In Japan, the genkan, entryway, marks the boundary between “outside” and “home,” and it is marked by the presence of SHOES. Outdoor shoes are left behind at the entry, which is what we see here, the jumble of family shoes and visiting friends’ shoes. The people, no longer visible, (us among them) are somewhere inside the warm and living heart of the house.
Aesthetically not what we may think of as beauty, perhaps, but warmth around the heart is also a beautiful thing —
At this time of heartbreak in Japan, may the victims of the earthquake and tsunami soon find someplace to put their shoes, somewhere once again to enter into and call HOME —
It seems so ironic, the Japanese always leave the house with special words which I could never commit to memory which mean, I’m going out now. And the response from the person who stays home, usually the wife or the mother, is Leave and return.And how many hundreds, thousands, left their homes in the north of Japan saying that, and crossed over the <em>genkan</em> — and the other half will never be uttered. It breaks the heart.