Hawaii: shoes off in the house

In Hawaii, the last state admitted to the Union, the Japanese influence of no shoes inside prevails. I am from New York. We wouldn’t wear snow boots inside, but no one had to remove shoes. In high school, I had a friend who apologetically told me his mom was very particular about her white carpets and explained I would have to take my shoes off. In Hawaii, a person can buy little signs people that are placed by the entry of their homes saying something like, “this American house observes Asian customs Please remove shoes” bc mainland American guests would not know to remove shoes in the foyer. I remember how odd my high school friend’s mother appeared–to me. That shoes-off request from white carpet lady was seen as fanatical–a neat freak, or germ-a-phobe, or someone excessively foolish enough to install wall to wall white carpet. If you grow up doing something, anything, that custom will seem so normal you don’t notice it. Only if you are exposed to alternative world views would you think of changing the action you had not even noticed. Now that I live in Hawaii it is obvious that no shoes inside is a better practice than walking in areas people walk their dogs, then walking inside your home in the same footwear. Before, in New York, how could I have known?

. Right now, every reader is, unknowingly, doing something someone in the world would find unacceptable or weird


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