| Cultural Contrasts | 'Pon The Floor

One day, I was tweeting about my love for sitting/chilling/reading/many other things on the floor of our home. To my astonishment, a fellow tweeter replied; "EWWWWWWWW! Floors are yucky". 

I was a bit stunned. Not because of the comment. More because I took it for granted that people that is part of a Japanese lifestyle.

The long and short of it is that we do not wear shoes in our home. Not ever. When we come in, outside shoes get left in the hallway - tucked away on a rack, covered and slippers go on.  It is a cultural mannerism. Every Japanese household both in Japan and outside of Japan that I have visited do this too.  Even our non Japanese friends have grown used to this and have got into the habit of taking off their shoes when they visit. 

It is hygienic I think to leave the outside dirt away from the main living parts of the home? Because of this, I feel clean and safe and proper comfy lolling about on our floors.

On that note, I have finally made another floor cushion. In Japan, people use zabuton but a good authentic one is impossible to find in UK, so as with many other things, I've resorted to making my own version. I am really happy because now we have one each! Hiro's is the hemp leaf pattern and mine is the wave pattern. Both are really old-school traditional motifs that have stood up to the test of time. 

So back to my floors! My brain gets the wobbles when people wear shoes in my home. It cannot always be helped and I understand that but when for instance, the Ocado delivery man or a plumber/electrician comes over and is wearing big old dirty boots, my brain wobbles. I don't say anything. When they leave, I run around the house mopping and scrubbing the floor. Thankfully, this does not have to happen frequently. Am I the only one?

P.S. As a mixed race person, I am repping a bag of different cultures each one has imparted a different trove of habits/etiquette/understanding. It makes life interesting, but many a time the significance is lost in translation. I hope that by writing about some of my experiences, we can learn from each other!


  1. I cant stand people wearing shoes and walking all over as well. It sure is an Asian things most people will not understand. I came here via Jane's blog. Love your post.

  2. What a fascinating post! I love floors and I love padding around in bare feet. I think my enjoyment comes from having lived in a caravan for a small proportion of my adolescence and never being able to find my shoes. I used to frequently run through fields and across the yard with no shoes- I really love being able to feel the textures of the floor it makes one even more mindful and in the moment I think. It's so interesting. English people are definitely more caught up with hands then feet but both have the ability to feel! I think it's very sweet that you dash around cleaning. Your floor cushions look great too. I'd really love some for my home, sitting on the floor offers such a different perspective on a room! Xx

  3. We don't wear shoes in the house in Romania either, but we don't have a culture of sitting on the floor. Even so I always loved sitting on the floor, so when I moved to Japan and discovered zabutons I felt like I was reunited with something I had long ago lost.


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