Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shoes off in the house

The arrival of Sayaka, our Japanese houseguest (via Vancouver), has put me back in mind of those little cultural quirks we all possess and would never even notice were it not for someone different to reflect them back to us. Sayaka has been kind enough to keep my reflections to herself today, but I've been reminded of back when Stuart and I first met, and I would tell him to just leave his shoes at the door when he came over. And of course I'd take off my shoes when I went to his house, and it was only when his demonic landlady finally blew her top that I realized that my behaviour was considered strange. Not only was she fed up with tripping over my shoes inside her door, but she thought that I took them off in the first place was just bizarre. Stuart admitted he did find it a bit weird when I made him deshoe at my place, but as it was one of a million things he found a bit weird about me, he hadn't mentioned it. But yeah, now that I mentioned it-- English people don't take off their shoes in their houses!! It never even occurred to me, and I think it's only a Canadian thing due to climate. Let me tell you though, when we moved to Japan I definitely felt a little cultural affinity. And shoes-off-in-the-house was the only authentically Canadian ritual I could think of that didn't involve donuts or ice, which was sort of novel.