By Eve Corbett ’17
“Please take off your shoes at the door” said Kyoko Aoki, my host mother for the next ten months, as I stepped into my new home for the first time. The Japanese equivalent of a mudroom is a small area covered in tile with a wooden step up to the rest of the house. On the tile were multiple sets of shoes, all whose toes were facing the door. I removed my shoes as I was asked and placed my feet on the tile. Kana and Rina Aoki, my new sisters age 16 and 8, look at Kyoko uneasily. Since Kyoko is the only one in my home who speaks English, she explained to me my error.
“We don’t stand on this tile without wearing shoes” she says as she glances uncomfortably down at my feet. I apologize quickly and step up onto the wooden floor. She smiles warmly at me and assures me that it is okay since it is only my first day in this home. Read more