Every truly Japanese style home or apartment has at least one room that is floored with tatami or rice straw mats. Room size was traditionally measured by the number of tatami. The tatami room is either a bedroom or a guest room where ocha (green tea) could be served (frequently in less than 10 minutes after entering a home, even if by surprise). When you enter a Japanese home your shoes come off and what a pain this can be when one is entering and exiting multiple tourist sites that require shoe removal. I have purchased shoes that appear normal with laces, but there is a short zipper alongside the laces that quickly allows you to jettison the shoes. Inside the home or tourist site you may or may not be provided with slippers. If so these must come off when entering the tatami room. The photographs illustrate a tatami room and a typical small factory that compresses the straw like material to make a mat. The tatami are somewhat softer than a wooden floor and therefore more suitable when sleeping on the floor.