This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I’m writing about the 1800s in celebration of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s race around the world in 1889, the subject of my new novel based on this adventure: Liz and Nellie.
Japan opened up to foreigners in 1854, just thirty-five years before Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland set out on their race around the world. They both loved Japan, having wonderful things to say about the country. They stayed in the port city of Yokohama, on the English side, at the Grand Hotel. Elizabeth went shopping, curious at how the shops opened right out onto the street, and thrilled at the array of silks.
Silk Merchant By Unknown – Popular Science Monthly Volume 43, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12783669
We sit on the edge of the little platform that forms the floor of the shop, and, in the baby talk that is called pigeon-English, bargain with the amiable shopkeeper seated on his own heels and within easy reach of all his goods….In the silk-shops we find the very poetry of fabrics: . . . crapes like milky opals, with the pale iris hues of rainbows; crapes with the faint purple and rose of clear sunset skies, embroidered with wheeling flights of white storks….fairy garments all, woven of rainbows and moonbeams! –Elizabeth Bisland, In Seven Stages
The One Hundred Steps
In Yokohama, I went to Hundred Steps, at the top of which lives a Japanese belle, Oyuchisan, who is the theme for artist and poet, and the admiration of tourists. –Nellie Bly, Around the World in 72 Days
For more check out: Popular Science Monthly Volume 43, May 1893