Listening to David Sedaris’ description of his life in Tokyo, (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1044355.When_You_Are_Engulfed_in_Flames?ac=1&from_search=true) I came to the conclusion that I could fit in seamlessly into Tokyoian society, at least on a very superficial level.
The living habits of that city are not all that dissimilar from those of my Dutch ancestors in the Mid-west. For instance, we were taught to remove our shoes outside the door. We didn’t have the sanitary, little slippers in a basket, in various sizes for guests as they do in Japan; socks were considered sufficient. In my thrifty family, those socks might be darned toe and heel, but they were always clean.
When I moved to California, I found that people looked at me oddly when I removed my shoes before entering. And eventually, someone explained that the oils from one’s foot dirtied a carpet worse than a street-soiled shoe. In southern California, people commonly wear sandals without socks. I don’t know whether shoes or feet contribute more to to dirty carpets but when in Rome… I still remove my shoes in my own home which results in socks covered in pet hair.
One of the habits of my fellow Californians that puzzles me is (well okay, I’ll be honest, ANNOYS me), is how they feel entitled, when in a public place, to leave a mess for someone else to clean up. I’ve seen adults make a huge, wet mess of a lavatory faucet and mirror and walk away. Do they assume the restroom attendant will pop in behind them to spare the next person having to wallow in their swamp? Hello, it’s Costco, dimwit, not the Ritz-Carlton.
Another thing we were taught as children is that our freedom ends where our neighbors’ sensibilities begin. In other words, don’t speak loudly in public where you may annoy someone else; don’t drive your car in a way that shows disregard for another’s safety; don’t allow your dogs to bark incessantly; keep the exterior of your house tidy; spay and neuter your pets; and generally be considerate of others, even those you don’t really understand.
So, I go through life wiping down faucets, picking up trash, adopting discarded animals, and generally trying to be the change I wish to see in my fellow man, all the while shaking my head and grumbling under my breath, “What slobs!”