take off your shoes

When getting into a Japanese house, you must take off your shoes. It’s more than a natural rule to Japanese people and if anyone entered with their shoes on, it would mean not only uncleanness but also an insult.

When an English tourist once visited my apartment and started to get in without taking off her shoes, my Japanese friends there all at once shouted to warn. While it was just an ‘oops’ thing to her, it was a shockingly offensive gesture to them.

Even some restaurants and bars in Japan make customers take off their shoes. For some reason, the area I have just moved in has many places with that rule. I loathe taking off my shoes at a restaurant.

When I was a child, half of my house was in Western style, where we came in the hall, walked around the hallway and had meals at the dining room all with our shoes on. Although I was not so much used to eating with my shoes off, now it’s perfectly all right at home because I’ve developed sort of germ-phobia. But, sharing the floor with other people is a completely different matter. I can’t possibly step on the floor where people touched with their dirty socks or bare feet. Whenever I open the door of a restaurant and see the floor for shoes to be taken off, I leave the place right away and try somewhere else. Consequently, there are too many restaurants in this area that I can’t enter…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

Audiobook : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total