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Buying shoes in Japan

kcheng

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I'm about to take a quick trip up to Hong Kong and Tokyo soon and possibly Seoul and I was hoping to pick some of SF's members based in those countries (and afar) for some input.

Would buying a pair of shoes in the range of Corthay, Berluti, Artioli, etc. in Tokyo be nothing short of a rip-off? I know to expect a premium to be paid in Tokyo, but would I be better off not buying them there and waiting till i go to Europe, etc.? Similarly with Hong Kong.

Or if I am in Japan I should probably try one of the Japanese artisans like Otsuka, Guild of Crafts or one of the many spotted around the country which seem to be regarded quite highly on the forum?
 

Bic Pentameter

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Originally Posted by kcheng
I'm about to take a quick trip up to Hong Kong and Tokyo soon and possibly Seoul and I was hoping to pick some of SF's members based in those countries (and afar) for some input.

Would buying a pair of shoes in the range of Corthay, Berluti, Artioli, etc. in Tokyo be nothing short of a rip-off? I know to expect a premium to be paid in Tokyo, but would I be better off not buying them there and waiting till i go to Europe, etc.? Similarly with Hong Kong.

Or if I am in Japan I should probably try one of the Japanese artisans like Otsuka, Guild of Crafts or one of the many spotted around the country which seem to be regarded quite highly on the forum?


Almost everything is much much more expensive in Japan. I am not sure what Corthay, Berluti, and Artioli of for outside of Japan, but believe that the markup here is too much for me. Unless money is absoloutely no object to you, I would get something that could only be gotten in Japan.

I haven't had a chance to visit the Otsuka shop, but I would recommend it. I have visited Guild of Crafts several times, and it is great.

Bic
 

rnoldh

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I don't know about Japan, but it was almost impossible to find good values in better name brands in Hong Kong(as of 3 years ago, when I last visited).

Now if you are willing to buy Knock-Offs, that's a whole different story!

Just kidding of course, but if there are Berluti Knock-Offs anywhere in the world, it would be Hong Kong.
 

tundrafour

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Originally Posted by Bic Pentameter
Almost everything is much much more expensive in Japan... Unless money is absoloutely no object to you, I would get something that could only be gotten in Japan.

I completely agree with this statement! Depending on your size, you might also have trouble finding shoes that fit. I was rarely able to find a shoe that I wanted, was a good value, and was available in ~29.5 or 30 centimeters while in Japan.
 

acidboy

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i'd skip buying in japan and splurge in hongkong.

oh, and there is a berluti shoppe in hongkong, in central.
 

teddieriley

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I was just in Japan in August. If you wear greater than a US size 9 1/2, good luck finding some shoes. Some boutique stores only carried the shoe I liked in one size (7 or 8 1/2). Doesn't hurt to look, but don't get your hopes up. I found shoe shopping there an utter disappointment (window shopping, on the other hand, is excellent; I'm a US size 10 1/2 - 11).
 

blackjack

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Thanks to what some sarcastically refer to as the "burakumin tax", almost all leather products including shoes are subject to usurious import taxes in Japan. "Burakumin" is not really a word that Japanese would appreciate hearing in polite company. Everyone knows who they are though ... technically the descendants of the lowest caste of the Buhddist-nfluenced Japanese societal heirarchy -- they did the tasks that were considered unclean .... undertaking, ditch digging, butchering, tanning etc. Even now, top Japanese companies will do investigations to prevent hiring any burakumin and once in a while, some distraught father-in-law will commit suicide when his daughter ends up marrying one (but more often, background checks will ensure they remain with "their own kind"). About the same stigma as marrying a Korean, I've been told.

Although alot of tariffs have been removed over time, the tariffs for leather products have remained strong. One Japanese commercial diplomat once tried to explain it to me with a cough and mention that it was "err, sensitive". To his chagrin, I feigned ignorance and exclaimed "oh, yeah... do you mean the Burakumin problem? Strange, isn't it?". He nearly choked.

Much much better deals in shoes to be found in HK.
 

iyzero

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I live in Seoul and been to Hongkong and Japan. To say conclusion first, Hong Kong is the way to go. An insider from LVMH told me, if a good is priced $1 in europe, it will be $1.2 in US and $1.5 in Japan according to their pricing policy. I suppose that's about the same with all other luxury brands. But a lot of local brands have very unique and good-quality products. (especially bags and shoes!) Japanese leathers are top-notch according to what i witnessed.

and unless you are looking for a bespoke suit or very cheap clothing(Dongdaemoon!), Seoul is not a very blessed place for shopping either. a pair of simple 501 jeans cost about $140. and korean shoes are..........pathetic. i mean, really really pathetic. (plus overpriced) Luxury brands are very over priced too. you can buy a pair of SF Tramezza for about $300 less in the states.

Hongkong is the only answer left. almost all the asians in asia i know fly to hongkong and face their credit card limit.
 

acidboy

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Originally Posted by iyzero
Hongkong is the only answer left. almost all the asians in asia i know fly to hongkong and face their credit card limit.

true.

and you could get nice inexpensive shirts and suits, too!
 

Nantucket Red

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What Bic said.

Originally Posted by blackjack
One Japanese commercial diplomat once tried to explain it to me with a cough and mention that it was "err, sensitive". To his chagrin, I feigned ignorance and exclaimed "oh, yeah... do you mean the Burakumin problem? Strange, isn't it?". He nearly choked.

Ah, yes, that bizarrely Japanese form of hipocrisy that tacitly condones discrimination and cruelty so long as the objects of it and reasons for it are never stated explicitly. If you all agree not to talk about it, it doesn't exist. Good old tatemae; say the socially acceptable thing but privately hold your own opinions and act on them.

Last year, a document circulated through my department that I read with great interest. It was to raise awareness of language and attitudes indicative of discrimination against Dowa, the euphemism of choice in this instance. It mentioned several passages in company documents from years past that used discriminatory language and explained that such language and attitudes would not be tolerated. It also cited nation-wide surveys showing that only a very small minority still considered Burakumin status of any importance in hiring practices or marriage. The thing that struck me about this document was that it explicitly recognized a problem that is strictly taboo to mention. I discussed this with one of my coworkers, mentioning my surprise that the subject was even raised. He discussed the issue without any reservations at all. Perhaps these attitudes really are changing.

Meanwhile, I tried on a pair of Tramezzas yesterday, and amazingly enough the store had my size (US 10.5), but $1000 a pair (and there are 3 pair I can't live without) is a bit steep, isn't it? In that sense, nothing's changed.
 

luk-cha

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hk is ok for shoes not as cheap as europe for rtw, but if you are looking to custom then you can get value for money!
 

Dragon

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If you are looking for value, then I think you should wait until you arrive in H.K. (or Europe). If you`re looking for selection, I think Japan has a much better selection than H.K.

If you have your mind set on Berluti shoes, I would definately wait until H.K. as it is going to be cheaper than the Japanese store for sure.
 

Kent Wang

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These are what Berluti in Hong Kong had in their window in April:
 

luk-cha

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also you will have the new lobb in the mandarin soon
 

kcheng

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Originally Posted by luk-cha
also you will have the new lobb in the mandarin soon

Is JL going to be in the new new mandarin? or the new old mandarin?
 

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