May 02, 2006

School Days: Indoor Shoes and Cleaning Cloth

At school here, children take off their street shoes and leave them in shelves by the entrance. They wear indoor shoes that are used only for school. Kindergarteners and elementary school students in our area wear this type. Junior high students at our neighborhood school use regular sneakers. They wear them only inside the school and gym.

Children take a terry cloth towel called zokin. It is folded and sewn into a rectangle. They use it to clean the floors of their classroom and halls. The zokin sometimes has a name tag and a hoop for hanging. At Little Brother's school, the zokin is hung on a bar across the front of their desks to dry. Clothespins were taken to fasten the cloth around the bar.

Still after all the cleaning they do, the shoes get pretty dirty. They are brought home each Friday to wash. He brought them home today because of Golden Week. Now after three weeks of school, his shoes look nothing like this. They are gray. The zokin was gray, too. Imagine how dirty it would be if they wore street shoes in the school!

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