Tuesday, February 21, 2006


This morning I experienced an odd bit of nostalgia shock when I saw a woman in the city carrying her infant in the old-fashioned way. It was all the more surprising for the additional fact that it has become rather unusual even to see Japanese women with newborns anymore. The mother was using one of the baby slings that were so common when I first came to Japan (and a version of which I myself used on occasion when our children were born), but that sadly have pretty much disappeared, as this sight reminded me. The mother was carrying the infant strapped to her front, facing her.

To accommodate all the added bulk, she was wearing a modern-fashion version of the thick oversized winter coat designed for the purpose (though I liked the old-fashioned ethnic designs better), the safely contained baby peering out from between the lapels at the new but cold morning world from the comfort of her mother's touch and warmth.

The sight used to seem so third-world-y (and was so common) when I first came to this country, fresh from the land of baby carriages that were even then beginning to resemble small wingless 747s, and beheld Japanese mothers everywhere with babies simply strapped right to their front or back and going about their tasks freehanded, the babies sharing in it all and watching every move, staring directly into the faces on the bus.

Having used both methods myself, I'll take the baby sling. It does two bodies good.


Keith said...


I've been a reader for some time now and really enjoy your posts. As a late-comer however I don't know how and when you came to live in Japan. Would you fill me in? I've always wanted to visit especially Kyoto.

I studied a Japanese martial art for years with a traditional sensei and I was hooked.

Robert Brady said...

Thanks for the visits and the comment Keith; I'll try to do a summary kind of post about my coming to live in Japan; for some reason I don't think I ever did get that down concisely in one place, now that you mention it. As for your coming to Japan, when at last you visit old Kyoto, you won't be disappointed.