Friday, October 8, 2010
Take your shoes off!
In Japan, it is customary to take your shoes off whenever you enter a home. However, shoes removal is not limited to homes, but also applies to entering a shrine, temple, and schools. When you first enter a Japanese home, there is an area called Genkan where you take off your shoes and usually slip into indoor shoes, such as slippers.
To me, it makes so much sense to take off my shoes whenever I come home. I hate dragging the outside dirt around my apartment, especially since I sleep and eat right on the floor. In Canada, I grew up taking off my shoes when I'd come home. I don't remember ever wearing shoes indoors.
Some of my fellow expatriate friends do wear shoes indoors, and did it back home. I also noticed that when I watch some television shows such as Friends, they wear shoes indoors. It has become a major pet peeve of mine to see characters wearing shoes while sitting on a couch or even on a bed. I think it comes from living in Japan, where it's a major, MAJOR no-no. I had a mini panic attack once when one of my visitors walked right into my apartment without taking off his shoes. Am I crazy? I know when I first came to Japan I probably forgot to take off my shoes in some areas where I had to, some I'm sure I've committed some cultural crimes once or twice.
What do you think? Do you wear shoes indoors?