Ever wondered what's with the toilet slippers in Japan? Surely I am not the only foreigner to question whether we need to be entirely reshod before entering the restroom in a Japanese house.

Since the designated toilet slippers are usually plastic, as opposed to something more promising, like the glass slippers Cinderella wore, it's hard not to feel at least environmentally unfriendly, if not like an environmental wretch. These slippers will not cover up your carbon footprint. Give me spiked heels made out of natural wood, and at least I'd feel sexy going to the toilet. But instead we have to cram our feet into cheap plastic-wear emblazoned with catchy English slogans such as "Happy Hippo Toilet." I mean, who back home would believe this stuff?

Yet Westerners have been using the loo for centuries without toilet slippers. It's a sobering thought. Maybe we're missing something.