Is it possible to understand the Japanese through the relationship they have to their feet? Let’s give it a try. First of all, the Japanese famously remove their shoes before entering a home, and many companies including J-List also have a genkan (recessed foyer for removing shoes) as well, which keeps most of the outside dirt from coming in. Shoes are always considered kitanai (dirty), and if I were to ever wash dirty shoes our family’s washing machine I’d be sleeping in the doghouse, and buying my wife a new washing machine. It’s interesting to see how Japan’s custom of removing shoes sends out cultural signals that might be puzzling to us at first, for example an anime or drama story in which a girl can drop by a boy’s apartment and see he’s entertaining female company just by looking at the shoes left by the door, or a character like Taiga from Toradora who’s personality is demonstrated in the way she discards her shoes wantonly.
You can learn about Japan through…feet?