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The mystery of Sippers and Slippers



Ordinary Japanese houses are quite small, compare to the Western countries.Despite it,toilets are separated places from washrooms in most houses.
Moreover,you need to change into slippers only for toilets.Why?

It is not too much to say that Nyapan is interested in hearing surprising things and problems about Japan from Wan-kun and other foreign people.Then I realized I’ve often heard the question,“What is the pair of slippers in the restroom for?” , “Changing your shoes into slippers at home makes sense for me.Because I understand there is the custom of taking your shoes off when entering home and some other places such as a Ryokan(Japanese style hotel) or Japanese restaurants in Japan.But why do you change into other slippers when entering the restroom again?” Umm….I’ve never thought deeply about that before. So, Nyapan tries to consider this issue.
1. Toilets were separated from daily spaces
Toilets are on the same floor at home in Japan nowadays, but many toilets used to be placed at a distance from main house a long time ago.Therefore, you had to go out and needed to change your shoes when you went to the toilet.And it is not still unusual that toilets are at a distance in Ryokans or some places even now.
These types toilets are apart from daily spaces and arranged through a different atmosphere like the tiling in there.That’s why slippers are needed only for toilets.This is my first view.
2. It still remains the old custom
As explained above<1>, toilets were separated from main houses.And the custom may still remain that slippers only for toilets are required, even though toilets are on the same floor with daily spaces.
This is my second view.
3. The mentality of Japanese people
Japanese people used to call a toilet “Gofujo” which means a dirty or a nasty place.Toilets were that place, as using such a word for Japanese people.Japanese people,who have the custom to take off shoes in rooms, love cleanliness.This mentality means people distinguish between toilets and rooms or other places, even though recent Japanese toilets have hi-tech functions which keep toilets clean in a nano-level.”Toilets and rooms are totally different!!” this consciousness makes Japanese people prepare for other slippers in a toilet.This is my third view.
When you enter home or some other places you have to take your shoes off,furthermore, you change into other slippers in a restroom…I think it’s natural for you to wonder about it.And it sometimes happens even Japanese people forget to leave toilet slippers and come back to a room with wearing them carelessly.
(Nyapan did it!) “What are the toilet slippers for?” The answer is that it might be one of the “Omotenashi" (Japanese hospitality) minds to keep you clean!
1 トイレは別口
2 習慣のなごり
3   日本人のメンタリティ
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