My entry today is a little lesson on proper etiquette- shoes etiquette. Don't worry, I'll tell you all that you need to know. First, you MUST remove your shoes when entering a Japanese home. Second... ummm, Ok that's all there is but it's important.
There isn't a special way to do it, just take 'em off. When you first step in the door, there is a designated shoe removal area. You leave your shoes there and, more often than not, will be provided with house slippers. But if your intention is to p*ss people off, then go right ahead and tread all over the good floors with your filth. :-)
Sometimes it's a bother to do this whole shoe ritual but I absolutely love the shoe closets here. They go from floor to ceiling, are nice and wide and conveniently located next to the designated shoe removal area.
I was surprised to find that many other places also require that I display the holes in my socks. In the doctor's office, in some restaurants, and even before you go into a dressing room to try on that cute top, your shoes must come off.
During my apartment search, I had to take my shoes off before going in to see each and every apartment. And, can you believe that even when I signed my lease the apartment manager made me take off my shoes? :-O "It's MY place!" I wanted to say " MINE! MOI!" So, anyway, I don't wear my shoes in the house anymore :-( ...
Finally, I'll share with you a story I was told about a village that was being assaulted by one burglary after another. Everyone was outraged - outraged that these thieves were not taking their shoes off before coming into the house. Forget the TV and money that they stole, how dare these people bring dirt into the house?! The community rallied against these rude bandits... I can't remember if they were caught, but that's not the point of the story.
As I was saying before, the community rallied and took swift action to make sure this never happens again by launching a cartoon series depicting thieves taking their shoes off before robbing a house.
The goal - to teach criminals of the future some good old wholesome values. :-s