Stop/Start 「ストップ/スタート」(Japanese Ink on Synthetic Silk) 14 x 20 cm 2021

I’ve been told that in Japan, many people base their first impressions of you on your shoes. At first I was surprised by the notion of spending any time looking at someone’s shoes on a first meeting, rather than their face. However, polishing shoes is a popular hobby in Japan, and taking excellent care of your work shoes is a part of the culture.

Attention and respect is paid toward the pair that brought you to where you are, touching the same ground as the pigeons or stray dogs, politicians or gangsters…

Shoes are the barrier between your sweaty foot and that outside world, but they are also your direction, and your past.

One might say your work shoes are an extension of your professional character. They are removed when you enter a restaurant with friends or clients, and when you enter your home.