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Showing posts from January, 2012

Cleanliness in Asia

I've spent about six months each in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul, and there are some huge differences in cultural norms for personal hygiene and cleanliness between the East and the West. I picked up some good habits there, and look back now with filthy horror on certain breaches of sanitation that are considered normal here in the West. Here are three of the worst offenders:

1) Shoes in the house. Everywhere I've lived in Asia, you take your shoes off as soon as you enter the house. It makes a lot of sense - you've been walking around all day on god-knows-what, and if you then walk all over your home, you've brought all that stuff inside. Take your shoes off - your house will stay cleaner as a result.

2) Street-clothes on the bed. This one really bothers me now. I know tons of people in the States who will sit down in a disgusting city subway, lean back on a grimy seat at the movie theater, go hiking through a dusty forest, whatever, and the first thing they do when the…