Beyond the kitchen there are two other rooms of the house, and, as the screens separating these rooms are removed at early dawn, the occupants have no privacy as we know it. But privacy is the last thing a Japanese wants. He is sociable by nature; he likes his fellow-beings, and to be alone would be unhappiness to him. So far does his love of society lead him that he much prefers to take his public bath at the public bath-house, where he may chat and gossip, while he scrubs and soaks himself, in company with a number of his fellow townspeople. When this pleasure was denied of him, he formerly used to have his own private bath-tub removed to the roadside by his doorway, where he could pass the time of day with his neighbors and the passing traveler while enjoying his ablutions.
This custom was likewise held to by the women of the family. Now, however, since the restoration of 68, and the enactment of new, and, to the Japanese, incomprehensible laws, the local police will permit no tubs by the village roadside, and they may be found there only in districts so remote and isolated that the visits of the watchful police are few and far between.
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From General Nelson A. Miles
Thrilling Stories of The Russian-Japanese War, 1904