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a question for japanese people..

rlevine

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i was watching The Grudge and they showed some people come into a house and remove their shoes.  is this really a custom all over and if it is, what if you wear some nice snug shoes, do people normally have shoehorns?
I have been to Japan and at the only private home I went to, the doorway was sunken in relation to the main floor level, and that was where you were supposed to leave your shoes. Even in a restaurant where the seating style is traditional (sit on floor pillows) we were supposed to leave our shoes outside of the dining area.
 

Tokyo Slim

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Traditionally the Japanese seperate spaces into "clean" and "dirty" spaces. Not only would you take your shoes off when entering a house or traditional restaraunt, you sometimes will also put on a different pair of shoes (or slippers) as you enter the bathing or toilet rooms. As far as shoehorns go, many places you would be expected to take your shoes off generally have them, but if you are wearing shoes that are a pain to take off, and you are constantly going in and out of places that require you to remove them, you may find yourself switching to slip-ons.
 

retronotmetro

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When I travel to Japan, I never take lace-up boots or very snug shoes because it is too much of a PITA to take them off all the time--and I should be used to it because we take off our shoes at my house. It's not uncommon to see people in Japan with the heel counters of their shoes completely trashed and collapsed from stomping their feet into the shoes without shoehorns. Many people have an old pair of shoes that get sacrificed as the "quick in and out of the house" shoes--usually an old pair of athletic shoes--where the heels of the shoes just get stomped down flat like the backs of a pair of slippers.

The "shoe removal custom" is also widely practiced in Hawaii (both from Japanese and perhaps Korean influence, and the fact that red volcanic dirt plays havoc on carpets).
 

Thracozaag

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One of the many japanese customs that actually make a large amount of sense to me.

koji
 

BjornH

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Iceland, and as far as I know, Scandinavia does this as well. If you visit and are not wearing a suit or some other clothes that will look silly w/o shoes, you take off your shoes at the door.

Why wear shoes indoors ? You'll scratch the wooden floors and who knows what's under your shoes ?

B
 

Fabienne

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It is also fairly common to remove one's shoes in France. People sometimes have cheap slippers at their guests' disposal. There is a pretty large-sized houseshoe section in hypermarkets. Ah, the allure of a pair of Charentaises on a man's foot...

I have many foreign friends who visit, Americans as well, and I'd say 70 % of people remove their shoes as a matter of habit when they come to our home (we have hardwood floors and tile).
 

globetrotter

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it isn't really an israeli custom, but my family does it too.
 

MikeF

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Is it really a Japanese custom? I wouldn't dream of wearing shoes in our house, and wouldn't let any guest do so (sorry.).
 

Tokyo Slim

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Is it really a Japanese custom? I wouldn't dream of wearing shoes in our house, and wouldn't let any guest do so (sorry.).
It's standard practice in Japan - whether they originated the practice (which is possible) or not. Not nearly as many westerners ALWAYS take off their shoes when entering a house.

Outside of Japan though, I've never seen ANYONE change slippers to use the bathroom. It remains one of those whimsical Japanese OCD rituals.
 

Manton

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Imagine what a heartbreaking pain in the ass it must be for Jun Kuwana ...
 

Thracozaag

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I'm sure he has many pairs of custom monogrammed bathroom slippers, heh.

koji
 

norcaltransplant

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The shoes come off in our household. Socks and slippers are worn in the winter. There is no separate footwear for bathroom use. I always thought this was the standard for most Asian households.

As far as shoehorns go, many places you would be expected to take your shoes off generally have them, but if you are wearing shoes that are a pain to take off, and you are constantly going in and out of places that require you to remove them, you may find yourself switching to slip-ons.
I actually carry a plastic horn in my satchel for sample sale/outlet shopping and when I spend the night in New York. Yeah it's dorky, but who cares...
 

AlanC

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Being thoroughly Anglo-Saxon, I suppose, I'm always annoyed when I go to someone's home and am expected to take off my shoes. I certainly understand if they were muddy, etc., but it seems a bit much to me. I'm speaking of the American context of course, and would certainly 'do as the Romans' without complaint were I visiting Japan. Most of the time at home I do wear slippers or just socks, but I don't take off my shoes at the door, but change in the bedroom. My wife has convinced me not to travel with my wooden club, though...
 

Bic Pentameter

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Many of the Japanese folks I know think it odd that many Westerners choose to wear their outside shoes inside...tracking chewing gum, mud, cigarette butts, and worse into the house.  (Remember that many Japanese with tatami mat rooms sleep on the very floors that they would stomp on with their shoes.)

I have been to hospitals in Japan where patients and staff take their shoes off at the door and change into slippers. I also worked at a senior high school where all students changed into their "clean" slippers at the door. Many sports clubs ask patrons to set aside a special pair of indoor sports shoes to be worn only at the gym/on the court and not anywhere else.

I have worked in more than one office where colleagues wore "walk to work" business shoes and kept "feel comfortable in the office" slippers or sandals under their desks. I had a coworker who would change into his "business shoes" whenever the boss called him into his office.


Yes, there us usually a shoe horn by the door.  I think this is one reason why slip-ons are so much much more common in Japan.


Bic
 

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