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Shoes Off Before Coming In!

It’s no secret that many places in Japan require that you take off your shoes when entering – good examples being temples and family homes. I was quite surprised, however, to see a sign warning about this practice placed outside in a public park!

土足禁止

どそく きんし

No shoes!

The neat Japanese word often used when requesting removal of one’s shoes is 土足 – literally the ‘ground feet’ – the part of your body touching the earth. The word 足 (あし) on its own is used to talk about one’s feet or legs, which can get confusing at times. The sign above also kindly has simple instructions written out which amount to the same thing:

くつをぬいでご使用ください。

くつを ぬいで ごしよう ください。

Please take off your shoes.

脱ぐ (ぬぐ) is the kanji for ‘take off’ (one’s clothes). ご使用 means ‘usage’, so the sign literally translates to: ‘Please take off your shoes and use (the walkway)’.

What walkway you ask? This one:

Rather curiously, it’s an outdoor setup for foot reflexology. Nicknamed the 健康快道 (けんこうかいどう) – the ‘health pleasure trail’, it uses different patterned panels to hit pressure points in your feet that apparently have an effect on different parts off your body. I’d heard of foot massage before, but never seen a setup quite like this, especially outdoors! Have you seen something similar?

Here’s another use of 土足:

マンションに土足で上がる
Go into the apartment with shoes on.

(※ マンション is a word used to mean ‘modern apartment’. It doesn’t mean a huge house like the typical usage of mansion would suggest!)

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8 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)
    -Sabrina

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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