Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our genkan

Welcome to our house!

Looking into our genkan

We have a Japanese style home, so the first room after the front door is called the genkan (玄関).  The genkan is an entryway where the transition from the unclean outside to the clean inside takes place.  Shoes are removed before entering the rest of the home and there's also a place for umbrellas, bags and jackets.  (I'm always surprised at how fast and elegantly Japanese people can remove their shoes!  Even people like the movers or handy men just seem to pop right out of their work shoes and right into the house.)

Getting used to taking shoes off at the front door was a little strange at first.  But after seeing how much cleaner our floors are, I'm definitely a fan of leaving our shoes and dirt in the genkan.  Now wearing shoes inside seems as weird as wearing them in bed.

Our 下駄箱 (getabako - shoe closet)
We aren't super strict about the genkan.  If a guest feels more comfortable wearing shoes, that's cool.  We don't usually wear slippers or socks in the house either (I can barely get my 3 year old to keep his pants on, I'm not going to fight him over socks).  And sometimes I'll cheat (there's no way I'm going to try putting my high heels on after getting into Spanx, bustier, and ball gown!)  But we generally try to stick with the tradition as much as possible and never allow shoes or slippers in the tatami room.

Definitely another part of Japanese life that I'll miss when we have to move.

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