Japan As They Saw It

“very startling at first”

    Shimo-no-Sewa is the Aix-les-Bains of this country; just now (6 P.M.) the rank and fashion of Japan are pretty generally standing or splashing about in the large tanks of warm mineral water, open to the street at the door of every tea-house. A lady and her little child have emerged from the bath, and are sitting down to cool on the doorstep opposite the room I write in. Neither of them has a scrap of clothing on, only some long tortoiseshell pins in the hair; and now I see she has slipped on her straw sandals, while a gentleman, also unclothed, has come up to talk to her, and hang himself out to dry. It is really very startling at first. She is a respectable matronly woman, but certainly, on the whole—and we have opportunities of judging here—the costume of Eden is not becoming to fat middle-aged ladies. Other people are sauntering up and down, as on the promenade at Homburg; but seem entirely comfortable with nothing whatever on.

F. D. Bridges, Journal of a Lady’s Travels Round the World, 1883

Donate to the Internet Archive