Reviewed by Marcy (Library Staff)
The book opens with a colorful description of the environment in a Japanese traditional Samurai compound. As the chapters begin we are introduced to five young girls, in 1851, who are being sent from a restrictive land to the US to learn the Western ways. Imagine coming from a castle with a moat, beautiful gardens, and a samurai mansion, full of warriors, family, maids and closed to the outside world. Then imagine getting off a ship in California where people sit on chairs, shake hands, talk strange, wear odd clothes, and have a completely different set of etiquette. The experiences and relationships that develop are not only personal but of great historic significance. Women had various roles, schools and education played a big part in both countries. Nimura’s account is rich in history, more detailed than a historic novel but as engrossing, nevertheless.
Available through the CAFE library system