The world of design: What habits can be adopted from residents of other countries

Есть проблема: беспорядок на кухонной столешнице

One of the best things about traveling is the opportunity to experience a culture that is completely different from yours. But if you do not enter the home of someone from the locals, the real picture of the life of ordinary people remains hazy.

We decided to fix it. Travel with us to Japan, Russia, Bali and beyond, and we’ll tell you about the amazing, intriguing, or simply sensible habits of Houzz users around the world. Who knows, you might want to adopt a couple of these habits for your own household.

LASC Studio

Welcome home
If you are used to opening the front door and walking further into the living room, or
to the kitchen without stopping, imagine what could be different. In many countries, it is customary to take off your shoes before entering a home. But why?

One Houzz user told us that in Japan, guests are offered slippers after they take off their shoes. “It’s just unthinkable to enter a Japanese house in street shoes,” says Anna Semida, who learned about the custom while studying in Tokyo.

Don’t be surprised if in a Japanese home you see an extra pair of slippers or rubber thongs at the bathroom door. When someone goes to the toilet, it is customary that they take off their slippers and put on a pair of “toilet” ones. “It’s all for the sake of maintaining cleanliness,” explains Anna. This custom appeared at a time when all houses had a hole in the floor instead of toilets, and separate slippers were used for reasons of hygiene. Another bonus of this custom is that if you see a pair of slippers near the bathroom door, you know for sure that the room is occupied.

In Thailand, people don’t just take off their shoes when they come home, but they wash their feet right away. Why not? The house will definitely be cleaner if you don’t carry sand from the beach into it. And clean legs are always nice.

Fedor Efremov

Each country has its own traditional gifts for every occasion, especially when it comes to gifts that guests bring to the hosts of the house. One of the German users of Houzz said that in Germany it is customary to give a cup of salt and a loaf of bread for housewarming. Salt and bread are considered the most necessary things in everyday life, and as a gift they symbolize the wish for prosperity.

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In Russia, at a traditional wedding, the groom’s parents give bread and salt to their son and his
the bride, wishing them health, well-being and hospitality when receiving guests. After all, the modern word hospitable is synonymous with the outdated hospitable.

A user from Japan says that if you are invited to dinner at someone’s house, it is not customary to come empty-handed. But if you came with a wrapped gift, don’t expect the hosts to open it in your presence. And it’s not about embarrassment – it’s just that the Japanese love beautiful packaging no less than the gifts themselves.

In some countries, bringing the “wrong” gift is just as insulting as coming without a gift at all. For example, in China, you cannot give flowers to the owners of the house, because they are associated with death and funeral.

In Afghanistan, it is customary to bring with you beautifully wrapped fruits, sweets or pastries, while it is very important not to give them into the hands of the owners, but leave them discreetly under the door or in the dining room.

Advice: It will not be superfluous to find out which hand is customary to eat in a particular country. For example, in some countries you can eat only with your right hand, because your left hand is for the toilet.

Elena Ambrosimova

There is a wonderful tradition in Russia to clean carpets on the street. This habit is worth adopting if you live in a country where it snows in winter. “Before the New Year it was so great to clean the carpets in the yard,” says Olga Odintsova. – Children ran on the spread carpets and poured fluffy snow on them with shovels. Then they took brooms and beaters and swept the annual dust from the carpets along with the snow. It was so much fun! And on New Year’s, the air in the house was clean and fresh. “

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Natalya Popova agrees with Olga: “I remember how freshness is felt in the house after knocking out all the carpets in the snow. And children love to play with them on the street. “

In Asian countries, the week before the New Year is the time for major house cleaning. In addition to the pleasure of celebrating the New Year in a shining home, cleaning symbolizes getting rid of bad energy. But right after the New Year, you should not clean up in any case – you will release all fresh positive energy from the house.

Generally, in many countries, cleaning is an important part of everyday life, regardless of the holidays and the season. A friend of mine from Malaysia once said that he sweeps and mops the floor in the kitchen every day after dinner to face the new day in spotless cleanliness.


Daytime sleep
Spaniards are not the only ones who love siesta. Residents of Mexico, Italy, the Philippines and other countries also happily escape the heat and use the midday time to relax, especially after a hearty meal with their family.

“Yes, siesta is sacred,” says architect Elena Kindtner, who lives in Spain. – Everyone works in two shifts: from early morning until 13:30, and then from 17:00 until the evening. From 15:00 to 17:00 ─ siesta time, and even longer in the summer heat. “

In China, a 60-hour work week makes a day’s rest not only enjoyable, but well-founded. It is believed that if someone feels sleepy during the day, then their workload is too heavy – another reason to admire the Chinese society.

In Japan, it is also considered normal to take a nap in the workplace. The Japanese call this habit “inemuri” and do not consider this behavior a sign of laziness. On the contrary, if a person sleeps at his desk, this proves that he worked very hard and with complete dedication.

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You can work from home or find a secluded corner in your office – either way, you now have an excellent explanation for the need for a siesta. Plus, medical research has proven that naps increase brain activity and productivity.

Leonardo da Vinci slept for 15 minutes every four hours. Napoleon, Margaret Thatcher and John F. Kennedy also liked to take an afternoon nap.

jonathan gooch photography

Clothing customs
The place of residence largely determines our everyday habits, including the way we handle clothes and shoes. Several Australian users reported that it is a very common practice in their country to shake boots and shoes before putting them on. This is not surprising, because several species of poisonous snakes and spiders live in Australia. In rural areas, residents shake up not only shoes, but also clothes to save themselves from creeping surprises.

It’s funny that even the most familiar things may seem exotic somewhere. The Australians, like the Russians, hang their clothes on the street after washing (by the way, in the photo, actually, the courtyard of a British estate). In a country where tumble dryers and tumble dryers have become the norm, this seems like a wild habit.

In humid climates, clothes and shoes can become rotten or mildewed. For example, in Bali, washed laundry can take several days to dry. Various fragrances are used in Bali for another reason: it is believed that evil spirits are afraid of strong smells. “All household activities are aimed at pleasing spirits,” says Elina Gordeeva, a Russian woman living in Indonesia. “If you make them angry, expect trouble. That is why Balinese people never dry clothes on a height higher than human height or on the second floor. It is also considered a terrible sin and an insult to spirits to hang out underwear or bathing suits for all to see.

Which of the habits of people from other countries surprised you the most? Share your impressions in the comments section.


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About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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