studying japanese and your etegami are really inspiring!