Ladies in kimono make me breathless

It’s true that most of my observation tends towards the louche, the extreme and even shocking. Yet somehow my heart is also touched by the frequent displays of stately elegance that can take your breath away in Tokyo. Recently, I saw this group of elderly ladies in kimonos and sun umbrellas arriving at Taiikukan as I left the pool. I love how five are wearing identical blue kimonos with a ginko leaf pattern, while the sixth has chosen a different color. There’s something elevated and magical about their costume, posture, and their broad formation.

Magic Sento

Magic sento

In the summer heat, I have suspended my regular sento visits: enjoying gratuitous single-sex neighborly nudity and soaking in a large hot tub. Although I prefer going to the “yakuza sento” Hagaromo in Nishi-Shinjuku, where tattoos are allowed, the nearby “Magic Sento” is lovely, too. The owner’s son performs a weekly magic show in the lobby.