When foreigners come to Japan, one of the first cultural differences they run into is the custom of taking shoes off before going into a house. Japanese homes (and some offices, including J-List) have a lowered area at the front door called a genkan where you leave your shoes before going inside. After you’ve lived here a little while, it becomes second nature to open the door, kick off your shoes (or if you’re the obsessive type, neatly line them up), and go inside. To the Japanese sense of cleanliness, anything having to do with your feet is dirty under any circumstances — actually, the genkan area is essentially considered “outside” the house. Recently my family has been hooked on the Paranormal Activity movie series, a quasi-realistic ghost story told through video and security camera. In one scene, a character sits on her bed while still wearing her shoes, something that’d be completely unthinkable in Japan.
This looks really strange to the Japanese.