The month of June in Japan starts with the tradition of changing into summer clothes.
Even footwear like slippers are switched to cooler ones at this time of a year.
People usually put on room slippers after taking off their shoes.at genkan, an entrance area lower than the main floors of the house.
It separates living space from the outside.
Every house in Japan, whether in Japanese style or in western style, has genkan.
Removing the shoes at genkan is related to Japanese climate of high temperature and high humidity in summer.
In the ancient times the raised flooring was used for storing rice harvested to avoid high humidity.
The storehouse was considered so important that people took footgear off to keep the place clean.
Later the raised flooring was set up for the living place.
To avoid to getting the floor messy and dirty, they removed the Japanese –style sandals indoors.
They sat on the floor in the daytime and slept there placing simple futon at night.
The practice of removing footgear indoors was kept after tatami matted floors were widely used in 17th century.
Japanese “slippers” are flat in-house footwear and daily use items all over Japan.
Slippers firstly appeared in Japan in the beginning of Meiji era (1868-1912) when the country opened itself to the world and more people visited from outside.
They walked straight into the house without taking their shoes off.
Japanese people worried that the tatami mats would get dirty and damaged.
The slipper was devised to settle the problems and to welcome people with different culture background.
Below are etiquette for shoes and room slippers in Japan :
1 In the parts of the house that aren’t covered by tatami, people wear slippers, but No SLIPPERS worn on tamami-mats.
Houses built in Japan today often have very few tatami-floored rooms, though. .
2 A pair of slippers is used specifically for the toilet only. Make sure you slip them off after leaving there.
3 After taking off your shoes at genkan, TURN your shoes so that they face the outside of the house.
It might sound too strict, but “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
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