Netanyahu Hosted Japan's PM for Dinner. The Dessert Stunned

Not in a good way, though, as shoes are looked down upon in Japanese culture
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2018 9:46 AM CDT
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pose during a photo op ahead of their meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on May 2, 2018.   (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – On Monday, Israeli celebrity chef Segev Moshe proudly posted a pic on Instagram showing off his latest creation: what looked to be a man's shoe filled with a "chocolate selection from the world." Per the Washington Post, it was Moshe's dessert offering for a May 2 dinner he oversaw for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wife Sara, and their guests of honor: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, who were making their second official visit to Israel. Observers were quick to point out, however, one big problem with Moshe's display of confections, as explained by an anonymous senior Israeli official who has served in Japan to the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, via the Jerusalem Post: "There is nothing more despised in Japanese culture than shoes."

That belief extends to etiquette that requires taking off one's shoes before entering a Japanese home. The official says that Moshe's dish was "stupid," "insensitive," and "equivalent to serving a Jewish guest chocolates in a dish shaped like a pig." A Japanese diplomat adds "we were offended on behalf of our prime minister." Abe was said to have handled the incident "gracefully," however, per USA Today, and a source tells YA that Abe and his wife even invited Moshe to come whip something up in Japan, per the Times of Israel. Meanwhile, Moshe's publicist says in a statement that what the chocolates were served in was a "high-quality piece of art made of cast metal in the shape of a shoe," a creation by artist Tom Dixon. "It is not a real shoe." (Why a dot on a mousse dish recently made Japan furious.)

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