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Kobe 3

From the Diary of Hazel Bucklin 1923 - 1924

After walking a little, we saw a primary school building - a huge place, three stories high, and built around a large playground. It accommodates 1,000 children, and there are 60 primary schools in Kobe; 147 middle schools. We also saw a public market, but most of the booths were closed. Both farmers and merchants have booths, and the prices are fixed by the city.
Then, Donald and I rode in a rickshaw while the rest walked thru a slum section. We stopped at a municipal lodging house for men. Just before, we went past a section of municipal houses for married couples with a common dining room, the rents charged being very low. The lodging house is a larger, modern, clean and fireproof building (reinforced concrete). It has 60 rooms with 4 bunks in each (2 upper and 2 lower), a dining room, baths, and a social room where a group of men were squatted playing a complicated checkers game. There were 3 large, low tables, about a foot high. There were no chairs; in the kitchen were stools. I think there were benches in the dining room.)

Nakedness is apparently not considered improper in Japan, and no one seemed embarrassed when I looked in the bathrooms. The men crowded around us, very much interested, talking to the two Japanese, and making friends with Donald. The charge is 10 sen for a bed and 13 sen for a meal, and apparently men can stay there, if not indefinitely, at any rate for several nights in succession. The superintendent. was not there; he’d gone home for the night. We had to put felt slippers over our shoes before we could go upstairs.