Monday, February 20, 2012

shoes off

In Japan, there are many times when you need to take your shoes off.

Before entering a home. At some restaurants, if they have you sitting on tatami (straw mats).

In Hawaii, most of us take our shoes off too before going into the house, it is a custom that was passed down from the Japanese immigrants, and has pretty much spread to most other cultures in Hawaii.

But when I saw these shoes outside a storefront, I was kinda puzzled. Why did they need to remove their shoes?

I was actually worried their shoes would get stolen.

I looked inside and saw that they had put in new carpeting, guess they didn't want to get it dirty before their store opened.

Another time you need to remove your shoes is when you try clothing on in a fitting room.

Satoshi had to do this when he tried on some pants.

Oh, another time I had to remove my shoes was at the dentist. I took them off, put on their pair of house slippers and walked two steps over to the dentist chair.

Most doctor offices have house slippers in their lobbies, you are expected to remove your shoes and use their house slippers while in their office.

Guess it is a nice way to keep floors and carpets clean, but you need to make sure the shoes you are wearing are easy to take off and put back on.

Do you remove your shoes before going into your house?


Rowena said...

Being a Hawaii gal myself you know the answer to that one. The funny part is how the neighbors will notice it whenever they come over for a visit. I smile and explain that it is a custom I grew up with of course, but inside I'm cringing because they just tracked in some dirt and messing up my italian tile floors. :-o!

Rowena said...

Kat you took out the captcha! I hope you didn't because of my spontaneous rant (makes embarassed face) -- it's just my beef with blogspot. ^-^

Doraemon said...

Ohhhh how I love this custom. I hate when people come for visit and do not take their shoes off. Of course, I have to remind them, but somehow I feel uncomfortable telling them "please, could you take off your shoes". Ughhh!


Anonymous said...

Mid-western American here and we have always taken our shoes off while at home too. Sometimes we had guest that were offended when we asked them to do this. They thought it very strange.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Interesting about the differences in our cultures. My boys always take their shoes off at the door, but my daughter, my husband and I don't.

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

Growing up in Florida, we always took our shoes off at the entranceway into our living room, but we were the only family we knew who did that. Recently, I had a home assessment done by the American Lung Association here in Seattle and she praised us for taking our shoes off before going inside because it's a great way to keep lead out of your home.

I always think it's strange here in the US that we don't take our shoes off in kids' play areas---I think it's pretty gross that kids crawl around where everybody's shoes are. The kids are required to take theirs off but parents walk around in the same place with theirs on.

K and S said...

no I didn't do take it off cuz of you Rowena :)

in Hawaii they sell ceramic signs that you can hang near your front door Sandy "please remove your shoes before entering" :)

That is cool that you take off your shoes JhgreenG, I thought everyone on the mainland didn't :)

ooh that is interesting Lizzy :)

had no idea about the lead thingy Abigail, that is interesting!

Take care everyone.

Tamakikat said...

Good morning Kat!

Living in Kyoto I always take off my shoes before entering my house.

I really like it when there is a 'No shoes on the carpet rule' in my friends' homes outside Japan.

I must say I'd like it if there was a bench to sit on outside the changing rooms here though. It would really make putting your shoes back on all that much easier.

K and S said...

so true TK, lots of places don't provide seating areas for you to put your shoes back on.

Take care.

Kathy YL Chan said...

After Pierre and I moved in together, it took me 3 months to "train" him to take off shoes before entering the apartment. It drove me crazy! His family keeps shoes on in the house in France...I'm converting him Hawaii style heheh ^_^

KirkK said...

Of course we do Kat! When we were in Laos, we had to remove our shoes before we entered the hotel, not the room, the hotel.

Donna said...

I take off my shoes right by the door and so do my kids, usually my husband does as well--I'm not sure why I started doing it, because I wasn't brought up that way, although it might be partly because I just don't like wearing shoes and am often barefoot if it's warm enough. I always take off my shoes at other people's houses as well and sometimes they say oh, you don't have to do that, but I explain it's just a habit.

K said...

I don't wear shoes in my apartment because I grew up taking off my shoes in the house. Sometimes people forget but I remind them pretty quickly, haha!

Rowan Boon said...

I grew up in Malaysia where everyone takes off their shoes at home so when I came to San Francisco to study I was really surprised people here usually do the opposite!
It's always a bit awkward for me when guests come over and they don't take off their shoes. It feels kinda rude to tell them to take their shoes off?

K and S said...

he he Kathy, I'm glad Pierre is "trainable" ;)

LOL Kirk :)

oh I love going around barefoot too Donna, can't wait until it is Spring and I can go sockless :)

that is funny K :)

that must have been a shock for you Rowan :0

Take care everyone!

bluang3lbby said...

Me and all my friends usually take our shoes off right at the door inside the house. But sometimes it just depends. I do like wearing my shoes inside sometimes just so I don't have to mess with taking them on and off. But when we lived in NOLA, we didn't because we had tile and I was the designated weekly mopper.

K and S said...

I guess if you're the weekly mopper Bluang3lbby, wearing your shoes in the house is okay :)

Take care.

Japan-Australia said...

In Australia, we usually don't, but in my house we always had to take our shoes off and it is a tradition I have continued :)

Japan Australia

K and S said...

great tradition J-A :)

Take care.

jalna said...

Hey, my OB doctor has house slippers for us! It feels rather strange having to walk around their office with house slippers on. It was interesting to learn that it's a regular practice where you're at.

Jenster said...

Having grown up in Hawaii, I'm used to taking my shoes off at the door and have trained my husband and kids to do the same, but I do need to remind them from time to time. I must admit that, there are times I'll leave my shoes on for convenience (i.e. carrying multiple loads of groceries from the car to the kitchen) but I try to wipe my shoes off carefully on the doormat. Most of our visitors, a lot of non-Asians who grew up on the mainland, take their shoes off at our door, too, or at least ask if they should take their shoes off. One difference from Hawaii: Due to the cooler Northwest weather, I'll have guest bring their shoes into the house and leave them by the door. I don't like making my guests leave their shoes outside in the cold weather because it's not very pleasant to put them back on! Luckily, my entry is hardwood floors so it's easier to clean.

K and S said...

that is cool Jalna :)

glad you have hardwood floors Jenster, I agree they are easier to clean.

Take care you two.

Deb in Hawaii said...

At home I take mine off right inside the door, in my hallway. ;-)

K and S said...

Thanks Deb :) love all these great responses!

Take care.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

This is a fun post Kat. I am more curious to know how Japanese people think of you when you don't know about certain Japanese cultures. You look so Japanese and speak Japanese too, so they might puzzle, like why you are not taking off shoes at certain place (if you didn't know). Have some experience like that?

K and S said...

I am glad you enjoyed this Nami :) I "blend-in" so a lot of times Japanese people expect me to know things, and look at me puzzled when I don't. I can tell you that when I meet students who want to learn English for the first time, most are bummed because I am Asian not Caucasian.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Definitely shoes off! We have a carpeted flat.

But when outside, yes, I do worry that my shoes will be stolen!

K and S said...

I hate when someone walks off with my shoes Su-Lin :(

Take care.