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August 31, 2004

free toes are happy toes

i have always believed that shoes are little foot prisons. Some of them are cute, some are utilitarian, some are even sexy, but they are foot prisons all the same: shoes cut your body off from the very reality it walks upon. i grew up in Japan, and there one always removes one's shoes before entering a residence. it becomes habitual, unconscious; the shedding of one's footwear before coming home. there is always a small internal sigh of relief when the shoes come off; an acknowledgement that my toes are finally free.

that's what hadashi means: barefoot. actually, it literally means naked foot, but i like to translate it as happy toes. in college, my first experience of living in America on my own, i clung to my hadashi-ness with such ferocity that for awhile i simply wore no shoes at all; not to class, not outside, not at all if i could help it.

at the time, i just knew that free toes made me happy. but now i realise that going barefoot in a shod world reminds me that being myself is a whole lot better than conforming -- what i give up in "fitting into the norm," i gain in freedom of heart, mind, and soul. my literal kicking off shoes & wiggling my toes translates into a deeper sense of personal satisfaction and room to breathe.

So. Welcome to HadashiWorld...leave your shoes at the door, and come right on in.

Posted by hadashi at August 31, 2004 10:58 AM


YEA!!! Your own blog. You're such a good writer and I love your stories from the road. Keep me posted on all my favorite peeps, who shall remain nameless. I can't reveal my pet names to the masses just yet.

Besides those who know you, know that you are hadashiesque with more than just your shoes :P Ooops have I said too much?? (hee, hee)

Posted by: Marti at September 3, 2004 10:36 AM


Here is an Anne Sexton poem entitled, "Barefoot", from the American Poet website (

Loving me with my shoes off
means loving my long brown legs,
sweet dears, as good as spoons;
and my feet, those two children
let out to play naked. Intricate nubs,
my toes. No longer bound.
And what's more, see toenails and
all ten stages, root by root.
All spirited and wild, this little
piggy went to market and this little piggy
stayed. Long brown legs and long brown toes.
Further up, my darling, the woman
is calling her secrets, little houses,
little tongues that tell you.

There is no one else but us
in this house on the land spit.
The sea wears a bell in its navel.
And I'm your barefoot wench for a
whole week. Do you care for salami?
No. You'd rather not have a scotch?
No. You don't really drink. You do
drink me. The gulls kill fish,
crying out like three-year-olds.
The surf's a narcotic, calling out,
I am, I am, I am
all night long. Barefoot,
I drum up and down your back.
In the morning I run from door to door
of the cabin playing chase me.
Now you grab me by the ankles.
Now you work your way up the legs
and come to pierce me at my hunger mark

Posted by: Ms. Jen Author Profile Page at September 17, 2004 11:17 PM

the same is true with the indian culture. no shoes inside the house. it's amazing how our culture is so engrained in our daily lives. including going barefoot or not.

funny, i always thought of shoes as faces that always were yelling. i don't know how i can describe it in words, but i always felt that when i put my foot inside a shoe, i was stuffing the shoe's mouth. lol. crazy, i know. =)

Posted by: rversde23 at July 30, 2005 6:45 PM

Bare toes. Naked feet. Such is the rule in our house. Some guests wiggle their toes happily; others frown and groan - so we take pity and say, whatever pleases...

Posted by: PearlGirl at November 13, 2005 10:50 AM

We have more then 1000 members at We are a group of people that believes no one should be forced to wear shoes, and that it is healther to wear them only when you really need them. This would be if you need to wear other safety equipment, it's cold and you need gloves, or you are wearing a uniform of some kind.


Posted by: aj at December 22, 2005 2:39 PM

I love how you've defined HadashiWorld. Just love it. It was great to meet you at Blogher, and I look forward to stopping by here more!

Posted by: Kristin at August 3, 2006 1:29 PM

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