1. I stopped wearing shoes in the house.
My Japanese teacher wasn’t just focused on teaching me Japanese; I had to learn my manners too. I walked into her apartment for my lesson and she smacked me with the might of an 80-pound 60-year-old woman. Hitting was a loving way of letting me know I messed up and never to do it again. Sumo wrestlers go through the same training.
I made the mistake of asking her why it was so important to take off my shoes. This time I got smacked in the back of the head and yelled at with her characteristic “Eh” before she painfully repeated my words, as if to say,”Are you dumb enough to ask why your shoes are dirty? You wear them outside!”
I walked past a row of neatly lined-up slippers. Without turning her head, she continued walking through the hallway and said “Put the slippers on, it’s cold.” I soon had slippers in my Genkai as well.
Months down the road I had her over for dinner, and she put on the slippers as she nodded at me. That was the most praise I was going to get.