" Mr. Frank Shorter," said Hikita, "in your real opinions these are best shoes?"
"Yeah, they're great. But a little too wide."
"Ah so. But it is not possible to make narrower so soon before the race."
"I think they'll do."
That afternoon Frank ran a hard hour through the park in his regular, non-Tiger training shoes. After dinner Hikita-san was waiting for us in the lobby. He gave Frank a searching look.
"Why," he asked in a low voice, "did you wear Adidas shoes today?"
Frank gently reassured him that he would race in Tigers. He had simply preferred not to run 10 miles in brand-new shoes. He mentioned again that his feet were very narrow.
Hikita withdrew and returned shortly with pieces of string and rice paper. He carefully traced the outline of Frank's foot and measured its circumference at the ball and around the arch, marking the string with red ink. Then he retreated, saying, "We will try."
Frank, his bare foot propped on a coffee table, said softly, "I wish I hadn't worn Adidas today."
"Why? I've seen you play Adidas against Puma without mercy."