A Japanese household has no need of separate bedrooms, dining-room or parlor, for one room easily serves the purpose of all three. Rooms are absolutely bare of furniture, no matter how wealthy the family, with the exception, possibly, of a lacquered table raised from the floor about one foot. The furnishings of a house consist of the beautiful, spotlessly clean straw mats, three feet wide, six feet long and two inches thick, that lie snugly over the entire floor-space. Every room is built just such a size that it holds a certain number of mats, and is spoken of as a three-mat, a six-mat, eight-mat, or ten-mat room. On these mats are laid cushions stuffed with layers of cotton wadding, and covered with linen covers of soft, dull shades of blue, green, gray or brown, or, rarely, of a soft brown or gray leather.
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From General Nelson A. Miles
Thrilling Stories of The Russian-Japanese War, 1904