Friday, August 20, 2010

Doctor Who Comic Strip

Yesterday, I bought the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. This month's comic strip is set in Tokyo. I am not going to spoil your surprise by telling you who the returning villains are, but I am going to make a few comments on the artwork.

The Doctor and his companion, Amy visit a Tokyo apartment and remove their shoes before entering. So far so good, but there are some inaccuracies about shoe removal.

None of the apartments depicted in the strip appear to have a genkan. That is the step that separates the outside zone from the inside. In fact, in one scene the characters enter an apartment with their shoes on and discarded shoes are visible on the floor of the apartment! The artist seems to be under the impression that Japanese people enter their homes with their shoes on and then take them off before stepping onto tatami mats!

In one scene a Japanese school girl has her feet up on a couch in an office with her shoes still on. Even in a shoes-on location, a Japanese person would remove their shoes before putting their feet on a seat. I know most people have never been to Japan, but it ought to seem obvious that people who are strict about not wearing shoes in homes would not put outside shoes on seats.

There is also a Japanese character putting her slipper-shod feet on a tatami mat. That is not correct Japanese etiquette. You remove your slippers before stepping onto a tatami mat. They can be forgiven this one, however, because occasionally Japanese people break this rule.

I know it is only a comic strip, but it would not take that much effort to find out on Google how the Japanese shoe-removing custom actually works.


Moderate Mouse said...

*comes in, wringing her hands*

I try to keep my comments at least semi-relevant to the post at hand or at least the other comments in the corresponding thread, but I can't keep this in my head anymore, so here it goes:

*takes deep breath* Earlier this year, I started taking baby steps towards disassociating the use of "real" shoes from life inside the home, starting with getting some slippers that I'd be willing to wear when dressed in regular clothes (as opposed to pajamas) and doing household chores or otherwise being up and about in the house. I'd basically wear said slippers if, as far as I knew, I wasn't going out that day, or if I came home from where I had been, I wasn't going out that evening (again, that I knew of).

When I went to my sister's house this summer, I took my three pairs of ballet flat slippers and my blue "at home" flip-flops and the habit I had tied to them with me.

Since my return in August, the step I've been working on is getting dressed for where it is I'm planning on going in the morning, but holding off on putting the shoes on (and instead going about my pre-going out business in one of the pairs of the aforementioned slippers or flip-flops depending on season and/or whatever else I'm wearing) until the last minute or as close to that as possible (something that isn't as annoying as I had previously thought; but maybe it's because I have more time to spare in the mornings as of late). Surely, baby steps are better than no steps at all, right? *smiles nervously* (And for the record, I'm not doing this from the cleanliness angle; I'm doing it from more of a symbolic angle which I'd explain in this comment if it wasn't so long, but I can do so in another comment if you'd like.)

BTW, in the last paragraph, you've got "Japanese" spelled "Japense".

Sashindoubutsu said...

In the lab, we always change our street shoes to staff room shoes, and then to laboratory shoes when entering the "clean room" :-)

We have a sign saying "Shoe Off Please" in our lab doors.

Celestial Fundy said...

Sashinbotsu, thanks for visiting. Have you visited before?

Celestial Fundy said...

Whatever works for you, MM.

Moderate Mouse said...

Thanks, CF.