There are many traditions in Japan, many of which may be foreign to those who are not familiar with Japanese culture. In Japan… you never, ever, ever wear shoes inside! When you get home from school, you take your shoes off at the door, line them up, and put on your indoor slippers. It is considered an honor to be invited into someone’s home in Japan. When you enter a home, you will notice a separate room near the entrance, where all shoes are removed. This entry room is called a genkan. Traditionally, Japanese people like to draw a clear line between the inside and the outside. Even though the room is technically indoors, it is still considered to be outside and is usually covered with different flooring than the rest of the house. If you are visiting someone’s home in Japan, make sure to stop first in the genkan, remove your shoes and slip on the house slippers that are typically provided for guests. Another good tip, it is considered good manners to turn your shoes to point towards the door after you have removed them.
When our team headed to Tokyo to shoot our catalogs, we were able to visit a home and experienced the tradition first hand. Not only is it a great way to keep your home free of dirt and debris, but also helps keep your floors scratch-free… er, almost!