CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER HANSEN
Most Japanese customs rock. One of my favorites is the removing of your shoes prior to entering a house, a restaurant, or anywhere that’s designated with tatami mats. I don’t know why I like it so much. It might be the comfortable atmosphere it makes at a meal, when you can sit back and enjoy it without your shoes pinching. Or the feeling that you’re doing something naughty when you walk through Shuri Castle with naked feet.
Something I’ve noticed since we moved here is that my family’s shoes end up by the front door. This is not by conscious effort. As a matter of fact, I’d much prefer the shoes to be put away. I fought it for months – several long, agonizing months – before I gave up and opted for a better solution.
If you live in town in a traditional Japanese-style home, more than likely your house comes with a built in shoe cabinet by the front door. For the rest of us, we can purchase shoe cabinets to fix this shoe problem. I got a hot tip (thanks, Tara) that I could find a cabinet at Today O!K. They sell them next door at Maxplus as well – in different styles, so you may want to check out both stores before you decide.
The cabinet I purchased was 24700 Yen – not cheap, but totally worth it. They have less expensive versions available, as well as different configurations and styles.
Before the shoe cabinet: