Thursday, July 02, 2009

Japanese hospital slippers

My sister is coming to work in Japan from August. In fact she is coming to work at the exact same schools that I worked in about 13 years ago... she is coming as a JET participant to my town - baby sitters in the same town - lucky us! As part of her preparations I was silly enough to ask her if anyone had given her the "shoe" talk. She assured me no one had, but that she was keen to hear it. I tried to explain that although she will wear shoes to school she will not stay in those shoes, but will need to change into "indoor" shoes and then if she wants to do something in the gym she will need to change into "indoor sports" shoes. Of course if she wants to go outside she will need to change into her regular shoes again..... a little complicated for beginners! I didn't want to overwhelm her by letting her know that there are also "toilet shoes" as these are provided for you and therefore only require you stepping into them. The reason I tried to warn her about the indoor shoes thing is because if you don't bring your own "slippers" you are expected to try and walk up and down stairs, do the hokey pokey and carry your lunch on a precarious tray while wearing the "school slippers" - which are basically plastic slip-on thingies that were invented by people who were very good at shuffling or who had such sticky feet that they stuck to the inside of the slippers while walking up stairs rather than having sweaty feet which mean the slippers fall off as soon as you start to attempt any upward (or even forward) movement. For those of us who have been here long enough we know all about these slippers and have a pair of our own, much more comfortable slippers in our cars, handbags and back pockets. For those who don't know it is the dreaded communal slippers or people continually running after you waving slippers at you.
I have a hard enough time thinking about who has been using the slippers when I visit schools, but today I had one of those "only in Japan" kind of experiences which has left me wanting to wash my feet a zillion times! The skin on my daughter's fingers has been peeling off a lot so I finally took her to the "skin doctor" today. They finished school early (I have stopped even bothering to ask why....) and so we were at the doctors by 3pm. The good thing about Japanese doctors is that you don't need an appointment. The bad thing about Japanese doctors is that you can't get an appointment. Despite having to wait almost an hour and a half to see the doctor (for all of 2 minutes) that wasn't the worst part of the experience (we are used to that now)..... the worst part was when I got to the entrance and remembered that that clinic has the "no shoes" policy and therefore requires you to take off your shoes at the door and trade them in for the dreaded communal slippers..... just in case you missed it... this is a skin specialist clinic.... as in half of the people are there for athletes foot, warts, smelly feet etc. Of course my school slippers were not in the car this one time and of course as it is over 30 degrees each day I was not wearing socks. Yuck, yuck and more yuck! My thinking is that they are trying to boost their repeater patient numbers by making sure that all those who come in with peeling fingers this week come back again next week with foot rot. I repeat: yuck, yuck, yuck!
I tried to find a picture of some hospital slippers to give you an idea (the ones I found are from other web pages.. sorry no links) and at the same time discovered a fun article about this very thing - if anyone still has some reading power after getting through this lot of dribble check out the following link: Roller Derby Queen Swishes to Hospital

9 comments:

  1. Ahhh yes. I think slipper-hitting should be a new ALT sport. You know- one point for an JTE, 2 for the VP, 3 for the principal and 5 for the head of the BOE. My very first visit to one school I was following the VP down a flight of stairs and wheeee slap! Off goes the slipper and straight into VPs back. Oops!

    the skin hospital slippers do sound rather icky. Do they at least have one of those UV cases to keep the slipper in and ostensibly kill the nasties?

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  2. Eww gross. I would of just gone bare foot...claiming they didn`t fit!!!

    How lucky your sister is coming to Japan!!! That will be lovely for you and your children, I am sure!

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  3. Hello Heather... I would love to say that there is a special UV case to kill the nasties, but unfortunately - no. Not even a spray like at the bowling alleys. Nothing at all... just some fresh air to keep the bugs moving as people open the outside doors. I repeat.. no cleaning at all!

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  4. Sorry Lulu - your comment snuck in as I was replying to Heather... my children chose the barefoot option.. I think I will do so next time! Yes, it will be great for me and my children to have family very close by.

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  5. scungy, heinous, gross, scodey - how many more adjectives do you need for those hospital slippers. Please come and visit if you have some time - might just stop me from starting up the chainsaw - in which case I would be at odds over who to do in first, Granny K or hub. Oh, the dilema.

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  6. Oh that is the new definition of GROSS!! Especially at a foot specialist... YUCK!!

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  7. i usually go slipperless. but then, you get the interfering old biddy who follows you with a pair of slippers, insisting LOUDLY that you MUST put some slippers on. *sigh* don't. understand. japanese. LOL

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  8. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia Europe
    thank you

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  9. I never really wore shoes inside the house so having slippers is sort of mute and pointless, the foot specialist (Podiatrists) have anti-fungi slippers, still it is GROSS and I will go without or bring my own.

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