Tim is 22 and lives in Birmingham where he works as an IT technician at the university.
He is single and shares a house with two friends.
Tim is very keen on science fiction and owns a large collection of Sci-fi DVDs. He and his friends are also very keen on computer games.
Tim has a shoes-off policy in his house. When he was younger and lived with his parents, he was expected to remove his shoes. When he moved out of the family home, he saw no reason to depart from the norm and got his housemates removing their shoes. Taking care of the carpet just seemed commonsense. Tim's housemates had also grown up expecting to remove shoes in their own homes and when visiting friends. For them, being in socks when in a home was normal for them.
When Tim's girlfriend first visited his house, she was surpised that at a house inhabited by three young men was as clean as it is. She was impressed and had no objection to removing her shoes when visiting.
When watching science fiction movies and t.v. shows, Tim sometimes wonders why characters are seldom shoeless.
Charlotte is 29 and lives with her partner in Reading. She is a pharmacist by profession.
Charlotte is a passionate lover of all things Japanese. She has visited Japan three times and she attends Japanese language classes. She has an avid interest in Japanese Anime films. It is a certainty that any exhibition of Japanese art in the Uk will be visited by Charlotte.
Charlotte admits that her Japanese cooking leaves a little to be desired, but it is not for want of trying. She is not brilliant at cooking English food either, but pharmacy was her calling in life, not catering.
She developed this fanatical interest when she visited a museum at the age of nine. In the museum she saw suits of samuarai armour, Japanese statues and other artifacts that fascinated her. Ever since, she took every opportunity to learn something of the country.
Perhaps inevitably, she adopted the custom of removing shoes in her home. Of course, she had several tatami mats in her living room, so wearing shoes was not an option. Charlotte's partner was under strict instructions to follow Japanese etiquette and remove his slippers before stepping on her tatami mats. He did draw the line at changing into toilet slippers when in the bathroom, however.
Charlotte's friends smile when reminded to remove their shoes. They put it down to her nipponophile craziness.