Your 107-Word Mini Japanese Culture Lesson


The Japanese do not wear outdoor shoes inside their homes; to do so is viewed as rude and dirty. Stacks of cloth slippers are piled at front doors for home owners and guests alike. Sodden outdoor shoes are slipped off and replaced. Cue soft padding around, curry rice dinners, variety shows, Japanese pops on the shee-D player.

My question:

What do the Japanese do in the event of a home-hosted occasion that requires formal clothing? A dinner party, say. A romantic, candlelit birthday evening. A 25th anniversary fete. Call me crazy, but little black dresses or black suits simply don’t match plaid slippers, socks or bare feet….

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve always wondered why the taking off of the shoes was a sign of respect? You’d think masking the smell of your nasty feet by keeping your shoes on and not rubbing the smell in the carpet would be a bigger sign or respect… just a thought.

  2. ieatmypigeon says:

    Hi, Erin! My best guess is that taking your shoes off prevents dirt from entering the home. It’s actually written into my lease that outdoor shoes are barred from my apartment! But I totally hear you on the smelly feet – when I first got here I was terrified that my friends would catch a whiff. I still worry about it in class sometimes but what can I say … they made me do it.

  3. Matthew C says:

    “Call me crazy, but little black dresses or black suits simply don’t match plaid slippers, socks or bare feet….”

    That is a matter of opinion.

    While in Japan, I attended a formal party in a town hall. Everybody had to be in stocking feet.

  4. ieatmypigeon says:

    Hi, Matt! It must be a matter of opinion indeed because it’s all the rage. I just can’t see it. Then again, I’ve always been partial to a stiletto.

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