July 12, 2012

Spic and span


RyƓ pretending to be the cleaning boy is not all that anachronistic, even way back then.

One thing the campy Shogun gets right (it actually gets more things right than the horribly revisionist The Last Samurai) is that the medieval Japanese were considerably cleaner than their European counterparts.

And probably still are. In Ume-chan Sensei, despite living in bombed-out Kamata in the immediate aftermath of WWII, the family scrapes together the resources to build a crude o-furo. Priorities are priorities.

In This Old House type shows on Japanese television, the bathroom is always completely modernized, with western-style tubs (rectangular rather than square) and computerized toilets.

When it comes to keeping yourself clean, there's no sentimentality for the old-fashioned ways at home. That's what hot springs are for, and hot springs travel shows are ubiquitous on Japanese television.

But the medieval still holds sway over inanimate objects, from the ritual dusting of shrines and temples to school kids wiping down the classroom floors on their hands and knees. It builds character, you see.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

More kids having tons of janitorial fun here.

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