The White Whale

Boots_pic_for_webI began planning for winter when Laura and I arrived in September. I had heard how bad it could be and wanted to be ready. I brought a heavy jacket, thick socks, and weather resistant hiking boots to prepare, but soon found out that these particular boots would be a hassle. In the heavy snow they would not cover the bottom of my jeans from getting wet and also were incredibly frustrating to deal with in a country where one constantly slips on and off his shoes to go indoors. I decided that I needed more effective boots.

I had seen men, women, and children wearing great rain and snow boots, known as galoshes in America, around the city. They met both needs I had. They are durable and would solve the problem of constantly removing my shoes. I began planning to purchase a pair around late October before winter came. I mentioned to Rev. Taguchi, our pastor and colleague at Kanazawa Baptist Church, that I was in the market for some boots for the winter and asked where I may buy them. He mentioned a few stores around Kanazawa, but I had not given him the complete picture. You see, there was a further problem; I wear American size 14 shoes. It takes me a long time to find a decent tennis shoe in my own country of larger people like myself, nevertheless a specific kind of boot in a country where I’m almost always the biggest person in the room. So the quest began. I explained my predicament. He laughed and said, “I’m not sure then!”

Knowing that I had a few months before the snow would hit, I poked my head in and out of stores as we went around Kanazawa shopping for our initial transitional needs. I looked in the shoe stores first. I’d scan the aisles and keep moving to the largest boots possible. Most places had sizes that would go up to an L, around an American 10 or 11, and would probably cause stunted growth in my toes if I tried to regularly shove my foot into them. I tried looking at the equivalents of the Lowe’s or Home Depot, same size issues. I also checked in a store that would be like a Walmart in Japan, full of small shops under the same corporate name. They were not even stocked with boots.

Laura had also been on a quest during our first few months. She sought art supplies for projects around the Friendship House, the building where we live as well as teach English classes and host fellowship events. She got word through a friend that there was an art shop across the city that we had not yet stumbled upon. We decided to take a Saturday trip over. It turned out to be a superstore that comprised an art store, drug store, and home improvement store all rolled into one and is called Musashi. I figured while we were around that I would at least look at the winter section for my white whale. To much delight, I found a huge rack of snow boots and not only that, but they went up to 5L! After lots of deliberation about how flexible or tight a rubber boot is supposed to feel in snow and rain, I finally decided upon the 4L. They took three months to find, but the prized pair now sit outside the front door, ready for me to slip on for trips to the parking lot to shovel snow and around town in heavy weather.

Seeing these snow boots lined up in the entryway at the church alongside others’ sometimes looks like the giant has made a winter trip down the beanstalk to Jack’s place of worship, but I’m glad to be equipped for this winter and those to come!

Carson_Laura_Foushee_c_sm_for webCarson and Laura Foushee are Cooperative Baptist Field Personnel living in Kanazawa, Japan. Both natives of North Carolina, Carson and Laura met at McAfee School of Theology after graduating from Elon University (Carson) and N.C. State University (Laura). Carson’s passion for global missions and Laura’s passion for the local church have blended together as they serve in Japan through English language education and through Kanazawa Baptist Church as co-pastors of its international congregation.

They can be reached by email at Feel free to also to check out their website and the Kanazawa International Baptist Church website.

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