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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is it impolite to ask guests to take off thier shoes?? 

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“Dear Ai,
My roommates’ friends do not take off their shoes when they come to our house. This is not a serious problem, but it makes me uncomfortable. Is it impolite to ask guests to take off their shoes in Canada?” Yoshi – Japan



Thank you for your interesting question, Yoshi! I’ve always told my students that there are no stupid questions. If one person wonders, I am sure that there is another student who has the same question.

In Japan, people are expected to take off their shoes because it is a normal thing to do, but you cannot expect your guests to know your culture. Your guests probably won’t be offended if you tell them “taking off your shoes is my house rule”. It is not rude to tell your guests to take off their shoes in Canada. They are glad to know your house rules beforehand, so they can avoid being embarrassed or making you upset.

I have visited many Canadian family houses and they all have different rules. Some of them asked me to take off shoes and others told me not to bother.

October is Halloween and soon enough we will have Christmas. I bet you will be invited to house parties. When you visit somebody’s house, make sure you ask them about their house rules, so you can respect them.

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