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Title: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
Author: Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy)
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1911 John Murray edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org.  Second proofing by Kate Ruffell.

                          [Picture: Book cover]

               [Picture: The Yomei Gate, Shrines of Nikkô]



UNBEATEN TRACKS
IN JAPAN


                  AN ACCOUNT OF TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR
              INCLUDING VISITS TO THE ABORIGINES OF YEZO AND
                           THE SHRINE OF NIKKÔ

                           BY ISABELLA L. BIRD
              AUTHOR OF ‘SIX MONTHS IN THE SANDWICH ISLANDS’
                  ‘A LADY’S LIFE IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS’
                                ETC. ETC.

                                * * * * *

                            WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

                                * * * * *

                                  LONDON
                      JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET
                                   1911

                                * * * * *

FIRST EDITION,              _January_ 1905
_Reprinted_,                   _June_ 1907
SECOND EDITION (1/-)        _October_ 1911

                                * * * * *

                              To the Memory
                                    OF
                               LADY PARKES,
                      WHOSE KINDNESS AND FRIENDSHIP
                                ARE AMONG
                 MY MOST TREASURED REMEMBRANCES OF JAPAN,
                              THIS VOLUME IS
                        GRATEFULLY AND REVERENTLY
                                DEDICATED.



PREFACE


HAVING been recommended to leave home, in April 1878, in order to recruit
my health by means which had proved serviceable before, I decided to
visit Japan, attracted less by the reputed excellence of its climate than
by the certainty that it possessed, in an especial degree, those sources
of novel and sustained interest which conduce so essentially to the
enjoyment and restoration of a solitary health-seeker.  The climate
disappointed me, but, though I found the country a study rather than a
rapture, its interest exceeded my largest expectations.

This is not a “Book on Japan,” but a narrative of travels in Japan, and
an attempt to contribute something to the sum of knowledge of the present
condition of the country, and it was not till I had travelled for some
months in the interior of the main island and in Yezo that I decided that
my materials were novel enough to render the contribution worth making.
From Nikkô northwards my route was altogether off the beaten track, and
had never been traversed in its entirety by any European.  I lived among
the Japanese, and saw their mode of living, in regions unaffected by
European contact.  As a lady travelling alone, and the first European
lady who had been seen in several districts through which my route lay,
my experiences differed more or less widely from those of preceding
travellers; and I am able to offer a fuller account of the aborigines of
Yezo, obtained by actual acquaintance with them, than has hitherto been
given.  These are my chief reasons for offering this volume to the
public.

It was with some reluctance that I decided that it should consist mainly
of letters written on the spot to my sister and a circle of personal
friends, for this form of publication involves the sacrifice of artistic
arrangement and literary treatment, and necessitates a certain amount of
egotism; but, on the other hand, it places the reader in the position of
the traveller, and makes him share the vicissitudes of travel,
discomfort, difficulty, and tedium, as well as novelty and enjoyment.
The “beaten tracks,” with the exception of Nikkô, have been dismissed in
a few sentences, but where their features have undergone marked changes
within a few years, as in the case of Tôkiyô (Yedo), they have been
sketched more or less slightly.  Many important subjects are necessarily
passed over.

In Northern Japan, in the absence of all other sources of information, I
had to learn everything from the people themselves, through an
interpreter, and every fact had to be disinterred by careful labour from
amidst a mass of rubbish.  The Ainos supplied the information which is
given concerning their customs, habits, and religion; but I had an
opportunity of comparing my notes with some taken about the same time by
Mr. Heinrich Von Siebold of the Austrian Legation, and of finding a most
satisfactory agreement on all points.

Some of the Letters give a less pleasing picture of the condition of the
peasantry than the one popularly presented, and it is possible that some
readers may wish that it had been less realistically painted; but as the
scenes are strictly representative, and I neither made them nor went in
search of them, I offer them in the interests of truth, for they
illustrate the nature of a large portion of the material with which the
Japanese Government has to work in building up the New Civilisation.

Accuracy has been my first aim, but the sources of error are many, and it
is from those who have studied Japan the most carefully, and are the best
acquainted with its difficulties, that I shall receive the most kindly
allowance if, in spite of carefulness, I have fallen into mistakes.

The Transactions of the English and German Asiatic Societies of Japan,
and papers on special Japanese subjects, including “A Budget of Japanese
Notes,” in the _Japan Mail_ and _Tôkiyô Times_, gave me valuable help;
and I gratefully acknowledge the assistance afforded me in many ways by
Sir Harry S. Parkes, K.C.B., and Mr. Satow of H.B.M.’s Legation,
Principal Dyer, Mr. Chamberlain of the Imperial Naval College, Mr. F. V.
Dickins, and others, whose kindly interest in my work often encouraged me
when I was disheartened by my lack of skill; but, in justice to these and
other kind friends, I am anxious to claim and accept the fullest measure
of personal responsibility for the opinions expressed, which, whether
right or wrong, are wholly my own.

The illustrations, with the exception of three, which are by a Japanese
artist, have been engraved from sketches of my own or Japanese
photographs.

I am painfully conscious of the defects of this volume, but I venture to
present it to the public in the hope that, in spite of its demerits, it
may be accepted as an honest attempt to describe things as I saw them in
Japan, on land journeys of more than 1400 miles.

Since the letters passed through the press, the beloved and only sister
to whom, in the first instance, they were written, to whose able and
careful criticism they owe much, and whose loving interest was the
inspiration alike of my travels and of my narratives of them, has passed
away.

                                                         ISABELLA L. BIRD.



CONTENTS.

                              LETTER I.
First View of Japan—A Vision of Fujisan—Japanese             Pages 1–7
_Sampans_—“Pullman Cars”—Undignified Locomotion—Paper
Money—The Drawbacks of Japanese Travelling
                              LETTER II.
Sir Harry Parkes—An “Ambassador’s Carriage”—Cart                   8–9
Coolies
                             LETTER III.
Yedo and Tôkiyô—The Yokohama Railroad—The Effect of              10–14
Misfits—The Plain of Yedo—Personal Peculiarities—First
Impressions of Tôkiyô—H. B. M.’s Legation—An English
Home
                              LETTER IV.
“John Chinaman”—Engaging a Servant—First Impressions             15–20
of Ito—A Solemn Contract—The Food Question
                              LETTER V.
Kwan-non Temple—Uniformity of Temple Architecture—A              21–31
_Kuruma_ Expedition—A Perpetual Festival—The
_Ni-ô_—The Limbo of Vanity—Heathen Prayers—Binzuru—A
Group of Devils—Archery Galleries—New Japan—An
_Élégante_
                              LETTER VI.
Fears—Travelling Equipments—Passports—Coolie Costume—A           32–42
Yedo Diorama—Rice—Fields—Tea-Houses—A Traveller’s
Reception—The Inn at Kasukabé—Lack of Privacy—A
Concourse of Noises—A Nocturnal Alarm—A Vision of
Policemen—A Budget from Yedo
                      LETTER VI.—(_Continued_.)
A Coolie falls ill—Peasant Costume—Varieties in                  43–50
Threshing—The Tochigi _Yadoya_—Farming Villages—A
Beautiful Region—An _In Memoriam_ Avenue—A Doll’s
Street—Nikkô—The Journey’s End—Coolie Kindliness
                             LETTER VII.
A Japanese Idyll—Musical Stillness—My Rooms—Floral               51–53
Decorations—Kanaya and his Household—Table Equipments
                             LETTER VIII
The Beauties of Nikkô—The Burial of Iyéyasn—The                  54–61
Approach to the Great Shrines—The Yomei Gate—Gorgeous
Decorations—Simplicity of the Mausoleum—The Shrine of
Iyémitsu—Religious Art of Japan and India—An
Earthquake—Beauties of Wood-carving
                              LETTER IX.
A Japanese Pack-Horse and Pack-Saddle—_Yadoya_ and               62–65
Attendant—A Native Watering-Place—The Sulphur Baths—A
“Squeeze”
                              LETTER X.
Peaceful Monotony—A Japanese School—A Dismal                     66–72
Ditty—Punishment—A Children’s Party—A Juvenile
Belle—Female Names—A Juvenile
Drama—Needlework—Caligraphy—Arranging
Flowers—Kanaya—Daily Routine—An Evening’s
Entertainment—Planning Routes—The God-shelf
                       LETTER X.—(_Continued_.)
Darkness visible—Nikkô Shops—Girls and Matrons—Night             73–76
and Sleep—Parental Love—Childish
Docility—Hair-dressing—Skin Diseases
                       LETTER X.—(_Completed_.)
Shops and Shopping—The Barber’s Shop—A Paper                     77–79
Waterproof—Ito’s Vanity—Preparations for the
Journey—Transport and Prices—Money and Measurements
                              LETTER XI.
Comfort disappears—Fine Scenery—An Alarm—A                       80–91
Farm-house—An unusual Costume—Bridling a Horse—Female
Dress and Ugliness—Babies—My _Mago_—Beauties of the
Kinugawa—Fujihara—My Servant—Horse-shoes—An absurd
Mistake
                             LETTER XII.
A Fantastic Jumble—The “Quiver” of Poverty—The                   92–95
Water-shed—From Bad to Worse—The Rice Planter’s
Holiday—A Diseased Crowd—Amateur Doctoring—Want of
Cleanliness—Rapid Eating—Premature Old Age
                      LETTER XII.—(_Concluded_.)
A Japanese Ferry—A Corrugated Road—The Pass of                   96–98
Sanno—Various Vegetation—An Unattractive
Undergrowth—Preponderance of Men
                             LETTER XIII.
The Plain of Wakamatsu—Light Costume—The Takata                 99–105
Crowd—A Congress of Schoolmasters—Timidity of a
Crowd—Bad Roads—Vicious Horses—Mountain Scenery—A
Picturesque Inn—Swallowing a Fish-bone—Poverty and
Suicide—An Inn-kitchen—England Unknown!—My Breakfast
Disappears
                             LETTER XIV.
An Infamous Road—Monotonous Greenery—Abysmal Dirt—Low          106–108
Lives—The Tsugawa _Yadoya_—Politeness—A Shipping
Port—A “Barbarian Devil”
                              LETTER XV.
A Hurry—The Tsugawa Packet-boat—Running the                    109–112
Rapids—Fantastic Scenery—The
River-life—Vineyards—Drying Barley—Summer Silence—The
Outskirts of Niigata—The Church Mission House
                             LETTER XVI.
Abominable Weather—Insect Pests—Absence of Foreign             114–119
Trade—A Refractory River—Progress—The Japanese
City—Water Highways—Niigata Gardens—Ruth Fyson—The
Winter Climate—A Population in Wadding
                             LETTER XVII.
The Canal-side at Niigata—Awful                                120–127
Loneliness—Courtesy—Dr. Palm’s Tandem—A Noisy
_Matsuri_—A Jolting Journey—The Mountain
Villages—Winter Dismalness—An Out-of-the-world
Hamlet—Crowded Dwellings—Riding a Cow—“Drunk and
Disorderly”—An Enforced Rest—Local
Discouragements—Heavy Loads—Absence of Beggary—Slow
Travelling
                            LETTER XVIII.
Comely Kine—Japanese Criticism on a Foreign Usage—A            128–136
Pleasant Halt—Renewed Courtesies—The Plain of
Yonezawa—A Curious Mistake—The Mother’s
Memorial—Arrival at Komatsu—Stately Accommodation—A
Vicious Horse—An Asiatic Arcadia—A Fashionable
Watering-place—A Belle—“Godowns”
                             LETTER XIX.
Prosperity—Convict Labour—A New                                137–142
Bridge—Yamagata—Intoxicating Forgeries—The Government
Buildings—Bad Manners—Snow Mountains—A Wretched Town
                              LETTER XX.
The Effect of a Chicken—Poor Fare—Slow                         143–145
Travelling—Objects of Interest—_Kak’ké_—The Fatal
Close—A Great Fire—Security of the _Kuras_
                      LETTER XX.—(_Continued_.)
Lunch in Public—A Grotesque Accident—Police                    146–151
Inquiries—Man or Woman?—A Melancholy Stare—A Vicious
Horse—An Ill-favoured Town—A Disappointment—A _Torii_
                      LETTER XX.—(_Concluded_.)
A Casual Invitation—A Ludicrous Incident—Politeness of         152–154
a Policeman—A Comfortless Sunday—An Outrageous
Irruption—A Privileged Stare
                             LETTER XXI.
The Necessity of Firmness—Perplexing                           155–158
Misrepresentations—Gliding with the Stream—Suburban
Residences—The Kubota Hospital—A Formal Reception—The
Normal School
                             LETTER XXII.
A Silk Factory—Employment for Women—A Police                   159–160
Escort—The Japanese Police Force
                            LETTER XXIII.
“A Plague of Immoderate Rain”—A Confidential                   161–164
Servant—Ito’s Diary—Ito’s Excellences—Ito’s Faults—A
Prophecy of the Future of Japan—Curious
Queries—Superfine English—Economical Travelling—The
Japanese Pack-horse again
                             LETTER XXIV.
The Symbolism of Seaweed—Afternoon Visitors—An Infant          165–169
Prodigy—A Feat in Caligraphy—Child Worship—A Borrowed
Dress—A _Trousseau_—House Furniture—The Marriage
Ceremony
                             LETTER XXV.
A Holiday Scene—A _Matsuri_—Attractions of the                 170–174
Revel—_Matsuri_ Cars—Gods and Demons—A Possible
Harbour—A Village Forge—Prosperity of _Saké_ Brewers—A
“Great Sight”
                             LETTER XXVI.
The Fatigues of Travelling—Torrents and Mud—Ito’s              175–182
Surliness—The Blind Shampooers—A Supposed Monkey
Theatre—A Suspended Ferry—A Difficult Transit—Perils
on the Yonetsurugawa—A Boatman Drowned—Nocturnal
Disturbances—A Noisy _Yadoya_—Storm-bound
Travellers—_Hai_! _Hai_!—More Nocturnal Disturbances
                            LETTER XXVII.
Good-tempered Intoxication—The Effect of Sunshine—A            183–186
tedious Altercation—Evening Occupations—Noisy
Talk—Social Gatherings—Unfair Comparisons
                            LETTER XXVIII.
Torrents of Rain—An unpleasant Detention—Devastations          187–192
produced by Floods—The Yadate Pass—The Force of
Water—Difficulties thicken—A Primitive _Yadoya_—The
Water rises
                    LETTER XXVIII.—(_Continued_.)
Scanty Resources—Japanese Children—Children’s Games—A          193–196
Sagacious Example—A Kite Competition—Personal
Privations
                             LETTER XXIX.
Hope deferred—Effects of the Flood—Activity of the             197–199
Police—A Ramble in Disguise—The _Tanabata_
Festival—Mr. Satow’s Reputation
                             LETTER XXX.
A Lady’s Toilet—Hair-dressing—Paint and                        200–202
Cosmetics—Afternoon Visitors—Christian Converts
                             LETTER XXXI.
A Travel Curiosity—Rude Dwellings—Primitive                    203–205
Simplicity—The Public Bath-house
                            LETTER XXXII.
A Hard Day’s Journey—An Overturn—Nearing the                   206–209
Ocean—Joyful Excitement—Universal Greyness—Inopportune
Policemen—A Stormy Voyage—A Wild Welcome—A Windy
Landing—The Journey’s End
                            LETTER XXXIII.
Form and Colour—A Windy Capital—Eccentricities in              212–213
House Roof
                            LETTER XXXIV.
Ito’s Delinquency—“Missionary Manners”—A Predicted             214–215
Failure
                             LETTER XXXV.
A Lovely Sunset—An Official Letter—A “Front                    216–230
Horse”—Japanese Courtesy—The Steam Ferry—Coolies
Abscond—A Team of Savages—A Drove of Horses—Floral
Beauties—An Unbeaten Track—A Ghostly Dwelling—Solitude
and Eeriness
                     LETTER XXXV.—(_Continued_.)
The Harmonies of Nature—A Good Horse—A Single                  231–233
Discord—A Forest—Aino Ferrymen—“_Les Puces_! _Les
Puces_!”—Baffled Explorers—Ito’s Contempt for Ainos—An
Aino Introduction
                            LETTER XXXVI.
Savage Life—A Forest Track—Cleanly Villages—A                  234–243
Hospitable Reception—The Chief’s Mother—The Evening
Meal—A Savage _Séance_—Libations to the Gods—Nocturnal
Silence—Aino Courtesy—The Chief’s Wife
                     LETTER XXXVI.—(_Continued_.)
A Supposed Act of Worship—Parental Tenderness—Morning          244–253
Visits.—Wretched Cultivation—Honesty and Generosity—A
“Dug-out”—Female Occupations—The Ancient Fate—A New
Arrival—A Perilous Prescription—The Shrine of
Yoshitsuné—The Chief’s Return
                            LETTER XXXVII.
Barrenness of Savage Life—Irreclaimable Savages—The            254–261
Aino Physique—Female Comeliness—Torture and
Ornament—Child Life—Docility and Obedience
                    LETTER XXXVII.—(_Continued_.)
Aino Clothing—Holiday Dress—Domestic                           262–272
Architecture—Household Gods—Japanese Curios—The
Necessaries of Life—Clay Soup—Arrow Poison—Arrow
Traps—Female Occupations—Bark Cloth—The Art of Weaving
                    LETTER XXXVII.—(_Continued_.)
A Simple Nature-Worship—Aino Gods—A Festival                   273–284
Song—Religious Intoxication—Bear-Worship—The Annual
Saturnalia—The Future State—Marriage and
Divorce—Musical Instruments—Etiquette—The
Chieftainship—Death and Burial—Old Age—Moral Qualities
                           LETTER XXXVIII.
A Parting Gift—A Delicacy—Generosity—A Seaside                 285–288
Village—Pipichari’s Advice—A Drunken Revel—Ito’s
Prophecies—The _Kôckô’s_ Illness—Patent Medicines
                            LETTER XXXIX.
A Welcome Gift—Recent Changes—Volcanic                         289–295
Phenomena—Interesting Tufa Cones—Semi-strangulation—A
Fall into a Bear-trap—The Shiraôi Ainos—Horsebreaking
and Cruelty
                     LETTER XXXIX.—(_Continued_.)
The Universal Language—The Yezo _Corrals_—A “Typhoon           296–298
Rain”—Difficult Tracks—An Unenviable Ride—Drying
Clothes—A Woman’s Remorse
                              LETTER XL.
“More than Peace”—Geographical                                 299–305
Difficulties—Usu-taki—Swimming the Osharu—A Dream of
Beauty—A Sunset Effect—A Nocturnal Alarm—The Coast
Ainos
                      LETTER XL.—(_Continued_.)
The Sea-shore—A “Hairy Aino”—A Horse Fight—The Horses          306–311
of Yezo—“Bad Mountains”—A Slight Accident—Magnificent
Scenery—A Bleached Halting-Place—A Musty Room—Aino
“Good-breeding”
                             LETTER XLI.
A Group of Fathers—The Lebungé Ainos—The _Salisburia           312–319
adiantifolia_—A Family Group—The Missing
Link—Oshamambé—Disorderly Horses—The River Yurapu—The
Seaside—Aino Canoes—The Last Morning—Dodging Europeans
                             LETTER XLII.
Pleasant Last Impressions—The Japanese Junk—Ito                320–321
Disappears—My Letter of Thanks
                            LETTER XLIII.
Pleasant Prospects—A Miserable Disappointment—Caught           322–324
in a Typhoon—A Dense Fog—Alarmist Rumours—A Welcome at
Tôkiyô—The Last of the Mutineers
                             LETTER XLIV.
Fine Weather—Cremation in Japan—The Governor of                325–328
Tôkiyô—An Awkward Question—An Insignificant
Building—Economy in Funeral Expenses—Simplicity of the
Cremation Process—The Last of Japan



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                                                  PAGE
The Yomei Gate, Shrines of Nikkô                        _Frontispiece_
Fujisan                                                              2
Travelling Restaurant                                                5
Japanese Man-Cart                                                    9
A Lake Biwa Tea-House                                               20
Stone Lanterns                                                      28
A Kuruma                                                            35
Road-Side Tea-House                                                 38
Sir Harry’s Messenger                                               42
Kanaya’s House                                                      52
Japanese Pack-Horse                                                 63
Attendant at Tea-House                                              64
Summer and Winter Costume                                           82
Buddhist Priests                                                   112
Street and Canal                                                   117
The Flowing Invocation                                             130
The Belle of Kaminoyama                                            135
Torii                                                              149
Daikoku, the God of Wealth                                         154
Myself in a Straw Rain-Cloak                                       176
A Lady’s Mirror                                                    201
Akita Farm-House                                                   204
Aino Store-House at Horobets                                       223
Aino Lodges.  (_From a Japanese Sketch_)                           224
Aino Houses                                                        234
Ainos at Home.  (_From a Japanese Sketch_)                         235
Aino Millet-Mill and Pestle                                        238
Aino Store-House                                                   247
Ainos of Yezo                                                      256
An Aino Patriarch                                                  258
Tattooed Female Hand                                               260
Aino Gods                                                          266
Plan of an Aino House                                              267
Weaver’s Shuttle                                                   270
A Hiogo Buddha                                                     272
The Rokkukado                                                      288
My Kuruma-Runner                                                   305
Temple Gateway at Isshinden                                        311
Entrance to Shrine of Seventh Shôgun, Shiba, Tôkiyô                323
Fujisan, from a Village on the Tokaido                             326



LETTER I.


First View of Japan—A Vision of Fujisan—Japanese Sampans—“Pullman
Cars”—Undignified Locomotion—Paper Money—The Drawbacks of Japanese
Travelling.

                                                 ORIENTAL HOTEL, YOKOHAMA,
                                                                 _May_ 21.

EIGHTEEN days of unintermitted rolling over “desolate rainy seas” brought
the “City of Tokio” early yesterday morning to Cape King, and by noon we
were steaming up the Gulf of Yedo, quite near the shore.  The day was
soft and grey with a little faint blue sky, and, though the coast of
Japan is much more prepossessing than most coasts, there were no
startling surprises either of colour or form.  Broken wooded ridges,
deeply cleft, rise from the water’s edge, gray, deep-roofed villages
cluster about the mouths of the ravines, and terraces of rice
cultivation, bright with the greenness of English lawns, run up to a
great height among dark masses of upland forest.  The populousness of the
coast is very impressive, and the gulf everywhere was equally peopled
with fishing-boats, of which we passed not only hundreds, but thousands,
in five hours.  The coast and sea were pale, and the boats were pale too,
their hulls being unpainted wood, and their sails pure white duck.  Now
and then a high-sterned junk drifted by like a phantom galley, then we
slackened speed to avoid exterminating a fleet of triangular-looking
fishing-boats with white square sails, and so on through the grayness and
dumbness hour after hour.

For long I looked in vain for Fujisan, and failed to see it, though I
heard ecstasies all over the deck, till, accidentally looking heavenwards
instead of earthwards, I saw far above any possibility of height, as one
would have thought, a huge, truncated cone of pure snow, 13,080 feet
above the sea, from which it sweeps upwards in a glorious curve, very
wan, against a very pale blue sky, with its base and the intervening
country veiled in a pale grey mist. {2}  It was a wonderful vision, and
shortly, as a vision, vanished.  Except the cone of Tristan d’Acunha—also
a cone of snow—I never saw a mountain rise in such lonely majesty, with
nothing near or far to detract from its height and grandeur.  No wonder
that it is a sacred mountain, and so dear to the Japanese that their art
is never weary of representing it.  It was nearly fifty miles off when we
first saw it.

The air and water were alike motionless, the mist was still and pale,
grey clouds lay restfully on a bluish sky, the reflections of the white
sails of the fishing-boats scarcely quivered; it was all so pale, wan,
and ghastly, that the turbulence of crumpled foam which we left behind
us, and our noisy, throbbing progress, seemed a boisterous intrusion upon
sleeping Asia.

                            [Picture: Fujisan]

The gulf narrowed, the forest-crested hills, the terraced ravines, the
picturesque grey villages, the quiet beach life, and the pale blue masses
of the mountains of the interior, became more visible.  Fuji retired into
the mist in which he enfolds his grandeur for most of the summer; we
passed Reception Bay, Perry Island, Webster Island, Cape Saratoga, and
Mississippi Bay—American nomenclature which perpetuates the successes of
American diplomacy—and not far from Treaty Point came upon a red
lightship with the words “Treaty Point” in large letters upon her.
Outside of this no foreign vessel may anchor.

The bustle among my fellow-passengers, many of whom were returning home,
and all of whom expected to be met by friends, left me at leisure, as I
looked at unattractive, unfamiliar Yokohama and the pale grey land
stretched out before me, to speculate somewhat sadly on my destiny on
these strange shores, on which I have not even an acquaintance.  On
mooring we were at once surrounded by crowds of native boats called by
foreigners _sampans_, and Dr. Gulick, a near relation of my Hilo friends,
came on board to meet his daughter, welcomed me cordially, and relieved
me of all the trouble of disembarkation.  These _sampans_ are very
clumsy-looking, but are managed with great dexterity by the boatmen, who
gave and received any number of bumps with much good nature, and without
any of the shouting and swearing in which competitive boatmen usually
indulge.

The partially triangular shape of these boats approaches that of a
salmon-fisher’s punt used on certain British rivers.  Being floored gives
them the appearance of being absolutely flat-bottomed; but, though they
tilt readily, they are very safe, being heavily built and fitted together
with singular precision with wooden bolts and a few copper cleets.  They
are _sculled_, not what we should call rowed, by two or four men with
very heavy oars made of two pieces of wood working on pins placed on
outrigger bars.  The men scull standing and use the thigh as a rest for
the oar.  They all wear a single, wide-sleeved, scanty, blue cotton
garment, not fastened or girdled at the waist, straw sandals, kept on by
a thong passing between the great toe and the others, and if they wear
any head-gear, it is only a wisp of blue cotton tied round the forehead.
The one garment is only an apology for clothing, and displays lean
concave chests and lean muscular limbs.  The skin is very yellow, and
often much tattooed with mythical beasts.  The charge for _sampans_ is
fixed by tariff, so the traveller lands without having his temper ruffled
by extortionate demands.

The first thing that impressed me on landing was that there were no
loafers, and that all the small, ugly, kindly-looking, shrivelled,
bandy-legged, round-shouldered, concave-chested, poor-looking beings in
the streets had some affairs of their own to mind.  At the top of the
landing-steps there was a portable restaurant, a neat and most compact
thing, with charcoal stove, cooking and eating utensils complete; but it
looked as if it were made by and for dolls, and the mannikin who kept it
was not five feet high.  At the custom-house we were attended to by
minute officials in blue uniforms of European pattern and leather boots;
very civil creatures, who opened and examined our trunks carefully, and
strapped them up again, contrasting pleasingly with the insolent and
rapacious officials who perform the same duties at New York.

Outside were about fifty of the now well-known _jin-ti-ki-shas_, and the
air was full of a buzz produced by the rapid reiteration of this uncouth
word by fifty tongues.  This conveyance, as you know, is a feature of
Japan, growing in importance every day.  It was only invented seven years
ago, and already there are nearly 23,000 in one city, and men can make so
much more by drawing them than by almost any kind of skilled labour, that
thousands of fine young men desert agricultural pursuits and flock into
the towns to make draught-animals of themselves, though it is said that
the average duration of a man’s life after he takes to running is only
five years, and that the runners fall victims in large numbers to
aggravated forms of heart and lung disease.  Over tolerably level ground
a good runner can trot forty miles a day, at a rate of about four miles
an hour.  They are registered and taxed at 8s. a year for one carrying
two persons, and 4s. for one which carries one only, and there is a
regular tariff for time and distance.

                     [Picture: Travelling Restaurant]

The _kuruma_, or jin-ri-ki-sha, {5} consists of a light perambulator
body, an adjustable hood of oiled paper, a velvet or cloth lining and
cushion, a well for parcels under the seat, two high slim wheels, and a
pair of shafts connected by a bar at the ends.  The body is usually
lacquered and decorated according to its owner’s taste.  Some show little
except polished brass, others are altogether inlaid with shells known as
Venus’s ear, and others are gaudily painted with contorted dragons, or
groups of peonies, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, and mythical personages.
They cost from £2 upwards.  The shafts rest on the ground at a steep
incline as you get in—it must require much practice to enable one to
mount with ease or dignity—the runner lifts them up, gets into them,
gives the body a good tilt backwards, and goes off at a smart trot.  They
are drawn by one, two, or three men, according to the speed desired by
the occupants.  When rain comes on, the man puts up the hood, and ties
you and it closely up in a covering of oiled paper, in which you are
invisible.  At night, whether running or standing still, they carry
prettily-painted circular paper lanterns 18 inches long.  It is most
comical to see stout, florid, solid-looking merchants, missionaries, male
and female, fashionably-dressed ladies, armed with card cases, Chinese
compradores, and Japanese peasant men and women flying along Main Street,
which is like the decent respectable High Street of a dozen forgotten
country towns in England, in happy unconsciousness of the ludicrousness
of their appearance; racing, chasing, crossing each other, their lean,
polite, pleasant runners in their great hats shaped like inverted bowls,
their incomprehensible blue tights, and their short blue over-shirts with
badges or characters in white upon them, tearing along, their yellow
faces streaming with perspiration, laughing, shouting, and avoiding
collisions by a mere shave.

After a visit to the Consulate I entered a _kuruma_ and, with two ladies
in two more, was bowled along at a furious pace by a laughing little
mannikin down Main Street—a narrow, solid, well-paved street with
well-made side walks, kerb-stones, and gutters, with iron lamp-posts,
gas-lamps, and foreign shops all along its length—to this quiet hotel
recommended by Sir Wyville Thomson, which offers a refuge from the nasal
twang of my fellow-voyagers, who have all gone to the caravanserais on
the Bund.  The host is a Frenchman, but he relies on a Chinaman; the
servants are Japanese “boys” in Japanese clothes; and there is a Japanese
“groom of the chambers” in faultless English costume, who perfectly
appals me by the elaborate politeness of his manner.

Almost as soon as I arrived I was obliged to go in search of Mr. Fraser’s
office in the settlement; I say _search_, for there are no names on the
streets; where there are numbers they have no sequence, and I met no
Europeans on foot to help me in my difficulty.  Yokohama does not improve
on further acquaintance.  It has a dead-alive look.  It has irregularity
without picturesqueness, and the grey sky, grey sea, grey houses, and
grey roofs, look harmoniously dull.  No foreign money except the Mexican
dollar passes in Japan, and Mr. Fraser’s compradore soon metamorphosed my
English gold into Japanese _satsu_ or paper money, a bundle of yen nearly
at par just now with the dollar, packets of 50, 20, and 10 sen notes, and
some rouleaux of very neat copper coins.  The initiated recognise the
different denominations of paper money at a glance by their differing
colours and sizes, but at present they are a distracting mystery to me.
The notes are pieces of stiff paper with Chinese characters at the
corners, near which, with exceptionally good eyes or a magnifying glass,
one can discern an English word denoting the value.  They are very neatly
executed, and are ornamented with the chrysanthemum crest of the Mikado
and the interlaced dragons of the Empire.

I long to get away into real Japan.  Mr. Wilkinson, H.B.M.’s acting
consul, called yesterday, and was extremely kind.  He thinks that my plan
for travelling in the interior is rather too ambitious, but that it is
perfectly safe for a lady to travel alone, and agrees with everybody else
in thinking that legions of fleas and the miserable horses are the great
drawbacks of Japanese travelling.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER II.


Sir Harry Parkes—An “Ambassador’s Carriage”—Cart Coolies.

                                                       YOKOHAMA, _May_ 22.

TO-DAY has been spent in making new acquaintances, instituting a search
for a servant and a pony, receiving many offers of help, asking questions
and receiving from different people answers which directly contradict
each other.  Hours are early.  Thirteen people called on me before noon.
Ladies drive themselves about the town in small pony carriages attended
by running grooms called _bettos_.  The foreign merchants keep _kurumas_
constantly standing at their doors, finding a willing, intelligent coolie
much more serviceable than a lazy, fractious, capricious Japanese pony,
and even the dignity of an “Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary” is not above such a lowly conveyance, as I have seen
to-day.  My last visitors were Sir Harry and Lady Parkes, who brought
sunshine and kindliness into the room, and left it behind them.  Sir
Harry is a young-looking man scarcely in middle life, slight, active,
fair, blue-eyed, a thorough Saxon, with sunny hair and a sunny smile, a
sunshiny geniality in his manner, and bearing no trace in his appearance
of his thirty years of service in the East, his sufferings in the prison
at Peking, and the various attempts upon his life in Japan.  He and Lady
Parkes were most truly kind, and encourage me so heartily in my largest
projects for travelling in the interior, that I shall start as soon as I
have secured a servant.  When they went away they jumped into _kurumas_,
and it was most amusing to see the representative of England hurried down
the street in a perambulator with a tandem of coolies.

As I look out of the window I see heavy, two-wheeled man-carts drawn and
pushed by four men each, on which nearly all goods, stones for building,
and all else, are carried.  The two men who pull press with hands and
thighs against a cross-bar at the end of a heavy pole, and the two who
push apply their shoulders to beams which project behind, using their
thick, smoothly-shaven skulls as the motive power when they push their
heavy loads uphill.  Their cry is impressive and melancholy.  They draw
incredible loads, but, as if the toil which often makes every breath a
groan or a gasp were not enough, they shout incessantly with a coarse,
guttural grunt, something like _Ha huida_, _Ho huida_, _wa ho_, _Ha
huida_, etc.

                                                                  I. L. B.

                       [Picture: Japanese Man-Cart]



LETTER III.


Yedo and Tôkiyô—The Yokohama Railroad—The Effect of Misfits—The Plain of
Yedo—Personal Peculiarities—First Impressions of Tôkiyô—H. B. M.’s
Legation—An English Home.

                                        H.B.M.’s LEGATION, YEDO, _May_ 24.

I HAVE dated my letter Yedo, according to the usage of the British
Legation, but popularly the new name of Tôkiyô, or Eastern Capital, is
used, Kiyôto, the Mikado’s former residence, having received the name of
Saikiô, or Western Capital, though it has now no claim to be regarded as
a capital at all.  Yedo belongs to the old régime and the Shôgunate,
Tôkiyô to the new régime and the Restoration, with their history of ten
years.  It would seem an incongruity to travel to _Yedo_ by railway, but
quite proper when the destination is Tôkiyô.

The journey between the two cities is performed in an hour by an
admirable, well-metalled, double-track railroad, 18 miles long, with iron
bridges, neat stations, and substantial roomy termini, built by English
engineers at a cost known only to Government, and opened by the Mikado in
1872.  The Yokohama station is a handsome and suitable stone building,
with a spacious approach, ticket-offices on our plan, roomy waiting-rooms
for different classes—uncarpeted, however, in consideration of Japanese
clogs—and supplied with the daily papers.  There is a department for the
weighing and labelling of luggage, and on the broad, covered, stone
platform at both termini a barrier with turnstiles, through which, except
by special favour, no ticketless person can pass.  Except the
ticket-clerks, who are Chinese, and the guards and engine-drivers, who
are English, the officials are Japanese in European dress.  Outside the
stations, instead of cabs, there are _kurumas_, which carry luggage as
well as people.  Only luggage in the hand is allowed to go free; the rest
is weighed, numbered, and charged for, a corresponding number being given
to its owner to present at his destination.  The fares are—3d class, an
_ichibu_, or about 1s.; 2d class, 60 _sen_, or about 2s. 4d.; and 1st
class, a _yen_, or about 3s. 8d.  The tickets are collected as the
passengers pass through the barrier at the end of the journey.  The
English-built cars differ from ours in having seats along the sides, and
doors opening on platforms at both ends.  On the whole, the arrangements
are Continental rather than British.  The first-class cars are
expensively fitted up with deeply-cushioned, red morocco seats, but carry
very few passengers, and the comfortable seats, covered with fine
matting, of the 2d class are very scantily occupied; but the 3d class
vans are crowded with Japanese, who have taken to railroads as readily as
to _kurumas_.  This line earns about $8,000,000 a year.

The Japanese look most diminutive in European dress.  Each garment is a
misfit, and exaggerates the miserable _physique_ and the national defects
of concave chests and bow legs.  The lack of “complexion” and of hair
upon the face makes it nearly impossible to judge of the ages of men.  I
supposed that all the railroad officials were striplings of 17 or 18, but
they are men from 25 to 40 years old.

It was a beautiful day, like an English June day, but hotter, and though
the _Sakura_ (wild cherry) and its kin, which are the glory of the
Japanese spring, are over, everything is a young, fresh green yet, and in
all the beauty of growth and luxuriance.  The immediate neighbourhood of
Yokohama is beautiful, with abrupt wooded hills, and small picturesque
valleys; but after passing Kanagawa the railroad enters upon the immense
plain of Yedo, said to be 90 miles from north to south, on whose northern
and western boundaries faint blue mountains of great height hovered
dreamily in the blue haze, and on whose eastern shore for many miles the
clear blue wavelets of the Gulf of Yedo ripple, always as then,
brightened by the white sails of innumerable fishing-boats.  On this
fertile and fruitful plain stand not only the capital, with its million
of inhabitants, but a number of populous cities, and several hundred
thriving agricultural villages.  Every foot of land which can be seen
from the railroad is cultivated by the most careful spade husbandry, and
much of it is irrigated for rice.  Streams abound, and villages of grey
wooden houses with grey thatch, and grey temples with strangely curved
roofs, are scattered thickly over the landscape.  It is all homelike,
liveable, and pretty, the country of an industrious people, for not a
weed is to be seen, but no very striking features or peculiarities arrest
one at first sight, unless it be the crowds everywhere.

You don’t take your ticket for Tôkiyô, but for Shinagawa or Shinbashi,
two of the many villages which have grown together into the capital.
Yedo is hardly seen before Shinagawa is reached, for it has no smoke and
no long chimneys; its temples and public buildings are seldom lofty; the
former are often concealed among thick trees, and its ordinary houses
seldom reach a height of 20 feet.  On the right a blue sea with fortified
islands upon it, wooded gardens with massive retaining walls, hundreds of
fishing-boats lying in creeks or drawn up on the beach; on the left a
broad road on which _kurumas_ are hurrying both ways, rows of low, grey
houses, mostly tea-houses and shops; and as I was asking “Where is Yedo?”
the train came to rest in the terminus, the Shinbashi railroad station,
and disgorged its 200 Japanese passengers with a combined clatter of 400
clogs—a new sound to me.  These clogs add three inches to their height,
but even with them few of the men attained 5 feet 7 inches, and few of
the women 5 feet 2 inches; but they look far broader in the national
costume, which also conceals the defects of their figures.  So lean, so
yellow, so ugly, yet so pleasant-looking, so wanting in colour and
effectiveness; the women so very small and tottering in their walk; the
children so formal-looking and such dignified burlesques on the adults, I
feel as if I had seen them all before, so like are they to their pictures
on trays, fans, and tea-pots.  The hair of the women is all drawn away
from their faces, and is worn in chignons, and the men, when they don’t
shave the front of their heads and gather their back hair into a quaint
queue drawn forward over the shaven patch, wear their coarse hair about
three inches long in a refractory undivided mop.

Davies, an orderly from the Legation, met me,—one of the escort cut down
and severely wounded when Sir H. Parkes was attacked in the street of
Kiyôto in March 1868 on his way to his first audience of the Mikado.
Hundreds of _kurumas_, and covered carts with four wheels drawn by one
miserable horse, which are the omnibuses of certain districts of Tôkiyô,
were waiting outside the station, and an English brougham for me, with a
running _betto_.  The Legation stands in Kôjimachi on very elevated
ground above the inner moat of the historic “Castle of Yedo,” but I
cannot tell you anything of what I saw on my way thither, except that
there were miles of dark, silent, barrack-like buildings, with highly
ornamental gateways, and long rows of projecting windows with screens
made of reeds—the feudal mansions of Yedo—and miles of moats with lofty
grass embankments or walls of massive masonry 50 feet high, with
kiosk-like towers at the corners, and curious, roofed gateways, and many
bridges, and acres of lotus leaves.  Turning along the inner moat, up a
steep slope, there are, on the right, its deep green waters, the great
grass embankment surmounted by a dismal wall overhung by the branches of
coniferous trees which surrounded the palace of the Shôgun, and on the
left sundry _yashikis_, as the mansions of the _daimiyô_ were called, now
in this quarter mostly turned into hospitals, barracks, and Government
offices.  On a height, the most conspicuous of them all, is the great red
gateway of the _yashiki_, now occupied by the French Military Mission,
formerly the residence of Ii Kamon no Kami, one of the great actors in
recent historic events, who was assassinated not far off, outside the
Sakaruda gate of the castle.  Besides these, barracks, parade-grounds,
policemen, _kurumas_, carts pulled and pushed by coolies, pack-horses in
straw sandals, and dwarfish, slatternly-looking soldiers in European
dress, made up the Tôkiyô that I saw between Shinbashi and the Legation.

H.B.M.’s Legation has a good situation near the Foreign Office, several
of the Government departments, and the residences of the ministers, which
are chiefly of brick in the English suburban villa style.  Within the
compound, with a brick archway with the Royal Arms upon it for an
entrance, are the Minister’s residence, the Chancery, two houses for the
two English Secretaries of Legation, and quarters for the escort.

It is an English house and an English home, though, with the exception of
a venerable nurse, there are no English servants.  The butler and footman
are tall Chinamen, with long pig-tails, black satin caps, and long blue
robes; the cook is a Chinaman, and the other servants are all Japanese,
including one female servant, a sweet, gentle, kindly girl about 4 feet 5
in height, the wife of the head “housemaid.”  None of the servants speak
anything but the most aggravating “pidgun” English, but their deficient
speech is more than made up for by the intelligence and service of the
orderly in waiting, who is rarely absent from the neighbourhood of the
hall door, and attends to the visitors’ book and to all messages and
notes.  There are two real English children of six and seven, with great
capacities for such innocent enjoyments as can be found within the limits
of the nursery and garden.  The other inmate of the house is a beautiful
and attractive terrier called “Rags,” a Skye dog, who unbends “in the
bosom of his family,” but ordinarily is as imposing in his demeanour as
if he, and not his master, represented the dignity of the British Empire.

The Japanese Secretary of Legation is Mr. Ernest Satow, whose reputation
for scholarship, especially in the department of history, is said by the
Japanese themselves to be the highest in Japan {14}—an honourable
distinction for an Englishman, and won by the persevering industry of
fifteen years.  The scholarship connected with the British Civil Service
is not, however, monopolised by Mr. Satow, for several gentlemen in the
consular service, who are passing through the various grades of student
interpreters, are distinguishing themselves not alone by their facility
in colloquial Japanese, but by their researches in various departments of
Japanese history, mythology, archæology, and literature.  Indeed it is to
their labours, and to those of a few other Englishmen and Germans, that
the Japanese of the rising generation will be indebted for keeping alive
not only the knowledge of their archaic literature, but even of the
manners and customs of the first half of this century.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER IV.


“John Chinaman”—Engaging a Servant—First Impressions of Ito—A Solemn
Contract—The Food Question.

                                                  H.B.M.’s LEGATION, YEDO,
                                                                 _June_ 7.

I WENT to Yokohama for a week to visit Dr. and Mrs. Hepburn on the Bluff.
Bishop and Mrs. Burdon of Hong Kong were also guests, and it was very
pleasant.

One cannot be a day in Yokohama without seeing quite a different class of
orientals from the small, thinly-dressed, and usually poor-looking
Japanese.  Of the 2500 Chinamen who reside in Japan, over 1100 are in
Yokohama, and if they were suddenly removed, business would come to an
abrupt halt.  Here, as everywhere, the Chinese immigrant is making
himself indispensable.  He walks through the streets with his swinging
gait and air of complete self-complacency, as though he belonged to the
ruling race.  He is tall and big, and his many garments, with a handsome
brocaded robe over all, his satin pantaloons, of which not much is seen,
tight at the ankles, and his high shoes, whose black satin tops are
slightly turned up at the toes, make him look even taller and bigger than
he is.  His head is mostly shaven, but the hair at the back is plaited
with a quantity of black purse twist into a queue which reaches to his
knees, above which, set well back, he wears a stiff, black satin
skull-cap, without which he is never seen.  His face is very yellow, his
long dark eyes and eyebrows slope upwards towards his temples, he has not
the vestige of a beard, and his skin is shiny.  He looks thoroughly
“well-to-do.”  He is not unpleasing-looking, but you feel that as a
Celestial he looks down upon you.  If you ask a question in a merchant’s
office, or change your gold into _satsu_, or take your railroad or
steamer ticket, or get change in a shop, the inevitable Chinaman appears.
In the street he swings past you with a purpose in his face; as he flies
past you in a _kuruma_ he is bent on business; he is sober and reliable,
and is content to “squeeze” his employer rather than to rob him—his one
aim in life is money.  For this he is industrious, faithful,
self-denying; and he has his reward.

Several of my kind new acquaintances interested themselves about the (to
me) vital matter of a servant interpreter, and many Japanese came to “see
after the place.”  The speaking of intelligible English is a _sine quâ
non_, and it was wonderful to find the few words badly pronounced and
worse put together, which were regarded by the candidates as a sufficient
qualification.  Can you speak English?  “Yes.”  What wages do you ask?
“Twelve dollars a month.”  This was always said glibly, and in each case
sounded hopeful.  Whom have you lived with?  A foreign name distorted out
of all recognition, as was natural, was then given.  Where have you
travelled?  This question usually had to be translated into Japanese, and
the usual answer was, “The Tokaido, the Nakasendo, to Kiyôto, to Nikkô,”
naming the beaten tracks of countless tourists.  Do you know anything of
Northern Japan and the Hokkaido?  “No,” with a blank wondering look.  At
this stage in every case Dr. Hepburn compassionately stepped in as
interpreter, for their stock of English was exhausted.  Three were
regarded as promising.  One was a sprightly youth who came in a well-made
European suit of light-coloured tweed, a laid-down collar, a tie with a
diamond (?) pin, and a white shirt, so stiffly starched, that he could
hardly bend low enough for a bow even of European profundity.  He wore a
gilt watch-chain with a locket, the corner of a very white cambric
pocket-handkerchief dangled from his breast pocket, and he held a cane
and a felt hat in his hand.  He was a Japanese dandy of the first water.
I looked at him ruefully.  To me starched collars are to be an unknown
luxury for the next three months.  His fine foreign clothes would enhance
prices everywhere in the interior, and besides that, I should feel a
perpetual difficulty in asking menial services from an exquisite.  I was
therefore quite relieved when his English broke down at the second
question.

The second was a most respectable-looking man of thirty-five in a good
Japanese dress.  He was highly recommended, and his first English words
were promising, but he had been cook in the service of a wealthy English
official who travelled with a large retinue, and sent servants on ahead
to prepare the way.  He knew really only a few words of English, and his
horror at finding that there was “no master,” and that there would be no
woman-servant, was so great, that I hardly know whether he rejected me or
I him.

The third, sent by Mr. Wilkinson, wore a plain Japanese dress, and had a
frank, intelligent face.  Though Dr. Hepburn spoke with him in Japanese,
he thought that he knew more English than the others, and that what he
knew would come out when he was less agitated.  He evidently understood
what I said, and, though I had a suspicion that he would turn out to be
the “master,” I thought him so prepossessing that I nearly engaged him on
the spot.  None of the others merit any remark.

However, when I had nearly made up my mind in his favour, a creature
appeared without any recommendation at all, except that one of Dr.
Hepburn’s servants was acquainted with him.  He is only eighteen, but
this is equivalent to twenty-three or twenty-four with us, and only 4
feet 10 inches in height, but, though bandy-legged, is well proportioned
and strong-looking.  He has a round and singularly plain face, good
teeth, much elongated eyes, and the heavy droop of his eyelids almost
caricatures the usual Japanese peculiarity.  He is the most
stupid-looking Japanese that I have seen, but, from a rapid, furtive
glance in his eyes now and then, I think that the stolidity is partly
assumed.  He said that he had lived at the American Legation, that he had
been a clerk on the Osaka railroad, that he had travelled through
northern Japan by the eastern route, and in Yezo with Mr. Maries, a
botanical collector, that he understood drying plants, that he could cook
a little, that he could write English, that he could walk twenty-five
miles a day, and that he thoroughly understood getting through the
interior!  This would-be paragon had no recommendations, and accounted
for this by saying that they had been burned in a recent fire in his
father’s house.  Mr. Maries was not forthcoming, and more than this, I
suspected and disliked the boy.  However, he understood my English and I
his, and, being very anxious to begin my travels, I engaged him for
twelve dollars a month, and soon afterwards he came back with a contract,
in which he declares by all that he holds most sacred that he will serve
me faithfully for the wages agreed upon, and to this document he affixed
his seal and I my name.  The next day he asked me for a month’s wages in
advance, which I gave him, but Dr. H. consolingly suggested that I should
never see him again!

Ever since the solemn night when the contract was signed I have felt
under an incubus, and since he appeared here yesterday, punctual to the
appointed hour, I have felt as if I had a veritable “old man of the sea”
upon my shoulders.  He flies up stairs and along the corridors as
noiselessly as a cat, and already knows where I keep all my things.
Nothing surprises or abashes him, he bows profoundly to Sir Harry and
Lady Parkes when he encounters them, but is obviously “quite at home” in
a Legation, and only allowed one of the orderlies to show him how to put
on a Mexican saddle and English bridle out of condescension to my wishes.
He seems as sharp or “smart” as can be, and has already arranged for the
first three days of my journey.  His name is Ito, and you will doubtless
hear much more of him, as he will be my good or evil genius for the next
three months.

As no English lady has yet travelled alone through the interior, my
project excites a very friendly interest among my friends, and I receive
much warning and dissuasion, and a little encouragement.  The strongest,
because the most intelligent, dissuasion comes from Dr. Hepburn, who
thinks that I ought not to undertake the journey, and that I shall never
get through to the Tsugaru Strait.  If I accepted much of the advice
given to me, as to taking tinned meats and soups, claret, and a Japanese
maid, I should need a train of at least six pack-horses!  As to fleas,
there is a lamentable concensus of opinion that they are the curse of
Japanese travelling during the summer, and some people recommend me to
sleep in a bag drawn tightly round the throat, others to sprinkle my
bedding freely with insect powder, others to smear the skin all over with
carbolic oil, and some to make a plentiful use of dried and powdered
flea-bane.  All admit, however, that these are but feeble palliatives.
Hammocks unfortunately cannot be used in Japanese houses.

The “Food Question” is said to be the most important one for all
travellers, and it is discussed continually with startling earnestness,
not alone as regards my tour.  However apathetic people are on other
subjects, the mere mention of this one rouses them into interest.  All
have suffered or may suffer, and every one wishes to impart his own
experience or to learn from that of others.  Foreign ministers,
professors, missionaries, merchants—all discuss it with becoming gravity
as a question of life and death, which by many it is supposed to be.  The
fact is that, except at a few hotels in popular resorts which are got up
for foreigners, bread, butter, milk, meat, poultry, coffee, wine, and
beer, are unattainable, that fresh fish is rare, and that unless one can
live on rice, tea, and eggs, with the addition now and then of some
tasteless fresh vegetables, food must be taken, as the fishy and
vegetable abominations known as “Japanese food” can only be swallowed and
digested by a few, and that after long practice. {19}

Another, but far inferior, difficulty on which much stress is laid is the
practice common among native servants of getting a “squeeze” out of every
money transaction on the road, so that the cost of travelling is often
doubled, and sometimes trebled, according to the skill and capacity of
the servant.  Three gentlemen who have travelled extensively have given
me lists of the prices which I ought to pay, varying in different
districts, and largely increased on the beaten track of tourists, and Mr.
Wilkinson has read these to Ito, who offered an occasional remonstrance.
Mr. W. remarked after the conversation, which was in Japanese, that he
thought I should have to “look sharp after money matters”—a painful
prospect, as I have never been able to manage anybody in my life, and
shall surely have no control over this clever, cunning Japanese youth,
who on most points will be able to deceive me as he pleases.

On returning here I found that Lady Parkes had made most of the necessary
preparations for me, and that they include two light baskets with covers
of oiled paper, a travelling bed or stretcher, a folding-chair, and an
india-rubber bath, all which she considers as necessaries for a person in
feeble health on a journey of such long duration.  This week has been
spent in making acquaintances in Tôkiyô, seeing some characteristic
sights, and in trying to get light on my tour; but little seems known by
foreigners of northern Japan, and a Government department, on being
applied to, returned an itinerary, leaving out 140 miles of the route
that I dream of taking, on the ground of “insufficient information,” on
which Sir Harry cheerily remarked, “You will have to get your information
as you go along, and that will be all the more interesting.”  Ah! but
how?

                                                                  I. L. B.

                     [Picture: A Lake Biwa Tea-House]



LETTER V.


Kwan-non Temple—Uniformity of Temple Architecture—A _Kuruma_ Expedition—A
Perpetual Festival—The Ni-ô—The Limbo of Vanity—Heathen Prayers—Binzuru—A
Group of Devils—Archery Galleries—New Japan—An Élégante.

                                                  H.B.M.’s LEGATION, YEDO,
                                                                 _June_ 9.

ONCE for all I will describe a Buddhist temple, and it shall be the
popular temple of Asakusa, which keeps fair and festival the whole year
round, and is dedicated to the “thousand-armed” Kwan-non, the goddess of
mercy.  Writing generally, it may be said that in design, roof, and
general aspect, Japanese Buddhist temples are all alike.  The sacred
architectural idea expresses itself in nearly the same form always.
There is a single or double-roofed gateway, with highly-coloured figures
in niches on either side; the paved temple-court, with more or fewer
stone or bronze lanterns; _amainu_, or heavenly dogs, in stone on stone
pedestals; stone sarcophagi, roofed over or not, for holy water; a flight
of steps; a portico, continued as a verandah all round the temple; a roof
of tremendously disproportionate size and weight, with a peculiar curve;
a square or oblong hall divided by a railing from a “chancel” with a high
and low altar, and a shrine containing Buddha, or the divinity to whom
the chapel is dedicated; an incense-burner, and a few ecclesiastical
ornaments.  The symbols, idols, and adornments depend upon the sect to
which the temple belongs, or the wealth of its votaries, or the fancy of
the priests.  Some temples are packed full of gods, shrines, banners,
bronzes, brasses, tablets, and ornaments, and others, like those of the
Monto sect, are so severely simple, that with scarcely an alteration they
might be used for Christian worship to-morrow.

The foundations consist of square stones on which the uprights rest.
These are of elm, and are united at intervals by longitudinal pieces.
The great size and enormous weight of the roofs arise from the trusses
being formed of one heavy frame being built upon another in diminishing
squares till the top is reached, the main beams being formed of very
large timbers put on in their natural state.  They are either very
heavily and ornamentally tiled, or covered with sheet copper ornamented
with gold, or thatched to a depth of from one to three feet, with fine
shingles or bark.  The casing of the walls on the outside is usually
thick elm planking either lacquered or unpainted, and that of the inside
is of thin, finely-planed and bevelled planking of the beautiful wood of
the _Retinospora obtusa_.  The lining of the roof is in flat panels, and
where it is supported by pillars they are invariably circular, and formed
of the straight, finely-grained stem of the _Retinospora obtusa_.  The
projecting ends of the roof-beams under the eaves are either elaborately
carved, lacquered in dull red, or covered with copper, as are the joints
of the beams.  Very few nails are used, the timbers being very
beautifully joined by mortices and dovetails, other methods of junction
being unknown.

Mr. Chamberlain and I went in a _kuruma_ hurried along by three liveried
coolies, through the three miles of crowded streets which lie between the
Legation and Asakusa, once a village, but now incorporated with this
monster city, to the broad street leading to the Adzuma Bridge over the
Sumida river, one of the few stone bridges in Tôkiyô, which connects east
Tôkiyô, an uninteresting region, containing many canals, storehouses,
timber-yards, and inferior _yashikis_, with the rest of the city.  This
street, marvellously thronged with pedestrians and _kurumas_, is the
terminus of a number of city “stage lines,” and twenty wretched-looking
covered waggons, with still more wretched ponies, were drawn up in the
middle, waiting for passengers.  Just there plenty of real Tôkiyô life is
to be seen, for near a shrine of popular pilgrimage there are always
numerous places of amusement, innocent and vicious, and the vicinity of
this temple is full of restaurants, tea-houses, minor theatres, and the
resorts of dancing and singing girls.

A broad-paved avenue, only open to foot passengers, leads from this
street to the grand entrance, a colossal two-storied double-roofed _mon_,
or gate, painted a rich dull red.  On either side of this avenue are
lines of booths—which make a brilliant and lavish display of their
contents—toy-shops, shops for smoking apparatus, and shops for the sale
of ornamental hair-pins predominating.  Nearer the gate are booths for
the sale of rosaries for prayer, sleeve and bosom idols of brass and wood
in small shrines, amulet bags, representations of the jolly-looking
Daikoku, the god of wealth, the most popular of the household gods of
Japan, shrines, memorial tablets, cheap _ex votos_, sacred bells,
candlesticks, and incense-burners, and all the endless and various
articles connected with Buddhist devotion, public and private.  Every day
is a festival-day at Asakusa; the temple is dedicated to the most popular
of the great divinities; it is the most popular of religious resorts; and
whether he be Buddhist, Shintôist, or Christian, no stranger comes to the
capital without making a visit to its crowded courts or a purchase at its
tempting booths.  Not to be an exception, I invested in bouquets of
firework flowers, fifty flowers for 2 _sen_, or 1d., each of which, as it
slowly consumes, throws off fiery coruscations, shaped like the most
beautiful of snow crystals.  I was also tempted by small boxes at 2 _sen_
each, containing what look like little slips of withered pith, but which,
on being dropped into water, expand into trees and flowers.

Down a paved passage on the right there is an artificial river, not over
clean, with a bridge formed of one curved stone, from which a flight of
steps leads up to a small temple with a magnificent bronze bell.  At the
entrance several women were praying.  In the same direction are two fine
bronze Buddhas, seated figures, one with clasped hands, the other holding
a lotus, both with “The light of the world” upon their brows.  The grand
red gateway into the actual temple courts has an extremely imposing
effect, and besides, it is the portal to the first great heathen temple
that I have seen, and it made me think of another temple whose courts
were equally crowded with buyers and sellers, and of a “whip of small
cords” in the hand of One who claimed both the temple and its courts as
His “Father’s House.”  Not with less righteous wrath would the gentle
founder of Buddhism purify the unsanctified courts of Asakusa.  Hundreds
of men, women, and children passed to and fro through the gateway in
incessant streams, and so they are passing through every daylight hour of
every day in the year, thousands becoming tens of thousands on the great
_matsuri_ days, when the _mikoshi_, or sacred car, containing certain
symbols of the god, is exhibited, and after sacred mimes and dances have
been performed, is carried in a magnificent, antique procession to the
shore and back again.  Under the gateway on either side are the _Ni-ô_,
or two kings, gigantic figures in flowing robes, one red and with an open
mouth, representing the _Yo_, or male principle of Chinese philosophy,
the other green and with the mouth firmly closed, representing the _In_,
or female principle.  They are hideous creatures, with protruding eyes,
and faces and figures distorted and corrupted into a high degree of
exaggerated and convulsive action.  These figures guard the gates of most
of the larger temples, and small prints of them are pasted over the doors
of houses to protect them against burglars.  Attached to the grating in
front were a number of straw sandals, hung up by people who pray that
their limbs may be as muscular as those of the _Ni-ô_.

Passing through this gate we were in the temple court proper, and in
front of the temple itself, a building of imposing height and size, of a
dull red colour, with a grand roof of heavy iron grey tiles, with a
sweeping curve which gives grace as well as grandeur.  The timbers and
supports are solid and of great size, but, in common with all Japanese
temples, whether Buddhist or Shintô, the edifice is entirely of wood.  A
broad flight of narrow, steep, brass-bound steps lead up to the porch,
which is formed by a number of circular pillars supporting a very lofty
roof, from which paper lanterns ten feet long are hanging.  A gallery
runs from this round the temple, under cover of the eaves.  There is an
outer temple, unmatted, and an inner one behind a grating, into which
those who choose to pay for the privilege of praying in comparative
privacy, or of having prayers said for them by the priests, can pass.

In the outer temple the noise, confusion, and perpetual motion, are
bewildering.  Crowds on clattering clogs pass in and out; pigeons, of
which hundreds live in the porch, fly over your head, and the whirring of
their wings mingles with the tinkling of bells, the beating of drums and
gongs, the high-pitched drone of the priests, the low murmur of prayers,
the rippling laughter of girls, the harsh voices of men, and the general
buzz of a multitude.  There is very much that is highly grotesque at
first sight.  Men squat on the floor selling amulets, rosaries, printed
prayers, incense sticks, and other wares.  _Ex votos_ of all kinds hang
on the wall and on the great round pillars.  Many of these are rude
Japanese pictures.  The subject of one is the blowing-up of a steamer in
the Sumidagawa with the loss of 100 lives, when the donor was saved by
the grace of Kwan-non.  Numbers of memorials are from people who offered
up prayers here, and have been restored to health or wealth.  Others are
from junk men whose lives have been in peril.  There are scores of men’s
queues and a few dusty braids of women’s hair offered on account of vows
or prayers, usually for sick relatives, and among them all, on the left
hand, are a large mirror in a gaudily gilt frame and a framed picture of
the P. M. S. _China_!  Above this incongruous collection are splendid
wood carvings and frescoes of angels, among which the pigeons find a home
free from molestation.

Near the entrance there is a superb incense-burner in the most massive
style of the older bronzes, with a mythical beast rampant upon it, and in
high relief round it the Japanese signs of the zodiac—the rat, ox, tiger,
rabbit, dragon, serpent, horse, goat, monkey, cock, dog, and hog.  Clouds
of incense rise continually from the perforations round the edge, and a
black-toothed woman who keeps it burning is perpetually receiving small
coins from the worshippers, who then pass on to the front of the altar to
pray.  The high altar, and indeed all that I should regard as properly
the temple, are protected by a screen of coarsely-netted iron wire.  This
holy of holies is full of shrines and gods, gigantic candlesticks,
colossal lotuses of gilded silver, offerings, lamps, lacquer, litany
books, gongs, drums, bells, and all the mysterious symbols of a faith
which is a system of morals and metaphysics to the educated and
initiated, and an idolatrous superstition to the masses.  In this
interior the light was dim, the lamps burned low, the atmosphere was
heavy with incense, and amidst its fumes shaven priests in chasubles and
stoles moved noiselessly over the soft matting round the high altar on
which Kwan-non is enshrined, lighting candles, striking bells, and
murmuring prayers.  In front of the screen is the treasury, a wooden
chest 14 feet by 10, with a deep slit, into which all the worshippers
cast copper coins with a ceaseless clinking sound.

There, too, they pray, if that can be called prayer which frequently
consists only in the repetition of an uncomprehended phrase in a foreign
tongue, bowing the head, raising the hands and rubbing them, murmuring a
few words, telling beads, clapping the hands, bowing again, and then
passing out or on to another shrine to repeat the same form.  Merchants
in silk clothing, soldiers in shabby French uniforms, farmers, coolies in
“vile raiment,” mothers, maidens, swells in European clothes, even the
_samurai_ policemen, bow before the goddess of mercy.  Most of the
prayers were offered rapidly, a mere momentary interlude in the gurgle of
careless talk, and without a pretence of reverence; but some of the
petitioners obviously brought real woes in simple “faith.”

In one shrine there is a large idol, spotted all over with pellets of
paper, and hundreds of these are sticking to the wire netting which
protects him.  A worshipper writes his petition on paper, or, better
still, has it written for him by the priest, chews it to a pulp, and
spits it at the divinity.  If, having been well aimed, it passes through
the wire and sticks, it is a good omen, if it lodges in the netting the
prayer has probably been unheard.  The _Ni-ô_ and some of the gods
outside the temple are similarly disfigured.  On the left there is a
shrine with a screen, to the bars of which innumerable prayers have been
tied.  On the right, accessible to all, sits Binzuru, one of Buddha’s
original sixteen disciples.  His face and appearance have been calm and
amiable, with something of the quiet dignity of an elderly country
gentleman of the reign of George III.; but he is now worn and defaced,
and has not much more of eyes, nose, and mouth than the Sphinx; and the
polished, red lacquer has disappeared from his hands and feet, for
Binzuru is a great medicine god, and centuries of sick people have rubbed
his face and limbs, and then have rubbed their own.  A young woman went
up to him, rubbed the back of his neck, and then rubbed her own.  Then a
modest-looking girl, leading an ancient woman with badly inflamed eyelids
and paralysed arms, rubbed his eyelids, and then gently stroked the
closed eyelids of the crone.  Then a coolie, with a swelled knee, applied
himself vigorously to Binzuru’s knee, and more gently to his own.
Remember, this is the great temple of the populace, and “not many rich,
not many noble, not many mighty,” enter its dim, dirty, crowded halls.
{27}

But the great temple to Kwan-non is not the only sight of Asakusa.
Outside it are countless shrines and temples, huge stone _Amainu_, or
heavenly dogs, on rude blocks of stone, large cisterns of stone and
bronze with and without canopies, containing water for the ablutions of
the worshippers, cast iron _Amainu_ on hewn stone pedestals—a recent
gift—bronze and stone lanterns, a stone prayer-wheel in a stone post,
figures of Buddha with the serene countenance of one who rests from his
labours, stone idols, on which devotees have pasted slips of paper
inscribed with prayers, with sticks of incense rising out of the ashes of
hundreds of former sticks smouldering before them, blocks of hewn stone
with Chinese and Sanskrit inscriptions, an eight-sided temple in which
are figures of the “Five Hundred Disciples” of Buddha, a temple with the
roof and upper part of the walls richly coloured, the circular Shintô
mirror in an inner shrine, a bronze treasury outside with a bell, which
is rung to attract the god’s attention, a striking, five-storied pagoda,
with much red lacquer, and the ends of the roof-beams very boldly carved,
its heavy eaves fringed with wind bells, and its uppermost roof
terminating in a graceful copper spiral of great height, with the “sacred
pearl” surrounded by flames for its finial.  Near it, as near most
temples, is an upright frame of plain wood with tablets, on which are
inscribed the names of donors to the temple, and the amount of their
gifts.

There is a handsome stone-floored temple to the south-east of the main
building, to which we were the sole visitors.  It is lofty and very
richly decorated.  In the centre is an octagonal revolving room, or
rather shrine, of rich red lacquer most gorgeously ornamented.  It rests
on a frame of carved black lacquer, and has a lacquer gallery running
round it, on which several richly decorated doors open.  On the
application of several shoulders to this gallery the shrine rotates.  It
is, in fact, a revolving library of the Buddhist Scriptures, and a single
turn is equivalent to a single pious perusal of them.  It is an
exceedingly beautiful specimen of ancient decorative lacquer work.  At
the back part of the temple is a draped brass figure of Buddha, with one
hand raised—a dignified piece of casting.  All the Buddhas have Hindoo
features, and the graceful drapery and oriental repose which have been
imported from India contrast singularly with the grotesque extravagances
of the indigenous Japanese conceptions.  In the same temple are four
monstrously extravagant figures carved in wood, life-size, with clawed
toes on their feet, and two great fangs in addition to the teeth in each
mouth.  The heads of all are surrounded with flames, and are backed by
golden circlets.  They are extravagantly clothed in garments which look
as if they were agitated by a violent wind; they wear helmets and partial
suits of armour, and hold in their right hands something between a
monarch’s sceptre and a priest’s staff.  They have goggle eyes and open
mouths, and their faces are in distorted and exaggerated action.  One,
painted bright red, tramples on a writhing devil painted bright pink;
another, painted emerald green, tramples on a sea-green devil, an indigo
blue monster tramples on a sky-blue fiend, and a bright pink monster
treads under his clawed feet a flesh-coloured demon.  I cannot give you
any idea of the hideousness of their aspect, and was much inclined to
sympathise with the more innocent-looking fiends whom they were
maltreating.  They occur very frequently in Buddhist temples, and are
said by some to be assistant-torturers to Yemma, the lord of hell, and
are called by others “The gods of the Four Quarters.”

                        [Picture: Stone Lanterns]

The temple grounds are a most extraordinary sight.  No English fair in
the palmiest days of fairs ever presented such an array of attractions.
Behind the temple are archery galleries in numbers, where girls, hardly
so modest-looking as usual, smile and smirk, and bring straw-coloured tea
in dainty cups, and tasteless sweetmeats on lacquer trays, and smoke
their tiny pipes, and offer you bows of slender bamboo strips, two feet
long, with rests for the arrows, and tiny cherry-wood arrows,
bone-tipped, and feathered red, blue, and white, and smilingly, but quite
unobtrusively, ask you to try your skill or luck at a target hanging in
front of a square drum, flanked by red cushions.  A click, a boom, or a
hardly audible “thud,” indicate the result.  Nearly all the archers were
grown-up men, and many of them spend hours at a time in this childish
sport.

All over the grounds booths with the usual charcoal fire, copper boiler,
iron kettle of curious workmanship, tiny cups, fragrant aroma of tea, and
winsome, graceful girls, invite you to drink and rest, and more solid but
less inviting refreshments are also to be had.  Rows of pretty paper
lanterns decorate all the stalls.  Then there are photograph galleries,
mimic tea-gardens, tableaux in which a large number of groups of
life-size figures with appropriate scenery are put into motion by a
creaking wheel of great size, matted lounges for rest, stands with
saucers of rice, beans and peas for offerings to the gods, the pigeons,
and the two sacred horses, Albino ponies, with pink eyes and noses,
revoltingly greedy creatures, eating all day long and still craving for
more.  There are booths for singing and dancing, and under one a
professional story-teller was reciting to a densely packed crowd one of
the old, popular stories of crime.  There are booths where for a few
_rin_ you may have the pleasure of feeding some very ugly and greedy
apes, or of watching mangy monkeys which have been taught to prostrate
themselves Japanese fashion.

This letter is far too long, but to pass over Asakusa and its novelties
when the impression of them is fresh would be to omit one of the most
interesting sights in Japan.  On the way back we passed red mail carts
like those in London, a squadron of cavalry in European uniforms and with
European saddles, and the carriage of the Minister of Marine, an English
brougham with a pair of horses in English harness, and an escort of six
troopers—a painful precaution adopted since the political assassination
of Okubo, the Home Minister, three weeks ago.  So the old and the new in
this great city contrast with and jostle each other.  The Mikado and his
ministers, naval and military officers and men, the whole of the civil
officials and the police, wear European clothes, as well as a number of
dissipated-looking young men who aspire to represent “young Japan.”
Carriages and houses in English style, with carpets, chairs, and tables,
are becoming increasingly numerous, and the bad taste which regulates the
purchase of foreign furnishings is as marked as the good taste which
everywhere presides over the adornment of the houses in purely Japanese
style.  Happily these expensive and unbecoming innovations have scarcely
affected female dress, and some ladies who adopted our fashions have
given them up because of their discomfort and manifold difficulties and
complications.

The Empress on State occasions appears in scarlet satin _hakama_, and
flowing robes, and she and the Court ladies invariably wear the national
costume.  I have only seen two ladies in European dress; and this was at
a dinner-party here, and they were the wives of Mr. Mori, the go-ahead
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and of the Japanese Consul at Hong
Kong; and both by long residence abroad have learned to wear it with
ease.  The wife of Saigo, the Minister of Education, called one day in an
exquisite Japanese dress of dove-coloured silk _crêpe_, with a pale pink
under-dress of the same material, which showed a little at the neck and
sleeves.  Her girdle was of rich dove-coloured silk, with a ghost of a
pale pink blossom hovering upon it here and there.  She had no frills or
fripperies of any description, or ornaments, except a single pin in her
chignon, and, with a sweet and charming face, she looked as graceful and
dignified in her Japanese costume as she would have looked exactly the
reverse in ours.  Their costume has one striking advantage over ours.  A
woman is perfectly _clothed_ if she has one garment and a girdle on, and
perfectly _dressed_ if she has two.  There is a difference in features
and expression—much exaggerated, however, by Japanese artists—between the
faces of high-born women and those of the middle and lower classes.  I
decline to admire fat-faces, pug noses, thick lips, long eyes, turned up
at the outer corners, and complexions which owe much to powder and paint.
The habit of painting the lips with a reddish-yellow pigment, and of
heavily powdering the face and throat with pearl powder, is a repulsive
one.  But it is hard to pronounce any unfavourable criticism on women who
have so much kindly grace of manner.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER VI.


Fears—Travelling Equipments—Passports—Coolie Costume—A Yedo
Diorama—Rice-Fields—Tea-Houses—A Traveller’s Reception—The Inn at
Kasukabé—Lack of Privacy—A Concourse of Noises—A Nocturnal Alarm—A Vision
of Policemen—A Budget from Yedo.

                                                      KASUKABÉ, _June_ 10.

FROM the date you will see that I have started on my long journey, though
not upon the “unbeaten tracks” which I hope to take after leaving Nikkô,
and my first evening alone in the midst of this crowded Asian life is
strange, almost fearful.  I have suffered from nervousness all day—the
fear of being frightened, of being rudely mobbed, as threatened by Mr.
Campbell of Islay, of giving offence by transgressing the rules of
Japanese politeness—of, I know not what!  Ito is my sole reliance, and he
may prove a “broken reed.”  I often wished to give up my project, but was
ashamed of my cowardice when, on the best authority, I received
assurances of its safety. {32}

The preparations were finished yesterday, and my outfit weighed 110 lbs.,
which, with Ito’s weight of 90 lbs., is as much as can be carried by an
average Japanese horse.  My two painted wicker boxes lined with paper and
with waterproof covers are convenient for the two sides of a pack-horse.
I have a folding-chair—for in a Japanese house there is nothing but the
floor to sit upon, and not even a solid wall to lean against—an
air-pillow for _kuruma_ travelling, an india-rubber bath, sheets, a
blanket, and last, and more important than all else, a canvas stretcher
on light poles, which can be put together in two minutes; and being 2½
feet high is supposed to be secure from fleas.  The “Food Question” has
been solved by a modified rejection of all advice!  I have only brought a
small supply of Liebig’s extract of meat, 4 lbs. of raisins, some
chocolate, both for eating and drinking, and some brandy in case of need.
I have my own Mexican saddle and bridle, a reasonable quantity of
clothes, including a loose wrapper for wearing in the evenings, some
candles, Mr. Brunton’s large map of Japan, volumes of the Transactions of
the English Asiatic Society, and Mr. Satow’s Anglo-Japanese Dictionary.
My travelling dress is a short costume of dust-coloured striped tweed,
with strong laced boots of unblacked leather, and a Japanese hat, shaped
like a large inverted bowl, of light bamboo plait, with a white cotton
cover, and a very light frame inside, which fits round the brow and
leaves a space of 1½ inches between the hat and the head for the free
circulation of air.  It only weighs 2½ ounces, and is infinitely to be
preferred to a heavy pith helmet, and, light as it is, it protects the
head so thoroughly, that, though the sun has been unclouded all day and
the mercury at 86°, no other protection has been necessary.  My money is
in bundles of 50 _yen_, and 50, 20, and 10 _sen_ notes, besides which I
have some rouleaux of copper coins.  I have a bag for my passport, which
hangs to my waist.  All my luggage, with the exception of my saddle,
which I use for a footstool, goes into one _kuruma_, and Ito, who is
limited to 12 lbs., takes his along with him.

I have three _kurumas_, which are to go to Nikkô, ninety miles, in three
days, without change of runners, for about eleven shillings each.

Passports usually define the route over which the foreigner is to travel,
but in this case Sir H. Parkes has obtained one which is practically
unrestricted, for it permits me to travel through all Japan north of
Tôkiyô and in Yezo without specifying any route.  This precious document,
without which I should be liable to be arrested and forwarded to my
consul, is of course in Japanese, but the cover gives in English the
regulations under which it is issued.  A passport must be applied for,
for reasons of “health, botanical research, or scientific investigation.”
Its bearer must not light fires in woods, attend fires on horseback,
trespass on fields, enclosures, or game-preserves, scribble on temples,
shrines, or walls, drive fast on a narrow road, or disregard notices of
“No thoroughfare.”  He must “conduct himself in an orderly and
conciliating manner towards the Japanese authorities and people;” he
“must produce his passport to any officials who may demand it,” under
pain of arrest; and while in the interior “is forbidden to shoot, trade,
to conclude mercantile contracts with Japanese, or to rent houses or
rooms for a longer period than his journey requires.”

NIKKÔ, _June_ 13.—This is one of the paradises of Japan!  It is a
proverbial saying, “He who has not seen Nikkô must not use the word
kek’ko” (splendid, delicious, beautiful); but of this more hereafter.  My
attempt to write to you from Kasukabé failed, owing to the onslaught of
an army of fleas, which compelled me to retreat to my stretcher, and the
last two nights, for this and other reasons, writing has been out of the
question.

I left the Legation at 11 a.m. on Monday and reached Kasukabé at 5 p.m.,
the runners keeping up an easy trot the whole journey of twenty-three
miles; but the halts for smoking and eating were frequent.

These kuruma-runners wore short blue cotton drawers, girdles with tobacco
pouch and pipe attached, short blue cotton shirts with wide sleeves, and
open in front, reaching to their waists, and blue cotton handkerchiefs
knotted round their heads, except when the sun was very hot, when they
took the flat flag discs, two feet in diameter, which always hang behind
_kurumas_, and are used either in sun or rain, and tied them on their
heads.  They wore straw sandals, which had to be replaced twice on the
way.  Blue and white towels hung from the shafts to wipe away the sweat,
which ran profusely down the lean, brown bodies.  The upper garment
always flew behind them, displaying chests and backs elaborately tattooed
with dragons and fishes.  Tattooing has recently been prohibited; but it
was not only a favourite adornment, but a substitute for perishable
clothing.

Most of the men of the lower classes wear their hair in a very ugly
fashion,—the front and top of the head being shaved, the long hair from
the back and sides being drawn up and tied, then waxed, tied again, and
cut short off, the stiff queue being brought forward and laid, pointing
forwards, along the back part of the top of the head.  This top-knot is
shaped much like a short clay pipe.  The shaving and dressing the hair
thus require the skill of a professional barber.  Formerly the hair was
worn in this way by the _samurai_, in order that the helmet might fit
comfortably, but it is now the style of the lower classes mostly and by
no means invariably.

                           [Picture: A Kuruma]

Blithely, at a merry trot, the coolies hurried us away from the kindly
group in the Legation porch, across the inner moat and along the inner
drive of the castle, past gateways and retaining walls of Cyclopean
masonry, across the second moat, along miles of streets of sheds and
shops, all grey, thronged with foot-passengers and _kurumas_, with
pack-horses loaded two or three feet above their backs, the arches of
their saddles red and gilded lacquer, their frontlets of red leather,
their “shoes” straw sandals, their heads tied tightly to the saddle-girth
on either side, great white cloths figured with mythical beasts in blue
hanging down loosely under their bodies; with coolies dragging heavy
loads to the guttural cry of _Hai_! _huida_! with children whose heads
were shaved in hideous patterns; and now and then, as if to point a moral
lesson in the midst of the whirling diorama, a funeral passed through the
throng, with a priest in rich robes, mumbling prayers, a covered barrel
containing the corpse, and a train of mourners in blue dresses with white
wings.  Then we came to the fringe of Yedo, where the houses cease to be
continuous, but all that day there was little interval between them.  All
had open fronts, so that the occupations of the inmates, the “domestic
life” in fact, were perfectly visible.  Many of these houses were
road-side _chayas_, or tea-houses, and nearly all sold sweet-meats, dried
fish, pickles, _mochi_, or uncooked cakes of rice dough, dried
persimmons, rain hats, or straw shoes for man or beast.  The road, though
wide enough for two carriages (of which we saw none), was not good, and
the ditches on both sides were frequently neither clean nor sweet.  Must
I write it?  The houses were mean, poor, shabby, often even squalid, the
smells were bad, and the people looked ugly, shabby, and poor, though all
were working at something or other.

The country is a dead level, and mainly an artificial mud flat or swamp,
in whose fertile ooze various aquatic birds were wading, and in which
hundreds of men and women were wading too, above their knees in slush;
for this plain of Yedo is mainly a great rice-field, and this is the busy
season of rice-planting; for here, in the sense in which we understand
it, they do not “cast their bread upon the waters.”  There are eight or
nine leading varieties of rice grown in Japan, all of which, except an
upland species, require mud, water, and much puddling and nasty work.
Rice is the staple food and the wealth of Japan.  Its revenues were
estimated in rice.  Rice is grown almost wherever irrigation is possible.

The rice-fields are usually very small and of all shapes.  A quarter of
an acre is a good-sized field.  The rice crop planted in June is not
reaped till November, but in the meantime it needs to be “puddled” three
times, i.e. for all the people to turn into the slush, and grub out all
the weeds and tangled aquatic plants, which weave themselves from tuft to
tuft, and puddle up the mud afresh round the roots.  It grows in water
till it is ripe, when the fields are dried off.  An acre of the best land
produces annually about fifty-four bushels of rice, and of the worst
about thirty.

On the plain of Yedo, besides the nearly continuous villages along the
causewayed road, there are islands, as they may be called, of villages
surrounded by trees, and hundreds of pleasant oases on which wheat ready
for the sickle, onions, millet, beans, and peas, were flourishing.  There
were lotus ponds too, in which the glorious lily, _Nelumbo nucifera_, is
being grown for the sacrilegious purpose of being eaten!  Its splendid
classical leaves are already a foot above the water.

After running cheerily for several miles my men bowled me into a
tea-house, where they ate and smoked while I sat in the garden, which
consisted of baked mud, smooth stepping-stones, a little pond with some
goldfish, a deformed pine, and a stone lantern.  Observe that foreigners
are wrong in calling the Japanese houses of entertainment
indiscriminately “tea-houses.”  A tea-house or _chaya_ is a house at
which you can obtain tea and other refreshments, rooms to eat them in,
and attendance.  That which to some extent answers to an hotel is a
_yadoya_, which provides sleeping accommodation and food as required.
The licenses are different.  Tea-houses are of all grades, from the
three-storied erections, gay with flags and lanterns, in the great cities
and at places of popular resort, down to the road-side tea-house, as
represented in the engraving, with three or four lounges of dark-coloured
wood under its eaves, usually occupied by naked coolies in all attitudes
of easiness and repose.  The floor is raised about eighteen inches above
the ground, and in these tea-houses is frequently a matted platform with
a recess called the _doma_, literally “earth-space,” in the middle, round
which runs a ledge of polished wood called the _itama_, or “board space,”
on which travellers sit while they bathe their soiled feet with the water
which is immediately brought to them; for neither with soiled feet nor in
foreign shoes must one advance one step on the matted floor.  On one side
of the _doma_ is the kitchen, with its one or two charcoal fires, where
the coolies lounge on the mats and take their food and smoke, and on the
other the family pursue their avocations.  In almost the smallest
tea-house there are one or two rooms at the back, but all the life and
interest are in the open front.  In the small tea-houses there is only an
_irori_, a square hole in the floor, full of sand or white ash, on which
the live charcoal for cooking purposes is placed, and small racks for
food and eating utensils; but in the large ones there is a row of
charcoal stoves, and the walls are garnished up to the roof with shelves,
and the lacquer tables and lacquer and china ware used by the guests.
The large tea-houses contain the possibilities for a number of rooms
which can be extemporised at once by sliding paper panels, called
_fusuma_, along grooves in the floor and in the ceiling or cross-beams.

                      [Picture: Road-Side Tea-House]

When we stopped at wayside tea-houses the runners bathed their feet,
rinsed their mouths, and ate rice, pickles, salt fish, and “broth of
abominable things,” after which they smoked their tiny pipes, which give
them three whiffs for each filling.  As soon as I got out at any of
these, one smiling girl brought me the _tabako-bon_, a square wood or
lacquer tray, with a china or bamboo charcoal-holder and ash-pot upon it,
and another presented me with a _zen_, a small lacquer table about six
inches high, with a tiny teapot with a hollow handle at right angles with
the spout, holding about an English tea-cupful, and two cups without
handles or saucers, with a capacity of from ten to twenty thimblefuls
each.  The hot water is merely allowed to rest a minute on the
tea-leaves, and the infusion is a clear straw-coloured liquid with a
delicious aroma and flavour, grateful and refreshing at all times.  If
Japanese tea “stands,” it acquires a coarse bitterness and an unwholesome
astringency.  Milk and sugar are not used.  A clean-looking wooden or
lacquer pail with a lid is kept in all tea-houses, and though hot rice,
except to order, is only ready three times daily, the pail always
contains cold rice, and the coolies heat it by pouring hot tea over it.
As you eat, a tea-house girl, with this pail beside her, squats on the
floor in front of you, and fills your rice bowl till you say, “Hold,
enough!”  On this road it is expected that you leave three or four _sen_
on the tea-tray for a rest of an hour or two and tea.

All day we travelled through rice swamps, along a much-frequented road,
as far as Kasukabé, a good-sized but miserable-looking town, with its
main street like one of the poorest streets in Tôkiyô, and halted for the
night at a large _yadoya_, with downstairs and upstairs rooms, crowds of
travellers, and many evil smells.  On entering, the house-master or
landlord, the _teishi_, folded his hands and prostrated himself, touching
the floor with his forehead three times.  It is a large, rambling old
house, and fully thirty servants were bustling about in the _daidokoro_,
or great open kitchen.  I took a room upstairs (i.e. up a steep
step-ladder of dark, polished wood), with a balcony under the deep eaves.
The front of the house upstairs was one long room with only sides and a
front, but it was immediately divided into four by drawing sliding
screens or panels, covered with opaque wall papers, into their proper
grooves.  A back was also improvised, but this was formed of frames with
panes of translucent paper, like our tissue paper, with sundry holes and
rents.  This being done, I found myself the possessor of a room about
sixteen feet square, without hook, shelf, rail, or anything on which to
put anything—nothing, in short, but a matted floor.  Do not be misled by
the use of this word matting.  Japanese house-mats, _tatami_, are as
neat, refined, and soft a covering for the floor as the finest Axminster
carpet.  They are 5 feet 9 inches long, 3 feet broad, and 2½ inches
thick.  The frame is solidly made of coarse straw, and this is covered
with very fine woven matting, as nearly white as possible, and each mat
is usually bound with dark blue cloth.  Temples and rooms are measured by
the number of mats they contain, and rooms must be built for the mats, as
they are never cut to the rooms.  They are always level with the polished
grooves or ledges which surround the floor.  They are soft and elastic,
and the finer qualities are very beautiful.  They are as expensive as the
best Brussels carpet, and the Japanese take great pride in them, and are
much aggrieved by the way in which some thoughtless foreigners stamp over
them with dirty boots.  Unfortunately they harbour myriads of fleas.

Outside my room an open balcony with many similiar rooms ran round a
forlorn aggregate of dilapidated shingle roofs and water-butts.  These
rooms were all full.  Ito asked me for instructions once for all, put up
my stretcher under a large mosquito net of coarse green canvas with a
fusty smell, filled my bath, brought me some tea, rice, and eggs, took my
passport to be copied by the house-master, and departed, I know not
whither.  I tried to write to you, but fleas and mosquitoes prevented it,
and besides, the _fusuma_ were frequently noiselessly drawn apart, and
several pairs of dark, elongated eyes surveyed me through the cracks; for
there were two Japanese families in the room to the right, and five men
in that to the left.  I closed the sliding windows, with translucent
paper for window panes, called _shôji_, and went to bed, but the lack of
privacy was fearful, and I have not yet sufficient trust in my
fellow-creatures to be comfortable without locks, walls, or doors!  Eyes
were constantly applied to the sides of the room, a girl twice drew aside
the _shôji_ between it and the corridor; a man, who I afterwards found
was a blind man, offering his services as a shampooer, came in and said
some (of course) unintelligible words, and the new noises were perfectly
bewildering.  On one side a man recited Buddhist prayers in a high key;
on the other a girl was twanging a _samisen_, a species of guitar; the
house was full of talking and splashing, drums and tom-toms were beaten
outside; there were street cries innumerable, and the whistling of the
blind shampooers, and the resonant clap of the fire-watchman who
perambulates all Japanese villages, and beats two pieces of wood together
in token of his vigilance, were intolerable.  It was a life of which I
knew nothing, and the mystery was more alarming than attractive; my money
was lying about, and nothing seemed easier than to slide a hand through
the _fusuma_ and appropriate it.  Ito told me that the well was badly
contaminated, the odours were fearful; illness was to be feared as well
as robbery!  So unreasonably I reasoned! {41}

My bed is merely a piece of canvas nailed to two wooden bars.  When I lay
down the canvas burst away from the lower row of nails with a series of
cracks, and sank gradually till I found myself lying on a sharp-edged
pole which connects the two pair of trestles, and the helpless victim of
fleas and mosquitoes.  I lay for three hours, not daring to stir lest I
should bring the canvas altogether down, becoming more and more nervous
every moment, and then Ito called outside the _shôji_, “It would be best,
Miss Bird, that I should see you.”  What horror can this be? I thought,
and was not reassured when he added, “Here’s a messenger from the
Legation and two policemen want to speak to you.”  On arriving I had done
the correct thing in giving the house-master my passport, which,
according to law, he had copied into his book, and had sent a duplicate
copy to the police-station, and this intrusion near midnight was as
unaccountable as it was unwarrantable.  Nevertheless the appearance of
the two mannikins in European uniforms, with the familiar batons and
bull’s-eye lanterns, and with manners which were respectful without being
deferential, gave me immediate relief.  I should have welcomed twenty of
their species, for their presence assured me of the fact that I am known
and registered, and that a Government which, for special reasons, is
anxious to impress foreigners with its power and omniscience is
responsible for my safety.

While they spelt through my passport by their dim lantern I opened the
Yedo parcel, and found that it contained a tin of lemon sugar, a most
kind note from Sir Harry Parkes, and a packet of letters from you.  While
I was attempting to open the letters, Ito, the policemen, and the lantern
glided out of my room, and I lay uneasily till daylight, with the letters
and telegram, for which I had been yearning for six weeks, on my bed
unopened!

Already I can laugh at my fears and misfortunes, as I hope you will.  A
traveller must buy his own experience, and success or failure depends
mainly on personal idiosyncrasies.  Many matters will be remedied by
experience as I go on, and I shall acquire the habit of feeling secure;
but lack of privacy, bad smells, and the torments of fleas and mosquitoes
are, I fear, irremediable evils.

                                                                  I. L. B.

                     [Picture: Sir Harry’s Messenger]



LETTER VI.—(_Continued_.)


A Coolie falls ill—Peasant Costume—Varieties in Threshing—The Tochigi
_yadoya_—Farming Villages—A Beautiful Region—An _In Memoriam_ Avenue—A
Doll’s Street—Nikkô—The Journey’s End—Coolie Kindliness.

BY seven the next morning the rice was eaten, the room as bare as if it
had never been occupied, the bill of 80 _sen_ paid, the house-master and
servants with many _sayo naras_, or farewells, had prostrated themselves,
and we were away in the _kurumas_ at a rapid trot.  At the first halt my
runner, a kindly, good-natured creature, but absolutely hideous, was
seized with pain and vomiting, owing, he said, to drinking the bad water
at Kasukabé, and was left behind.  He pleased me much by the honest
independent way in which he provided a substitute, strictly adhering to
his bargain, and never asking for a gratuity on account of his illness.
He had been so kind and helpful that I felt quite sad at leaving him
there ill,—only a coolie, to be sure, only an atom among the 34,000,000
of the Empire, but not less precious to our Father in heaven than any
other.  It was a brilliant day, with the mercury 86° in the shade, but
the heat was not oppressive.  At noon we reached the Toné, and I rode on
a coolie’s tattooed shoulders through the shallow part, and then, with
the _kurumas_, some ill-disposed pack-horses, and a number of travellers,
crossed in a flat-bottomed boat.  The boatmen, travellers, and
cultivators, were nearly or altogether without clothes, but the richer
farmers worked in the fields in curved bamboo hats as large as umbrellas,
_kimonos_ with large sleeves not girt up, and large fans attached to
their girdles.  Many of the travellers whom we met were without hats, but
shielded the front of the head by holding a fan between it and the sun.
Probably the inconvenience of the national costume for working men partly
accounts for the general practice of getting rid of it.  It is such a
hindrance, even in walking, that most pedestrians have “their loins
girded up” by taking the middle of the hem at the bottom of the _kimono_
and tucking it under the girdle.  This, in the case of many, shows woven,
tight-fitting, elastic, white cotton pantaloons, reaching to the ankles.
After ferrying another river at a village from which a steamer plies to
Tôkiyô, the country became much more pleasing, the rice-fields fewer, the
trees, houses, and barns larger, and, in the distance, high hills loomed
faintly through the haze.  Much of the wheat, of which they don’t make
bread, but vermicelli, is already being carried.  You see wheat stacks,
ten feet high, moving slowly, and while you are wondering, you become
aware of four feet moving below them; for all the crop is carried on
horses’ if not on human backs.  I went to see several
threshing-floors,—clean, open spaces outside barns,—where the grain is
laid on mats and threshed by two or four men with heavy revolving flails.
Another method is for women to beat out the grain on racks of split
bamboo laid lengthwise; and I saw yet a third practised both in the
fields and barn-yards, in which women pass handfuls of stalks backwards
through a sort of carding instrument with sharp iron teeth placed in a
slanting position, which cuts off the ears, leaving the stalk unbruised.
This is probably “the sharp threshing instrument having teeth” mentioned
by Isaiah.  The ears are then rubbed between the hands.  In this region
the wheat was winnowed altogether by hand, and after the wind had driven
the chaff away, the grain was laid out on mats to dry.  Sickles are not
used, but the reaper takes a handful of stalks and cuts them off close to
the ground with a short, straight knife, fixed at a right angle with the
handle.  The wheat is sown in rows with wide spaces between them, which
are utilised for beans and other crops, and no sooner is it removed than
_daikon_ (_Raphanus sativus_), cucumbers, or some other vegetable, takes
its place, as the land under careful tillage and copious manuring bears
two, and even three, crops, in the year.  The soil is trenched for wheat
as for all crops except rice, not a weed is to be seen, and the whole
country looks like a well-kept garden.  The barns in this district are
very handsome, and many of their grand roofs have that concave sweep with
which we are familiar in the pagoda.  The eaves are often eight feet
deep, and the thatch three feet thick.  Several of the farm-yards have
handsome gateways like the ancient “lychgates” of some of our English
churchyards much magnified.  As animals are not used for milk, draught,
or food, and there are no pasture lands, both the country and the
farm-yards have a singular silence and an inanimate look; a mean-looking
dog and a few fowls being the only representatives of domestic animal
life.  I long for the lowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep.

At six we reached Tochigi, a large town, formerly the castle town of a
_daimiyô_.  Its special manufacture is rope of many kinds, a great deal
of hemp being grown in the neighbourhood.  Many of the roofs are tiled,
and the town has a more solid and handsome appearance than those that we
had previously passed through.  But from Kasukabé to Tochigi was from bad
to worse.  I nearly abandoned Japanese travelling altogether, and, if
last night had not been a great improvement, I think I should have gone
ignominiously back to Tôkiyô.  The _yadoya_ was a very large one, and, as
sixty guests had arrived before me, there was no choice of accommodation,
and I had to be contented with a room enclosed on all sides not by
_fusuma_ but _shôji_, and with barely room for my bed, bath, and chair,
under a fusty green mosquito net which was a perfect nest of fleas.  One
side of the room was against a much-frequented passage, and another
opened on a small yard upon which three opposite rooms also opened,
crowded with some not very sober or decorous travellers.  The _shôji_
were full of holes, and often at each hole I saw a human eye.  Privacy
was a luxury not even to be recalled.  Besides the constant application
of eyes to the _shôji_, the servants, who were very noisy and rough,
looked into my room constantly without any pretext; the host, a bright,
pleasant-looking man, did the same; jugglers, musicians, blind
shampooers, and singing girls, all pushed the screens aside; and I began
to think that Mr. Campbell was right, and that a lady should not travel
alone in Japan.  Ito, who had the room next to mine, suggested that
robbery was quite likely, and asked to be allowed to take charge of my
money, but did not decamp with it during the night!  I lay down on my
precarious stretcher before eight, but as the night advanced the din of
the house increased till it became truly diabolical, and never ceased
till after one.  Drums, tom-toms, and cymbals were beaten; _kotos_ and
_samisens_ screeched and twanged; _geishas_ (professional women with the
accomplishments of dancing, singing, and playing) danced,—accompanied by
songs whose jerking discords were most laughable; story-tellers recited
tales in a high key, and the running about and splashing close to my room
never ceased.  Late at night my precarious _shôji_ were accidentally
thrown down, revealing a scene of great hilarity, in which a number of
people were bathing and throwing water over each other.

The noise of departures began at daylight, and I was glad to leave at
seven.  Before you go the _fusuma_ are slidden back, and what was your
room becomes part of a great, open, matted space—an arrangement which
effectually prevents fustiness.  Though the road was up a slight incline,
and the men were too tired to trot, we made thirty miles in nine hours.
The kindliness and courtesy of the coolies to me and to each other was a
constant source of pleasure to me.  It is most amusing to see the
elaborate politeness of the greetings of men clothed only in hats and
_maros_.  The hat is invariably removed when they speak to each other,
and three profound bows are never omitted.

Soon after leaving the _yadoya_ we passed through a wide street with the
largest and handsomest houses I have yet seen on both sides.  They were
all open in front; their highly-polished floors and passages looked like
still water; the _kakemonos_, or wall-pictures, on their side-walls were
extremely beautiful; and their mats were very fine and white.  There were
large gardens at the back, with fountains and flowers, and streams,
crossed by light stone bridges, sometimes flowed through the houses.
From the signs I supposed them to be _yadoyas_, but on asking Ito why we
had not put up at one of them, he replied that they were all
_kashitsukeya_, or tea-houses of disreputable character—a very sad fact.
{46}

As we journeyed the country became prettier and prettier, rolling up to
abrupt wooded hills with mountains in the clouds behind.  The farming
villages are comfortable and embowered in wood, and the richer farmers
seclude their dwellings by closely-clipped hedges, or rather screens, two
feet wide, and often twenty feet high.  Tea grew near every house, and
its leaves were being gathered and dried on mats.  Signs of silk culture
began to appear in shrubberies of mulberry trees, and white and sulphur
yellow cocoons were lying in the sun along the road in flat trays.
Numbers of women sat in the fronts of the houses weaving cotton cloth
fifteen inches wide, and cotton yarn, mostly imported from England, was
being dyed in all the villages—the dye used being a native indigo, the
_Polygonum tinctorium_.  Old women were spinning, and young and old
usually pursued their avocations with wise-looking babies tucked into the
backs of their dresses, and peering cunningly over their shoulders.  Even
little girls of seven and eight were playing at children’s games with
babies on their backs, and those who were too small to carry real ones
had big dolls strapped on in similar fashion.  Innumerable villages,
crowded houses, and babies in all, give one the impression of a very
populous country.

As the day wore on in its brightness and glory the pictures became more
varied and beautiful.  Great snow-slashed mountains looked over the
foothills, on whose steep sides the dark blue green of pine and
cryptomeria was lighted up by the spring tints of deciduous trees.  There
were groves of cryptomeria on small hills crowned by Shintô shrines,
approached by grand flights of stone stairs.  The red gold of the harvest
fields contrasted with the fresh green and exquisite leafage of the hemp;
rose and white azaleas lighted up the copse-woods; and when the broad
road passed into the colossal avenue of cryptomeria which overshadows the
way to the sacred shrines of Nikkô, and tremulous sunbeams and shadows
flecked the grass, I felt that Japan was beautiful, and that the mud
flats of Yedo were only an ugly dream!

Two roads lead to Nikkô.  I avoided the one usually taken by Utsunomiya,
and by doing so lost the most magnificent of the two avenues, which
extends for nearly fifty miles along the great highway called the
Oshiu-kaido.  Along the Reiheishi-kaido, the road by which I came, it
extends for thirty miles, and the two, broken frequently by villages,
converge upon the village of Imaichi, eight miles from Nikkô, where they
unite, and only terminate at the entrance of the town.  They are said to
have been planted as an offering to the buried Shôguns by a man who was
too poor to place a bronze lantern at their shrines.  A grander monument
could not have been devised, and they are probably the grandest things of
their kind in the world.  The avenue of the Reiheishi-kaido is a good
carriage road with sloping banks eight feet high, covered with grass and
ferns.  At the top of these are the cryptomeria, then two grassy walks,
and between these and the cultivation a screen of saplings and brushwood.
A great many of the trees become two at four feet from the ground.  Many
of the stems are twenty-seven feet in girth; they do not diminish or
branch till they have reached a height of from 50 to 60 feet, and the
appearance of altitude is aided by the longitudinal splitting of the
reddish coloured bark into strips about two inches wide.  The trees are
pyramidal, and at a little distance resemble cedars.  There is a deep
solemnity about this glorious avenue with its broad shade and dancing
lights, and the rare glimpses of high mountains.  Instinct alone would
tell one that it leads to something which must be grand and beautiful
like itself.  It is broken occasionally by small villages with big bells
suspended between double poles; by wayside shrines with offerings of rags
and flowers; by stone effigies of Buddha and his disciples, mostly
defaced or overthrown, all wearing the same expression of beatified rest
and indifference to mundane affairs; and by temples of lacquered wood
falling to decay, whose bells sent their surpassingly sweet tones far on
the evening air.

Imaichi, where the two stately aisles unite, is a long uphill street,
with a clear mountain stream enclosed in a stone channel, and crossed by
hewn stone slabs running down the middle.  In a room built over the
stream, and commanding a view up and down the street, two policemen sat
writing.  It looks a dull place without much traffic, as if oppressed by
the stateliness of the avenues below it and the shrines above it, but it
has a quiet _yadoya_, where I had a good night’s rest, although my canvas
bed was nearly on the ground.  We left early this morning in drizzling
rain, and went straight up hill under the cryptomeria for eight miles.
The vegetation is as profuse as one would expect in so damp and hot a
summer climate, and from the prodigious rainfall of the mountains; every
stone is covered with moss, and the road-sides are green with the
_Protococcus viridis_ and several species of _Marchantia_.  We were among
the foothills of the Nantaizan mountains at a height of 1000 feet, abrupt
in their forms, wooded to their summits, and noisy with the dash and
tumble of a thousand streams.  The long street of Hachiishi, with its
steep-roofed, deep-eaved houses, its warm colouring, and its steep
roadway with steps at intervals, has a sort of Swiss picturesqueness as
you enter it, as you must, on foot, while your _kurumas_ are hauled and
lifted up the steps; nor is the resemblance given by steep roofs, pines,
and mountains patched with coniferæ, altogether lost as you ascend the
steep street, and see wood carvings and quaint baskets of wood and grass
offered everywhere for sale.  It is a truly dull, quaint street, and the
people come out to stare at a foreigner as if foreigners had not become
common events since 1870, when Sir H. and Lady Parkes, the first
Europeans who were permitted to visit Nikkô, took up their abode in the
Imperial Hombô.  It is a doll’s street with small low houses, so finely
matted, so exquisitely clean, so finically neat, so light and delicate,
that even when I entered them without my boots I felt like a “bull in a
china shop,” as if my mere weight must smash through and destroy.  The
street is so painfully clean that I should no more think of walking over
it in muddy boots than over a drawing-room carpet.  It has a silent
mountain look, and most of its shops sell specialties, lacquer work,
boxes of sweetmeats made of black beans and sugar, all sorts of boxes,
trays, cups, and stands, made of plain, polished wood, and more grotesque
articles made from the roots of trees.

It was not part of my plan to stay at the beautiful _yadoya_ which
receives foreigners in Hachiishi, and I sent Ito half a mile farther with
a note in Japanese to the owner of the house where I now am, while I sat
on a rocky eminence at the top of the street, unmolested by anybody,
looking over to the solemn groves upon the mountains, where the two
greatest of the Shôguns “sleep in glory.”  Below, the rushing Daiyagawa,
swollen by the night’s rain, thundered through a narrow gorge.  Beyond,
colossal flights of stone stairs stretch mysteriously away among
cryptomeria groves, above which tower the Nikkôsan mountains.  Just where
the torrent finds its impetuosity checked by two stone walls, it is
spanned by a bridge, 84 feet long by 18 wide, of dull red lacquer,
resting on two stone piers on either side, connected by two transverse
stone beams.  A welcome bit of colour it is amidst the masses of dark
greens and soft greys, though there is nothing imposing in its structure,
and its interest consists in being the Mihashi, or Sacred Bridge, built
in 1636, formerly open only to the Shôguns, the envoy of the Mikado, and
to pilgrims twice a year.  Both its gates are locked.  Grand and lonely
Nikkô looks, the home of rain and mist.  _Kuruma_ roads end here, and if
you wish to go any farther, you must either walk, ride, or be carried.

Ito was long away, and the coolies kept addressing me in Japanese, which
made me feel helpless and solitary, and eventually they shouldered my
baggage, and, descending a flight of steps, we crossed the river by the
secular bridge, and shortly met my host, Kanaya, a very bright,
pleasant-looking man, who bowed nearly to the earth.  Terraced roads in
every direction lead through cryptomerias to the shrines; and this one
passes many a stately enclosure, but leads away from the temples, and
though it is the highway to Chiuzenjii, a place of popular pilgrimage,
Yumoto, a place of popular resort, and several other villages, it is very
rugged, and, having flights of stone steps at intervals, is only
practicable for horses and pedestrians.

At the house, with the appearance of which I was at once delighted, I
regretfully parted with my coolies, who had served me kindly and
faithfully.  They had paid me many little attentions, such as always
beating the dust out of my dress, inflating my air-pillow, and bringing
me flowers, and were always grateful when I walked up hills; and just
now, after going for a frolic to the mountains, they called to wish me
good-bye, bringing branches of azaleas.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER VII.


A Japanese Idyll—Musical Stillness—My Rooms—Floral Decorations—Kanaya and
his Household—Table Equipments.

                                               KANAYA’S, NIKKÔ, _June_ 15.

I DON’T know what to write about my house.  It is a Japanese idyll; there
is nothing within or without which does not please the eye, and, after
the din of _yadoyas_, its silence, musical with the dash of waters and
the twitter of birds, is truly refreshing.  It is a simple but irregular
two-storied pavilion, standing on a stone-faced terrace approached by a
flight of stone steps.  The garden is well laid out, and, as peonies,
irises, and azaleas are now in blossom, it is very bright.  The mountain,
with its lower part covered with red azaleas, rises just behind, and a
stream which tumbles down it supplies the house with water, both cold and
pure, and another, after forming a miniature cascade, passes under the
house and through a fish-pond with rocky islets into the river below.
The grey village of Irimichi lies on the other side of the road, shut in
with the rushing Daiya, and beyond it are high, broken hills, richly
wooded, and slashed with ravines and waterfalls.

Kanaya’s sister, a very sweet, refined-looking woman, met me at the door
and divested me of my boots.  The two verandahs are highly polished, so
are the entrance and the stairs which lead to my room, and the mats are
so fine and white that I almost fear to walk over them, even in my
stockings.  The polished stairs lead to a highly polished, broad verandah
with a beautiful view, from which you enter one large room, which, being
too large, was at once made into two.  Four highly polished steps lead
from this into an exquisite room at the back, which Ito occupies, and
another polished staircase into the bath-house and garden.  The whole
front of my room is composed of _shôji_, which slide back during the day.
The ceiling is of light wood crossed by bars of dark wood, and the posts
which support it are of dark polished wood.  The panels are of wrinkled
sky-blue paper splashed with gold.  At one end are two alcoves with
floors of polished wood, called _tokonoma_.  In one hangs a _kakemono_,
or wall-picture, a painting of a blossoming branch of the cherry on white
silk—a perfect piece of art, which in itself fills the room with
freshness and beauty.  The artist who painted it painted nothing but
cherry blossoms, and fell in the rebellion.  On a shelf in the other
alcove is a very valuable cabinet with sliding doors, on which peonies
are painted on a gold ground.  A single spray of rose azalea in a pure
white vase hanging on one of the polished posts, and a single iris in
another, are the only decorations.  The mats are very fine and white, but
the only furniture is a folding screen with some suggestions of landscape
in Indian ink.  I almost wish that the rooms were a little less
exquisite, for I am in constant dread of spilling the ink, indenting the
mats, or tearing the paper windows.  Downstairs there is a room equally
beautiful, and a large space where all the domestic avocations are
carried on.  There is a _kura_, or fire-proof storehouse, with a tiled
roof, on the right of the house.

                        [Picture: Kanaya’s House]

Kanaya leads the discords at the Shintô shrines; but his duties are few,
and he is chiefly occupied in perpetually embellishing his house and
garden.  His mother, a venerable old lady, and his sister, the sweetest
and most graceful Japanese woman but one that I have seen, live with him.
She moves about the house like a floating fairy, and her voice has music
in its tones.  A half-witted servant-man and the sister’s boy and girl
complete the family.  Kanaya is the chief man in the village, and is very
intelligent and apparently well educated.  He has divorced his wife, and
his sister has practically divorced her husband.  Of late, to help his
income, he has let these charming rooms to foreigners who have brought
letters to him, and he is very anxious to meet their views, while his
good taste leads him to avoid Europeanising his beautiful home.

Supper came up on a _zen_, or small table six inches high, of old gold
lacquer, with the rice in a gold lacquer bowl, and the teapot and cup
were fine Kaga porcelain.  For my two rooms, with rice and tea, I pay 2s.
a day.  Ito forages for me, and can occasionally get chickens at 10d.
each, and a dish of trout for 6d., and eggs are always to be had for 1d.
each.  It is extremely interesting to live in a private house and to see
the externalities, at least, of domestic life in a Japanese middle-class
home.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER VIII.


The Beauties of Nikkô—The Burial of Iyéyasu—The Approach to the Great
Shrines—The Yomei Gate—Gorgeous Decorations—Simplicity of the
Mausoleum—The Shrine of Iyémitsu—Religious Art of Japan and India—An
Earthquake—Beauties of Wood-carving.

                                               KANAYA’S, NIKKÔ, _June_ 21.

I HAVE been at Nikkô for nine days, and am therefore entitled to use the
word “_Kek’ko_!”

Nikkô means “sunny splendour,” and its beauties are celebrated in poetry
and art all over Japan.  Mountains for a great part of the year clothed
or patched with snow, piled in great ranges round Nantaizan, their
monarch, worshipped as a god; forests of magnificent timber; ravines and
passes scarcely explored; dark green lakes sleeping in endless serenity;
the deep abyss of Kêgon, into which the waters of Chiuzenjii plunge from
a height of 250 feet; the bright beauty of the falls of Kiri Furi, the
loveliness of the gardens of Dainichido; the sombre grandeur of the
passes through which the Daiyagawa forces its way from the upper regions;
a gorgeousness of azaleas and magnolias; and a luxuriousness of
vegetation perhaps unequalled in Japan, are only a few of the attractions
which surround the shrines of the two greatest Shôguns.

To a glorious resting-place on the hill-slope of Hotoké Iwa, sacred since
767, when a Buddhist saint, called Shôdô Shônin, visited it, and declared
the old Shintô deity of the mountain to be only a manifestation of
Buddha, Hidetada, the second Shôgun of the Tokugawa dynasty, conveyed the
corpse of his father, Iyéyasu, in 1617.  It was a splendid burial.  An
Imperial envoy, a priest of the Mikado’s family, court nobles from
Kivôto, and hundreds of _daimiyôs_, captains, and nobles of inferior
rank, took part in the ceremony.  An army of priests in rich robes during
three days intoned a sacred classic 10,000 times, and Iyéyasu was deified
by a decree of the Mikado under a name signifying “light of the east,
great incarnation of Buddha.”  The less important Shôguns of the line of
Tokugawa are buried in Uyeno and Shiba, in Yedo.  Since the restoration,
and what may be called the disestablishment of Buddhism, the shrine of
Iyéyasu has been shorn of all its glories of ritual and its magnificent
Buddhist paraphernalia; the 200 priests who gave it splendour are
scattered, and six Shintô priests alternately attend upon it as much for
the purpose of selling tickets of admission as for any priestly duties.

All roads, bridges, and avenues here lead to these shrines, but the grand
approach is by the Red Bridge, and up a broad road with steps at
intervals and stone-faced embankments at each side, on the top of which
are belts of cryptomeria.  At the summit of this ascent is a fine granite
_torii_, 27 feet 6 inches high, with columns 3 feet 6 inches in diameter,
offered by the _daimiyô_ of Chikuzen in 1618 from his own quarries.
After this come 118 magnificent bronze lanterns on massive stone
pedestals, each of which is inscribed with the posthumous title of
Iyéyasu, the name of the giver, and a legend of the offering—all the
gifts of _daimiyô_—a holy water cistern made of a solid block of granite,
and covered by a roof resting on twenty square granite pillars, and a
bronze bell, lantern, and candelabra of marvellous workmanship, offered
by the kings of Corea and Liukiu.  On the left is a five-storied pagoda,
104 feet high, richly carved in wood and as richly gilded and painted.
The signs of the zodiac run round the lower story.

The grand entrance gate is at the top of a handsome flight of steps forty
yards from the _torii_.  A looped white curtain with the Mikado’s crest
in black, hangs partially over the gateway, in which, beautiful as it is,
one does not care to linger, to examine the gilded _amainu_ in niches, or
the spirited carvings of tigers under the eaves, for the view of the
first court overwhelms one by its magnificence and beauty.  The whole
style of the buildings, the arrangements, the art of every kind, the
thought which inspires the whole, are exclusively Japanese, and the
glimpse from the _Ni-ô_ gate is a revelation of a previously undreamed-of
beauty, both in form and colour.

Round the neatly pebbled court, which is enclosed by a bright red timber
wall, are three gorgeous buildings, which contain the treasures of the
temple, a sumptuous stable for the three sacred Albino horses, which are
kept for the use of the god, a magnificent granite cistern of holy water,
fed from the Sômendaki cascade, and a highly decorated building, in which
a complete collection of Buddhist Scriptures is deposited.  From this a
flight of steps leads into a smaller court containing a bell-tower “of
marvellous workmanship and ornamentation,” a drum-tower, hardly less
beautiful, a shrine, the candelabra, bell, and lantern mentioned before,
and some very grand bronze lanterns.

From this court another flight of steps ascends to the Yomei gate, whose
splendour I contemplated day after day with increasing astonishment.  The
white columns which support it have capitals formed of great red-throated
heads of the mythical _Kirin_.  Above the architrave is a projecting
balcony which runs all round the gateway with a railing carried by
dragons’ heads.  In the centre two white dragons fight eternally.
Underneath, in high relief, there are groups of children playing, then a
network of richly painted beams, and seven groups of Chinese sages.  The
high roof is supported by gilded dragons’ heads with crimson throats.  In
the interior of the gateway there are side-niches painted white, which
are lined with gracefully designed arabesques founded on the _botan_ or
peony.  A piazza, whose outer walls of twenty-one compartments are
enriched with magnificent carvings of birds, flowers, and trees, runs
right and left, and encloses on three of its sides another court, the
fourth side of which is a terminal stone wall built against the side of
the hill.  On the right are two decorated buildings, one of which
contains a stage for the performance of the sacred dances, and the other
an altar for the burning of cedar wood incense.  On the left is a
building for the reception of the three sacred cars which were used
during festivals.  To pass from court to court is to pass from splendour
to splendour; one is almost glad to feel that this is the last, and that
the strain on one’s capacity for admiration is nearly over.

In the middle is the sacred enclosure, formed of gilded trellis-work with
painted borders above and below, forming a square of which each side
measures 150 feet, and which contains the _haiden_ or chapel.  Underneath
the trellis work are groups of birds, with backgrounds of grass, very
boldly carved in wood and richly gilded and painted.  From the imposing
entrance through a double avenue of cryptomeria, among courts, gates,
temples, shrines, pagodas, colossal bells of bronze, and lanterns inlaid
with gold, you pass through this final court bewildered by magnificence,
through golden gates, into the dimness of a golden temple, and there
is—simply a black lacquer table with a circular metal mirror upon it.

Within is a hall finely matted, 42 feet wide by 27 from front to back,
with lofty apartments on each side, one for the Shôgun and the other “for
his Holiness the Abbot.”  Both, of course, are empty.  The roof of the
hall is panelled and richly frescoed.  The Shôgun’s room contains some
very fine _fusuma_, on which _kirin_ (fabulous monsters) are depicted on
a dead gold ground, and four oak panels, 8 feet by 6, finely carved, with
the phoenix in low relief variously treated.  In the Abbot’s room there
are similar panels adorned with hawks spiritedly executed.  The only
ecclesiastical ornament among the dim splendours of the chapel is the
plain gold _gohei_.  Steps at the back lead into a chapel paved with
stone, with a fine panelled ceiling representing dragons on a dark blue
ground.  Beyond this some gilded doors lead into the principal chapel,
containing four rooms which are not accessible; but if they correspond
with the outside, which is of highly polished black lacquer relieved by
gold, they must be severely magnificent.

But not in any one of these gorgeous shrines did Iyéyasu decree that his
dust should rest.  Re-entering the last court, it is necessary to leave
the enclosures altogether by passing through a covered gateway in the
eastern piazza into a stone gallery, green with mosses and hepaticæ.
Within, wealth and art have created a fairyland of gold and colour;
without, Nature, at her stateliest, has surrounded the great Shôgun’s
tomb with a pomp of mournful splendour.  A staircase of 240 stone steps
leads to the top of the hill, where, above and behind all the stateliness
of the shrines raised in his honour, the dust of Iyéyasu sleeps in an
unadorned but Cyclopean tomb of stone and bronze, surmounted by a bronze
urn.  In front is a stone table decorated with a bronze incense-burner, a
vase with lotus blossoms and leaves in brass, and a bronze stork bearing
a bronze candlestick in its mouth.  A lofty stone wall, surmounted by a
balustrade, surrounds the simple but stately enclosure, and cryptomeria
of large size growing up the back of the hill create perpetual twilight
round it.  Slant rays of sunshine alone pass through them, no flower
blooms or bird sings, only silence and mournfulness surround the grave of
the ablest and greatest man that Japan has produced.

Impressed as I had been with the glorious workmanship in wood, bronze,
and lacquer, I scarcely admired less the masonry of the vast retaining
walls, the stone gallery, the staircase and its balustrade, all put
together without mortar or cement, and so accurately fitted that the
joints are scarcely affected by the rain, damp, and aggressive vegetation
of 260 years.  The steps of the staircase are fine monoliths, and the
coping at the side, the massive balustrade, and the heavy rail at the
top, are cut out of solid blocks of stone from 10 to 18 feet in length.
Nor is the workmanship of the great granite cistern for holy water less
remarkable.  It is so carefully adjusted on its bed that the water
brought from a neighbouring cascade rises and pours over each edge in
such carefully equalised columns that, as Mr. Satow says, “it seems to be
a solid block of water rather than a piece of stone.”

The temples of Iyémitsu are close to those of Iyéyasu, and though
somewhat less magnificent are even more bewildering, as they are still in
Buddhist hands, and are crowded with the gods of the Buddhist Pantheon
and the splendid paraphernalia of Buddhist worship, in striking contrast
to the simplicity of the lonely Shintô mirror in the midst of the blaze
of gold and colour.  In the grand entrance gate are gigantic _Ni-ô_, the
Buddhist Gog and Magog, vermilion coloured, and with draperies painted in
imitation of flowered silk.  A second pair, painted red and green,
removed from Iyémitsu’s temple, are in niches within the gate.  A flight
of steps leads to another gate, in whose gorgeous niches stand hideous
monsters, in human form, representing the gods of wind and thunder.  Wind
has crystal eyes and a half-jolly, half-demoniacal expression.  He is
painted green, and carries a wind-bag on his back, a long sack tied at
each end, with the ends brought over his shoulders and held in his hands.
The god of thunder is painted red, with purple hair on end, and stands on
clouds holding thunderbolts in his hand.  More steps, and another gate
containing the Tennô, or gods of the four quarters, boldly carved and in
strong action, with long eye-teeth, and at last the principal temple is
reached.  An old priest who took me over it on my first visit, on passing
the gods of wind and thunder said, “We used to believe in these things,
but we don’t now,” and his manner in speaking of the other deities was
rather contemptuous.  He requested me, however, to take off my hat as
well as my shoes at the door of the temple.  Within there was a gorgeous
shrine, and when an acolyte drew aside the curtain of cloth of gold the
interior was equally imposing, containing Buddha and two other figures of
gilded brass, seated cross-legged on lotus-flowers, with rows of petals
several times repeated, and with that look of eternal repose on their
faces which is reproduced in the commonest road-side images.  In front of
the shrine several candles were burning, the offerings of some people who
were having prayers said for them, and the whole was lighted by two lamps
burning low.  On a step of the altar a much-contorted devil was crouching
uneasily, for he was subjugated and, by a grim irony, made to carry a
massive incense-burner on his shoulders.  In this temple there were more
than a hundred idols standing in rows, many of them life-size, some of
them trampling devils under their feet, but all hideous, partly from the
bright greens, vermilions, and blues with which they are painted.
Remarkable muscular development characterises all, and the figures or
faces are all in vigorous action of some kind, generally grossly
exaggerated.

While we were crossing the court there were two shocks of earthquake; all
the golden wind-bells which fringe the roofs rang softly, and a number of
priests ran into the temple and beat various kinds of drums for the space
of half an hour.  Iyémitsu’s tomb is reached by flights of steps on the
right of the chapel.  It is in the same style as Iyéyasu’s, but the gates
in front are of bronze, and are inscribed with large Sanskrit characters
in bright brass.  One of the most beautiful of the many views is from the
uppermost gate of the temple.  The sun shone on my second visit and
brightened the spring tints of the trees on Hotoké Iwa, which was
vignetted by a frame of dark cryptomeria.

Some of the buildings are roofed with sheet-copper, but most of them are
tiled.  Tiling, however, has been raised almost to the dignity of a fine
art in Japan.  The tiles themselves are a coppery grey, with a suggestion
of metallic lustre about it.  They are slightly concave, and the joints
are covered by others quite convex, which come down like massive tubes
from the ridge pole, and terminate at the eaves with discs on which the
Tokugawa badge is emblazoned in gold, as it is everywhere on these
shrines where it would not be quite out of keeping.  The roofs are so
massive that they require all the strength of the heavy carved timbers
below, and, like all else, they gleam with gold, or that which simulates
it.

The shrines are the most wonderful work of their kind in Japan.  In their
stately setting of cryptomeria, few of which are less than 20 feet in
girth at 3 feet from the ground, they take one prisoner by their beauty,
in defiance of all rules of western art, and compel one to acknowledge
the beauty of forms and combinations of colour hitherto unknown, and that
lacquered wood is capable of lending itself to the expression of a very
high idea in art.  Gold has been used in profusion, and black, dull red,
and white, with a breadth and lavishness quite unique.  The bronze
fret-work alone is a study, and the wood-carving needs weeks of earnest
work for the mastery of its ideas and details.  One screen or railing
only has sixty panels, each 4 feet long, carved with marvellous boldness
and depth in open work, representing peacocks, pheasants, storks,
lotuses, peonies, bamboos, and foliage.  The fidelity to form and colour
in the birds, and the reproduction of the glory of motion, could not be
excelled.

Yet the flowers please me even better.  Truly the artist has revelled in
his work, and has carved and painted with joy.  The lotus leaf retains
its dewy bloom, the peony its shades of creamy white, the bamboo leaf
still trembles on its graceful stem, in contrast to the rigid needles of
the pine, and countless corollas, in all the perfect colouring of
passionate life, unfold themselves amidst the leafage of the gorgeous
tracery.  These carvings are from 10 to 15 inches deep, and single
feathers in the tails of the pheasants stand out fully 6 inches in front
of peonies nearly as deep.

The details fade from my memory daily as I leave the shrines, and in
their place are picturesque masses of black and red lacquer and gold,
gilded doors opening without noise, halls laid with matting so soft that
not a footfall sounds, across whose twilight the sunbeams fall aslant on
richly arabesqued walls and panels carved with birds and flowers, and on
ceilings panelled and wrought with elaborate art, of inner shrines of
gold, and golden lilies six feet high, and curtains of gold brocade, and
incense fumes, and colossal bells and golden ridge poles; of the mythical
fauna, _kirin_, dragon, and _howo_, of elephants, apes, and tigers,
strangely mingled with flowers and trees, and golden tracery, and diaper
work on a gold ground, and lacquer screens, and pagodas, and groves of
bronze lanterns, and shaven priests in gold brocade, and Shintô
attendants in black lacquer caps, and gleams of sunlit gold here and
there, and simple monumental urns, and a mountain-side covered with a
cryptomeria forest, with rose azaleas lighting up its solemn shade.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER IX.


A Japanese Pack-Horse and Pack-Saddle—_Yadoya_ and Attendant—A Native
Watering-Place—The Sulphur Baths—A “Squeeze.”

                                    YASHIMAYA, YUMOTO, NIKKÔZAN MOUNTAINS,
                                                                _June_ 22.

TO-DAY I have made an experimental journey on horseback, have done
fifteen miles in eight hours of continuous travelling, and have
encountered for the first time the Japanese pack-horse—an animal of which
many unpleasing stories are told, and which has hitherto been as mythical
to me as the _kirin_, or dragon.  I have neither been kicked, bitten, nor
pitched off, however, for mares are used exclusively in this district,
gentle creatures about fourteen hands high, with weak hind-quarters, and
heads nearly concealed by shaggy manes and forelocks.  They are led by a
rope round the nose, and go barefoot, except on stony ground, when the
_mago_, or man who leads them, ties straw sandals on their feet.  The
pack-saddle is composed of two packs of straw eight inches thick, faced
with red, and connected before and behind by strong oak arches gaily
painted or lacquered.  There is for a girth a rope loosely tied under the
body, and the security of the load depends on a crupper, usually a piece
of bamboo attached to the saddle by ropes strung with wooden counters,
and another rope round the neck, into which you put your foot as you
scramble over the high front upon the top of the erection.  The load must
be carefully balanced or it comes to grief, and the _mago_ handles it all
over first, and, if an accurate division of weight is impossible, adds a
stone to one side or the other.  Here, women who wear enormous rain hats
and gird their _kimonos_ over tight blue trousers, both load the horses
and lead them.  I dropped upon my loaded horse from the top of a wall,
the ridges, bars, tags, and knotted rigging of the saddle being smoothed
over by a folded _futon_, or wadded cotton quilt, and I was then fourteen
inches above the animal’s back, with my feet hanging over his neck.  You
must balance yourself carefully, or you bring the whole erection over;
but balancing soon becomes a matter of habit.  If the horse does not
stumble, the pack-saddle is tolerable on level ground, but most severe on
the spine in going up hill, and so intolerable in going down that I was
relieved when I found that I had slid over the horse’s head into a
mud-hole; and you are quite helpless, as he does not understand a bridle,
if you have one, and blindly follows his leader, who trudges on six feet
in front of him.

                      [Picture: Japanese Pack-Horse]

The hard day’s journey ended in an exquisite _yadoya_, beautiful within
and without, and more fit for fairies than for travel-soiled mortals.
The _fusuma_ are light planed wood with a sweet scent, the matting nearly
white, the balconies polished pine.  On entering, a smiling girl brought
me some plum-flower tea with a delicate almond flavour, a sweetmeat made
of beans and sugar, and a lacquer bowl of frozen snow.  After making a
difficult meal from a fowl of much experience, I spent the evening out of
doors, as a Japanese watering-place is an interesting novelty.

                    [Picture: Attendant at Tea-House]

There is scarcely room between the lake and the mountains for the
picturesque village with its trim neat houses, one above another, built
of reddish cedar newly planed.  The snow lies ten feet deep here in
winter, and on October 10 the people wrap their beautiful dwellings up in
coarse matting, not even leaving the roofs uncovered, and go to the low
country till May 10, leaving one man in charge, who is relieved once a
week.  Were the houses mine I should be tempted to wrap them up on every
rainy day!  I did quite the wrong thing in riding here.  It is proper to
be carried up in a _kago_, or covered basket.

The village consists of two short streets, 8 feet wide composed entirely
of _yadoyas_ of various grades, with a picturesquely varied frontage of
deep eaves, graceful balconies, rows of Chinese lanterns, and open lower
fronts.  The place is full of people, and the four bathing-sheds were
crowded.  Some energetic invalids bathe twelve times a day!  Every one
who was walking about carried a blue towel over his arm, and the rails of
the balconies were covered with blue towels hanging to dry.  There can be
very little amusement.  The mountains rise at once from the village, and
are so covered with jungle that one can only walk in the short streets or
along the track by which I came.  There is one covered boat for
excursions on the lake, and a few _geishas_ were playing the _samisen_;
but, as gaming is illegal, and there is no place of public resort except
the bathing-sheds, people must spend nearly all their time in bathing,
sleeping, smoking, and eating.  The great spring is beyond the village,
in a square tank in a mound.  It bubbles up with much strength, giving
off fetid fumes.  There are broad boards laid at intervals across it, and
people crippled with rheumatism go and lie for hours upon them for the
advantage of the sulphurous steam.  The temperature of the spring is 130°
F.; but after the water has travelled to the village, along an open
wooden pipe, it is only 84°.  Yumoto is over 4000 feet high, and very
cold.

IRIMICHI.—Before leaving Yumoto I saw the _modus operandi_ of a
“squeeze.”  I asked for the bill, when, instead of giving it to me, the
host ran upstairs and asked Ito how much it should be, the two dividing
the overcharge.  Your servant gets a “squeeze” on everything you buy, and
on your hotel expenses, and, as it is managed very adroitly, and you
cannot prevent it, it is best not to worry about it so long as it keeps
within reasonable limits.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER X.


Peaceful Monotony—A Japanese School—A Dismal Ditty—Punishment—A
Children’s Party—A Juvenile Belle—Female Names—A Juvenile
Drama—Needlework—Calligraphy—Arranging Flowers—Kanaya—Daily Routine—An
Evening’s Entertainment—Planning Routes—The God-shelf.

                                               IRIMICHI, Nikkô, _June_ 23.

My peacefully monotonous life here is nearly at an end.  The people are
so quiet and kindly, though almost too still, and I have learned to know
something of the externals of village life, and have become quite fond of
the place.

The village of Irimichi, which epitomises for me at present the village
life of Japan, consists of about three hundred houses built along three
roads, across which steps in fours and threes are placed at intervals.
Down the middle of each a rapid stream runs in a stone channel, and this
gives endless amusement to the children, specially to the boys, who
devise many ingenious models and mechanical toys, which are put in motion
by water-wheels.  But at 7 a.m. a drum beats to summon the children to a
school whose buildings would not discredit any school-board at home.  Too
much Europeanised I thought it, and the children looked very
uncomfortable sitting on high benches in front of desks, instead of
squatting, native fashion.  The school apparatus is very good, and there
are fine maps on the walls.  The teacher, a man about twenty-five, made
very free use of the black-board, and questioned his pupils with much
rapidity.  The best answer moved its giver to the head of the class, as
with us.  Obedience is the foundation of the Japanese social order, and
with children accustomed to unquestioning obedience at home the teacher
has no trouble in securing quietness, attention, and docility.  There was
almost a painful earnestness in the old-fashioned faces which pored over
the school-books; even such a rare event as the entrance of a foreigner
failed to distract these childish students.  The younger pupils were
taught chiefly by object lessons, and the older were exercised in reading
geographical and historical books aloud, a very high key being adopted,
and a most disagreeable tone, both with the Chinese and Japanese
pronunciation.  Arithmetic and the elements of some of the branches of
natural philosophy are also taught.  The children recited a verse of
poetry which I understood contained the whole of the simple syllabary.
It has been translated thus:—

    “Colour and perfume vanish away.
    What can be lasting in this world?
    To-day disappears in the abyss of nothingness;
    It is but the passing image of a dream, and causes only a slight
    trouble.”

It is the echo of the wearied sensualist’s cry, “Vanity of vanities, all
is vanity,” and indicates the singular Oriental distaste for life, but is
a dismal ditty for young children to learn.  The Chinese classics,
formerly the basis of Japanese education, are now mainly taught as a
vehicle for conveying a knowledge of the Chinese character, in acquiring
even a moderate acquaintance with which the children undergo a great deal
of useless toil.

The penalties for bad conduct used to be a few blows with a switch on the
front of the leg, or a slight burn with the _moxa_ on the
forefinger—still a common punishment in households; but I understood the
teacher to say that detention in the school-house is the only punishment
now resorted to, and he expressed great disapprobation of our plan of
imposing an added task.  When twelve o’clock came the children marched in
orderly fashion out of the school grounds, the boys in one division and
the girls in another, after which they quietly dispersed.

On going home the children dine, and in the evening in nearly every house
you hear the monotonous hum of the preparation of lessons.  After dinner
they are liberated for play, but the girls often hang about the house
with babies on their backs the whole afternoon nursing dolls.  One
evening I met a procession of sixty boys and girls, all carrying white
flags with black balls, except the leader, who carried a white flag with
a gilded ball, and they sang, or rather howled, as they walked; but the
other amusements have been of a most sedentary kind.  The mechanical
toys, worked by water-wheels in the stream, are most fascinating.

Formal children’s parties have been given in this house, for which formal
invitations, in the name of the house-child, a girl of twelve, are sent
out.  About 3 p.m. the guests arrive, frequently attended by servants;
and this child, Haru, receives them at the top of the stone steps, and
conducts each into the reception room, where they are arranged according
to some well-understood rules of precedence.  Haru’s hair is drawn back,
raised in front, and gathered into a double loop, in which some scarlet
_crépe_ is twisted.  Her face and throat are much whitened, the paint
terminating in three points at the back of the neck, from which all the
short hair has been carefully extracted with pincers.  Her lips are
slightly touched with red paint, and her face looks like that of a cheap
doll.  She wears a blue, flowered silk _kimono_, with sleeves touching
the ground, a blue girdle lined with scarlet, and a fold of scarlet
_crépe_ lies between her painted neck and her _kimono_.  On her little
feet she wears white _tabi_, socks of cotton cloth, with a separate place
for the great toe, so as to allow the scarlet-covered thongs of the
finely lacquered clogs, which she puts on when she stands on the stone
steps to receive her guests, to pass between it and the smaller toes.
All the other little ladies were dressed in the same style, and all
looked like ill-executed dolls.  She met them with very formal but
graceful bows.

When they were all assembled, she and her very graceful mother, squatting
before each, presented tea and sweetmeats on lacquer trays, and then they
played at very quiet and polite games till dusk.  They addressed each
other by their names with the honorific prefix _O_, only used in the case
of women, and the respectful affix _San_; thus Haru becomes O-Haru-San,
which is equivalent to “Miss.”  A mistress of a house is addressed as
_O-Kami-San_, and _O-Kusuma_—something like “my lady”—is used to married
ladies.  Women have no surnames; thus you do not speak of Mrs. Saguchi,
but of the wife of Saguchi _San_; and you would address her as
_O-Kusuma_.  Among the children’s names were _Haru_, Spring; _Yuki_,
Snow; _Hana_, Blossom; _Kiku_, Chrysanthemum; _Gin_, Silver.

One of their games was most amusing, and was played with some spirit and
much dignity.  It consisted in one child feigning sickness and another
playing the doctor, and the pompousness and gravity of the latter, and
the distress and weakness of the former, were most successfully imitated.
Unfortunately the doctor killed his patient, who counterfeited the
death-sleep very effectively with her whitened face; and then followed
the funeral and the mourning.  They dramatise thus weddings,
dinner-parties, and many other of the events of life.  The dignity and
self-possession of these children are wonderful.  The fact is that their
initiation into all that is required by the rules of Japanese etiquette
begins as soon as they can speak, so that by the time they are ten years
old they know exactly what to do and avoid under all possible
circumstances.  Before they went away tea and sweetmeats were again
handed round, and, as it is neither etiquette to refuse them or to leave
anything behind that you have once taken, several of the small ladies
slipped the residue into their capacious sleeves.  On departing the same
formal courtesies were used as on arriving.

Yuki, Haru’s mother, speaks, acts, and moves with a charming
gracefulness.  Except at night, and when friends drop in to afternoon
tea, as they often do, she is always either at domestic avocations, such
as cleaning, sewing, or cooking, or planting vegetables, or weeding them.
All Japanese girls learn to sew and to make their own clothes, but there
are none of the mysteries and difficulties which make the sewing lesson a
thing of dread with us.  The _kimono_, _haori_, and girdle, and even the
long hanging sleeves, have only parallel seams, and these are only tacked
or basted, as the garments, when washed, are taken to pieces, and each
piece, after being very slightly stiffened, is stretched upon a board to
dry.  There is no underclothing, with its bands, frills, gussets, and
button-holes; the poorer women wear none, and those above them wear, like
Yuki, an under-dress of a frothy-looking silk _crépe_, as simply made as
the upper one.  There are circulating libraries here, as in most
villages, and in the evening both Yuki and Haru read love stories, or
accounts of ancient heroes and heroines, dressed up to suit the popular
taste, written in the easiest possible style.  Ito has about ten volumes
of novels in his room, and spends half the night in reading them.

Yuki’s son, a lad of thirteen, often comes to my room to display his
skill in writing the Chinese character.  He is a very bright boy, and
shows considerable talent for drawing.  Indeed, it is only a short step
from writing to drawing.  Giotto’s O hardly involved more breadth and
vigour of touch than some of these characters.  They are written with a
camel’s-hair brush dipped in Indian ink, instead of a pen, and this boy,
with two or three vigorous touches, produces characters a foot long, such
as are mounted and hung as tablets outside the different shops.  Yuki
plays the _samisen_, which may be regarded as the national female
instrument, and Haru goes to a teacher daily for lessons on the same.

The art of arranging flowers is taught in manuals, the study of which
forms part of a girl’s education, and there is scarcely a day in which my
room is not newly decorated.  It is an education to me; I am beginning to
appreciate the extreme beauty of solitude in decoration.  In the alcove
hangs a _kakemono_ of exquisite beauty, a single blossoming branch of the
cherry.  On one panel of a folding screen there is a single iris.  The
vases which hang so gracefully on the polished posts contain each a
single peony, a single iris, a single azalea, stalk, leaves, and
corolla—all displayed in their full beauty.  Can anything be more
grotesque and barbarous than our “florists’ bouquets,” a series of
concentric rings of flowers of divers colours, bordered by maidenhair and
a piece of stiff lace paper, in which stems, leaves, and even petals are
brutally crushed, and the grace and individuality of each flower
systematically destroyed?

Kanaya is the chief man in this village, besides being the leader of the
dissonant squeaks and discords which represent music at the Shintô
festivals, and in some mysterious back region he compounds and sells
drugs.  Since I have been here the beautification of his garden has been
his chief object, and he has made a very respectable waterfall, a rushing
stream, a small lake, a rustic bamboo bridge, and several grass banks,
and has transplanted several large trees.  He kindly goes out with me a
good deal, and, as he is very intelligent, and Ito is proving an
excellent, and, I think, a faithful interpreter, I find it very pleasant
to be here.

They rise at daylight, fold up the wadded quilts or _futons_ on and under
which they have slept, and put them and the wooden pillows, much like
stereoscopes in shape, with little rolls of paper or wadding on the top,
into a press with a sliding door, sweep the mats carefully, dust all the
woodwork and the verandahs, open the _amado_—wooden shutters which, by
sliding in a groove along the edge of the verandah, box in the whole
house at night, and retire into an ornamental projection in the day—and
throw the paper windows back.  Breakfast follows, then domestic
avocations, dinner at one, and sewing, gardening, and visiting till six,
when they take the evening meal.

Visitors usually arrive soon afterwards, and stay till eleven or twelve.
Japanese chess, story-telling, and the _samisen_ fill up the early part
of the evening, but later, an agonising performance, which they call
singing, begins, which sounds like the very essence of heathenishness,
and consists mainly in a prolonged vibrating “No.”  As soon as I hear it
I feel as if I were among savages.  _Saké_, or rice beer, is always
passed round before the visitors leave, in little cups with the gods of
luck at the bottom of them.  _Saké_, when heated, mounts readily to the
head, and a single small cup excites the half-witted man-servant to some
very foolish musical performances.  I am sorry to write it, but his
master and mistress take great pleasure in seeing him make a fool of
himself, and Ito, who is from policy a total abstainer, goes into
convulsions of laughter.

One evening I was invited to join the family, and they entertained me by
showing me picture and guide books.  Most Japanese provinces have their
guide-books, illustrated by wood-cuts of the most striking objects, and
giving itineraries, names of _yadoyas_, and other local information.  One
volume of pictures, very finely executed on silk, was more than a century
old.  Old gold lacquer and china, and some pieces of antique embroidered
silk, were also produced for my benefit, and some musical instruments of
great beauty, said to be more than two centuries old.  None of these
treasures are kept in the house, but in the _kura_, or fireproof
storehouse, close by.  The rooms are not encumbered by ornaments; a
single _kakemono_, or fine piece of lacquer or china, appears for a few
days and then makes way for something else; so they have variety as well
as simplicity, and each object is enjoyed in its turn without
distraction.

Kanaya and his sister often pay me an evening visit, and, with Brunton’s
map on the floor, we project astonishing routes to Niigata, which are
usually abruptly abandoned on finding a mountain-chain in the way with
never a road over it.  The life of these people seems to pass easily
enough, but Kanaya deplores the want of money; he would like to be rich,
and intends to build a hotel for foreigners.

The only vestige of religion in his house is the _kamidana_, or
god-shelf, on which stands a wooden shrine like a Shintô temple, which
contains the memorial tablets to deceased relations.  Each morning a
sprig of evergreen and a little rice and _saké_ are placed before it, and
every evening a lighted lamp.



LETTER X.—(_Continued_.)


Darkness visible—Nikkô Shops—Girls and Matrons—Night and Sleep—Parental
Love—Childish Docility—Hair-dressing—Skin Diseases.

I DON’T wonder that the Japanese rise early, for their evenings are
cheerless, owing to the dismal illumination.  In this and other houses
the lamp consists of a square or circular lacquer stand, with four
uprights, 2½ feet high, and panes of white paper.  A flatted iron dish is
suspended in this full of oil, with the pith of a rush with a weight in
the centre laid across it, and one of the projecting ends is lighted.
This wretched apparatus is called an _andon_, and round its wretched
“darkness visible” the family huddles—the children to play games and
learn lessons, and the women to sew; for the Japanese daylight is short
and the houses are dark.  Almost more deplorable is a candlestick of the
same height as the _andon_, with a spike at the top which fits into a
hole at the bottom of a “farthing candle” of vegetable wax, with a thick
wick made of rolled paper, which requires constant snuffing, and, after
giving for a short time a dim and jerky light, expires with a bad smell.
Lamps, burning mineral oils, native and imported, are being manufactured
on a large scale, but, apart from the peril connected with them, the
carriage of oil into country districts is very expensive.  No Japanese
would think of sleeping without having an _andon_ burning all night in
his room.

These villages are full of shops.  There is scarcely a house which does
not sell something.  Where the buyers come from, and how a profit can be
made, is a mystery.  Many of the things are eatables, such as dried
fishes, 1½ inch long, impaled on sticks; cakes, sweetmeats composed of
rice, flour, and very little sugar; circular lumps of rice dough, called
_mochi_; roots boiled in brine; a white jelly made from beans; and ropes,
straw shoes for men and horses, straw cloaks, paper umbrellas, paper
waterproofs, hair-pins, tooth-picks, tobacco pipes, paper _mouchoirs_,
and numbers of other trifles made of bamboo, straw, grass, and wood.
These goods are on stands, and in the room behind, open to the street,
all the domestic avocations are going on, and the housewife is usually to
be seen boiling water or sewing with a baby tucked into the back of her
dress.  A lucifer factory has recently been put up, and in many house
fronts men are cutting up wood into lengths for matches.  In others they
are husking rice, a very laborious process, in which the grain is pounded
in a mortar sunk in the floor by a flat-ended wooden pestle attached to a
long horizontal lever, which is worked by the feet of a man, invariably
naked, who stands at the other extremity.

In some women are weaving, in others spinning cotton.  Usually there are
three or four together—the mother, the eldest son’s wife, and one or two
unmarried girls.  The girls marry at sixteen, and shortly these comely,
rosy, wholesome-looking creatures pass into haggard, middle-aged women
with vacant faces, owing to the blackening of the teeth and removal of
the eyebrows, which, if they do not follow betrothal, are resorted to on
the birth of the first child.  In other houses women are at their toilet,
blackening their teeth before circular metal mirrors placed in folding
stands on the mats, or performing ablutions, unclothed to the waist.
Early the village is very silent, while the children are at school; their
return enlivens it a little, but they are quiet even at play; at sunset
the men return, and things are a little livelier; you hear a good deal of
splashing in baths, and after that they carry about and play with their
younger children, while the older ones prepare lessons for the following
day by reciting them in a high, monotonous twang.  At dark the paper
windows are drawn, the _amado_, or external wooden shutters, are closed,
the lamp is lighted before the family shrine, supper is eaten, the
children play at quiet games round the _andon_; and about ten the quilts
and wooden pillows are produced from the press, the _amado_ are bolted,
and the family lies down to sleep in one room.  Small trays of food and
the _tabako-bon_ are always within reach of adult sleepers, and one grows
quite accustomed to hear the sound of ashes being knocked out of the pipe
at intervals during the night.  The children sit up as late as their
parents, and are included in all their conversation.

I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring, carrying them
about, or holding their hands in walking, watching and entering into
their games, supplying them constantly with new toys, taking them to
picnics and festivals, never being content to be without them, and
treating other people’s children also with a suitable measure of
affection and attention.  Both fathers and mothers take a pride in their
children.  It is most amusing about six every morning to see twelve or
fourteen men sitting on a low wall, each with a child under two years in
his arms, fondling and playing with it, and showing off its physique and
intelligence.  To judge from appearances, the children form the chief
topic at this morning gathering.  At night, after the houses are shut up,
looking through the long fringe of rope or rattan which conceals the
sliding door, you see the father, who wears nothing but a _maro_ in “the
bosom of his family,” bending his ugly, kindly face over a gentle-looking
baby, and the mother, who more often than not has dropped the _kimono_
from her shoulders, enfolding two children destitute of clothing in her
arms.  For some reasons they prefer boys, but certainly girls are equally
petted and loved.  The children, though for our ideas too gentle and
formal, are very prepossessing in looks and behaviour.  They are so
perfectly docile and obedient, so ready to help their parents, so good to
the little ones, and, in the many hours which I have spent in watching
them at play, I have never heard an angry word or seen a sour look or
act.  But they are little men and women rather than children, and their
old-fashioned appearance is greatly aided by their dress, which, as I
have remarked before, is the same as that of adults.

There are, however, various styles of dressing the hair of girls, by
which you can form a pretty accurate estimate of any girl’s age up to her
marriage, when the _coiffure_ undergoes a definite change.  The boys all
look top-heavy and their heads of an abnormal size, partly from a hideous
practice of shaving the head altogether for the first three years.  After
this the hair is allowed to grow in three tufts, one over each ear, and
the other at the back of the neck; as often, however, a tuft is grown at
the top of the back of the head.  At ten the crown alone is shaved and a
forelock is worn, and at fifteen, when the boy assumes the
responsibilities of manhood, his hair is allowed to grow like that of a
man.  The grave dignity of these boys, with the grotesque patterns on
their big heads, is most amusing.

Would that these much-exposed skulls were always smooth and clean!  It is
painful to see the prevalence of such repulsive maladies as _scabies_,
scald-head, ringworm, sore eyes, and unwholesome-looking eruptions, and
fully 30 per cent of the village people are badly seamed with smallpox.



LETTER X.—(_Completed_.)


Shops and Shopping—The Barber’s Shop—A Paper Waterproof—Ito’s
Vanity—Preparations for the Journey—Transport and Prices—Money and
Measurements.

I HAVE had to do a little shopping in Hachiishi for my journey.  The
shop-fronts, you must understand, are all open, and at the height of the
floor, about two feet from the ground, there is a broad ledge of polished
wood on which you sit down.  A woman everlastingly boiling water on a
bronze _hibachi_, or brazier, shifting the embers about deftly with brass
tongs like chopsticks, and with a baby looking calmly over her shoulders,
is the shopwoman; but she remains indifferent till she imagines that you
have a definite purpose of buying, when she comes forward bowing to the
ground, and I politely rise and bow too.  Then I or Ito ask the price of
a thing, and she names it, very likely asking 4s. for what ought to sell
at 6d.  You say 3s., she laughs and says 3s. 6d.; you say 2s., she laughs
again and says 3s., offering you the _tabako-bon_.  Eventually the matter
is compromised by your giving her 1s., at which she appears quite
delighted.  With a profusion of bows and “_sayo naras_” on each side, you
go away with the pleasant feeling of having given an industrious woman
twice as much as the thing was worth to her, and less than what it is
worth to you!

There are several barbers’ shops, and the evening seems a very busy time
with them.  This operation partakes of the general want of privacy of the
life of the village, and is performed in the raised open front of the
shop.  Soap is not used, and the process is a painful one.  The victims
let their garments fall to their waists, and each holds in his left hand
a lacquered tray to receive the croppings.  The ugly Japanese face at
this time wears a most grotesque expression of stolid resignation as it
is held and pulled about by the operator, who turns it in all directions,
that he may judge of the effect that he is producing.  The shaving the
face till it is smooth and shiny, and the cutting, waxing, and tying of
the queue with twine made of paper, are among the evening sights of
Nikkô.

Lacquer and things curiously carved in wood are the great attractions of
the shops, but they interest me far less than the objects of utility in
Japanese daily life, with their ingenuity of contrivance and perfection
of adaptation and workmanship.  A seed shop, where seeds are truly
idealised, attracts me daily.  Thirty varieties are offered for sale, as
various in form as they are in colour, and arranged most artistically on
stands, while some are put up in packages decorated with what one may
call a facsimile of the root, leaves, and flower, in water-colours.  A
lad usually lies on the mat behind executing these very creditable
pictures—for such they are—with a few bold and apparently careless
strokes with his brush.  He gladly sold me a peony as a scrap for a
screen for 3 _sen_.  My purchases, with this exception, were necessaries
only—a paper waterproof cloak, “a circular,” black outside and yellow
inside, made of square sheets of oiled paper cemented together, and some
large sheets of the same for covering my baggage; and I succeeded in
getting Ito out of his obnoxious black wide-awake into a basin-shaped hat
like mine, for, ugly as I think him, he has a large share of personal
vanity, whitens his teeth, and powders his face carefully before a
mirror, and is in great dread of sunburn.  He powders his hands too, and
polishes his nails, and never goes out without gloves.

To-morrow I leave luxury behind and plunge into the interior, hoping to
emerge somehow upon the Sea of Japan.  No information can be got here
except about the route to Niigata, which I have decided not to take, so,
after much study of Brunton’s map, I have fixed upon one place, and have
said positively, “I go to Tajima.”  If I reach it I can get farther, but
all I can learn is, “It’s a very bad road, it’s all among the mountains.”
Ito, who has a great regard for his own comforts, tries to dissuade me
from going by saying that I shall lose mine, but, as these kind people
have ingeniously repaired my bed by doubling the canvas and lacing it
into holes in the side poles, {79} and as I have lived for the last three
days on rice, eggs, and coarse vermicelli about the thickness and colour
of earth-worms, this prospect does not appal me!  In Japan there is a
Land Transport Company, called _Riku-un-kaisha_, with a head-office in
Tôkiyô, and branches in various towns and villages.  It arranges for the
transport of travellers and merchandise by pack-horses and coolies at
certain fixed rates, and gives receipts in due form.  It hires the horses
from the farmers, and makes a moderate profit on each transaction, but
saves the traveller from difficulties, delays, and extortions.  The
prices vary considerably in different districts, and are regulated by the
price of forage, the state of the roads, and the number of hireable
horses.  For a _ri_, nearly 2½ miles, they charge from 6 to 10 _sen_ for
a horse and the man who leads it, for a _kuruma_ with one man from 4 to 9
_sen_ for the same distance, and for baggage coolies about the same.
[This Transport Company is admirably organised.  I employed it in
journeys of over 1200 miles, and always found it efficient and reliable.]
I intend to make use of it always, much against Ito’s wishes, who
reckoned on many a prospective “squeeze” in dealings with the farmers.

My journey will now be entirely over “unbeaten tracks,” and will lead
through what may be called “Old Japan;” and as it will be natural to use
Japanese words for money and distances, for which there are no English
terms, I give them here.  A _yen_ is a note representing a dollar, or
about 3s. 7d. of our money; a _sen_ is something less than a halfpenny; a
_rin_ is a thin round coin of iron or bronze, with a square hole in the
middle, of which 10 make a _sen_, and 1000 a _yen_; and a _tempo_ is a
handsome oval bronze coin with a hole in the centre, of which 5 make 4
_sen_.  Distances are measured by _ri_, _chô_, and _ken_.  Six feet make
one _ken_, sixty _ken_ one _chô_, and thirty-six _chô_ one _ri_, or
nearly 2½ English miles.  When I write of a road I mean a bridle-path
from four to eight feet wide, _kuruma_ roads being specified as such.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XI.


Comfort disappears—Fine Scenery—An Alarm—A Farm-house—An unusual
Costume—Bridling a Horse—Female Dress and Ugliness—Babies—My
_Mago_—Beauties of the Kinugawa—Fujihara—My Servant—Horse-shoes—An absurd
Mistake.

                                                      FUJIHARA, _June_ 24.

ITO’S informants were right.  Comfort was left behind at Nikkô!

A little woman brought two depressed-looking mares at six this morning;
my saddle and bridle were put on one, and Ito and the baggage on the
other; my hosts and I exchanged cordial good wishes and obeisances, and,
with the women dragging my sorry mare by a rope round her nose, we left
the glorious shrines and solemn cryptomeria groves of Nikkô behind,
passed down its long, clean street, and where the _In Memoriam_ avenue is
densest and darkest turned off to the left by a path like the bed of a
brook, which afterwards, as a most atrocious trail, wound about among the
rough boulders of the Daiya, which it crosses often on temporary bridges
of timbers covered with branches and soil.  After crossing one of the low
spurs of the Nikkôsan mountains, we wound among ravines whose steep sides
are clothed with maple, oak, magnolia, elm, pine, and cryptomeria, linked
together by festoons of the redundant _Wistaria chinensis_, and
brightened by azalea and syringa clusters.  Every vista was blocked by
some grand mountain, waterfalls thundered, bright streams glanced through
the trees, and in the glorious sunshine of June the country looked most
beautiful.

We travelled less than a _ri_ an hour, as it was a mere flounder either
among rocks or in deep mud, the woman in her girt-up dress and straw
sandals trudging bravely along, till she suddenly flung away the rope,
cried out, and ran backwards, perfectly scared by a big grey snake, with
red spots, much embarrassed by a large frog which he would not let go,
though, like most of his kind, he was alarmed by human approach, and made
desperate efforts to swallow his victim and wriggle into the bushes.
After crawling for three hours we dismounted at the mountain farm of
Kohiaku, on the edge of a rice valley, and the woman counted her packages
to see that they were all right, and without waiting for a gratuity
turned homewards with her horses.  I pitched my chair in the verandah of
a house near a few poor dwellings inhabited by peasants with large
families, the house being in the barn-yard of a rich _saké_ maker.  I
waited an hour, grew famished, got some weak tea and boiled barley,
waited another hour, and yet another, for all the horses were eating
leaves on the mountains.  There was a little stir.  Men carried sheaves
of barley home on their backs, and stacked them under the eaves.
Children, with barely the rudiments of clothing, stood and watched me
hour after hour, and adults were not ashamed to join the group, for they
had never seen a foreign woman, a fork, or a spoon.  Do you remember a
sentence in Dr. Macgregor’s last sermon?  “What strange sights some of
you will see!”  Could there be a stranger one than a decent-looking
middle-aged man lying on his chest in the verandah, raised on his elbows,
and intently reading a book, clothed only in a pair of spectacles?
Besides that curious piece of still life, women frequently drew water
from a well by the primitive contrivance of a beam suspended across an
upright, with the bucket at one end and a stone at the other.

When the horses arrived the men said they could not put on the bridle,
but, after much talk, it was managed by two of them violently forcing
open the jaws of the animal, while a third seized a propitious moment for
slipping the bit into her mouth.  At the next change a bridle was a thing
unheard of, and when I suggested that the creature would open her mouth
voluntarily if the bit were pressed close to her teeth, the standers-by
mockingly said, “No horse ever opens his mouth except to eat or to bite,”
and were only convinced after I had put on the bridle myself.  The new
horses had a rocking gait like camels, and I was glad to dispense with
them at Kisagoi, a small upland hamlet, a very poor place, with
poverty-stricken houses, children very dirty and sorely afflicted by skin
maladies, and women with complexions and features hardened by severe work
and much wood smoke into positive ugliness, and with figures anything but
statuesque.

                   [Picture: Summer and Winter Costume]

I write the truth as I see it, and if my accounts conflict with those of
tourists who write of the Tokaido and Nakasendo, of Lake Biwa and Hakone,
it does not follow that either is inaccurate.  But truly this is a new
Japan to me, of which no books have given me any idea, and it is not
fairyland.  The men may be said to wear nothing.  Few of the women wear
anything but a short petticoat wound tightly round them, or blue cotton
trousers very tight in the legs and baggy at the top, with a blue cotton
garment open to the waist tucked into the band, and a blue cotton
handkerchief knotted round the head.  From the dress no notion of the sex
of the wearer could be gained, nor from the faces, if it were not for the
shaven eyebrows and black teeth.  The short petticoat is truly
barbarous-looking, and when a woman has a nude baby on her back or in her
arms, and stands staring vacantly at the foreigner, I can hardly believe
myself in “civilised” Japan.  A good-sized child, strong enough to hold
up his head, sees the world right cheerfully looking over his mother’s
shoulders, but it is a constant distress to me to see small children of
six and seven years old lugging on their backs gristly babies, whose
shorn heads are frizzling in the sun and “wobbling” about as though they
must drop off, their eyes, as nurses say, “looking over their heads.”  A
number of silk-worms are kept in this region, and in the open barns
groups of men in nature’s costume, and women unclothed to their waists,
were busy stripping mulberry branches.  The houses were all poor, and the
people dirty both in their clothing and persons.  Some of the younger
women might possibly have been comely, if soap and water had been
plentifully applied to their faces; but soap is not used, and such
washing as the garments get is only the rubbing them a little with sand
in a running stream.  I will give you an amusing instance of the way in
which one may make absurd mistakes.  I heard many stories of the
viciousness and aggressiveness of pack-horses, and was told that they
were muzzled to prevent them from pasturing upon the haunches of their
companions and making vicious snatches at men.  Now, I find that the
muzzle is only to prevent them from eating as they travel.  Mares are
used exclusively in this region, and they are the gentlest of their race.
If you have the weight of baggage reckoned at one horse-load, though it
should turn out that the weight is too great for a weakly animal, and the
Transport agent distributes it among two or even three horses, you only
pay for one; and though our _cortège_ on leaving Kisagoi consisted of
four small, shock-headed mares who could hardly see through their bushy
forelocks, with three active foals, and one woman and three girls to lead
them, I only paid for two horses at 7 _sen_ a _ri_.

My _mago_, with her toil-hardened, thoroughly good-natured face rendered
hideous by black teeth, wore straw sandals, blue cotton trousers with a
vest tucked into them, as poor and worn as they could be, and a blue
cotton towel knotted round her head.  As the sky looked threatening she
carried a straw rain-cloak, a thatch of two connected capes, one
fastening at the neck, the other at the waist, and a flat hat of flags,
2½ feet in diameter, hung at her back like a shield.  Up and down, over
rocks and through deep mud, she trudged with a steady stride, turning her
kind, ugly face at intervals to see if the girls were following.  I like
the firm hardy gait which this unbecoming costume permits better than the
painful shuffle imposed upon the more civilised women by their tight
skirts and high clogs.

From Kohiaku the road passed through an irregular grassy valley between
densely-wooded hills, the valley itself timbered with park-like clumps of
pine and Spanish chestnuts; but on leaving Kisagoi the scenery changed.
A steep rocky tract brought us to the Kinugawa, a clear rushing river,
which has cut its way deeply through coloured rock, and is crossed at a
considerable height by a bridge with an alarmingly steep curve, from
which there is a fine view of high mountains, and among them Futarayama,
to which some of the most ancient Shintô legends are attached.  We rode
for some time within hearing of the Kinugawa, catching magnificent
glimpses of it frequently—turbulent and locked in by walls of porphyry,
or widening and calming and spreading its aquamarine waters over great
slabs of pink and green rock, lighted fitfully by the sun, or spanned by
rainbows, or pausing to rest in deep shady pools, but always beautiful.
The mountains through which it forces its way on the other side are
precipitous and wooded to their summits with coniferæ, while the less
abrupt side, along which the tract is carried, curves into green knolls
in its lower slopes, sprinkled with grand Spanish chestnuts scarcely yet
in blossom, with maples which have not yet lost the scarlet which they
wear in spring as well as autumn, and with many flowering trees and
shrubs which are new to me, and with an undergrowth of red azaleas,
syringa, blue hydrangea—the very blue of heaven—yellow raspberries,
ferns, clematis, white and yellow lilies, blue irises, and fifty other
trees and shrubs entangled and festooned by the wistaria, whose beautiful
foliage is as common as is that of the bramble with us.  The redundancy
of the vegetation was truly tropical, and the brilliancy and variety of
its living greens, dripping with recent rain, were enhanced by the slant
rays of the afternoon sun.

The few hamlets we passed are of farm-houses only, the deep-eaved roofs
covering in one sweep dwelling-house, barn, and stable.  In every barn
unclothed people were pursuing various industries.  We met strings of
pack-mares, tied head and tail, loaded with rice and _saké_, and men and
women carrying large creels full of mulberry leaves.  The ravine grew
more and more beautiful, and an ascent through a dark wood of arrowy
cryptomeria brought us to this village exquisitely situated, where a
number of miniature ravines, industriously terraced for rice, come down
upon the great chasm of the Kinugawa.  Eleven hours of travelling have
brought me eighteen miles!

IKARI, June 25.—Fujihara has forty-six farm-houses and a _yadoya_—all
dark, damp, dirty, and draughty, a combination of dwelling-house, barn,
and stable.  The _yadoya_ consisted of a _daidokoro_, or open kitchen,
and stable below, and a small loft above, capable of division, and I
found on returning from a walk six Japanese in extreme _déshabillé_
occupying the part through which I had to pass.  On this being remedied I
sat down to write, but was soon driven upon the balcony, under the eaves,
by myriads of fleas, which hopped out of the mats as sandhoppers do out
of the sea sand, and even in the balcony, hopped over my letter.  There
were two outer walls of hairy mud with living creatures crawling in the
cracks; cobwebs hung from the uncovered rafters.  The mats were brown
with age and dirt, the rice was musty, and only partially cleaned, the
eggs had seen better days, and the tea was musty.

I saw everything out of doors with Ito—the patient industry, the
exquisitely situated village, the evening avocations, the quiet
dulness—and then contemplated it all from my balcony and read the
sentence (from a paper in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society) which
had led me to devise this journey, “There is a most exquisitely
picturesque, but difficult, route up the course of the Kinugawa, which
seems almost as unknown to Japanese as to foreigners.”  There was a pure
lemon-coloured sky above, and slush a foot deep below.  A road, at this
time a quagmire, intersected by a rapid stream, crossed in many places by
planks, runs through the village.  This stream is at once “lavatory” and
“drinking fountain.”  People come back from their work, sit on the
planks, take off their muddy clothes and wring them out, and bathe their
feet in the current.  On either side are the dwellings, in front of which
are much-decayed manure heaps, and the women were engaged in breaking
them up and treading them into a pulp with their bare feet.  All wear the
vest and trousers at their work, but only the short petticoats in their
houses, and I saw several respectable mothers of families cross the road
and pay visits in this garment only, without any sense of impropriety.
The younger children wear nothing but a string and an amulet.  The
persons, clothing, and houses are alive with vermin, and if the word
squalor can be applied to independent and industrious people, they were
squalid.  Beetles, spiders, and wood-lice held a carnival in my room
after dark, and the presence of horses in the same house brought a number
of horseflies.  I sprinkled my stretcher with insect powder, but my
blanket had been on the floor for one minute, and fleas rendered sleep
impossible.  The night was very long.  The _andon_ went out, leaving a
strong smell of rancid oil.  The primitive Japanese dog—a cream-coloured
wolfish-looking animal, the size of a collie, very noisy and aggressive,
but as cowardly as bullies usually are—was in great force in Fujihara,
and the barking, growling, and quarrelling of these useless curs
continued at intervals until daylight; and when they were not
quarrelling, they were howling.  Torrents of rain fell, obliging me to
move my bed from place to place to get out of the drip.  At five Ito came
and entreated me to leave, whimpering, “I’ve had no sleep; there are
thousands and thousands of fleas!”  He has travelled by another route to
the Tsugaru Strait through the interior, and says that he would not have
believed that there was such a place in Japan, and that people in
Yokohama will not believe it when he tells them of it and of the costume
of the women.  He is “ashamed for a foreigner to see such a place,” he
says.  His cleverness in travelling and his singular intelligence
surprise me daily.  He is very anxious to speak _good_ English, as
distinguished from “common” English, and to get new words, with their
correct pronunciation and spelling.  Each day he puts down in his
note-book all the words that I use that he does not quite understand, and
in the evening brings them to me and puts down their meaning and spelling
with their Japanese equivalents.  He speaks English already far better
than many professional interpreters, but would be more pleasing if he had
not picked up some American vulgarisms and free-and-easy ways.  It is so
important to me to have a good interpreter, or I should not have engaged
so young and inexperienced a servant; but he is so clever that he is now
able to be cook, laundryman, and general attendant, as well as courier
and interpreter, and I think it is far easier for me than if he were an
older man.  I am trying to manage him, because I saw that he meant to
manage me, specially in the matter of “squeezes.”  He is intensely
Japanese, his patriotism has all the weakness and strength of personal
vanity, and he thinks everything inferior that is foreign.  Our manners,
eyes, and modes of eating appear simply odious to him.  He delights in
retailing stories of the bad manners of Englishmen, describes them as
“roaring out _ohio_ to every one on the road,” frightening the tea-house
nymphs, kicking or slapping their coolies, stamping over white mats in
muddy boots, acting generally like ill-bred Satyrs, exciting an
ill-concealed hatred in simple country districts, and bringing themselves
and their country into contempt and ridicule. {87}  He is very anxious
about my good behaviour, and as I am equally anxious to be courteous
everywhere in Japanese fashion, and not to violate the general rules of
Japanese etiquette, I take his suggestions as to what I ought to do and
avoid in very good part, and my bows are growing more profound every day!
The people are so kind and courteous, that it is truly brutal in
foreigners not to be kind and courteous to them.  You will observe that I
am entirely dependent on Ito, not only for travelling arrangements, but
for making inquiries, gaining information, and even for companionship,
such as it is; and our being mutually embarked on a hard and adventurous
journey will, I hope, make us mutually kind and considerate.  Nominally,
he is a Shintôist, which means nothing.  At Nikkô I read to him the
earlier chapters of St. Luke, and when I came to the story of the
Prodigal Son I was interrupted by a somewhat scornful laugh and the
remark, “Why, all this is our Buddha over again!”

To-day’s journey, though very rough, has been rather pleasant.  The rain
moderated at noon, and I left Fujihara on foot, wearing my American
“mountain dress” and Wellington boots,—the only costume in which ladies
can enjoy pedestrian or pack-horse travelling in this country,—with a
light straw mat—the waterproof of the region—hanging over my shoulders,
and so we plodded on with two baggage horses through the ankle-deep mud,
till the rain cleared off, the mountains looked through the mist, the
augmented Kinugawa thundered below, and enjoyment became possible, even
in my half-fed condition.  Eventually I mounted a pack-saddle, and we
crossed a spur of Takadayama at a height of 2100 feet on a well-devised
series of zigzags, eight of which in one place could be seen one below
another.  The forest there is not so dense as usual, and the lower
mountain slopes are sprinkled with noble Spanish chestnuts.  The descent
was steep and slippery, the horse had tender feet, and, after stumbling
badly, eventually came down, and I went over his head, to the great
distress of the kindly female _mago_.  The straw shoes tied with wisps
round the pasterns are a great nuisance.  The “shoe strings” are always
coming untied, and the shoes only wear about two _ri_ on soft ground, and
less than one on hard.  They keep the feet so soft and spongy that the
horses can’t walk without them at all, and as soon as they get thin your
horse begins to stumble, the _mago_ gets uneasy, and presently you stop;
four shoes, which are hanging from the saddle, are soaked in water and
are tied on with much coaxing, raising the animal fully an inch above the
ground.  Anything more temporary and clumsy could not be devised.  The
bridle paths are strewn with them, and the children collect them in heaps
to decay for manure.  They cost 3 or 4 _sen_ the set, and in every
village men spend their leisure time in making them.

At the next stage, called Takahara, we got one horse for the baggage,
crossed the river and the ravine, and by a steep climb reached a solitary
_yadoya_ with the usual open front and _irori_, round which a number of
people, old and young, were sitting.  When I arrived a whole bevy of
nice-looking girls took to flight, but were soon recalled by a word from
Ito to their elders.  Lady Parkes, on a side-saddle and in a
riding-habit, has been taken for a man till the people saw her hair, and
a young friend of mine, who is very pretty and has a beautiful
complexion, when travelling lately with her husband, was supposed to be a
man who had shaven off his beard.  I wear a hat, which is a thing only
worn by women in the fields as a protection from sun and rain, my
eyebrows are unshaven, and my teeth are unblackened, so these girls
supposed me to be a foreign man.  Ito in explanation said, “They haven’t
seen any, but everybody brings them tales how rude foreigners are to
girls, and they are awful scared.”  There was nothing eatable but rice
and eggs, and I ate them under the concentrated stare of eighteen pairs
of dark eyes.  The hot springs, to which many people afflicted with sores
resort, are by the river, at the bottom of a rude flight of steps, in an
open shed, but I could not ascertain their temperature, as a number of
men and women were sitting in the water.  They bathe four times a day,
and remain for an hour at a time.

We left for the five miles’ walk to Ikari in a torrent of rain by a
newly-made path completely shut in with the cascading Kinugawa, and
carried along sometimes low, sometimes high, on props projecting over it
from the face of the rock.  I do not expect to see anything lovelier in
Japan.

The river, always crystal-blue or crystal-green, largely increased in
volume by the rains, forces itself through gates of brightly-coloured
rock, by which its progress is repeatedly arrested, and rarely lingers
for rest in all its sparkling, rushing course.  It is walled in by high
mountains, gloriously wooded and cleft by dark ravines, down which
torrents were tumbling in great drifts of foam, crashing and booming,
boom and crash multiplied by many an echo, and every ravine afforded
glimpses far back of more mountains, clefts, and waterfalls, and such
over-abundant vegetation that I welcomed the sight of a gray cliff or
bare face of rock.  Along the path there were fascinating details,
composed of the manifold greenery which revels in damp heat, ferns,
mosses, _confervæ_, fungi, trailers, shading tiny rills which dropped
down into grottoes feathery with the exquisite _Trichomanes radicans_, or
drooped over the rustic path and hung into the river, and overhead the
finely incised and almost feathery foliage of several varieties of maple
admitted the light only as a green mist.  The spring tints have not yet
darkened into the monotone of summer, rose azaleas still light the
hillsides, and masses of cryptomeria give depth and shadow.  Still,
beautiful as it all is, one sighs for something which shall satisfy one’s
craving for startling individuality and grace of form, as in the
coco-palm and banana of the tropics.  The featheriness of the maple, and
the arrowy straightness and pyramidal form of the cryptomeria, please me
better than all else; but why criticise?  Ten minutes of sunshine would
transform the whole into fairyland.

There were no houses and no people.  Leaving this beautiful river we
crossed a spur of a hill, where all the trees were matted together by a
very fragrant white honeysuckle, and came down upon an open valley where
a quiet stream joins the loud-tongued Kinugawa, and another mile brought
us to this beautifully-situated hamlet of twenty-five houses, surrounded
by mountains, and close to a mountain stream called the Okawa.  The names
of Japanese rivers give one very little geographical information from
their want of continuity.  A river changes its name several times in a
course of thirty or forty miles, according to the districts through which
it passes.  This is my old friend the Kinugawa, up which I have been
travelling for two days.  Want of space is a great aid to the
picturesque.  Ikari is crowded together on a hill slope, and its short,
primitive-looking street, with its warm browns and greys, is quite
attractive in “the clear shining after rain.”  My halting-place is at the
express office at the top of the hill—a place like a big barn, with
horses at one end and a living-room at the other, and in the centre much
produce awaiting transport, and a group of people stripping mulberry
branches.  The nearest _daimiyô_ used to halt here on his way to Tôkiyô,
so there are two rooms for travellers, called _daimiyôs_’ rooms, fifteen
feet high, handsomely ceiled in dark wood, the _shôji_ of such fine work
as to merit the name of fret-work, the _fusuma_ artistically decorated,
the mats clean and fine, and in the alcove a sword-rack of old gold
lacquer.  Mine is the inner room, and Ito and four travellers occupy the
outer one.  Though very dark, it is luxury after last night.  The rest of
the house is given up to the rearing of silk-worms.  The house-masters
here and at Fujihara are not used to passports, and Ito, who is posing as
a town-bred youth, has explained and copied mine, all the village men
assembling to hear it read aloud.  He does not know the word used for
“scientific investigation,” but, in the idea of increasing his own
importance by exaggerating mine, I hear him telling the people that I am
_gakusha_, _i.e._ learned!  There is no police-station here, but every
month policemen pay domiciliary visits to these outlying _yadoyas_ and
examine the register of visitors.

This is a much neater place than the last, but the people look stupid and
apathetic, and I wonder what they think of the men who have abolished the
_daimiyô_ and the feudal _régime_, have raised the _eta_ to citizenship,
and are hurrying the empire forward on the tracks of western
civilisation!

Since shingle has given place to thatch there is much to admire in the
villages, with their steep roofs, deep eaves and balconies, the warm
russet of roofs and walls, the quaint confusion of the farmhouses, the
hedges of camellia and pomegranate, the bamboo clumps and persimmon
orchards, and (in spite of dirt and bad smells) the generally satisfied
look of the peasant proprietors.

No food can be got here except rice and eggs, and I am haunted by
memories of the fowls and fish of Nikkô, to say nothing of the “flesh
pots” of the Legation, and

    “—a sorrow’s crown of sorrow
    Is remembering happier things!”

The mercury falls to 70° at night, and I generally awake from cold at 3
a.m., for my blankets are only summer ones, and I dare not supplement
them with a quilt, either for sleeping on or under, because of the fleas
which it contains.  I usually retire about 7.30, for there is almost no
twilight, and very little inducement for sitting up by the dimness of
candle or _andon_, and I have found these days of riding on slow,
rolling, stumbling horses very severe, and if I were anything of a
walker, should certainly prefer pedestrianism.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XII.


A Fantastic Jumble—The “Quiver” of Poverty—The Water-shed—From Bad to
Worse—The Rice Planter’s Holiday—A Diseased Crowd—Amateur Doctoring—Want
of Cleanliness—Rapid Eating—Premature Old Age.

                                                    KURUMATOGE, _June_ 30.

AFTER the hard travelling of six days the rest of Sunday in a quiet place
at a high elevation is truly delightful!  Mountains and passes, valleys
and rice swamps, forests and rice swamps, villages and rice swamps;
poverty, industry, dirt, ruinous temples, prostrate Buddhas, strings of
straw-shod pack-horses; long, grey, featureless streets, and quiet,
staring crowds, are all jumbled up fantastically in my memory.  Fine
weather accompanied me through beautiful scenery from Ikari to Yokokawa,
where I ate my lunch in the street to avoid the innumerable fleas of the
tea-house, with a circle round me of nearly all the inhabitants.  At
first the children, both old and young, were so frightened that they ran
away, but by degrees they timidly came back, clinging to the skirts of
their parents (skirts, in this case, being a metaphorical expression),
running away again as often as I looked at them.  The crowd was filthy
and squalid beyond description.  Why should the “quiver” of poverty be so
very full? one asks as one looks at the swarms of gentle, naked,
old-fashioned children, born to a heritage of hard toil, to be, like
their parents, devoured by vermin, and pressed hard for taxes.  A horse
kicked off my saddle before it was girthed, the crowd scattered right and
left, and work, which had been suspended for two hours to stare at the
foreigner, began again.

A long ascent took us to the top of a pass 2500 feet in height, a
projecting spur not 30 feet wide, with a grand view of mountains and
ravines, and a maze of involved streams, which unite in a vigorous
torrent, whose course we followed for some hours, till it expanded into a
quiet river, lounging lazily through a rice swamp of considerable extent.
The map is blank in this region, but I judged, as I afterwards found
rightly, that at that pass we had crossed the water-shed, and that the
streams thenceforward no longer fall into the Pacific, but into the Sea
of Japan.  At Itosawa the horses produced stumbled so intolerably that I
walked the last stage, and reached Kayashima, a miserable village of
fifty-seven houses, so exhausted that I could not go farther, and was
obliged to put up with worse accommodation even than at Fujihara, with
less strength for its hardships.

The _yadoya_ was simply awful.  The _daidokoro_ had a large wood fire
burning in a trench, filling the whole place with stinging smoke, from
which my room, which was merely screened off by some dilapidated _shôji_,
was not exempt.  The rafters were black and shiny with soot and moisture.
The house-master, who knelt persistently on the floor of my room till he
was dislodged by Ito, apologised for the dirt of his house, as well he
might.  Stifling, dark, and smoky, as my room was, I had to close the
paper windows, owing to the crowd which assembled in the street.  There
was neither rice nor soy, and Ito, who values his own comfort, began to
speak to the house-master and servants loudly and roughly, and to throw
my things about—a style of acting which I promptly terminated, for
nothing could be more hurtful to a foreigner, or more unkind to the
people, than for a servant to be rude and bullying; and the man was most
polite, and never approached me but on bended knees.  When I gave him my
passport, as the custom is, he touched his forehead with it, and then
touched the earth with his forehead.

I found nothing that I could eat except black beans and boiled cucumbers.
The room was dark, dirty, vile, noisy, and poisoned by sewage odours, as
rooms unfortunately are very apt to be.  At the end of the rice planting
there is a holiday for two days, when many offerings are made to Inari,
the god of rice farmers; and the holiday-makers kept up their revel all
night, and drums, stationary and peripatetic, were constantly beaten in
such a way as to prevent sleep.

A little boy, the house-master’s son, was suffering from a very bad
cough, and a few drops of chlorodyne which I gave him allayed it so
completely that the cure was noised abroad in the earliest hours of the
next morning, and by five o’clock nearly the whole population was
assembled outside my room, with much whispering and shuffling of shoeless
feet, and applications of eyes to the many holes in the paper windows.
When I drew aside the _shôji_ I was disconcerted by the painful sight
which presented itself, for the people were pressing one upon another,
fathers and mothers holding naked children covered with skin-disease, or
with scald-head, or ringworm, daughters leading mothers nearly blind, men
exhibiting painful sores, children blinking with eyes infested by flies
and nearly closed with ophthalmia; and all, sick and well, in truly “vile
raiment,” lamentably dirty and swarming with vermin, the sick asking for
medicine, and the well either bringing the sick or gratifying an
apathetic curiosity.  Sadly I told them that I did not understand their
manifold “diseases and torments,” and that, if I did, I had no stock of
medicines, and that in my own country the constant washing of clothes,
and the constant application of water to the skin, accompanied by
friction with clean cloths, would be much relied upon by doctors for the
cure and prevention of similar cutaneous diseases.  To pacify them I made
some ointment of animal fat and flowers of sulphur, extracted with
difficulty from some man’s hoard, and told them how to apply it to some
of the worst cases.  The horse, being unused to a girth, became fidgety
as it was being saddled, creating a _stampede_ among the crowd, and the
_mago_ would not touch it again.  They are as much afraid of their gentle
mares as if they were panthers.  All the children followed me for a
considerable distance, and a good many of the adults made an excuse for
going in the same direction.

These people wear no linen, and their clothes, which are seldom washed,
are constantly worn, night and day, as long as they will hold together.
They seal up their houses as hermetically as they can at night, and herd
together in numbers in one sleeping-room, with its atmosphere vitiated,
to begin with, by charcoal and tobacco fumes, huddled up in their dirty
garments in wadded quilts, which are kept during the day in close
cupboards, and are seldom washed from one year’s end to another.  The
_tatami_, beneath a tolerably fair exterior, swarm with insect life, and
are receptacles of dust, organic matters, etc.  The hair, which is loaded
with oil and bandoline, is dressed once a week, or less often in these
districts, and it is unnecessary to enter into any details regarding the
distressing results, and much besides may be left to the imagination.
The persons of the people, especially of the children, are infested with
vermin, and one fruitful source of skin sores is the irritation arising
from this cause.  The floors of houses, being concealed by mats, are laid
down carelessly with gaps between the boards, and, as the damp earth is
only 18 inches or 2 feet below, emanations of all kinds enter the mats
and pass into the rooms.

The houses in this region (and I believe everywhere) are hermetically
sealed at night, both in summer and winter, the _amado_, which are made
without ventilators, literally boxing them in, so that, unless they are
falling to pieces, which is rarely the case, none of the air vitiated by
the breathing of many persons, by the emanations from their bodies and
clothing, by the miasmata produced by defective domestic arrangements,
and by the fumes from charcoal _hibachi_, can ever be renewed.  Exercise
is seldom taken from choice, and, unless the women work in the fields,
they hang over charcoal fumes the whole day for five months of the year,
engaged in interminable processes of cooking, or in the attempt to get
warm.  Much of the food of the peasantry is raw or half-raw salt fish,
and vegetables rendered indigestible by being coarsely pickled, all
bolted with the most marvellous rapidity, as if the one object of life
were to rush through a meal in the shortest possible time.  The married
women look as if they had never known youth, and their skin is apt to be
like tanned leather.  At Kayashima I asked the house-master’s wife, who
looked about fifty, how old she was (a polite question in Japan), and she
replied twenty-two—one of many similar surprises.  Her boy was five years
old, and was still unweaned.

This digression disposes of one aspect of the population. {95}



LETTER XII.—(_Concluded_.)


A Japanese Ferry—A Corrugated Road—The Pass of Sanno—Various
Vegetation—An Unattractive Undergrowth—Preponderance of Men.

WE changed horses at Tajima, formerly a _daimiyô’s_ residence, and, for a
Japanese town, rather picturesque.  It makes and exports clogs, coarse
pottery, coarse lacquer, and coarse baskets.

After travelling through rice-fields varying from thirty yards square to
a quarter of an acre, with the tops of the dykes utilised by planting
dwarf beans along them, we came to a large river, the Arakai, along whose
affluents we had been tramping for two days, and, after passing through
several filthy villages, thronged with filthy and industrious
inhabitants, crossed it in a scow.  High forks planted securely in the
bank on either side sustained a rope formed of several strands of the
wistaria knotted together.  One man hauled on this hand over hand,
another poled at the stern, and the rapid current did the rest.  In this
fashion we have crossed many rivers subsequently.  Tariffs of charges are
posted at all ferries, as well as at all bridges where charges are made,
and a man sits in an office to receive the money.

The country was really very beautiful.  The views were wider and finer
than on the previous days, taking in great sweeps of peaked mountains,
wooded to their summits, and from the top of the Pass of Sanno the
clustered peaks were glorified into unearthly beauty in a golden mist of
evening sunshine.  I slept at a house combining silk farm, post office,
express office, and _daimiyô’s_ rooms, at the hamlet of Ouchi, prettily
situated in a valley with mountainous surroundings, and, leaving early on
the following morning, had a very grand ride, passing in a crateriform
cavity the pretty little lake of Oyakê, and then ascending the
magnificent pass of Ichikawa.  We turned off what, by ironical courtesy,
is called the main road, upon a villainous track, consisting of a series
of lateral corrugations, about a foot broad, with depressions between
them more than a foot deep, formed by the invariable treading of the
pack-horses in each other’s footsteps.  Each hole was a quagmire of
tenacious mud, the ascent of 2400 feet was very steep, and the _mago_
adjured the animals the whole time with _Hai_! _Hai_! _Hai_! which is
supposed to suggest to them that extreme caution is requisite.  Their
shoes were always coming untied, and they wore out two sets in four
miles.  The top of the pass, like that of a great many others, is a
narrow ridge, on the farther side of which the track dips abruptly into a
tremendous ravine, along whose side we descended for a mile or so in
company with a river whose reverberating thunder drowned all attempts at
speech.  A glorious view it was, looking down between the wooded
precipices to a rolling wooded plain, lying in depths of indigo shadow,
bounded by ranges of wooded mountains, and overtopped by heights heavily
splotched with snow!  The vegetation was significant of a milder climate.
The magnolia and bamboo re-appeared, and tropical ferns mingled with the
beautiful blue hydrangea, the yellow Japan lily, and the great blue
campanula.  There was an ocean of trees entangled with a beautiful
trailer (_Actinidia polygama_) with a profusion of white leaves, which,
at a distance, look like great clusters of white blossoms.  But the rank
undergrowth of the forests of this region is not attractive.  Many of its
component parts deserve the name of weeds, being gawky, ragged umbels,
coarse docks, rank nettles, and many other things which I don’t know, and
never wish to see again.  Near the end of this descent my mare took the
bit between her teeth and carried me at an ungainly gallop into the
beautifully situated, precipitous village of Ichikawa, which is
absolutely saturated with moisture by the spray of a fine waterfall which
tumbles through the middle of it, and its trees and road-side are green
with the _Protococcus viridis_.  The Transport Agent there was a woman.
Women keep _yadoyas_ and shops, and cultivate farms as freely as men.
Boards giving the number of inhabitants, male and female, and the number
of horses and bullocks, are put up in each village, and I noticed in
Ichikawa, as everywhere hitherto, that men preponderate. {98}

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XIII.


The Plain of Wakamatsu—Light Costume—The Takata Crowd—A Congress of
Schoolmasters—Timidity of a Crowd—Bad Roads—Vicious Horses—Mountain
Scenery—A Picturesque Inn—Swallowing a Fish-bone—Poverty and Suicide—An
Inn-kitchen—England Unknown!—My Breakfast Disappears.

                                                    KURUMATOGE, _June_ 30.

A SHORT ride took us from Ichikawa to a plain about eleven miles broad by
eighteen long.  The large town of Wakamatsu stands near its southern end,
and it is sprinkled with towns and villages.  The great lake of
Iniwashiro is not far off.  The plain is rich and fertile.  In the
distance the steep roofs of its villages, with their groves, look very
picturesque.  As usual not a fence or gate is to be seen, or any other
hedge than the tall one used as a screen for the dwellings of the richer
farmers.

Bad roads and bad horses detracted from my enjoyment.  One hour of a good
horse would have carried me across the plain; as it was, seven weary
hours were expended upon it.  The day degenerated, and closed in still,
hot rain; the air was stifling and electric, the saddle slipped
constantly from being too big, the shoes were more than usually
troublesome, the horseflies tormented, and the men and horses crawled.
The rice-fields were undergoing a second process of puddling, and many of
the men engaged in it wore only a hat, and a fan attached to the girdle.

An avenue of cryptomeria and two handsome and somewhat gilded Buddhist
temples denoted the approach to a place of some importance, and such
Takata is, as being a large town with a considerable trade in silk, rope,
and _minjin_, and the residence of one of the higher officials of the
_ken_ or prefecture.  The street is a mile long, and every house is a
shop.  The general aspect is mean and forlorn.  In these little-travelled
districts, as soon as one reaches the margin of a town, the first man one
meets turns and flies down the street, calling out the Japanese
equivalent of “Here’s a foreigner!” and soon blind and seeing, old and
young, clothed and naked, gather together.  At the _yadoya_ the crowd
assembled in such force that the house-master removed me to some pretty
rooms in a garden; but then the adults climbed on the house-roofs which
overlooked it, and the children on a palisade at the end, which broke
down under their weight, and admitted the whole inundation; so that I had
to close the _shôji_, with the fatiguing consciousness during the whole
time of nominal rest of a multitude surging outside.  Then five policemen
in black alpaca frock-coats and white trousers invaded my precarious
privacy, desiring to see my passport—a demand never made before except
where I halted for the night.  In their European clothes they cannot bow
with Japanese punctiliousness, but they were very polite, and expressed
great annoyance at the crowd, and dispersed it; but they had hardly
disappeared when it gathered again.  When I went out I found fully 1000
people helping me to realise how the crowded cities of Judea sent forth
people clothed much as these are when the Miracle-Worker from Galilee
arrived, but not what the fatigue of the crowding and buzzing must have
been to One who had been preaching and working during the long day.
These Japanese crowds, however, are quiet and gentle, and never press
rudely upon one.  I could not find it in my heart to complain of them
except to you.  Four of the policemen returned, and escorted me to the
outskirts of the town.  The noise made by 1000 people shuffling along in
clogs is like the clatter of a hail-storm.

After this there was a dismal tramp of five hours through rice-fields.
The moist climate and the fatigue of this manner of travelling are
deteriorating my health, and the pain in my spine, which has been daily
increasing, was so severe that I could neither ride nor walk for more
than twenty minutes at a time; and the pace was so slow that it was six
when we reached Bangé, a commercial town of 5000 people, literally in the
rice swamp, mean, filthy, damp, and decaying, and full of an overpowering
stench from black, slimy ditches.  The mercury was 84°, and hot rain fell
fast through the motionless air.  We dismounted in a shed full of bales
of dried fish, which gave off an overpowering odour, and wet and dirty
people crowded in to stare at the foreigner till the air seemed
unbreathable.

But there were signs of progress.  A three days’ congress of
schoolmasters was being held; candidates for vacant situations were being
examined; there were lengthy educational discussions going on, specially
on the subject of the value of the Chinese classics as a part of
education; and every inn was crowded.

Bangé was malarious: there was so much malarious fever that the
Government had sent additional medical assistance; the hills were only a
_ri_ off, and it seemed essential to go on.  But not a horse could be got
till 10 p.m.; the road was worse than the one I had travelled; the pain
became more acute, and I more exhausted, and I was obliged to remain.
Then followed a weary hour, in which the Express Agent’s five emissaries
were searching for a room, and considerably after dark I found myself in
a rambling old over-crowded _yadoya_, where my room was mainly built on
piles above stagnant water, and the mosquitoes were in such swarms as to
make the air dense, and after a feverish and miserable night I was glad
to get up early and depart.

Fully 2000 people had assembled.  After I was mounted I was on the point
of removing my Dollond from the case, which hung on the saddle horn, when
a regular stampede occurred, old and young running as fast as they
possibly could, children being knocked down in the haste of their elders.
Ito said that they thought I was taking out a pistol to frighten them,
and I made him explain what the object really was, for they are a gentle,
harmless people, whom one would not annoy without sincere regret.  In
many European countries, and certainly in some parts of our own, a
solitary lady-traveller in a foreign dress would be exposed to rudeness,
insult, and extortion, if not to actual danger; but I have not met with a
single instance of incivility or real overcharge, and there is no
rudeness even about the crowding.  The _mago_ are anxious that I should
not get wet or be frightened, and very scrupulous in seeing that all
straps and loose things are safe at the end of the journey, and, instead
of hanging about asking for gratuities, or stopping to drink and gossip,
they quickly unload the horses, get a paper from the Transport Agent, and
go home.  Only yesterday a strap was missing, and, though it was after
dark, the man went back a _ri_ for it, and refused to take some _sen_
which I wished to give him, saying he was responsible for delivering
everything right at the journey’s end.  They are so kind and courteous to
each other, which is very pleasing.  Ito is not pleasing or polite in his
manner to me, but when he speaks to his own people he cannot free himself
from the shackles of etiquette, and bows as profoundly and uses as many
polite phrases as anybody else.

In an hour the malarious plain was crossed, and we have been among piles
of mountains ever since.  The infamous road was so slippery that my horse
fell several times, and the baggage horse, with Ito upon him, rolled head
over heels, sending his miscellaneous pack in all directions.  Good roads
are really the most pressing need of Japan.  It would be far better if
the Government were to enrich the country by such a remunerative outlay
as making passable roads for the transport of goods through the interior,
than to impoverish it by buying ironclads in England, and indulging in
expensive western vanities.

That so horrible a road should have so good a bridge as that by which we
crossed the broad river Agano is surprising.  It consists of twelve large
scows, each one secured to a strong cable of plaited wistari, which
crosses the river at a great height, so as to allow of the scows and the
plank bridge which they carry rising and falling with the twelve feet
variation of the water.

Ito’s disaster kept him back for an hour, and I sat meanwhile on a rice
sack in the hamlet of Katakado, a collection of steep-roofed houses
huddled together in a height above the Agano.  It was one mob of
pack-horses, over 200 of them, biting, squealing, and kicking.  Before I
could dismount, one vicious creature struck at me violently, but only hit
the great wooden stirrup.  I could hardly find any place out of the range
of hoofs or teeth.  My baggage horse showed great fury after he was
unloaded.  He attacked people right and left with his teeth, struck out
savagely with his fore feet, lashed out with his hind ones, and tried to
pin his master up against a wall.

Leaving this fractious scene we struck again through the mountains.
Their ranges were interminable, and every view from every fresh ridge
grander than the last, for we were now near the lofty range of the Aidzu
Mountains, and the double-peaked Bandaisan, the abrupt precipices of
Itoyasan, and the grand mass of Miyojintaké in the south-west, with their
vast snow-fields and snow-filled ravines, were all visible at once.
These summits of naked rock or dazzling snow, rising above the smothering
greenery of the lower ranges into a heaven of delicious blue, gave
exactly that individuality and emphasis which, to my thinking, Japanese
scenery usually lacks.  Riding on first, I arrived alone at the little
town of Nozawa, to encounter the curiosity of a crowd; and, after a rest,
we had a very pleasant walk of three miles along the side of a ridge
above a rapid river with fine grey cliffs on its farther side, with a
grand view of the Aidzu giants, violet coloured in a golden sunset.

At dusk we came upon the picturesque village of Nojiri, on the margin of
a rice valley, but I shrank from spending Sunday in a hole, and, having
spied a solitary house on the very brow of a hill 1500 feet higher, I
dragged out the information that it was a tea-house, and came up to it.
It took three-quarters of an hour to climb the series of precipitous
zigzags by which this remarkable pass is surmounted; darkness came on,
accompanied by thunder and lightning, and just as we arrived a tremendous
zigzag of blue flame lit up the house and its interior, showing a large
group sitting round a wood fire, and then all was thick darkness again.
It had a most startling effect.  This house is magnificently situated,
almost hanging over the edge of the knife-like ridge of the pass of
Kuruma, on which it is situated.  It is the only _yadoya_ I have been at
from which there has been any view.  The villages are nearly always in
the valleys, and the best rooms are at the back, and have their prospects
limited by the paling of the conventional garden.  If it were not for the
fleas, which are here in legions, I should stay longer, for the view of
the Aidzu snow is delicious, and, as there are only two other houses, one
can ramble without being mobbed.

In one a child two and a half years old swallowed a fish-bone last night,
and has been suffering and crying all day, and the grief of the mother so
won Ito’s sympathy that he took me to see her.  She had walked up and
down with it for eighteen hours, but never thought of looking into its
throat, and was very unwilling that I should do so.  The bone was
visible, and easily removed with a crochet needle.  An hour later the
mother sent a tray with a quantity of cakes and coarse confectionery upon
it as a present, with the piece of dried seaweed which always accompanies
a gift.  Before night seven people with sore legs applied for “advice.”
The sores were all superficial and all alike, and their owners said that
they had been produced by the incessant rubbing of the bites of ants.

On this summer day the country looks as prosperous as it is beautiful,
and one would not think that acute poverty could exist in the
steep-roofed village of Nojiri, which nestles at the foot of the hill;
but two hempen ropes dangling from a cryptomeria just below tell the sad
tale of an elderly man who hanged himself two days ago, because he was
too poor to provide for a large family; and the house-mistress and Ito
tell me that when a man who has a young family gets too old or feeble for
work he often destroys himself.

My hostess is a widow with a family, a good-natured, bustling woman, with
a great love of talk.  All day her house is open all round, having
literally no walls.  The roof and solitary upper room are supported on
posts, and my ladder almost touches the kitchen fire.  During the
day-time the large matted area under the roof has no divisions, and
groups of travellers and _magos_ lie about, for every one who has toiled
up either side of Kurumatogé takes a cup of “tea with eating,” and the
house-mistress is busy the whole day.  A big well is near the fire.  Of
course there is no furniture; but a shelf runs under the roof, on which
there is a Buddhist god-house, with two black idols in it, one of them
being that much-worshipped divinity, Daikoku, the god of wealth.  Besides
a rack for kitchen utensils, there is only a stand on which are six large
brown dishes with food for sale—salt shell-fish, in a black liquid, dried
trout impaled on sticks, sea slugs in soy, a paste made of pounded roots,
and green cakes made of the slimy river _confervæ_, pressed and dried—all
ill-favoured and unsavoury viands.  This afternoon a man without clothes
was treading flour paste on a mat, a traveller in a blue silk robe was
lying on the floor smoking, and five women in loose attire, with
elaborate chignons and blackened teeth, were squatting round the fire.
At the house-mistress’s request I wrote a eulogistic description of the
view from her house, and read it in English, Ito translating it, to the
very great satisfaction of the assemblage.  Then I was asked to write on
four fans.  The woman has never heard of England.  It is not “a name to
conjure with” in these wilds.  Neither has she heard of America.  She
knows of Russia as a great power, and, of course, of China, but there her
knowledge ends, though she has been at Tôkiyô and Kiyotô.

July 1.—I was just falling asleep last night, in spite of mosquitoes and
fleas, when I was roused by much talking and loud outcries of poultry;
and Ito, carrying a screaming, refractory hen, and a man and woman whom
he had with difficulty bribed to part with it, appeared by my bed.  I
feebly said I would have it boiled for breakfast, but when Ito called me
this morning he told me with a most rueful face that just as he was going
to kill it it had escaped to the woods!  In order to understand my
feelings you must have experienced what it is not to have tasted fish,
flesh, or fowl, for ten days!  The alternative was eggs and some of the
paste which the man was treading yesterday on the mat cut into strips and
boiled!  It was coarse flour and buckwheat, so, you see, I have learned
not to be particular!

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XIV.


An Infamous Road—Monotonous Greenery—Abysmal Dirt—Low Lives—The Tsugawa
_Yadoya_—Politeness—A Shipping Port—A Barbarian Devil.

                                                        TSUGAWA, _July_ 2.

YESTERDAY’S journey was one of the most severe I have yet had, for in ten
hours of hard travelling I only accomplished fifteen miles.  The road
from Kurumatogé westwards is so infamous that the stages are sometimes
little more than a mile.  Yet it is by it, so far at least as the Tsugawa
river, that the produce and manufactures of the rich plain of Aidzu, with
its numerous towns, and of a very large interior district, must find an
outlet at Niigata.  In defiance of all modern ideas, it goes straight up
and straight down hill, at a gradient that I should be afraid to hazard a
guess at, and at present it is a perfect quagmire, into which great
stones have been thrown, some of which have subsided edgewise, and others
have disappeared altogether.  It is the very worst road I ever rode over,
and that is saying a good deal!  Kurumatogé was the last of seventeen
mountain-passes, over 2000 feet high, which I have crossed since leaving
Nikkô.  Between it and Tsugawa the scenery, though on a smaller scale, is
of much the same character as hitherto—hills wooded to their tops, cleft
by ravines which open out occasionally to divulge more distant ranges,
all smothered in greenery, which, when I am ill-pleased, I am inclined to
call “rank vegetation.”  Oh that an abrupt scaur, or a strip of flaming
desert, or something salient and brilliant, would break in, however
discordantly, upon this monotony of green!

The villages of that district must, I think, have reached the lowest
abyss of filthiness in Hozawa and Saikaiyama.  Fowls, dogs, horses, and
people herded together in sheds black with wood smoke, and manure heaps
drained into the wells.  No young boy wore any clothing.  Few of the men
wore anything but the _maro_, the women were unclothed to their waists
and such clothing as they had was very dirty, and held together by mere
force of habit.  The adults were covered with inflamed bites of insects,
and the children with skin-disease.  Their houses were dirty, and, as
they squatted on their heels, or lay face downwards, they looked little
better than savages.  Their appearance and the want of delicacy of their
habits are simply abominable, and in the latter respect they contrast to
great disadvantage with several savage peoples that I have been among.
If I had kept to Nikkô, Hakone, Miyanoshita, and similar places visited
by foreigners with less time, I should have formed a very different
impression.  Is their spiritual condition, I often wonder, much higher
than their physical one?  They are courteous, kindly, industrious, and
free from gross crimes; but, from the conversations that I have had with
Japanese, and from much that I see, I judge that their standard of
foundational morality is very low, and that life is neither truthful nor
pure.

I put up here at a crowded _yadoya_, where they have given me two
cheerful rooms in the garden, away from the crowd.  Ito’s great desire on
arriving at any place is to shut me up in my room and keep me a close
prisoner till the start the next morning; but here I emancipated myself,
and enjoyed myself very much sitting in the _daidokoro_.  The
house-master is of the _samurai_, or two-sworded class, now, as such,
extinct.  His face is longer, his lips thinner, and his nose straighter
and more prominent than those of the lower class, and there is a
difference in his manner and bearing.  I have had a great deal of
interesting conversation with him.

In the same open space his clerk was writing at a lacquer desk of the
stereotyped form—a low bench with the ends rolled over—a woman was
tailoring, coolies were washing their feet on the _itama_, and several
more were squatting round the _irori_ smoking and drinking tea.  A coolie
servant washed some rice for my dinner, but before doing so took off his
clothes, and the woman who cooked it let her _kimono_ fall to her waist
before she began to work, as is customary among respectable women.  The
house-master’s wife and Ito talked about me unguardedly.  I asked what
they were saying.  “She says,” said he, “that you are very polite—for a
foreigner,” he added.  I asked what she meant, and found that it was
because I took off my boots before I stepped on the matting, and bowed
when they handed me the _tabako-bon_.

We walked through the town to find something eatable for to-morrow’s
river journey, but only succeeded in getting wafers made of white of egg
and sugar, balls made of sugar and barley flour, and beans coated with
sugar.  Thatch, with its picturesqueness, has disappeared, and the
Tsugawa roofs are of strips of bark weighted with large stones; but, as
the houses turn their gable ends to the street, and there is a promenade
the whole way under the eaves, and the street turns twice at right angles
and terminates in temple grounds on a bank above the river, it is less
monotonous than most Japanese towns.  It is a place of 3000 people, and a
good deal of produce is shipped from hence to Niigata by the river.
To-day it is thronged with pack-horses.  I was much mobbed, and one child
formed the solitary exception to the general rule of politeness by
calling me a name equivalent to the Chinese _Fan Kwai_, “foreign;” but he
was severely chidden, and a policeman has just called with an apology.  A
slice of fresh salmon has been produced, and I think I never tasted
anything so delicious.  I have finished the first part of my land
journey, and leave for Niigata by boat to-morrow morning.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XV.


A Hurry—The Tsugawa Packet-boat—Running the Rapids—Fantastic Scenery—The
River-life—Vineyards—Drying Barley—Summer Silence—The Outskirts of
Niigata—The Church Mission House.

                                                        NIIGATA, _July_ 4.

THE boat for Niigata was to leave at eight, but at five Ito roused me by
saying they were going at once, as it was full, and we left in haste, the
house-master running to the river with one of my large baskets on his
back to “speed the parting guest.”  Two rivers unite to form a stream
over whose beauty I would gladly have lingered, and the morning,
singularly rich and tender in its colouring, ripened into a glorious day
of light without glare, and heat without oppressiveness.  The “packet”
was a stoutly-built boat, 45 feet long by 6 broad, propelled by one man
sculling at the stern, and another pulling a short broad-bladed oar,
which worked in a wistaria loop at the bow.  It had a croquet mallet
handle about 18 inches long, to which the man gave a wriggling turn at
each stroke.  Both rower and sculler stood the whole time, clad in
umbrella hats.  The fore part and centre carried bags of rice and crates
of pottery, and the hinder part had a thatched roof which, when we
started, sheltered twenty-five Japanese, but we dropped them at hamlets
on the river, and reached Niigata with only three.  I had my chair on the
top of the cargo, and found the voyage a delightful change from the
fatiguing crawl through quagmires at the rate of from 15 to 18 miles a
day.  This trip is called “running the rapids of the Tsugawa,” because
for about twelve miles the river, hemmed in by lofty cliffs, studded with
visible and sunken rocks, making several abrupt turns and shallowing in
many places, hurries a boat swiftly downwards; and it is said that it
requires long practice, skill, and coolness on the part of the boatmen to
prevent grave and frequent accidents.  But if they are rapids, they are
on a small scale, and look anything but formidable.  With the river at
its present height the boats run down forty-five miles in eight hours,
charging only 30 _sen_, or 1s. 3d., but it takes from five to seven days
to get up, and much hard work in poling and towing.

The boat had a thoroughly “native” look, with its bronzed crew, thatched
roof, and the umbrella hats of all its passengers hanging on the mast.  I
enjoyed every hour of the day.  It was luxury to drop quietly down the
stream, the air was delicious, and, having heard nothing of it, the
beauty of the Tsugawa came upon me as a pleasant surprise, besides that
every mile brought me nearer the hoped-for home letters.  Almost as soon
as we left Tsugawa the downward passage was apparently barred by
fantastic mountains, which just opened their rocky gates wide enough to
let us through, and then closed again.  Pinnacles and needles of bare,
flushed rock rose out of luxuriant vegetation—Quiraing without its
bareness, the Rhine without its ruins, and more beautiful than both.
There were mountains connected by ridges no broader than a horse’s back,
others with great gray buttresses, deep chasms cleft by streams, temples
with pagoda roofs on heights, sunny villages with deep-thatched roofs
hidden away among blossoming trees, and through rifts in the nearer
ranges glimpses of snowy mountains.

After a rapid run of twelve miles through this enchanting scenery, the
remaining course of the Tsugawa is that of a broad, full stream winding
marvellously through a wooded and tolerably level country, partially
surrounded by snowy mountains.  The river life was very pretty.  Canoes
abounded, some loaded with vegetables, some with wheat, others with boys
and girls returning from school.  _Sampans_ with their white puckered
sails in flotillas of a dozen at a time crawled up the deep water, or
were towed through the shallows by crews frolicking and shouting.  Then
the scene changed to a broad and deep river, with a peculiar alluvial
smell from the quantity of vegetable matter held in suspension, flowing
calmly between densely wooded, bamboo-fringed banks, just high enough to
conceal the surrounding country.  No houses, or nearly none, are to be
seen, but signs of a continuity of population abound.  Every hundred
yards almost there is a narrow path to the river through the jungle, with
a canoe moored at its foot.  Erections like gallows, with a swinging
bamboo, with a bucket at one end and a stone at the other, occurring
continually, show the vicinity of households dependent upon the river for
their water supply.  Wherever the banks admitted of it, horses were being
washed by having water poured over their backs with a dipper, naked
children were rolling in the mud, and cackling of poultry, human voices,
and sounds of industry, were ever floating towards us from the dense
greenery of the shores, making one feel without seeing that the margin
was very populous.  Except the boatmen and myself, no one was awake
during the hot, silent afternoon—it was dreamy and delicious.
Occasionally, as we floated down, vineyards were visible with the vines
trained on horizontal trellises, or bamboo rails, often forty feet long,
nailed horizontally on cryptomeria to a height of twenty feet, on which
small sheaves of barley were placed astride to dry till the frame was
full.

More forest, more dreams, then the forest and the abundant vegetation
altogether disappeared, the river opened out among low lands and banks of
shingle and sand, and by three we were on the outskirts of Niigata, whose
low houses,—with rows of stones upon their roofs, spread over a stretch
of sand, beyond which is a sandy roll with some clumps of firs.
Tea-houses with many balconies studded the river-side, and
pleasure-parties were enjoying themselves with _geishas_ and _saké_, but,
on the whole, the water-side streets are shabby and tumble down, and the
landward side of the great city of western Japan is certainly
disappointing; and it was difficult to believe it a Treaty Port, for the
sea was not in sight, and there were no consular flags flying.  We poled
along one of the numerous canals, which are the carriage-ways for produce
and goods, among hundreds of loaded boats, landed in the heart of the
city, and, as the result of repeated inquiries, eventually reached the
Church Mission House, an unshaded wooden building without verandahs,
close to the Government Buildings, where I was most kindly welcomed by
Mr. and Mrs. Fyson.

The house is plain, simple, and inconveniently small; but doors and walls
are great luxuries, and you cannot imagine how pleasing the ways of a
refined European household are after the eternal babblement and indecorum
of the Japanese.

                                                                  I. L. B.

                       [Picture: Buddhist Priests]



ITINERARY of ROUTE from NIKKÔ to NIIGATA
(Kinugawa Route.)


From Tôkiyô to

                  No. of houses.    _Ri_.        _Chô_.
Nikkô                                        36
Kohiaku                          6            2        18
Kisagoi                         19            1        18
Fujihara                        46            2        19
Takahara                        15            2        10
Ikari                           25            2
Nakamiyo                        10            1        24
Yokokawa                        20            2        21
Itosawa                         38            2        34
Kayashima                       57            1         4
Tajima                         250            1        21
Toyonari                       120            2        12
Atomi                           34            1
Ouchi                           27            2        12
Ichikawa                         7            2        22
Takata                         420            2        11
Bangé                          910            3         4
Katakado                        50            1        20
Nosawa                         306            3        24
Nojiri                         110            1        27
Kurumatogé                       3                      9
Hozawa                          20            1        14
Torige                          21            1
Sakaiyama                       28                     24
Tsugawa                        615            2        18
Niigata               50,000 souls           18
                                      _Ri_. 101         6

About 247 miles.



LETTER XVI.


Abominable Weather—Insect Pests—Absence of Foreign Trade—A Refractory
River—Progress—The Japanese City—Water Highways—Niigata Gardens—Ruth
Fyson—The Winter Climate—A Population in Wadding.

                                                        NIIGATA, _July_ 9.

I HAVE spent over a week in Niigata, and leave it regretfully to-morrow,
rather for the sake of the friends I have made than for its own
interests.  I never experienced a week of more abominable weather.  The
sun has been seen just once, the mountains, which are thirty miles off,
not at all.  The clouds are a brownish grey, the air moist and
motionless, and the mercury has varied from 82° in the day to 80° at
night.  The household is afflicted with lassitude and loss of appetite.
Evening does not bring coolness, but myriads of flying, creeping,
jumping, running creatures, all with power to hurt, which replace the day
mosquitoes, villains with spotted legs, which bite and poison one without
the warning hum.  The night mosquitoes are legion.  There are no walks
except in the streets and the public gardens, for Niigata is built on a
sand spit, hot and bare.  Neither can you get a view of it without
climbing to the top of a wooden look-out.

Niigata is a Treaty Port without foreign trade, and almost without
foreign residents.  Not a foreign ship visited the port either last year
or this.  There are only two foreign firms, and these are German, and
only eighteen foreigners, of which number, except the missionaries,
nearly all are in Government employment.  Its river, the Shinano, is the
largest in Japan, and it and its affluents bring down a prodigious volume
of water.  But Japanese rivers are much choked with sand and shingle
washed down from the mountains.  In all that I have seen, except those
which are physically limited by walls of hard rock, a river-bed is a
waste of sand, boulders, and shingle, through the middle of which, among
sand-banks and shallows, the river proper takes its devious course.  In
the freshets, which occur to a greater or less extent every year,
enormous volumes of water pour over these wastes, carrying sand and
detritus down to the mouths, which are all obstructed by bars.  Of these
rivers the Shinano, being the biggest, is the most refractory, and has
piled up a bar at its entrance through which there is only a passage
seven feet deep, which is perpetually shallowing.  The minds of engineers
are much exercised upon the Shinano, and the Government is most anxious
to deepen the channel and give Western Japan what it has not—a harbour;
but the expense of the necessary operation is enormous, and in the
meantime a limited ocean traffic is carried on by junks and by a few
small Japanese steamers which call outside. {115a}  There is a British
Vice-Consulate, but, except as a step, few would accept such a dreary
post or outpost.

But Niigata is a handsome, prosperous city of 50,000 inhabitants, the
capital of the wealthy province of Echigo, with a population of one and a
half millions, and is the seat of the _Kenrei_, or provincial governor,
of the chief law courts, of fine schools, a hospital, and barracks.  It
is curious to find in such an excluded town a school deserving the
designation of a college, as it includes intermediate, primary, and
normal schools, an English school with 150 pupils, organised by English
and American teachers, an engineering school, a geological museum,
splendidly equipped laboratories, and the newest and most approved
scientific and educational apparatus.  The Government Buildings, which
are grouped near Mr. Fyson’s, are of painted white wood, and are imposing
from their size and their innumerable glass windows.  There is a large
hospital {115b} arranged by a European doctor, with a medical school
attached, and it, the _Kenchô_, the _Saibanchô_, or Court House, the
schools, the barracks, and a large bank, which is rivalling them all,
have a go-ahead, Europeanised look, bold, staring, and tasteless.  There
are large public gardens, very well laid out, and with finely gravelled
walks.  There are 300 street lamps, which burn the mineral oil of the
district.

Yet, because the riotous Shinano persistently bars it out from the sea,
its natural highway, the capital of one of the richest provinces of Japan
is “left out in the cold,” and the province itself, which yields not only
rice, silk, tea, hemp, _ninjin_, and indigo, in large quantities, but
gold, copper, coal, and petroleum, has to send most of its produce to
Yedo across ranges of mountains, on the backs of pack-horses, by roads
scarcely less infamous than the one by which I came.

The Niigata of the Government, with its signs of progress in a western
direction, is quite unattractive-looking as compared with the genuine
Japanese Niigata, which is the neatest, cleanest, and most
comfortable-looking town I have yet seen, and altogether free from the
jostlement of a foreign settlement.  It is renowned for the beautiful
tea-houses, which attract visitors from distant places, and for the
excellence of the theatres, and is the centre of the recreation and
pleasure of a large district.  It is so beautifully clean that, as at
Nikkô, I should feel reluctant to walk upon its well-swept streets in
muddy boots.  It would afford a good lesson to the Edinburgh authorities,
for every vagrant bit of straw, stick, or paper, is at once pounced upon
and removed, and no rubbish may stand for an instant in its streets
except in a covered box or bucket.  It is correctly laid out in square
divisions, formed by five streets over a mile long, crossed by very
numerous short ones, and is intersected by canals, which are its real
roadways.  I have not seen a pack-horse in the streets; everything comes
in by boat, and there are few houses in the city which cannot have their
goods delivered by canal very near to their doors.  These water-ways are
busy all day, but in the early morning, when the boats come in loaded
with the vegetables, without which the people could not exist for a day,
the bustle is indescribable.  The cucumber boats just now are the great
sight.  The canals are usually in the middle of the streets, and have
fairly broad roadways on both sides.  They are much below the street
level, and their nearly perpendicular banks are neatly faced with wood,
broken at intervals by flights of stairs.  They are bordered by trees,
among which are many weeping willows; and, as the river water runs
through them, keeping them quite sweet, and they are crossed at short
intervals by light bridges, they form a very attractive feature of
Niigata.

                       [Picture: Street and Canal]

The houses have very steep roofs of shingle, weighted with stones, and,
as they are of very irregular heights, and all turn the steep gables of
the upper stories streetwards, the town has a picturesqueness very
unusual in Japan.  The deep verandahs are connected all along the
streets, so as to form a sheltered promenade when the snow lies deep in
winter.  With its canals with their avenues of trees, its fine public
gardens, and clean, picturesque streets, it is a really attractive town;
but its improvements are recent, and were only lately completed by Mr.
Masakata Kusumoto, now Governor of Tôkiyô.  There is no appearance of
poverty in any part of the town, but if there be wealth, it is carefully
concealed.  One marked feature of the city is the number of streets of
dwelling-houses with projecting windows of wooden _slats_, through which
the people can see without being seen, though at night, when the _andons_
are lit, we saw, as we walked from Dr. Palm’s, that in most cases
families were sitting round the _hibachi_ in a _déshabillé_ of the
scantiest kind.

The fronts are very narrow, and the houses extend backwards to an amazing
length, with gardens in which flowers, shrubs, and mosquitoes are grown,
and bridges are several times repeated, so as to give the effect of
fairyland as you look through from the street.  The principal apartments
in all Japanese houses are at the back, looking out on these miniature
landscapes, for a landscape is skilfully dwarfed into a space often not
more than 30 feet square.  A lake, a rock-work, a bridge, a stone
lantern, and a deformed pine, are indispensable; but whenever
circumstances and means admit of it, quaintnesses of all kinds are
introduced.  Small pavilions, retreats for tea-making, reading, sleeping
in quiet and coolness, fishing under cover, and drinking _saké_; bronze
pagodas, cascades falling from the mouths of bronze dragons; rock caves,
with gold and silver fish darting in and out; lakes with rocky islands,
streams crossed by green bridges, just high enough to allow a rat or frog
to pass under; lawns, and slabs of stone for crossing them in wet
weather, grottoes, hills, valleys, groves of miniature palms, cycas, and
bamboo; and dwarfed trees of many kinds, of purplish and dull green hues,
are cut into startling likenesses of beasts and creeping things, or
stretch distorted arms over tiny lakes.

I have walked about a great deal in Niigata, and when with Mrs. Fyson,
who is the only European lady here at present, and her little Ruth, a
pretty Saxon child of three years old, we have been followed by an
immense crowd, as the sight of this fair creature, with golden curls
falling over her shoulders, is most fascinating.  Both men and women have
gentle, winning ways with infants, and Ruth, instead of being afraid of
the crowds, smiles upon them, bows in Japanese fashion, speaks to them in
Japanese, and seems a little disposed to leave her own people altogether.
It is most difficult to make her keep with us, and two or three times, on
missing her and looking back, we have seen her seated, native fashion, in
a ring in a crowd of several hundred people, receiving a homage and
admiration from which she was most unwillingly torn.  The Japanese have a
perfect passion for children, but it is not good for European children to
be much with them, as they corrupt their morals, and teach them to tell
lies.

The climate of Niigata and of most of this great province contrasts
unpleasantly with the region on the other side of the mountains, warmed
by the gulf-stream of the North Pacific, in which the autumn and winter,
with their still atmosphere, bracing temperature, and blue and sunny
skies, are the most delightful seasons of the year.  Thirty-two days of
snow-fall occur on an average.  The canals and rivers freeze, and even
the rapid Shinano sometimes bears a horse.  In January and February the
snow lies three or four feet deep, a veil of clouds obscures the sky,
people inhabit their upper rooms to get any daylight, pack-horse traffic
is suspended, pedestrians go about with difficulty in rough snow-shoes,
and for nearly six months the coast is unsuitable for navigation, owing
to the prevalence of strong, cold, north-west winds.  In this city people
in wadded clothes, with only their eyes exposed, creep about under the
verandahs.  The population huddles round _hibachis_ and shivers, for the
mercury, which rises to 92° in summer, falls to 15° in winter.  And all
this is in latitude 37° 55′—three degrees south of Naples!

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XVII


The Canal-side at Niigata—Awful Loneliness—Courtesy—Dr. Palm’s Tandem—A
Noisy _Matsuri_—A Jolting Journey—The Mountain Villages—Winter
Dismalness—An Out-of-the-world Hamlet—Crowded Dwellings—Riding a
Cow—“Drunk and Disorderly”—An Enforced Rest—Local Discouragements—Heavy
Loads—Absence of Beggary—Slow Travelling.

                                                      ICHINONO, _July_ 12.

TWO foreign ladies, two fair-haired foreign infants, a long-haired
foreign dog, and a foreign gentleman, who, without these accompaniments,
might have escaped notice, attracted a large but kindly crowd to the
canal side when I left Niigata.  The natives bore away the children on
their shoulders, the Fysons walked to the extremity of the canal to bid
me good-bye, the _sampan_ shot out upon the broad, swirling flood of the
Shinano, and an awful sense of loneliness fell upon me.  We crossed the
Shinano, poled up the narrow, embanked Shinkawa, had a desperate struggle
with the flooded Aganokawa, were much impeded by strings of nauseous
manure-boats on the narrow, discoloured Kajikawa, wondered at the
interminable melon and cucumber fields, and at the odd river life, and,
after hard poling for six hours, reached Kisaki, having accomplished
exactly ten miles.  Then three _kurumas_ with trotting runners took us
twenty miles at the low rate of 4½ _sen_ per _ri_.  In one place a board
closed the road, but, on representing to the chief man of the village
that the traveller was a foreigner, he courteously allowed me to pass,
the Express Agent having accompanied me thus far to see that I “got
through all right.”  The road was tolerably populous throughout the day’s
journey, and the farming villages which extended much of the way—Tsuiji,
Kasayanagê, Mono, and Mari—were neat, and many of the farms had bamboo
fences to screen them from the road.  It was, on the whole, a pleasant
country, and the people, though little clothed, did not look either poor
or very dirty.  The soil was very light and sandy.  There were, in fact,
“pine barrens,” sandy ridges with nothing on them but spindly Scotch firs
and fir scrub; but the sandy levels between them, being heavily manured
and cultivated like gardens, bore splendid crops of cucumbers trained
like peas, melons, vegetable marrow, _Arum esculentum_, sweet potatoes,
maize, tea, tiger-lilies, beans, and onions; and extensive orchards with
apples and pears trained laterally on trellis-work eight feet high, were
a novelty in the landscape.

Though we were all day drawing nearer to mountains wooded to their
summits on the east, the amount of vegetation was not burdensome, the
rice swamps were few, and the air felt drier and less relaxing.  As my
runners were trotting merrily over one of the pine barrens, I met Dr.
Palm returning from one of his medico-religious expeditions, with a
tandem of two naked coolies, who were going over the ground at a great
pace, and I wished that some of the most staid directors of the Edinburgh
Medical Missionary Society could have the shock of seeing him!  I shall
not see a European again for some weeks.  From Tsuiji, a very neat
village, where we changed _kurumas_, we were jolted along over a shingly
road to Nakajo, a considerable town just within treaty limits.  The
Japanese doctors there, as in some other places, are Dr. Palm’s cordial
helpers, and five or six of them, whom he regards as possessing the rare
virtues of candour, earnestness, and single-mindedness, and who have
studied English medical works, have clubbed together to establish a
dispensary, and, under Dr. Palm’s instructions, are even carrying out the
antiseptic treatment successfully, after some ludicrous failures!

We dashed through Nakajo as _kuruma_-runners always dash through towns
and villages, got out of it in a drizzle upon an avenue of firs, three or
four deep, which extends from Nakajo to Kurokawa, and for some miles
beyond were jolted over a damp valley on which tea and rice alternated,
crossed two branches of the shingly Kurokawa on precarious bridges,
rattled into the town of Kurokawa, much decorated with flags and
lanterns, where the people were all congregated at a shrine where there
was much drumming, and a few girls, much painted and bedizened, were
dancing or posturing on a raised and covered platform, in honour of the
god of the place, whose _matsuri_ or festival it was; and out again, to
be mercilessly jolted under the firs in the twilight to a solitary house
where the owner made some difficulty about receiving us, as his licence
did not begin till the next day, but eventually succumbed, and gave me
his one upstairs room, exactly five feet high, which hardly allowed of my
standing upright with my hat on.  He then rendered it suffocating by
closing the _amado_, for the reason often given, that if he left them
open and the house was robbed, the police would not only blame him
severely, but would not take any trouble to recover his property.  He had
no rice, so I indulged in a feast of delicious cucumbers.  I never saw so
many eaten as in that district.  Children gnaw them all day long, and
even babies on their mothers’ backs suck them with avidity.  Just now
they are sold for a _sen_ a dozen.

It is a mistake to arrive at a _yadoya_ after dark.  Even if the best
rooms are not full it takes fully an hour to get my food and the room
ready, and meanwhile I cannot employ my time usefully because of the
mosquitoes.  There was heavy rain all night, accompanied by the first
wind that I have heard since landing; and the fitful creaking of the
pines and the drumming from the shrine made me glad to get up at sunrise,
or rather at daylight, for there has not been a sunrise since I came, or
a sunset either.  That day we travelled by Sekki to Kawaguchi in
_kurumas_, i.e. we were sometimes bumped over stones, sometimes deposited
on the edge of a quagmire, and asked to get out; and sometimes compelled
to walk for two or three miles at a time along the infamous bridle-track
above the river Arai, up which two men could hardly push and haul an
empty vehicle; and, as they often had to lift them bodily and carry them
for some distance, I was really glad when we reached the village of
Kawaguchi to find that they could go no farther, though, as we could only
get one horse, I had to walk the last stage in a torrent of rain, poorly
protected by my paper waterproof cloak.

We are now in the midst of the great central chain of the Japanese
mountains, which extends almost without a break for 900 miles, and is
from 40 to 100 miles in width, broken up into interminable ranges
traversable only by steep passes from 1000 to 5000 feet in height, with
innumerable rivers, ravines, and valleys, the heights and ravines heavily
timbered, the rivers impetuous and liable to freshets, and the valleys
invariably terraced for rice.  It is in the valleys that the villages are
found, and regions more isolated I have never seen, shut out by bad roads
from the rest of Japan.  The houses are very poor, the summer costume of
the men consists of the _maro_ only, and that of the women of trousers
with an open shirt, and when we reached Kurosawa last night it had
dwindled to trousers only.  There is little traffic, and very few horses
are kept, one, two, or three constituting the live stock of a large
village.  The shops, such as they are, contain the barest necessaries of
life.  Millet and buckwheat rather than rice, with the universal
_daikon_, are the staples of diet The climate is wet in summer and
bitterly cold in winter.  Even now it is comfortless enough for the
people to come in wet, just to warm the tips of their fingers at the
_irori_, stifled the while with the stinging smoke, while the damp wind
flaps the torn paper of the windows about, and damp draughts sweep the
ashes over the _tatami_ until the house is hermetically sealed at night.
These people never know anything of what we regard as comfort, and in the
long winter, when the wretched bridle-tracks are blocked by snow and the
freezing wind blows strong, and the families huddle round the smoky fire
by the doleful glimmer of the _andon_, without work, books, or play, to
shiver through the long evenings in chilly dreariness, and herd together
for warmth at night like animals, their condition must be as miserable as
anything short of grinding poverty can make it.

I saw things at their worst that night as I tramped into the hamlet of
Numa, down whose sloping street a swollen stream was running, which the
people were banking out of their houses.  I was wet and tired, and the
woman at the one wretched _yadoya_ met me, saying, “I’m sorry it’s very
dirty and quite unfit for so honourable a guest;” and she was right, for
the one room was up a ladder, the windows were in tatters, there was no
charcoal for a _hibachi_, no eggs, and the rice was so dirty and so full
of a small black seed as to be unfit to eat.  Worse than all, there was
no Transport Office, the hamlet did not possess a horse, and it was only
by sending to a farmer five miles off, and by much bargaining, that I got
on the next morning.  In estimating the number of people in a given
number of houses in Japan, it is usual to multiply the houses by five,
but I had the curiosity to walk through Numa and get Ito to translate the
tallies which hang outside all Japanese houses with the names, number,
and sexes of their inmates, and in twenty-four houses there were 307
people!  In some there were four families—the grand-parents, the parents,
the eldest son with his wife and family, and a daughter or two with their
husbands and children.  The eldest son, who inherits the house and land,
almost invariably brings his wife to his father’s house, where she often
becomes little better than a slave to her mother-in-law.  By rigid custom
she literally forsakes her own kindred, and her “filial duty” is
transferred to her husband’s mother, who often takes a dislike to her,
and instigates her son to divorce her if she has no children.  My hostess
had induced her son to divorce his wife, and she could give no better
reason for it than that she was lazy.

The Numa people, she said, had never seen a foreigner, so, though the
rain still fell heavily, they were astir in the early morning.  They
wanted to hear me speak, so I gave my orders to Ito in public.  Yesterday
was a most toilsome day, mainly spent in stumbling up and sliding down
the great passes of Futai, Takanasu, and Yenoiki, all among
forest-covered mountains, deeply cleft by forest-choked ravines, with now
and then one of the snowy peaks of Aidzu breaking the monotony of the
ocean of green.  The horses’ shoes were tied and untied every few
minutes, and we made just a mile an hour!  At last we were deposited in a
most unpromising place in the hamlet of Tamagawa, and were told that a
rice merchant, after waiting for three days, had got every horse in the
country.  At the end of two hours’ chaffering one baggage coolie was
produced, some of the things were put on the rice horses, and a steed
with a pack-saddle was produced for me in the shape of a plump and pretty
little cow, which carried me safely over the magnificent pass of Ori and
down to the town of Okimi, among rice-fields, where, in a drowning rain,
I was glad to get shelter with a number of coolies by a wood-fire till
another pack-cow was produced, and we walked on through the rice-fields
and up into the hills again to Kurosawa, where I had intended to remain;
but there was no inn, and the farm-house where they take in travellers,
besides being on the edge of a malarious pond, and being dark and full of
stinging smoke, was so awfully dirty and full of living creatures, that,
exhausted as I was, I was obliged to go on.  But it was growing dark,
there was no Transport Office, and for the first time the people were
very slightly extortionate, and drove Ito nearly to his wits’ end.  The
peasants do not like to be out after dark, for they are afraid of ghosts
and all sorts of devilments, and it was difficult to induce them to start
so late in the evening.

There was not a house clean enough to rest in, so I sat on a stone and
thought about the people for over an hour.  Children with scald-head,
_scabies_, and sore eyes swarmed.  Every woman carried a baby on her
back, and every child who could stagger under one carried one too.  Not
one woman wore anything but cotton trousers.  One woman reeled about
“drunk and disorderly.”  Ito sat on a stone hiding his face in his hands,
and when I asked him if he were ill, he replied in a most lamentable
voice, “I don’t know what I am to do, I’m so ashamed for you to see such
things!”  The boy is only eighteen, and I pitied him.  I asked him if
women were often drunk, and he said they were in Yokohama, but they
usually kept in their houses.  He says that when their husbands give them
money to pay bills at the end of a month, they often spend it in _saké_,
and that they sometimes get _saké_ in shops and have it put down as rice
or tea.  “The old, old story!”  I looked at the dirt and barbarism, and
asked if this were the Japan of which I had read.  Yet a woman in this
unseemly costume firmly refused to take the 2 or 3 _sen_ which it is
usual to leave at a place where you rest, because she said that I had had
water and not tea, and after I had forced it on her, she returned it to
Ito, and this redeeming incident sent me away much comforted.

From Numa the distance here is only 1½ _ri_, but it is over the steep
pass of Honoki, which is ascended and descended by hundreds of rude stone
steps, not pleasant in the dark.  On this pass I saw birches for the
first time; at its foot we entered Yamagata _ken_ by a good bridge, and
shortly reached this village, in which an unpromising-looking farm-house
is the only accommodation; but though all the rooms but two are taken up
with silk-worms, those two are very good and look upon a miniature lake
and rockery.  The one objection to my room is that to get either in or
out of it I must pass through the other, which is occupied by five
tobacco merchants who are waiting for transport, and who while away the
time by strumming on that instrument of dismay, the _samisen_.  No horses
or cows can be got for me, so I am spending the day quietly here, rather
glad to rest, for I am much exhausted.  When I am suffering much from my
spine Ito always gets into a fright and thinks I am going to die, as he
tells me when I am better, but shows his anxiety by a short, surly
manner, which is most disagreeable.  He thinks we shall never get through
the interior!  Mr. Brunton’s excellent map fails in this region, so it is
only by fixing on the well-known city of Yamagata and devising routes to
it that we get on.  Half the evening is spent in consulting Japanese
maps, if we can get them, and in questioning the house-master and
Transport Agent, and any chance travellers; but the people know nothing
beyond the distance of a few _ri_, and the agents seldom tell one
anything beyond the next stage.  When I inquire about the “unbeaten
tracks” that I wish to take, the answers are, “It’s an awful road through
mountains,” or “There are many bad rivers to cross,” or “There are none
but farmers’ houses to stop at.”  No encouragement is ever given, but we
get on, and shall get on, I doubt not, though the hardships are not what
I would desire in my present state of health.

Very few horses are kept here.  Cows and coolies carry much of the
merchandise, and women as well as men carry heavy loads.  A baggage
coolie carries about 50 lbs., but here merchants carrying their own goods
from Yamagata actually carry from 90 to 140 lbs., and even more.  It is
sickening to meet these poor fellows struggling over the mountain-passes
in evident distress.  Last night five of them were resting on the summit
ridge of a pass gasping violently.  Their eyes were starting out; all
their muscles, rendered painfully visible by their leanness, were
quivering; rills of blood from the bite of insects, which they cannot
drive away, were literally running all over their naked bodies, washed
away here and there by copious perspiration.  Truly “in the sweat of
their brows” they were eating bread and earning an honest living for
their families!  Suffering and hard-worked as they were, they were quite
independent.  I have not seen a beggar or beggary in this strange
country.  The women were carrying 70 lbs.  These burden-bearers have
their backs covered by a thick pad of plaited straw.  On this rests a
ladder, curved up at the lower end like the runners of a sleigh.  On this
the load is carefully packed till it extends from below the man’s waist
to a considerable height above his head.  It is covered with waterproof
paper, securely roped, and thatched with straw, and is supported by a
broad padded band just below the collar bones.  Of course, as the man
walks nearly bent double, and the position is a very painful one, he
requires to stop and straighten himself frequently, and unless he meets
with a bank of convenient height, he rests the bottom of his burden on a
short, stout pole with an L-shaped top, carried for this purpose.  The
carrying of enormous loads is quite a feature of this region, and so, I
am sorry to say, are red stinging ants and the small gadflies which
molest the coolies.

Yesterday’s journey was 18 miles in twelve hours!  Ichinono is a nice,
industrious hamlet, given up, like all others, to rearing silk-worms, and
the pure white and sulphur yellow cocoons are drying on mats in the sun
everywhere.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XVIII.


Comely Kine—Japanese Criticism on a Foreign Usage—A Pleasant Halt—Renewed
Courtesies—The Plain of Yonezawa—A Curious Mistake—The Mother’s
Memorial—Arrival at Komatsu—Stately Accommodation—A Vicious Horse—An
Asiatic Arcadia—A Fashionable Watering-place—A Belle—“Godowns.”

                                                               KAMINOYAMA.

A SEVERE day of mountain travelling brought us into another region.  We
left Ichinono early on a fine morning, with three pack-cows, one of which
I rode [and their calves], very comely kine, with small noses, short
horns, straight spines, and deep bodies.  I thought that I might get some
fresh milk, but the idea of anything but a calf milking a cow was so new
to the people that there was a universal laugh, and Ito told me that they
thought it “most disgusting,” and that the Japanese think it “most
disgusting” in foreigners to put anything “with such a strong smell and
taste” into their tea!  All the cows had cotton cloths, printed with blue
dragons, suspended under their bodies to keep them from mud and insects,
and they wear straw shoes and cords through the cartilages of their
noses.  The day being fine, a great deal of rice and _saké_ was on the
move, and we met hundreds of pack-cows, all of the same comely breed, in
strings of four.

We crossed the Sakuratogé, from which the view is beautiful, got horses
at the mountain village of Shirakasawa, crossed more passes, and in the
afternoon reached the village of Tenoko.  There, as usual, I sat under
the verandah of the Transport Office, and waited for the one horse which
was available.  It was a large shop, but contained not a single article
of European make.  In the one room a group of women and children sat
round the fire, and the agent sat as usual with a number of ledgers at a
table a foot high, on which his grandchild was lying on a cushion.  Here
Ito dined on seven dishes of horrors, and they brought me _saké_, tea,
rice, and black beans.  The last are very good.  We had some talk about
the country, and the man asked me to write his name in English
characters, and to write my own in a book.  Meanwhile a crowd assembled,
and the front row sat on the ground that the others might see over their
heads.  They were dirty and pressed very close, and when the women of the
house saw that I felt the heat they gracefully produced fans and fanned
me for a whole hour.  On asking the charge they refused to make any, and
would not receive anything.  They had not seen a foreigner before, they
said, they would despise themselves for taking anything, they had my
“honourable name” in their book.  Not only that, but they put up a parcel
of sweetmeats, and the man wrote his name on a fan and insisted on my
accepting it.  I was grieved to have nothing to give them but some
English pins, but they had never seen such before, and soon circulated
them among the crowd.  I told them truly that I should remember them as
long as I remember Japan, and went on, much touched by their kindness.

The lofty pass of Utsu, which is ascended and descended by a number of
stone slabs, is the last of the passes of these choked-up ranges.  From
its summit in the welcome sunlight I joyfully looked down upon the noble
plain of Yonezawa, about 30 miles long and from 10 to 18 broad, one of
the gardens of Japan, wooded and watered, covered with prosperous towns
and villages, surrounded by magnificent mountains not altogether
timbered, and bounded at its southern extremity by ranges white with snow
even in the middle of July.

In the long street of the farming village of Matsuhara a man amazed me by
running in front of me and speaking to me, and on Ito coming up, he
assailed him vociferously, and it turned out that he took me for an Aino,
one of the subjugated aborigines of Yezo.  I have before now been taken
for a Chinese!

Throughout the province of Echigo I have occasionally seen a piece of
cotton cloth suspended by its four corners from four bamboo poles just
above a quiet stream.  Behind it there is usually a long narrow tablet,
notched at the top, similar to those seen in cemeteries, with characters
upon it.  Sometimes bouquets of flowers are placed in the hollow top of
each bamboo, and usually there are characters on the cloth itself.
Within it always lies a wooden dipper.  In coming down from Tenoko I
passed one of these close to the road, and a Buddhist priest was at the
time pouring a dipper full of water into it, which strained slowly
through.  As he was going our way we joined him, and he explained its
meaning.

                    [Picture: The Flowing Invocation]

According to him the tablet bears on it the _kaimiyô_, or posthumous name
of a woman.  The flowers have the same significance as those which loving
hands place on the graves of kindred.  If there are characters on the
cloth, they represent the well-known invocation of the Nichiren sect,
_Namu miô hô ren gé kiô_.  The pouring of the water into the cloth, often
accompanied by telling the beads on a rosary, is a prayer.  The whole is
called “The Flowing Invocation.”  I have seldom seen anything more
plaintively affecting, for it denotes that a mother in the first joy of
maternity has passed away to suffer (according to popular belief) in the
Lake of Blood, one of the Buddhist hells, for a sin committed in a former
state of being, and it appeals to every passer-by to shorten the
penalties of a woman in anguish, for in that lake she must remain until
the cloth is so utterly worn out that the water falls through it at once.

Where the mountains come down upon the plain of Yonezawa there are
several raised banks, and you can take one step from the hillside to a
dead level.  The soil is dry and gravelly at the junction, ridges of
pines appeared, and the look of the houses suggested increased
cleanliness and comfort.  A walk of six miles took us from Tenoko to
Komatsu, a beautifully situated town of 3000 people, with a large trade
in cotton goods, silk, and _saké_.

As I entered Komatsu the first man whom I met turned back hastily, called
into the first house the words which mean “Quick, here’s a foreigner;”
the three carpenters who were at work there flung down their tools and,
without waiting to put on their _kimonos_, sped down the street calling
out the news, so that by the time I reached the _yadoya_ a large crowd
was pressing upon me.  The front was mean and unpromising-looking, but,
on reaching the back by a stone bridge over a stream which ran through
the house, I found a room 40 feet long by 15 high, entirely open along
one side to a garden with a large fish-pond with goldfish, a pagoda,
dwarf trees, and all the usual miniature adornments.  _Fusuma_ of
wrinkled blue paper splashed with gold turned this “gallery” into two
rooms; but there was no privacy, for the crowds climbed upon the roofs at
the back, and sat there patiently until night.

These were _daimiyô’s_ rooms.  The posts and ceilings were ebony and
gold, the mats very fine, the polished alcoves decorated with inlaid
writing-tables and sword-racks; spears nine feet long, with handles of
lacquer inlaid with Venus’ ear, hung in the verandah, the washing bowl
was fine inlaid black lacquer, and the rice-bowls and their covers were
gold lacquer.

In this, as in many other _yadoyas_, there were _kakémonos_ with large
Chinese characters representing the names of the Prime Minister,
Provincial Governor, or distinguished General, who had honoured it by
halting there, and lines of poetry were hung up, as is usual, in the same
fashion.  I have several times been asked to write something to be thus
displayed.  I spent Sunday at Komatsu, but not restfully, owing to the
nocturnal croaking of the frogs in the pond.  In it, as in most towns,
there were shops which sell nothing but white, frothy-looking cakes,
which are used for the goldfish which are so much prized, and three times
daily the women and children of the household came into the garden to
feed them.

When I left Komatsu there were fully sixty people inside the house and
1500 outside—walls, verandahs, and even roofs being packed.  From Nikkô
to Komatsu mares had been exclusively used, but there I encountered for
the first time the terrible Japanese pack-horse.  Two horridly
fierce-looking creatures were at the door, with their heads tied down
till their necks were completely arched.  When I mounted the crowd
followed, gathering as it went, frightening the horse with the clatter of
clogs and the sound of a multitude, till he broke his head-rope, and, the
frightened _mago_ letting him go, he proceeded down the street mainly on
his hind feet, squealing, and striking savagely with his fore feet, the
crowd scattering to the right and left, till, as it surged past the
police station, four policemen came out and arrested it; only to gather
again, however, for there was a longer street, down which my horse
proceeded in the same fashion, and, looking round, I saw Ito’s horse on
his hind legs and Ito on the ground.  My beast jumped over all ditches,
attacked all foot-passengers with his teeth, and behaved so like a wild
animal that not all my previous acquaintance with the idiosyncrasies of
horses enabled me to cope with him.  On reaching Akayu we found a horse
fair, and, as all the horses had their heads tightly tied down to posts,
they could only squeal and lash out with their hind feet, which so
provoked our animals that the baggage horse, by a series of jerks and
rearings, divested himself of Ito and most of the baggage, and, as I
dismounted from mine, he stood upright, and my foot catching I fell on
the ground, when he made several vicious dashes at me with his teeth and
fore feet, which were happily frustrated by the dexterity of some _mago_.
These beasts forcibly remind me of the words, “Whose mouth must be held
with bit and bridle, lest they turn and fall upon thee.”

It was a lovely summer day, though very hot, and the snowy peaks of Aidzu
scarcely looked cool as they glittered in the sunlight.  The plain of
Yonezawa, with the prosperous town of Yonezawa in the south, and the
frequented watering-place of Akayu in the north, is a perfect garden of
Eden, “tilled with a pencil instead of a plough,” growing in rich
profusion rice, cotton, maize, tobacco, hemp, indigo, beans, egg-plants,
walnuts, melons, cucumbers, persimmons, apricots, pomegranates; a smiling
and plenteous land, an Asiatic Arcadia, prosperous and independent, all
its bounteous acres belonging to those who cultivate them, who live under
their vines, figs, and pomegranates, free from oppression—a remarkable
spectacle under an Asiatic despotism.  Yet still Daikoku is the chief
deity, and material good is the one object of desire.

It is an enchanting region of beauty, industry, and comfort, mountain
girdled, and watered by the bright Matsuka.  Everywhere there are
prosperous and beautiful farming villages, with large houses with carved
beams and ponderous tiled roofs, each standing in its own grounds, buried
among persimmons and pomegranates, with flower-gardens under trellised
vines, and privacy secured by high, closely-clipped screens of
pomegranate and cryptomeria.  Besides the villages of Yoshida, Semoshima,
Kurokawa, Takayama, and Takataki, through or near which we passed, I
counted over fifty on the plain with their brown, sweeping barn roofs
looking out from the woodland.  I cannot see any differences in the style
of cultivation.  Yoshida is rich and prosperous-looking, Numa poor and
wretched-looking; but the scanty acres of Numa, rescued from the
mountain-sides, are as exquisitely trim and neat, as perfectly
cultivated, and yield as abundantly of the crops which suit the climate,
as the broad acres of the sunny plain of Yonezawa, and this is the case
everywhere.  “The field of the sluggard” has no existence in Japan.

We rode for four hours through these beautiful villages on a road four
feet wide, and then, to my surprise, after ferrying a river, emerged at
Tsukuno upon what appears on the map as a secondary road, but which is in
reality a main road 25 feet wide, well kept, trenched on both sides, and
with a line of telegraph poles along it.  It was a new world at once.
The road for many miles was thronged with well-dressed foot-passengers,
_kurumas_, pack-horses, and waggons either with solid wheels, or wheels
with spokes but no tires.  It is a capital carriage-road, but without
carriages.  In such civilised circumstances it was curious to see two or
four brown skinned men pulling the carts, and quite often a man and his
wife—the man unclothed, and the woman unclothed to her waist—doing the
same.  Also it struck me as incongruous to see telegraph wires above, and
below, men whose only clothing consisted of a sun-hat and fan; while
children with books and slates were returning from school, conning their
lessons.

At Akayu, a town of hot sulphur springs, I hoped to sleep, but it was one
of the noisiest places I have seen.  In the most crowded part, where four
streets meet, there are bathing sheds, which were full of people of both
sexes, splashing loudly, and the _yadoya_ close to it had about forty
rooms, in nearly all of which several rheumatic people were lying on the
mats, _samisens_ were twanging, and _kotos_ screeching, and the hubbub
was so unbearable that I came on here, ten miles farther, by a fine new
road, up an uninteresting strath of rice-fields and low hills, which
opens out upon a small plain surrounded by elevated gravelly hills, on
the slope of one of which Kaminoyama, a watering-place of over 3000
people, is pleasantly situated.  It is keeping festival; there are
lanterns and flags on every house, and crowds are thronging the temple
grounds, of which there are several on the hills above.  It is a clean,
dry place, with beautiful _yadoyas_ on the heights, and pleasant houses
with gardens, and plenty of walks over the hills.  The people say that it
is one of the driest places in Japan.  If it were within reach of
foreigners, they would find it a wholesome health resort, with
picturesque excursions in many directions.

This is one of the great routes of Japanese travel, and it is interesting
to see watering-places with their habits, amusements, and civilisation
quite complete, but borrowing nothing from Europe.  The hot springs here
contain iron, and are strongly impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen.  I
tried the temperature of three, and found them 100°, 105°, and 107°.
They are supposed to be very valuable in rheumatism, and they attract
visitors from great distances.  The police, who are my frequent
informants, tell me that there are nearly 600 people now staying here for
the benefit of the baths, of which six daily are usually taken.  I think
that in rheumatism, as in some other maladies, the old-fashioned Japanese
doctors pay little attention to diet and habits, and much to drugs and
external applications.  The benefit of these and other medicinal waters
would be much increased if vigorous friction replaced the dabbing with
soft towels.

                    [Picture: The Belle of Kaminoyama]

This is a large _yadoya_, very full of strangers, and the house-mistress,
a buxom and most prepossessing widow, has a truly exquisite hotel for
bathers higher up the hill.  She has eleven children, two or three of
whom are tall, handsome, and graceful girls.  One blushed deeply at my
evident admiration, but was not displeased, and took me up the hill to
see the temples, baths, and _yadoyas_ of this very attractive place.  I
am much delighted with her grace and _savoir faire_.  I asked the widow
how long she had kept the inn, and she proudly answered, “Three hundred
years,” not an uncommon instance of the heredity of occupations.

My accommodation is unique—a _kura_, or godown, in a large conventional
garden, in which is a bath-house, which receives a hot spring at a
temperature of 105°, in which I luxuriate.  Last night the mosquitoes
were awful.  If the widow and her handsome girls had not fanned me
perseveringly for an hour, I should not have been able to write a line.
My new mosquito net succeeds admirably, and, when I am once within it, I
rather enjoy the disappointment of the hundreds of drumming blood-thirsty
wretches outside.

The widow tells me that house-masters pay 2 _yen_ once for all for the
sign, and an annual tax of 2 _yen_ on a first-class _yadoya_, 1 _yen_ for
a second, and 50 cents for a third, with 5 _yen_ for the license to sell
_saké_.

These “godowns” (from the Malay word _gadong_), or fire-proof
store-houses, are one of the most marked features of Japanese towns, both
because they are white where all else is grey, and because they are solid
where all else is perishable.

I am lodged in the lower part, but the iron doors are open, and in their
place at night is a paper screen.  A few things are kept in my room.  Two
handsome shrines from which the unemotional faces of two Buddhas looked
out all night, a fine figure of the goddess Kwan-non, and a venerable one
of the god of longevity, suggested curious dreams.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XIX.


Prosperity—Convict Labour—A New Bridge—Yamagata—Intoxicating
Forgeries—The Government Buildings—Bad Manners—Snow Mountains—A Wretched
Town.

                                                      KANAYAMA, _July_ 16.

THREE days of travelling on the same excellent road have brought me
nearly 60 miles.  Yamagata _ken_ impresses me as being singularly
prosperous, progressive, and go-ahead; the plain of Yamagata, which I
entered soon after leaving Kaminoyama, is populous and highly cultivated,
and the broad road, with its enormous traffic, looks wealthy and
civilised.  It is being improved by convicts in dull red _kimonos_
printed with Chinese characters, who correspond with our ticket-of-leave
men, as they are working for wages in the employment of contractors and
farmers, and are under no other restriction than that of always wearing
the prison dress.

At the Sakamoki river I was delighted to come upon the only thoroughly
solid piece of modern Japanese work that I have met with—a remarkably
handsome stone bridge nearly finished—the first I have seen.  I
introduced myself to the engineer, Okuno Chiuzo, a very gentlemanly,
agreeable Japanese, who showed me the plans, took a great deal of trouble
to explain them, and courteously gave me tea and sweetmeats.

Yamagata, a thriving town of 21,000 people and the capital of the _ken_,
is well situated on a slight eminence, and this and the dominant position
of the _kenchô_ at the top of the main street give it an emphasis unusual
in Japanese towns.  The outskirts of all the cities are very mean, and
the appearance of the lofty white buildings of the new Government Offices
above the low grey houses was much of a surprise.  The streets of
Yamagata are broad and clean, and it has good shops, among which are long
rows selling nothing but ornamental iron kettles and ornamental
brasswork.  So far in the interior I was annoyed to find several shops
almost exclusively for the sale of villainous forgeries of European
eatables and drinkables, specially the latter.  The Japanese, from the
Mikado downwards, have acquired a love of foreign intoxicants, which
would be hurtful enough to them if the intoxicants were genuine, but is
far worse when they are compounds of vitriol, fusel oil, bad vinegar, and
I know not what.  I saw two shops in Yamagata which sold champagne of the
best brands, Martel’s cognac, Bass’ ale, Medoc, St. Julian, and Scotch
whisky, at about one-fifth of their cost price—all poisonous compounds,
the sale of which ought to be interdicted.

The Government Buildings, though in the usual confectionery style, are
improved by the addition of verandahs; and the _Kenchô_, _Saibanchô_, or
Court House, the Normal School with advanced schools attached, and the
police buildings, are all in keeping with the good road and obvious
prosperity.  A large two-storied hospital, with a cupola, which will
accommodate 150 patients, and is to be a medical school, is nearly
finished.  It is very well arranged and ventilated.  I cannot say as much
for the present hospital, which I went over.  At the Court House I saw
twenty officials doing nothing, and as many policemen, all in European
dress, to which they had added an imitation of European manners, the
total result being unmitigated vulgarity.  They demanded my passport
before they would tell me the population of the _ken_ and city.  Once or
twice I have found fault with Ito’s manners, and he has asked me twice
since if I think them like the manners of the policemen at Yamagata!

North of Yamagata the plain widens, and fine longitudinal ranges capped
with snow mountains on the one side, and broken ranges with lateral spurs
on the other, enclose as cheerful and pleasant a region as one would wish
to see, with many pleasant villages on the lower slopes of the hills.
The mercury was only 70°, and the wind north, so it was an especially
pleasant journey, though I had to go three and a half _ri_ beyond Tendo,
a town of 5000 people, where I had intended to halt, because the only
inns at Tendo which were not _kashitsukeya_ were so occupied with
silk-worms that they could not receive me.

The next day’s journey was still along the same fine road, through a
succession of farming villages and towns of 1500 and 2000 people, such as
Tochiida and Obanasawa, were frequent.  From both these there was a
glorious view of Chôkaizan, a grand, snow-covered dome, said to be 8000
feet high, which rises in an altogether unexpected manner from
comparatively level country, and, as the great snow-fields of Udonosan
are in sight at the same time, with most picturesque curtain ranges
below, it may be considered one of the grandest views of Japan.  After
leaving Obanasawa the road passes along a valley watered by one of the
affluents of the Mogami, and, after crossing it by a fine wooden bridge,
ascends a pass from which the view is most magnificent.  After a long
ascent through a region of light, peaty soil, wooded with pine,
cryptomeria, and scrub oak, a long descent and a fine avenue terminate in
Shinjô, a wretched town of over 5000 people, situated in a plain of
rice-fields.

The day’s journey, of over twenty-three miles, was through villages of
farms without _yadoyas_, and in many cases without even tea-houses.  The
style of building has quite changed.  Wood has disappeared, and all the
houses are now built with heavy beams and walls of laths and brown mud
mixed with chopped straw, and very neat.  Nearly all are great oblong
barns, turned endwise to the road, 50, 60, and even 100 feet long, with
the end nearest the road the dwelling-house.  These farm-houses have no
paper windows, only _amado_, with a few panes of paper at the top.  These
are drawn back in the daytime, and, in the better class of houses,
blinds, formed of reeds or split bamboo, are let down over the opening.
There are no ceilings, and in many cases an unmolested rat snake lives in
the rafters, who, when he is much gorged, occasionally falls down upon a
mosquito net.

Again I write that Shinjô is a wretched place.  It is a _daimiyô’s_ town,
and every _daimiyô’s_ town that I have seen has an air of decay, partly
owing to the fact that the castle is either pulled down, or has been
allowed to fall into decay.  Shinjô has a large trade in rice, silk, and
hemp, and ought not to be as poor as it looks.  The mosquitoes were in
thousands, and I had to go to bed, so as to be out of their reach, before
I had finished my wretched meal of sago and condensed milk.  There was a
hot rain all night, my wretched room was dirty and stifling, and rats
gnawed my boots and ran away with my cucumbers.

To-day the temperature is high and the sky murky.  The good road has come
to an end, and the old hardships have begun again.  After leaving Shinjô
this morning we crossed over a steep ridge into a singular basin of great
beauty, with a semicircle of pyramidal hills, rendered more striking by
being covered to their summits with pyramidal cryptomeria, and apparently
blocking all northward progress.  At their feet lies Kanayama in a
romantic situation, and, though I arrived as early as noon, I am staying
for a day or two, for my room at the Transport Office is cheerful and
pleasant, the agent is most polite, a very rough region lies before me,
and Ito has secured a chicken for the first time since leaving Nikkô!

I find it impossible in this damp climate, and in my present poor health,
to travel with any comfort for more than two or three days at a time, and
it is difficult to find pretty, quiet, and wholesome places for a halt of
two nights.  Freedom from fleas and mosquitoes one can never hope for,
though the last vary in number, and I have found a way of “dodging” the
first by laying down a piece of oiled paper six feet square upon the mat,
dusting along its edges a band of Persian insect powder, and setting my
chair in the middle.  I am then insulated, and, though myriads of fleas
jump on the paper, the powder stupefies them, and they are easily killed.
I have been obliged to rest here at any rate, because I have been stung
on my left hand both by a hornet and a gadfly, and it is badly inflamed.
In some places the hornets are in hundreds, and make the horses wild.  I
am also suffering from inflammation produced by the bites of “horse
ants,” which attack one in walking.  The Japanese suffer very much from
these, and a neglected bite often produces an intractable ulcer.  Besides
these, there is a fly, as harmless in appearance as our house-fly, which
bites as badly as a mosquito.  These are some of the drawbacks of
Japanese travelling in summer, but worse than these is the lack of such
food as one can eat when one finishes a hard day’s journey without
appetite, in an exhausting atmosphere.

_July_ 18.—I have had so much pain and fever from stings and bites that
last night I was glad to consult a Japanese doctor from Shinjô.  Ito, who
looks twice as big as usual when he has to do any “grand” interpreting,
and always puts on silk _hakama_ in honour of it, came in with a
middle-aged man dressed entirely in silk, who prostrated himself three
times on the ground, and then sat down on his heels.  Ito in many words
explained my calamities, and Dr. Nosoki then asked to see my “honourable
hand,” which he examined carefully, and then my “honourable foot.”  He
felt my pulse and looked at my eyes with a magnifying glass, and with
much sucking in of his breath—a sign of good breeding and
politeness—informed me that I had much fever, which I knew before; then
that I must rest, which I also knew; then he lighted his pipe and
contemplated me.  Then he felt my pulse and looked at my eyes again, then
felt the swelling from the hornet bite, and said it was much inflamed, of
which I was painfully aware, and then clapped his hands three times.  At
this signal a coolie appeared, carrying a handsome black lacquer chest
with the same crest in gold upon it as Dr. Nosoki wore in white on his
_haori_.  This contained a medicine chest of fine gold lacquer, fitted up
with shelves, drawers, bottles, etc.  He compounded a lotion first, with
which he bandaged my hand and arm rather skilfully, telling me to pour
the lotion over the bandage at intervals till the pain abated.  The whole
was covered with oiled paper, which answers the purpose of oiled silk.
He then compounded a febrifuge, which, as it is purely vegetable, I have
not hesitated to take, and told me to drink it in hot water, and to avoid
_saké_ for a day or two!

I asked him what his fee was, and, after many bows and much spluttering
and sucking in of his breath, he asked if I should think half a _yen_ too
much, and when I presented him with a _yen_, and told him with a good
deal of profound bowing on my part that I was exceedingly glad to obtain
his services, his gratitude quite abashed me by its immensity.

Dr. Nosoki is one of the old-fashioned practitioners, whose medical
knowledge has been handed down from father to son, and who holds out, as
probably most of his patients do, against European methods and drugs.  A
strong prejudice against surgical operations, specially amputations,
exists throughout Japan.  With regard to the latter, people think that,
as they came into the world complete, so they are bound to go out of it,
and in many places a surgeon would hardly be able to buy at any price the
privilege of cutting off an arm.

Except from books these older men know nothing of the mechanism of the
human body, as dissection is unknown to native science.  Dr. Nosoki told
me that he relies mainly on the application of the _moxa_ and on
acupuncture in the treatment of acute diseases, and in chronic maladies
on friction, medicinal baths, certain animal and vegetable medicines, and
certain kinds of food.  The use of leeches and blisters is unknown to
him, and he regards mineral drugs with obvious suspicion.  He has heard
of chloroform, but has never seen it used, and considers that in
maternity it must necessarily be fatal either to mother or child.  He
asked me (and I have twice before been asked the same question) whether
it is not by its use that we endeavour to keep down our redundant
population!  He has great faith in _ginseng_, and in rhinoceros horn, and
in the powdered liver of some animal, which, from the description, I
understood to be a tiger—all specifics of the Chinese school of
medicines.  Dr. Nosoki showed me a small box of “unicorn’s” horn, which
he said was worth more than its weight in gold!  As my arm improved
coincidently with the application of his lotion, I am bound to give him
the credit of the cure.

I invited him to dinner, and two tables were produced covered with
different dishes, of which he ate heartily, showing most singular
dexterity with his chopsticks in removing the flesh of small, bony fish.
It is proper to show appreciation of a repast by noisy gulpings, and much
gurgling and drawing in of the breath.  Etiquette rigidly prescribes
these performances, which are most distressing to a European, and my
guest nearly upset my gravity by them.

The host and the _kôchô_, or chief man of the village, paid me a formal
visit in the evening, and Ito, _en grande tenue_, exerted himself
immensely on the occasion.  They were much surprised at my not smoking,
and supposed me to be under a vow!  They asked me many questions about
our customs and Government, but frequently reverted to tobacco.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XX.


    The Effect of a Chicken—Poor Fare—Slow Travelling—Objects of
    Interest—_Kak’ké_—The Fatal Close—A Great Fire—Security of the
    _Kuras_.

                                                      SHINGOJI, _July_ 21.

VERY early in the morning, after my long talk with the _Kôchô_ of
Kanayama, Ito wakened me by saying, “You’ll be able for a long day’s
journey to-day, as you had a chicken yesterday,” and under this chicken’s
marvellous influence we got away at 6.45, only to verify the proverb,
“The more haste the worse speed.”  Unsolicited by me the _Kôchô_ sent
round the village to forbid the people from assembling, so I got away in
peace with a pack-horse and one runner.  It was a terrible road, with two
severe mountain-passes to cross, and I not only had to walk nearly the
whole way, but to help the man with the _kuruma_ up some of the steepest
places.  Halting at the exquisitely situated village of Nosoki, we got
one horse, and walked by a mountain road along the head-waters of the
Omono to Innai.  I wish I could convey to you any idea of the beauty and
wildness of that mountain route, of the surprises on the way, of views,
of the violent deluges of rain which turned rivulets into torrents, and
of the hardships and difficulties of the day; the scanty fare of
sun-dried rice dough and sour yellow rasps, and the depth of the mire
through which we waded!  We crossed the Shione and Sakatsu passes, and in
twelve hours accomplished fifteen miles!  Everywhere we were told that we
should never get through the country by the way we are going.

The women still wear trousers, but with a long garment tucked into them
instead of a short one, and the men wear a cotton combination of
breastplate and apron, either without anything else, or over their
_kimonos_.  The descent to Innai under an avenue of cryptomeria, and the
village itself, shut in with the rushing Omono, are very beautiful.

The _yadoya_ at Innai was a remarkably cheerful one, but my room was
entirely _fusuma_ and _shôji_, and people were peeping in the whole time.
It is not only a foreigner and his strange ways which attract attention
in these remote districts, but, in my case, my india-rubber bath,
air-pillow, and, above all, my white mosquito net.  Their nets are all of
a heavy green canvas, and they admire mine so much, that I can give no
more acceptable present on leaving than a piece of it to twist in with
the hair.  There were six engineers in the next room who are surveying
the passes which I had crossed, in order to see if they could be
tunnelled, in which case _kurumas_ might go all the way from Tôkiyô to
Kubota on the Sea of Japan, and, with a small additional outlay, carts
also.

In the two villages of Upper and Lower Innai there has been an outbreak
of a malady much dreaded by the Japanese, called _kak’ké_, which, in the
last seven months, has carried off 100 persons out of a population of
about 1500, and the local doctors have been aided by two sent from the
Medical School at Kubota.  I don’t know a European name for it; the
Japanese name signifies an affection of the legs.  Its first symptoms are
a loss of strength in the legs, “looseness in the knees,” cramps in the
calves, swelling, and numbness.  This, Dr. Anderson, who has studied
_kak’ké_ in more than 1100 cases in Tôkiyô, calls the sub-acute form.
The chronic is a slow, numbing, and wasting malady, which, if unchecked,
results in death from paralysis and exhaustion in from six months to
three years.  The third, or acute form, Dr. Anderson describes thus.
After remarking that the grave symptoms set in quite unexpectedly, and go
on rapidly increasing, he says:—“The patient now can lie down no longer;
he sits up in bed and tosses restlessly from one position to another,
and, with wrinkled brow, staring and anxious eyes, dusky skin, blue,
parted lips, dilated nostrils, throbbing neck, and labouring chest,
presents a picture of the most terrible distress that the worst of
diseases can inflict.  There is no intermission even for a moment, and
the physician, here almost powerless, can do little more than note the
failing pulse and falling temperature, and wait for the moment when the
brain, paralysed by the carbonised blood, shall become insensible, and
allow the dying man to pass his last moments in merciful
unconsciousness.” {145}

The next morning, after riding nine miles through a quagmire, under grand
avenues of cryptomeria, and noticing with regret that the telegraph poles
ceased, we reached Yusowa, a town of 7000 people, in which, had it not
been for provoking delays, I should have slept instead of at Innai, and
found that a fire a few hours previously had destroyed seventy houses,
including the _yadoya_ at which I should have lodged.  We had to wait two
hours for horses, as all were engaged in moving property and people.  The
ground where the houses had stood was absolutely bare of everything but
fine black ash, among which the _kuras_ stood blackened, and, in some
instances, slightly cracked, but in all unharmed.  Already skeletons of
new houses were rising.  No life had been lost except that of a tipsy
man, but I should probably have lost everything but my money.



LETTER XX.—(_Continued_.)


Lunch in Public—A Grotesque Accident—Police Inquiries—Man or Woman?—A
Melancholy Stare—A Vicious Horse—An Ill-favoured Town—A Disappointment—A
_Torii_.

YUSOWA is a specially objectionable-looking place.  I took my lunch—a
wretched meal of a tasteless white curd made from beans, with some
condensed milk added to it—in a yard, and the people crowded in hundreds
to the gate, and those behind, being unable to see me, got ladders and
climbed on the adjacent roofs, where they remained till one of the roofs
gave way with a loud crash, and precipitated about fifty men, women, and
children into the room below, which fortunately was vacant.  Nobody
screamed—a noteworthy fact—and the casualties were only a few bruises.
Four policemen then appeared and demanded my passport, as if I were
responsible for the accident, and failing, like all others, to read a
particular word upon it, they asked me what I was travelling for, and on
being told “to learn about the country,” they asked if I was making a
map!  Having satisfied their curiosity they disappeared, and the crowd
surged up again in fuller force.  The Transport Agent begged them to go
away, but they said they might never see such a sight again!  One old
peasant said he would go away if he were told whether “the sight” were a
man or a woman, and, on the agent asking if that were any business of
his, he said he should like to tell at home what he had seen, which awoke
my sympathy at once, and I told Ito to tell them that a Japanese horse
galloping night and day without ceasing would take 5½ weeks to reach my
county—a statement which he is using lavishly as I go along.  These are
such queer crowds, so silent and gaping, and they remain motionless for
hours, the wide-awake babies on the mothers’ backs and in the fathers’
arms never crying.  I should be glad to hear a hearty aggregate laugh,
even if I were its object.  The great melancholy stare is depressing.

The road for ten miles was thronged with country people going in to see
the fire.  It was a good road and very pleasant country, with numerous
road-side shrines and figures of the goddess of mercy.  I had a wicked
horse, thoroughly vicious.  His head was doubly chained to the
saddle-girth, but he never met man, woman, or child, without laying back
his ears and running at them to bite them.  I was so tired and in so much
spinal pain that I got off and walked several times, and it was most
difficult to get on again, for as soon as I put my hand on the saddle he
swung his hind legs round to kick me, and it required some agility to
avoid being hurt.  Nor was this all.  The evil beast made dashes with his
tethered head at flies, threatening to twist or demolish my foot at each,
flung his hind legs upwards, attempted to dislodge flies on his nose with
his hind hoof, executed capers which involved a total disappearance of
everything in front of the saddle, squealed, stumbled, kicked his old
shoes off, and resented the feeble attempts which the _mago_ made to
replace them, and finally walked in to Yokote and down its long and
dismal street mainly on his hind legs, shaking the rope out of his timid
leader’s hand, and shaking me into a sort of aching jelly!  I used to
think that horses were made vicious either by being teased or by violence
in breaking; but this does not account for the malignity of the Japanese
horses, for the people are so much afraid of them that they treat them
with great respect: they are not beaten or kicked, are spoken to in
soothing tones, and, on the whole, live better than their masters.
Perhaps this is the secret of their villainy—“Jeshurun waxed fat and
kicked.”

Yokote, a town of 10,000 people, in which the best _yadoyas_ are all
non-respectable, is an ill-favoured, ill-smelling, forlorn, dirty, damp,
miserable place, with a large trade in cottons.  As I rode through on my
temporary biped the people rushed out from the baths to see me, men and
women alike without a particle of clothing.  The house-master was very
polite, but I had a dark and dirty room, up a bamboo ladder, and it
swarmed with fleas and mosquitoes to an exasperating extent.  On the way
I heard that a bullock was killed every Thursday in Yokote, and had
decided on having a broiled steak for supper and taking another with me,
but when I arrived it was all sold, there were no eggs, and I made a
miserable meal of rice and bean curd, feeling somewhat starved, as the
condensed milk I bought at Yamagata had to be thrown away.  I was
somewhat wretched from fatigue and inflamed ant bites, but in the early
morning, hot and misty as all the mornings have been, I went to see a
Shintô temple, or _miya_, and, though I went alone, escaped a throng.

The entrance into the temple court was, as usual, by a _torii_, which
consisted of two large posts 20 feet high, surmounted with cross beams,
the upper one of which projects beyond the posts and frequently curves
upwards at both ends.  The whole, as is often the case, was painted a
dull red.  This _torii_, or “birds’ rest,” is said to be so called
because the fowls, which were formerly offered but not sacrificed, were
accustomed to perch upon it.  A straw rope, with straw tassels and strips
of paper hanging from it, the special emblem of Shintô, hung across the
gateway.  In the paved court there were several handsome granite lanterns
on fine granite pedestals, such as are the nearly universal
accompaniments of both Shintô and Buddhist temples.

After leaving Yakote we passed through very pretty country with mountain
views and occasional glimpses of the snowy dome of Chokaizan, crossed the
Omono (which has burst its banks and destroyed its bridges) by two
troublesome ferries, and arrived at Rokugo, a town of 5000 people, with
fine temples, exceptionally mean houses, and the most aggressive crowd by
which I have yet been asphyxiated.

There, through the good offices of the police, I was enabled to attend a
Buddhist funeral of a merchant of some wealth.  It interested me very
much from its solemnity and decorum, and Ito’s explanations of what went
before were remarkably distinctly given.  I went in a Japanese woman’s
dress, borrowed at the tea-house, with a blue hood over my head, and thus
escaped all notice, but I found the restraint of the scanty “tied
forward” _kimono_ very tiresome.  Ito gave me many injunctions as to what
I was to do and avoid, which I carried out faithfully, being nervously
anxious to avoid jarring on the sensibilities of those who had kindly
permitted a foreigner to be present.

                             [Picture: Torii]

The illness was a short one, and there had been no time either for
prayers or pilgrimages on the sick man’s behalf.  When death occurs the
body is laid with its head to the north (a position that the living
Japanese scrupulously avoid), near a folding screen, between which and it
a new _zen_ is placed, on which are a saucer of oil with a lighted rush,
cakes of uncooked rice dough, and a saucer of incense sticks.  The
priests directly after death choose the _kaimiyô_, or posthumous name,
write it on a tablet of white wood, and seat themselves by the corpse;
his _zen_, bowls, cups, etc., are filled with vegetable food and are
placed by his side, the chopsticks being put on the wrong, _i.e._ the
left, side of the _zen_.  At the end of forty-eight hours the corpse is
arranged for the coffin by being washed with warm water, and the priest,
while saying certain prayers, shaves the head.  In all cases, rich or
poor, the dress is of the usual make, but of pure white linen or cotton.

At Omagori, a town near Rokugo, large earthenware jars are manufactured,
which are much used for interment by the wealthy; but in this case there
were two square boxes, the outer one being of finely planed wood of the
_Retinospora obtusa_.  The poor use what is called the “quick-tub,” a
covered tub of pine hooped with bamboo.  Women are dressed for burial in
the silk robe worn on the marriage day, _tabi_ are placed beside them or
on their feet, and their hair usually flows loosely behind them.  The
wealthiest people fill the coffin with vermilion and the poorest use
chaff; but in this case I heard that only the mouth, nose, and ears were
filled with vermilion, and that the coffin was filled up with coarse
incense.  The body is placed within the tub or box in the usual squatting
position.  It is impossible to understand how a human body, many hours
after death, can be pressed into the limited space afforded by even the
outermost of the boxes.  It has been said that the rigidity of a corpse
is overcome by the use of a powder called _dosia_, which is sold by the
priests; but this idea has been exploded, and the process remains
incomprehensible.

Bannerets of small size and ornamental staves were outside the house
door.  Two men in blue dresses, with pale blue over-garments resembling
wings received each person, two more presented a lacquered bowl of water
and a white silk _crêpe_ towel, and then we passed into a large room,
round which were arranged a number of very handsome folding screens, on
which lotuses, storks, and peonies were realistically painted on a dead
gold ground.  Near the end of the room the coffin, under a canopy of
white silk, upon which there was a very beautiful arrangement of
artificial white lotuses, rested upon trestles, the face of the corpse
being turned towards the north.  Six priests, very magnificently dressed,
sat on each side of the coffin, and two more knelt in front of a small
temporary altar.

The widow, an extremely pretty woman, squatted near the deceased, below
the father and mother; and after her came the children, relatives, and
friends, who sat in rows, dressed in winged garments of blue and white.
The widow was painted white; her lips were reddened with vermilion; her
hair was elaborately dressed and ornamented with carved shell pins; she
wore a beautiful dress of sky-blue silk, with a _haori_ of fine white
_crêpe_ and a scarlet _crêpe_ girdle embroidered in gold, and looked like
a bride on her marriage day rather than a widow.  Indeed, owing to the
beauty of the dresses and the amount of blue and white silk, the room had
a festal rather than a funereal look.  When all the guests had arrived,
tea and sweetmeats were passed round; incense was burned profusely;
litanies were mumbled, and the bustle of moving to the grave began,
during which I secured a place near the gate of the temple grounds.

The procession did not contain the father or mother of the deceased, but
I understood that the mourners who composed it were all relatives.  The
oblong tablet with the “dead name” of the deceased was carried first by a
priest, then the lotus blossom by another priest, then ten priests
followed, two and two, chanting litanies from books, then came the coffin
on a platform borne by four men and covered with white drapery, then the
widow, and then the other relatives.  The coffin was carried into the
temple and laid upon trestles, while incense was burned and prayers were
said, and was then carried to a shallow grave lined with cement, and
prayers were said by the priests until the earth was raised to the proper
level, when all dispersed, and the widow, in her gay attire, walked home
unattended.  There were no hired mourners or any signs of grief, but
nothing could be more solemn, reverent, and decorous than the whole
service.  [I have since seen many funerals, chiefly of the poor, and,
though shorn of much of the ceremony, and with only one officiating
priest, the decorum was always most remarkable.]  The fees to the priests
are from 2 up to 40 or 50 _yen_.  The graveyard, which surrounds the
temple, was extremely beautiful, and the cryptomeria specially fine.  It
was very full of stone gravestones, and, like all Japanese cemeteries,
exquisitely kept.  As soon as the grave was filled in, a life-size pink
lotus plant was placed upon it, and a lacquer tray, on which were lacquer
bowls containing tea or _saké_, beans, and sweetmeats.

The temple at Rokugo was very beautiful, and, except that its ornaments
were superior in solidity and good taste, differed little from a Romish
church.  The low altar, on which were lilies and lighted candles, was
draped in blue and silver, and on the high altar, draped in crimson and
cloth of gold, there was nothing but a closed shrine, an incense-burner,
and a vase of lotuses.



LETTER XX.—(_Concluded_.)


A Casual Invitation—A Ludicrous Incident—Politeness of a Policeman—A
Comfortless Sunday—An Outrageous Irruption—A Privileged Stare.

AT a wayside tea-house, soon after leaving Rokugo in _kurumas_, I met the
same courteous and agreeable young doctor who was stationed at Innai
during the prevalence of _kak’ke_, and he invited me to visit the
hospital at Kubota, of which he is junior physician, and told Ito of a
restaurant at which “foreign food” can be obtained—a pleasant prospect,
of which he is always reminding me.

Travelling along a very narrow road, I as usual first, we met a man
leading a prisoner by a rope, followed by a policeman.  As soon as my
runner saw the latter he fell down on his face so suddenly in the shafts
as nearly to throw me out, at the same time trying to wriggle into a
garment which he had carried on the crossbar, while the young men who
were drawing the two _kurumas_ behind, crouching behind my vehicle, tried
to scuttle into their clothes.  I never saw such a picture of abjectness
as my man presented.  He trembled from head to foot, and illustrated that
queer phrase often heard in Scotch Presbyterian prayers, “Lay our hands
on our mouths and our mouths in the dust.”  He literally grovelled in the
dust, and with every sentence that the policeman spoke raised his head a
little, to bow it yet more deeply than before.  It was all because he had
no clothes on.  I interceded for him as the day was very hot, and the
policeman said he would not arrest him, as he should otherwise have done,
because of the inconvenience that it would cause to a foreigner.  He was
quite an elderly man, and never recovered his spirits, but, as soon as a
turn of the road took us out of the policeman’s sight, the two younger
men threw their clothes into the air and gambolled in the shafts,
shrieking with laughter!

On reaching Shingoji, being too tired to go farther, I was dismayed to
find nothing but a low, dark, foul-smelling room, enclosed only by dirty
_shôji_, in which to spend Sunday.  One side looked into a little
mildewed court, with a slimy growth of _Protococcus viridis_, and into
which the people of another house constantly came to stare.  The other
side opened on the earthen passage into the street, where travellers wash
their feet, the third into the kitchen, and the fourth into the front
room.  Even before dark it was alive with mosquitoes, and the fleas
hopped on the mats like sand-flies.  There were no eggs, nothing but rice
and cucumbers.  At five on Sunday morning I saw three faces pressed
against the outer lattice, and before evening the _shôji_ were riddled
with finger-holes, at each of which a dark eye appeared.  There was a
still, fine rain all day, with the mercury at 82°, and the heat,
darkness, and smells were difficult to endure.  In the afternoon a small
procession passed the house, consisting of a decorated palanquin, carried
and followed by priests, with capes and stoles over crimson chasubles and
white cassocks.  This ark, they said, contained papers inscribed with the
names of people and the evils they feared, and the priests were carrying
the papers to throw them into the river.

I went to bed early as a refuge from mosquitoes, with the _andon_, as
usual, dimly lighting the room, and shut my eyes.  About nine I heard a
good deal of whispering and shuffling, which continued for some time,
and, on looking up, saw opposite to me about 40 men, women, and children
(Ito says 100), all staring at me, with the light upon their faces.  They
had silently removed three of the _shôji_ next the passage!  I called Ito
loudly, and clapped my hands, but they did not stir till he came, and
then they fled like a flock of sheep.  I have patiently, and even
smilingly, borne all out-of-doors crowding and curiosity, but this kind
of intrusion is unbearable; and I sent Ito to the police station, much
against his will, to beg the police to keep the people out of the house,
as the house-master was unable to do so.  This morning, as I was
finishing dressing, a policeman appeared in my room, ostensibly to
apologise for the behaviour of the people, but in reality to have a
privileged stare at me, and, above all, at my stretcher and mosquito net,
from which he hardly took his eyes.  Ito says he could make a _yen_ a day
by showing them!  The policeman said that the people had never seen a
foreigner.

                                                                  I. L. B.

                  [Picture: Daikoku, the God of Wealth]



LETTER XXI.


The Necessity of Firmness—Perplexing Misrepresentations—Gliding with the
Stream—Suburban Residences—The Kubota Hospital—A Formal Reception—The
Normal School.

                                                        KUBOTA, _July_ 23.

I ARRIVED here on Monday afternoon by the river Omono, what would have
been two long days’ journey by land having been easily accomplished in
nine hours by water.  This was an instance of forming a plan wisely, and
adhering to it resolutely!  Firmness in travelling is nowhere more
necessary than in Japan.  I decided some time ago, from Mr. Brunton’s
map, that the Omono must be navigable from Shingoji, and a week ago told
Ito to inquire about it, but at each place difficulties have been
started.  There was too much water, there was too little; there were bad
rapids, there were shallows; it was too late in the year; all the boats
which had started lately were lying aground; but at one of the ferries I
saw in the distance a merchandise boat going down, and told Ito I should
go that way and no other.  On arriving at Shingoji they said it was not
on the Omono at all, but on a stream with some very bad rapids, in which
boats are broken to pieces.  Lastly, they said there was no boat, but on
my saying that I would send ten miles for one, a small, flat-bottomed
scow was produced by the Transport Agent, into which Ito, the luggage,
and myself accurately fitted.  Ito sententiously observed, “Not one thing
has been told us on our journey which has turned out true!”  This is not
an exaggeration.  The usual crowd did not assemble round the door, but
preceded me to the river, where it covered the banks and clustered in the
trees.  Four policemen escorted me down.  The voyage of forty-two miles
was delightful.  The rapids were a mere ripple, the current was strong,
one boatman almost slept upon his paddle, the other only woke to bale the
boat when it was half-full of water, the shores were silent and pretty,
and almost without population till we reached the large town of Araya,
which straggles along a high bank for a considerable distance, and after
nine peaceful hours we turned off from the main stream of the Omono just
at the outskirts of Kubota, and poled up a narrow, green river, fringed
by dilapidated backs of houses, boat-building yards, and rafts of timber
on one side, and dwelling-houses, gardens, and damp greenery on the
other.  This stream is crossed by very numerous bridges.

I got a cheerful upstairs room at a most friendly _yadoya_, and my three
days here have been fully occupied and very pleasant. “Foreign food”—a
good beef-steak, an excellent curry, cucumbers, and foreign salt and
mustard, were at once obtained, and I felt my “eyes lightened” after
partaking of them.

Kubota is a very attractive and purely Japanese town of 36,000 people,
the capital of Akita _ken_.  A fine mountain, called Taiheisan, rises
above its fertile valley, and the Omono falls into the Sea of Japan close
to it.  It has a number of _kurumas_, but, owing to heavy sand and the
badness of the roads, they can only go three miles in any direction.  It
is a town of activity and brisk trade, and manufactures a silk fabric in
stripes of blue and black, and yellow and black, much used for making
_hakama_ and _kimonos_, a species of white silk _crêpe_ with a raised
woof, which brings a high price in Tôkiyô shops, _fusuma_, and clogs.
Though it is a castle town, it is free from the usual “deadly-lively”
look, and has an air of prosperity and comfort.  Though it has few
streets of shops, it covers a great extent of ground with streets and
lanes of pretty, isolated dwelling-houses, surrounded by trees, gardens,
and well-trimmed hedges, each garden entered by a substantial gateway.
The existence of something like a middle class with home privacy and home
life is suggested by these miles of comfortable “suburban residences.”
Foreign influence is hardly at all felt, there is not a single foreigner
in Government or any other employment, and even the hospital was
organised from the beginning by Japanese doctors.

This fact made me greatly desire to see it, but, on going there at the
proper hour for visitors, I was met by the Director with courteous but
vexatious denial.  No foreigner could see it, he said, without sending
his passport to the Governor and getting a written order, so I complied
with these preliminaries, and 8 a.m. of the next day was fixed for my
visit Ito, who is lazy about interpreting for the lower orders, but
exerts himself to the utmost on such an occasion as this, went with me,
handsomely clothed in silk, as befitted an “Interpreter,” and surpassed
all his former efforts.

The Director and the staff of six physicians, all handsomely dressed in
silk, met me at the top of the stairs, and conducted me to the management
room, where six clerks were writing.  Here there was a table, solemnly
covered with a white cloth, and four chairs, on which the Director, the
Chief Physician, Ito, and I sat, and pipes, tea, and sweetmeats, were
produced.  After this, accompanied by fifty medical students, whose
intelligent looks promise well for their success, we went round the
hospital, which is a large two-storied building in semi-European style,
but with deep verandahs all round.  The upper floor is used for
class-rooms, and the lower accommodates 100 patients, besides a number of
resident students.  Ten is the largest number treated in any one room,
and severe cases are treated in separate rooms.  Gangrene has prevailed,
and the Chief Physician, who is at this time remodelling the hospital,
has closed some of the wards in consequence.  There is a Lock Hospital
under the same roof.  About fifty important operations are annually
performed under chloroform, but the people of Akita _ken_ are very
conservative, and object to part with their limbs and to foreign drugs.
This conservatism diminishes the number of patients.

The odour of carbolic acid pervaded the whole hospital, and there were
spray producers enough to satisfy Mr. Lister!  At the request of Dr. K. I
saw the dressing of some very severe wounds carefully performed with
carbolised gauze, under spray of carbolic acid, the fingers of the
surgeon and the instruments used being all carefully bathed in the
disinfectant.  Dr. K. said it was difficult to teach the students the
extreme carefulness with regard to minor details which is required in the
antiseptic treatment, which he regards as one of the greatest discoveries
of this century.  I was very much impressed with the fortitude shown by
the surgical patients, who went through very severe pain without a wince
or a moan.  Eye cases are unfortunately very numerous.  Dr. K. attributes
their extreme prevalence to overcrowding, defective ventilation, poor
living, and bad light.

After our round we returned to the management room to find a meal laid
out in English style—coffee in cups with handles and saucers, and plates
with spoons.  After this pipes were again produced, and the Director and
medical staff escorted me to the entrance, where we all bowed profoundly.
I was delighted to see that Dr. Kayabashi, a man under thirty, and fresh
from Tôkiyô, and all the staff and students were in the national dress,
with the _hakama_ of rich silk.  It is a beautiful dress, and assists
dignity as much as the ill-fitting European costume detracts from it.
This was a very interesting visit, in spite of the difficulty of
communication through an interpreter.

The public buildings, with their fine gardens, and the broad road near
which they stand, with its stone-faced embankments, are very striking in
such a far-off _ken_.  Among the finest of the buildings is the Normal
School, where I shortly afterwards presented myself, but I was not
admitted till I had shown my passport and explained my objects in
travelling.  These preliminaries being settled, Mr. Tomatsu Aoki, the
Chief Director, and Mr. Shude Kane Nigishi, the principal teacher, both
looking more like monkeys than men in their European clothes, lionised
me.

The first was most trying, for he persisted in attempting to speak
English, of which he knows about as much as I know of Japanese, but the
last, after some grotesque attempts, accepted Ito’s services.  The school
is a commodious Europeanised building, three stories high, and from its
upper balcony the view of the city, with its gray roofs and abundant
greenery, and surrounding mountains and valleys, is very fine.  The
equipments of the different class-rooms surprised me, especially the
laboratory of the chemical class-room, and the truly magnificent
illustrative apparatus in the natural science class-room.  Ganot’s
“Physics” is the text book of that department.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXII.


A Silk Factory—Employment for Women—A Police Escort—The Japanese Police
Force.

                                                        KUBOTA, _July_ 23.

MY next visit was to a factory of handloom silk-weavers, where 180 hands,
half of them women, are employed.  These new industrial openings for
respectable employment for women and girls are very important, and tend
in the direction of a much-needed social reform.  The striped silk
fabrics produced are entirely for home consumption.

Afterwards I went into the principal street, and, after a long search
through the shops, bought some condensed milk with the “Eagle” brand and
the label all right, but, on opening it, found it to contain small
pellets of a brownish, dried curd, with an unpleasant taste!  As I was
sitting in the shop, half stifled by the crowd, the people suddenly fell
back to a respectful distance, leaving me breathing space, and a message
came from the chief of police to say that he was very sorry for the
crowding, and had ordered two policemen to attend upon me for the
remainder of my visit.  The black and yellow uniforms were most truly
welcome, and since then I have escaped all annoyance.  On my return I
found the card of the chief of police, who had left a message with the
house-master apologising for the crowd by saying that foreigners very
rarely visited Kubota, and he thought that the people had never seen a
foreign woman.

I went afterwards to the central police station to inquire about an
inland route to Aomori, and received much courtesy, but no information.
The police everywhere are very gentle to the people,—a few quiet words or
a wave of the hand are sufficient, when they do not resist them.  They
belong to the _samurai_ class, and, doubtless, their naturally superior
position weighs with the _heimin_.  Their faces and a certain _hauteur_
of manner show the indelible class distinction.  The entire police force
of Japan numbers 23,300 educated men in the prime of life, and if 30 per
cent of them do wear spectacles, it does not detract from their
usefulness.  5600 of them are stationed at Yedo, as from thence they can
be easily sent wherever they are wanted, 1004 at Kiyôto, and 815 at
Osaka, and the remaining 10,000 are spread over the country.  The police
force costs something over £400,000 annually, and certainly is very
efficient in preserving good order.  The pay of ordinary constables
ranges from 6 to 10 _yen_ a month.  An enormous quantity of superfluous
writing is done by all officialdom in Japan, and one usually sees
policemen writing.  What comes of it I don’t know.  They are mostly
intelligent and gentlemanly-looking young men, and foreigners in the
interior are really much indebted to them.  If I am at any time in
difficulties I apply to them, and, though they are disposed to be
somewhat _de haut en bas_, they are sure to help one, except about
routes, of which they always profess ignorance.

On the whole, I like Kubota better than any other Japanese town, perhaps
because it is so completely Japanese and has no air of having seen better
days.  I no longer care to meet Europeans—indeed I should go far out of
my way to avoid them.  I have become quite used to Japanese life, and
think that I learn more about it in travelling in this solitary way than
I should otherwise.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXIII.


“A Plague of Immoderate Rain”—A Confidential Servant—Ito’s Diary—Ito’s
Excellences—Ito’s Faults—Prophecy of the Future of Japan—Curious
Queries—Superfine English—Economical Travelling—The Japanese Pack-horse
again.

                                                        KUBOTA, _July_ 24.

I AM here still, not altogether because the town is fascinating, but
because the rain is so ceaseless as to be truly “a plague of immoderate
rain and waters.”  Travellers keep coming in with stories of the
impassability of the roads and the carrying away of bridges.  Ito amuses
me very much by his remarks.  He thinks that my visit to the school and
hospital must have raised Japan in my estimation, and he is talking
rather big.  He asked me if I noticed that all the students kept their
mouths shut like educated men and residents of Tôkiyô, and that all
country people keep theirs open.  I have said little about him for some
time, but I daily feel more dependent on him, not only for all
information, but actually for getting on.  At night he has my watch,
passport, and half my money, and I often wonder what would become of me
if he absconded before morning.  He is not a good boy.  He has no moral
sense, according to our notions; he dislikes foreigners; his manner is
often very disagreeable; and yet I doubt whether I could have obtained a
more valuable servant and interpreter.  When we left Tôkiyô he spoke
fairly good English, but by practice and industrious study he now speaks
better than any official interpreter that I have seen, and his vocabulary
is daily increasing.  He never uses a word inaccurately when he has once
got hold of its meaning, and his memory never fails.  He keeps a diary
both in English and Japanese, and it shows much painstaking observation.
He reads it to me sometimes, and it is interesting to hear what a young
man who has travelled as much as he has regards as novel in this northern
region.  He has made a hotel book and a transport book, in which all the
bills and receipts are written, and he daily transliterates the names of
all places into English letters, and puts down the distances and the sums
paid for transport and hotels on each bill.

He inquires the number of houses in each place from the police or
Transport Agent, and the special trade of each town, and notes them down
for me.  He takes great pains to be accurate, and occasionally remarks
about some piece of information that he is not quite certain about, “If
it’s not true, it’s not worth having.”  He is never late, never dawdles,
never goes out in the evening except on errands for me, never touches
_saké_, is never disobedient, never requires to be told the same thing
twice, is always within hearing, has a good deal of tact as to what he
repeats, and all with an undisguised view to his own interest.  He sends
most of his wages to his mother, who is a widow—“It’s the custom of the
country”—and seems to spend the remainder on sweetmeats, tobacco, and the
luxury of frequent shampooing.

That he would tell a lie if it served his purpose, and would “squeeze” up
to the limits of extortion, if he could do it unobserved, I have not the
slightest doubt.  He seems to have but little heart, or any idea of any
but vicious pleasures.  He has no religion of any kind; he has been too
much with foreigners for that.  His frankness is something startling.  He
has no idea of reticence on any subject; but probably I learn more about
things as they really are from this very defect.  In virtue in man or
woman, except in that of his former master, he has little, if any belief.
He thinks that Japan is right in availing herself of the discoveries made
by foreigners, that they have as much to learn from her, and that she
will outstrip them in the race, because she takes all that is worth
having, and rejects the incubus of Christianity.  Patriotism is, I think,
his strongest feeling, and I never met with such a boastful display of
it, except in a Scotchman or an American.  He despises the uneducated, as
he can read and write both the syllabaries.  For foreign rank or position
he has not an atom of reverence or value, but a great deal of both for
Japanese officialdom.  He despises the intellects of women, but flirts in
a town-bred fashion with the simple tea-house girls.

He is anxious to speak the very best English, and to say that a word is
slangy or common interdicts its use.  Sometimes, when the weather is fine
and things go smoothly, he is in an excellent and communicative humour,
and talks a good deal as we travel.  A few days ago I remarked, “What a
beautiful day this is!” and soon after, note-book in hand, he said, “You
say ‘a beautiful day.’  Is that better English than ‘a devilish fine
day,’ which most foreigners say?”  I replied that it was “common,” and
“beautiful” has been brought out frequently since.  Again, “When you ask
a question you never say, ‘What the d—l is it?’ as other foreigners do.
Is it proper for men to say it and not for women?”  I told him it was
proper for neither, it was a very “common” word, and I saw that he erased
it from his note-book.  At first he always used _fellows_ for men, as,
“Will you have one or two _fellows_ for your _kuruma_?” “_fellows_ and
women.”  At last he called the Chief Physician of the hospital here a
_fellow_, on which I told him that it was slightly slangy, and at least
“colloquial,” and for two days he has scrupulously spoken of man and men.
To-day he brought a boy with very sore eyes to see me, on which I
exclaimed, “Poor little fellow!” and this evening he said, “You called
that boy a fellow, I thought it was a bad word!”  The habits of many of
the Yokohama foreigners have helped to obliterate any distinctions
between right and wrong, if he ever made any.  If he wishes to tell me
that he has seen a very tipsy man, he always says he has seen “a fellow
as drunk as an Englishman.”  At Nikkô I asked him how many legal wives a
man could have in Japan, and he replied, “Only one lawful one, but as
many others (_mekaké_) as he can support, just as Englishmen have.”  He
never forgets a correction.  Till I told him it was slangy he always
spoke of inebriated people as “tight,” and when I gave him the words
“tipsy,” “drunk,” “intoxicated,” he asked me which one would use in
writing good English, and since then he has always spoken of people as
“intoxicated.”

He naturally likes large towns, and tries to deter me from taking the
“unbeaten tracks,” which I prefer—but when he finds me immovable, always
concludes his arguments with the same formula, “Well, of course you can
do as you like; it’s all the same to me.”  I do not think he cheats me to
any extent.  Board, lodging, and travelling expenses for us both are
about 6s. 6d. a day, and about 2s. 6d. when we are stationary, and this
includes all gratuities and extras.  True, the board and lodging consist
of tea, rice, and eggs, a copper basin of water, an _andon_ and an empty
room, for, though there are plenty of chickens in all the villages, the
people won’t be bribed to sell them for killing, though they would gladly
part with them if they were to be kept to lay eggs.  Ito amuses me nearly
every night with stories of his unsuccessful attempts to provide me with
animal food.

The travelling is the nearest approach to “a ride on a rail” that I have
ever made.  I have now ridden, or rather sat, upon seventy-six horses,
all horrible.  They all stumble.  The loins of some are higher than their
shoulders, so that one slips forwards, and the back-bones of all are
ridgy.  Their hind feet grow into points which turn up, and their hind
legs all turn outwards, like those of a cat, from carrying heavy burdens
at an early age.  The same thing gives them a roll in their gait, which
is increased by their awkward shoes.  In summer they feed chiefly on
leaves, supplemented with mashes of bruised beans, and instead of straw
they sleep on beds of leaves.  In their stalls their heads are tied
“where their tails should be,” and their fodder is placed not in a
manger, but in a swinging bucket.  Those used in this part of Japan are
worth from 15 to 30 _yen_.  I have not seen any overloading or
ill-treatment; they are neither kicked, nor beaten, nor threatened in
rough tones, and when they die they are decently buried, and have stones
placed over their graves.  It might be well if the end of a worn-out
horse were somewhat accelerated, but this is mainly a Buddhist region,
and the aversion to taking animal life is very strong.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXIV.


The Symbolism of Seaweed—Afternoon Visitors—An Infant Prodigy—A Feat in
Caligraphy—Child Worship—A Borrowed Dress—A _Trousseau_—House
Furniture—The Marriage Ceremony.

                                                        KUBOTA, _July_ 25.

THE weather at last gives a hope of improvement, and I think I shall
leave to-morrow.  I had written this sentence when Ito came in to say
that the man in the next house would like to see my stretcher and
mosquito net, and had sent me a bag of cakes with the usual bit of
seaweed attached, to show that it was a present.  The Japanese believe
themselves to be descended from a race of fishermen; they are proud of
it, and Yebis, the god of fishermen, is one of the most popular of the
household divinities.  The piece of seaweed sent with a present to any
ordinary person, and the piece of dried fish-skin which accompanies a
present to the Mikado, record the origin of the race, and at the same
time typify the dignity of simple industry.

Of course I consented to receive the visitor, and with the mercury at
84°, five men, two boys, and five women entered my small, low room, and
after bowing to the earth three times, sat down on the floor.  They had
evidently come to spend the afternoon.  Trays of tea and sweetmeats were
handed round, and a _labako-bon_ was brought in, and they all smoked, as
I had told Ito that all usual courtesies were to be punctiliously
performed.  They expressed their gratification at seeing so “honourable”
a traveller.  I expressed mine at seeing so much of their “honourable”
country.  Then we all bowed profoundly.  Then I laid Brunton’s map on the
floor and showed them my route, showed them the Asiatic Society’s
Transactions, and how we read from left to right, instead of from top to
bottom, showed them my knitting, which amazed them, and my Berlin work,
and then had nothing left.  Then they began to entertain me, and I found
that the real object of their visit was to exhibit an “infant prodigy,” a
boy of four, with a head shaven all but a tuft on the top, a face of
preternatural thoughtfulness and gravity, and the self-possessed and
dignified demeanour of an elderly man.  He was dressed in scarlet silk
_hakama_, and a dark, striped, blue silk _kimono_, and fanned himself
gracefully, looking at everything as intelligently and courteously as the
others.  To talk child’s talk to him, or show him toys, or try to amuse
him, would have been an insult.  The monster has taught himself to read
and write, and has composed poetry.  His father says that he never plays,
and understands everything just like a grown person.  The intention was
that I should ask him to write, and I did so.

It was a solemn performance.  A red blanket was laid in the middle of the
floor, with a lacquer writing-box upon it.  The creature rubbed the ink
with water on the inkstone, unrolled four rolls of paper, five feet long,
and inscribed them with Chinese characters, nine inches long, of the most
complicated kind, with firm and graceful curves of his brush, and with
the ease and certainty of Giotto in turning his O.  He sealed them with
his seal in vermilion, bowed three times, and the performance was ended.
People get him to write _kakemonos_ and signboards for them, and he had
earned 10 _yen_, or about £2, that day.  His father is going to travel to
Kiyôto with him, to see if any one under fourteen can write as well.  I
never saw such an exaggerated instance of child worship.  Father, mother,
friends, and servants, treated him as if he were a prince.

The house-master, who is a most polite man, procured me an invitation to
the marriage of his niece, and I have just returned from it.  He has
three “wives” himself.  One keeps a _yadoya_ in Kiyôto, another in
Morioka, and the third and youngest is with him here.  From her limitless
stores of apparel she chose what she considered a suitable dress for
me—an under-dress of sage green silk _crêpe_, a _kimono_ of soft, green,
striped silk of a darker shade, with a fold of white _crêpe_, spangled
with gold at the neck, and a girdle of sage green corded silk, with the
family badge here and there upon it in gold.  I went with the
house-master, Ito, to his disgust, not being invited, and his absence was
like the loss of one of my senses, as I could not get any explanations
till afterwards.

The ceremony did not correspond with the rules laid down for marriages in
the books of etiquette that I have seen, but this is accounted for by the
fact that they were for persons of the _samurai_ class, while this bride
and bridegroom, though the children of well-to-do merchants, belong to
the _heimin_.

In this case the _trousseau_ and furniture were conveyed to the
bridegroom’s house in the early morning, and I was allowed to go to see
them.  There were several girdles of silk embroidered with gold, several
pieces of brocaded silk for _kimonos_, several pieces of silk _crêpe_, a
large number of made-up garments, a piece of white silk, six barrels of
wine or _saké_, and seven sorts of condiments.  Jewellery is not worn by
women in Japan.

The furniture consisted of two wooden pillows, finely lacquered, one of
them containing a drawer for ornamental hairpins, some cotton _futons_,
two very handsome silk ones, a few silk cushions, a lacquer workbox, a
spinning-wheel, a lacquer rice bucket and ladle, two ornamental iron
kettles, various kitchen utensils, three bronze _hibachi_, two
_tabako-bons_, some lacquer trays, and _zens_, china kettles, teapots,
and cups, some lacquer rice bowls, two copper basins, a few towels, some
bamboo switches, and an inlaid lacquer _étagère_.  As the things are all
very handsome the parents must be well off.  The _saké_ is sent in
accordance with rigid etiquette.

The bridegroom is twenty-two, the bride seventeen, and very comely, so
far as I could see through the paint with which she was profusely
disfigured.  Towards evening she was carried in a _norimon_, accompanied
by her parents and friends, to the bridegroom’s house, each member of the
procession carrying a Chinese lantern.  When the house-master and I
arrived the wedding party was assembled in a large room, the parents and
friends of the bridegroom being seated on one side, and those of the
bride on the other.  Two young girls, very beautifully dressed, brought
in the bride, a very pleasing-looking creature dressed entirely in white
silk, with a veil of white silk covering her from head to foot.  The
bridegroom, who was already seated in the middle of the room near its
upper part, did not rise to receive her, and kept his eyes fixed on the
ground, and she sat opposite to him, but never looked up.  A low table
was placed in front, on which there was a two-spouted kettle full of
_saké_, some _saké_ bottles, and some cups, and on another there were
some small figures representing a fir-tree, a plum-tree in blossom, and a
stork standing on a tortoise, the last representing length of days, and
the former the beauty of women and the strength of men.  Shortly a _zen_,
loaded with eatables, was placed before each person, and the feast began,
accompanied by the noises which signify gastronomic gratification.

After this, which was only a preliminary, the two girls who brought in
the bride handed round a tray with three cups containing _saké_, which
each person was expected to drain till he came to the god of luck at the
bottom.

The bride and bridegroom then retired, but shortly reappeared in other
dresses of ceremony, but the bride still wore her white silk veil, which
one day will be her shroud.  An old gold lacquer tray was produced, with
three _saké_ cups, which were filled by the two bridesmaids, and placed
before the parents-in-law and the bride.  The father-in-law drank three
cups, and handed the cup to the bride, who, after drinking two cups,
received from her father-in-law a present in a box, drank the third cup,
and then returned the cup to the father-in-law, who again drank three
cups.  Rice and fish were next brought in, after which the bridegroom’s
mother took the second cup, and filled and emptied it three times, after
which she passed it to the bride, who drank two cups, received a present
from her mother-in-law in a lacquer box, drank a third cup, and gave the
cup to the elder lady, who again drank three cups.  Soup was then served,
and then the bride drank once from the third cup, and handed it to her
husband’s father, who drank three more cups, the bride took it again, and
drank two, and lastly the mother-in-law drank three more cups.  Now, if
you possess the clear-sightedness which I laboured to preserve, you will
perceive that each of the three had inbibed nine cups of some generous
liquor! {168}

After this the two bridesmaids raised the two-spouted kettle and
presented it to the lips of the married pair, who drank from it
alternately, till they had exhausted its contents.  This concluding
ceremony is said to be emblematic of the tasting together of the joys and
sorrows of life.  And so they became man and wife till death or divorce
parted them.

This drinking of _saké_ or wine, according to prescribed usage, appeared
to constitute the “marriage service,” to which none but relations were
bidden.  Immediately afterwards the wedding guests arrived, and the
evening was spent in feasting and _saké_ drinking; but the fare is
simple, and intoxication is happily out of place at a marriage feast.
Every detail is a matter of etiquette, and has been handed down for
centuries.  Except for the interest of the ceremony, in that light it was
a very dull and tedious affair, conducted in melancholy silence, and the
young bride, with her whitened face and painted lips, looked and moved
like an automaton.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXV.


A Holiday Scene—A _Matsuri_—Attractions of the Revel—_Matsuri_ Cars—Gods
and Demons—A Possible Harbour—A Village Forge—Prosperity of _Saké_
Brewers—A “Great Sight.”

                                                     TSUGURATA, _July_ 27.

THREE miles of good road thronged with half the people of Kubota on foot
and in _kurumas_, red vans drawn by horses, pairs of policemen in
_kurumas_, hundreds of children being carried, hundreds more on foot,
little girls, formal and precocious looking, with hair dressed with
scarlet _crépe_ and flowers, hobbling toilsomely along on high clogs,
groups of men and women, never intermixing, stalls driving a “roaring
trade” in cakes and sweetmeats, women making _mochi_ as fast as the
buyers ate it, broad rice-fields rolling like a green sea on the right,
an ocean of liquid turquoise on the left, the grey roofs of Kubota
looking out from their green surroundings, Taiheisan in deepest indigo
blocking the view to the south, a glorious day, and a summer sun
streaming over all, made up the cheeriest and most festal scene that I
have seen in Japan; men, women, and children, vans and _kurumas_,
policemen and horsemen, all on their way to a mean-looking town, Minato,
the junk port of Kubota, which was keeping _matsuri_, or festival, in
honour of the birthday of the god Shimmai.  Towering above the low grey
houses there were objects which at first looked like five enormous black
fingers, then like trees with their branches wrapped in black, and
then—comparisons ceased; they were a mystery.

Dismissing the _kurumas_, which could go no farther, we dived into the
crowd, which was wedged along a mean street, nearly a mile long—a
miserable street of poor tea-houses and poor shop-fronts; but, in fact,
you could hardly see the street for the people.  Paper lanterns were hung
close together along its whole length.  There were rude scaffoldings
supporting matted and covered platforms, on which people were drinking
tea and _saké_ and enjoying the crowd below; monkey theatres and dog
theatres, two mangy sheep and a lean pig attracting wondering crowds, for
neither of these animals is known in this region of Japan; a booth in
which a woman was having her head cut off every half-hour for 2 _sen_ a
spectator; cars with roofs like temples, on which, with forty men at the
ropes, dancing children of the highest class were being borne in
procession; a theatre with an open front, on the boards of which two men
in antique dresses, with sleeves touching the ground, were performing
with tedious slowness a classic dance of tedious posturings, which
consisted mainly in dexterous movements of the aforesaid sleeves, and
occasional emphatic stampings, and utterances of the word _Nô_ in a
hoarse howl.  It is needless to say that a foreign lady was not the least
of the attractions of the fair.  The _cultus_ of children was in full
force, all sorts of masks, dolls, sugar figures, toys, and sweetmeats
were exposed for sale on mats on the ground, and found their way into the
hands and sleeves of the children, for no Japanese parent would ever
attend a _matsuri_ without making an offering to his child.

The police told me that there were 22,000 strangers in Minato, yet for
32,000 holiday-makers a force of twenty-five policemen was sufficient.  I
did not see one person under the influence of _saké_ up to 3 p.m., when I
left, nor a solitary instance of rude or improper behaviour, nor was I in
any way rudely crowded upon, for, even where the crowd was densest, the
people of their own accord formed a ring and left me breathing space.

We went to the place where the throng was greatest, round the two great
_matsuri_ cars, whose colossal erections we had seen far off.  These were
structures of heavy beams, thirty feet long, with eight huge, solid
wheels.  Upon them there were several scaffoldings with projections, like
flat surfaces of cedar branches, and two special peaks of unequal height
at the top, the whole being nearly fifty feet from the ground.  All these
projections were covered with black cotton cloth, from which branches of
pines protruded.  In the middle three small wheels, one above another,
over which striped white cotton was rolling perpetually, represented a
waterfall; at the bottom another arrangement of white cotton represented
a river, and an arrangement of blue cotton, fitfully agitated by a pair
of bellows below, represented the sea.  The whole is intended to
represent a mountain on which the Shintô gods slew some devils, but
anything more rude and barbarous could scarcely be seen.  On the fronts
of each car, under a canopy, were thirty performers on thirty diabolical
instruments, which rent the air with a truly infernal discord, and
suggested devils rather than their conquerors.  High up on the flat
projections there were groups of monstrous figures.  On one a giant in
brass armour, much like the _Niô_ of temple gates, was killing a
revolting-looking demon.  On another a _daimiyô’s_ daughter, in robes of
cloth of gold with satin sleeves richly flowered, was playing on the
_samisen_.  On another a hunter, thrice the size of life, was killing a
wild horse equally magnified, whose hide was represented by the hairy
wrappings of the leaves of the _Chamærops excelsa_.  On others
highly-coloured gods, and devils equally hideous, were grouped
miscellaneously.  These two cars were being drawn up and down the street
at the rate of a mile in three hours by 200 men each, numbers of men with
levers assisting the heavy wheels out of the mud-holes.  This _matsuri_,
which, like an English fair, feast, or revel, has lost its original
religious significance, goes on for three days and nights, and this was
its third and greatest day.

We left on mild-tempered horses, quite unlike the fierce fellows of
Yamagata _ken_.  Between Minato and Kado there is a very curious lagoon
on the left, about 17 miles long by 16 broad, connected with the sea by a
narrow channel, guarded by two high hills called Shinzan and Honzan.  Two
Dutch engineers are now engaged in reporting on its capacities, and if
its outlet could be deepened without enormous cost it would give
north-western Japan the harbour it so greatly needs.  Extensive
rice-fields and many villages lie along the road, which is an avenue of
deep sand and ancient pines much contorted and gnarled.  Down the pine
avenue hundreds of people on horseback and on foot were trooping into
Minato from all the farming villages, glad in the glorious sunshine which
succeeded four days of rain.  There were hundreds of horses,
wonderful-looking animals in bravery of scarlet cloth and lacquer and
fringed nets of leather, and many straw wisps and ropes, with Gothic
roofs for saddles, and dependent panniers on each side, carrying two
grave and stately-looking children in each, and sometimes a father or a
fifth child on the top of the pack-saddle.

I was so far from well that I was obliged to sleep at the wretched
village of Abukawa, in a loft alive with fleas, where the rice was too
dirty to be eaten, and where the house-master’s wife, who sat for an hour
on my floor, was sorely afflicted with skin disease.  The clay houses
have disappeared and the villages are now built of wood, but Abukawa is
an antiquated, ramshackle place, propped up with posts and slanting beams
projecting into the roadway for the entanglement of unwary passengers.

The village smith was opposite, but he was not a man of ponderous
strength, nor were there those wondrous flights and scintillations of
sparks which were the joy of our childhood in the Tattenhall forge.  A
fire of powdered charcoal on the floor, always being trimmed and
replenished by a lean and grimy satellite, a man still leaner and
grimier, clothed in goggles and a girdle, always sitting in front of it,
heating and hammering iron bars with his hands, with a clink which went
on late into the night, and blowing his bellows with his toes; bars and
pieces of rusty iron pinned on the smoky walls, and a group of idle men
watching his skilful manipulation, were the sights of the Abukawa smithy,
and kept me thralled in the balcony, though the whole clothesless
population stood for the whole evening in front of the house with a
silent, open-mouthed stare.

Early in the morning the same melancholy crowd appeared in the dismal
drizzle, which turned into a tremendous torrent, which has lasted for
sixteen hours.  Low hills, broad rice valleys in which people are
puddling the rice a second time to kill the weeds, bad roads, pretty
villages, much indigo, few passengers, were the features of the day’s
journey.  At Morioka and several other villages in this region I noticed
that if you see one large, high, well-built house, standing in enclosed
grounds, with a look of wealth about it, it is always that of the _saké_
brewer.  A bush denotes the manufacture as well as the sale of _saké_,
and these are of all sorts, from the mangy bit of fir which has seen long
service to the vigorous truss of pine constantly renewed.  It is curious
that this should formerly have been the sign of the sale of wine in
England.

The wind and rain were something fearful all that afternoon.  I could not
ride, so I tramped on foot for some miles under an avenue of pines,
through water a foot deep, and, with my paper waterproof soaked through,
reached Toyôka half drowned and very cold, to shiver over a _hibachi_ in
a clean loft, hung with my dripping clothes, which had to be put on wet
the next day.   By 5 a.m. all Toyôka assembled, and while I took my
breakfast I was not only the “cynosure” of the eyes of all the people
outside, but of those of about forty more who were standing in the
_doma_, looking up the ladder.  When asked to depart by the house-master,
they said, “It’s neither fair nor neighbourly in you to keep this great
sight to yourself, seeing that our lives may pass without again looking
on a foreign woman;” so they were allowed to remain!

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXVI.


The Fatigues of Travelling—Torrents and Mud—Ito’s Surliness—The Blind
Shampooers—A Supposed Monkey Theatre—A Suspended Ferry—A Difficult
Transit—Perils on the Yonetsurugawa—A Boatman Drowned—Nocturnal
Disturbances—A Noisy Yadoya—Storm-bound Travellers—_Hai_!  _Hai_!—More
Nocturnal Disturbances.

                                                         ODATÉ, _July_ 29.

I HAVE been suffering so much from my spine that I have been unable to
travel more than seven or eight miles daily for several days, and even
that with great difficulty.  I try my own saddle, then a pack-saddle,
then walk through the mud; but I only get on because getting on is a
necessity, and as soon as I reach the night’s halting-place I am obliged
to lie down at once.  Only strong people should travel in northern Japan.
The inevitable fatigue is much increased by the state of the weather, and
doubtless my impressions of the country are affected by it also, as a
hamlet in a quagmire in a gray mist or a soaking rain is a far less
delectable object than the same hamlet under bright sunshine.  There has
not been such a season for thirty years.  The rains have been tremendous.
I have lived in soaked clothes, in spite of my rain-cloak, and have slept
on a soaked stretcher in spite of all waterproof wrappings for several
days, and still the weather shows no signs of improvement, and the rivers
are so high on the northern road that I am storm-bound as well as
pain-bound here.  Ito shows his sympathy for me by intense surliness,
though he did say very sensibly, “I’m very sorry for you, but it’s no use
saying so over and over again; as I can do nothing for you, you’d better
send for the blind man!”

In Japanese towns and villages you hear every evening a man (or men)
making a low peculiar whistle as he walks along, and in large towns the
noise is quite a nuisance.  It is made by blind men; but a blind beggar
is never seen throughout Japan, and the blind are an independent,
respected, and well-to-do class, carrying on the occupations of
shampooing, money-lending, and music.

                 [Picture: Myself in a Straw Rain-Cloak]

We have had a very severe journey from Toyôka.  That day the rain was
ceaseless, and in the driving mists one could see little but low hills
looming on the horizon, pine barrens, scrub, and flooded rice-fields;
varied by villages standing along roads which were quagmires a foot deep,
and where the clothing was specially ragged and dirty.  Hinokiyama, a
village of _samurai_, on a beautiful slope, was an exception, with its
fine detached houses, pretty gardens, deep-roofed gateways, grass and
stone-faced terraces, and look of refined, quiet comfort.  Everywhere
there was a quantity of indigo, as is necessary, for nearly all the
clothing of the lower classes is blue.  Near a large village we were
riding on a causeway through the rice-fields, Ito on the pack-horse in
front, when we met a number of children returning from school, who, on
getting near us, turned, ran away, and even jumped into the ditches,
screaming as they ran.  The _mago_ ran after them, caught the hindmost
boy, and dragged him back—the boy scared and struggling, the man
laughing.  The boy said that they thought that Ito was a monkey-player,
_i.e._ the keeper of a monkey theatre, I a big ape, and the poles of my
bed the scaffolding of the stage!

Splashing through mire and water we found that the people of Tubiné
wished to detain us, saying that all the ferries were stopped in
consequence of the rise in the rivers; but I had been so often misled by
false reports that I took fresh horses and went on by a track along a
very pretty hillside, overlooking the Yonetsurugawa, a large and swollen
river, which nearer the sea had spread itself over the whole country.
Torrents of rain were still falling, and all out-of-doors industries were
suspended.  Straw rain-cloaks hanging to dry dripped under all the eaves,
our paper cloaks were sodden, our dripping horses steamed, and thus we
slid down a steep descent into the hamlet of Kiriishi, thirty-one houses
clustered under persimmon trees under a wooded hillside, all standing in
a quagmire, and so abject and filthy that one could not ask for five
minutes’ shelter in any one of them.  Sure enough, on the bank of the
river, which was fully 400 yards wide, and swirling like a mill-stream
with a suppressed roar, there was an official order prohibiting the
crossing of man or beast, and before I had time to think the _mago_ had
deposited the baggage on an islet in the mire and was over the crest of
the hill.  I wished that the Government was a little less paternal.

Just in the nick of time we discerned a punt drifting down the river on
the opposite side, where it brought up, and landed a man, and Ito and two
others yelled, howled, and waved so lustily as to attract its notice, and
to my joy an answering yell came across the roar and rush of the river.
The torrent was so strong that the boatmen had to pole up on that side
for half a mile, and in about three-quarters of an hour they reached our
side.  They were returning to Kotsunagi—the very place I wished to
reach—but, though only 2½ miles off, the distance took nearly four hours
of the hardest work I ever saw done by men.  Every moment I expected to
see them rupture blood-vessels or tendons.  All their muscles quivered.
It is a mighty river, and was from eight to twelve feet deep, and
whirling down in muddy eddies; and often with their utmost efforts in
poling, when it seemed as if poles or backs must break, the boat hung
trembling and stationary for three or four minutes at a time.  After the
slow and eventless tramp of the last few days this was an exciting
transit.  Higher up there was a flooded wood, and, getting into this, the
men aided themselves considerably by hauling by the trees; but when we
got out of this, another river joined the Yonetsurugawa, which with added
strength rushed and roared more wildly.

I had long been watching a large house-boat far above us on the other
side, which was being poled by desperate efforts by ten men.  At that
point she must have been half a mile off, when the stream overpowered the
crew and in no time she swung round and came drifting wildly down and
across the river, broadside on to us.  We could not stir against the
current, and had large trees on our immediate left, and for a moment it
was a question whether she would not smash us to atoms.  Ito was livid
with fear; his white, appalled face struck me as ludicrous, for I had no
other thought than the imminent peril of the large boat with her freight
of helpless families, when, just as she was within two feet of us, she
struck a stem and glanced off.  Then her crew grappled a headless trunk
and got their hawser round it, and eight of them, one behind the other,
hung on to it, when it suddenly snapped, seven fell backwards, and the
forward one went overboard to be no more seen.  Some house that night was
desolate.  Reeling downwards, the big mast and spar of the ungainly craft
caught in a tree, giving her such a check that they were able to make her
fast.  It was a saddening incident.  I asked Ito what he felt when we
seemed in peril, and he replied, “I thought I’d been good to my mother,
and honest, and I hoped I should go to a good place.”

The fashion of boats varies much on different rivers.  On this one there
are two sizes.  Ours was a small one, flat-bottomed, 25 feet long by 2½
broad, drawing 6 inches, very low in the water, and with sides slightly
curved inwards.  The prow forms a gradual long curve from the body of the
boat, and is very high.

The mists rolled away as dusk came on, and revealed a lovely country with
much picturesqueness of form, and near Kotsunagi the river disappears
into a narrow gorge with steep, sentinel hills, dark with pine and
cryptomeria.  To cross the river we had to go fully a mile above the
point aimed at, and then a few minutes of express speed brought us to a
landing in a deep, tough quagmire in a dark wood, through which we groped
our lamentable way to the _yadoya_.  A heavy mist came on, and the rain
returned in torrents; the _doma_ was ankle deep in black slush.  The
_daidokoro_ was open to the roof, roof and rafters were black with smoke,
and a great fire of damp wood was smoking lustily.  Round some live
embers in the _irori_ fifteen men, women, and children were lying, doing
nothing, by the dim light of an _andon_.  It was picturesque decidedly,
and I was well disposed to be content when the production of some
handsome _fusuma_ created _daimiyô’s_ rooms out of the farthest part of
the dim and wandering space, opening upon a damp garden, into which the
rain splashed all night.

The solitary spoil of the day’s journey was a glorious lily, which I
presented to the house-master, and in the morning it was blooming on the
_kami-dana_ in a small vase of priceless old Satsuma china.  I was awoke
out of a sound sleep by Ito coming in with a rumour, brought by some
travellers, that the Prime Minister had been assassinated, and fifty
policemen killed!  [This was probably a distorted version of the partial
mutiny of the Imperial Guard, which I learned on landing in Yezo.]  Very
wild political rumours are in the air in these outlandish regions, and it
is not very wonderful that the peasantry lack confidence in the existing
order of things after the changes of the last ten years, and the recent
assassination of the Home Minister.  I did not believe the rumour, for
fanaticism, even in its wildest moods, usually owes some allegiance to
common sense; but it was disturbing, as I have naturally come to feel a
deep interest in Japanese affairs.  A few hours later Ito again presented
himself with a bleeding cut on his temple.  In lighting his pipe—an
odious nocturnal practice of the Japanese—he had fallen over the edge of
the fire-pot.  I always sleep in a Japanese _kimona_ to be ready for
emergencies, and soon bound up his head, and slept again, to be awoke
early by another deluge.

We made an early start, but got over very little ground, owing to bad
roads and long delays.  All day the rain came down in even torrents, the
tracks were nearly impassable, my horse fell five times, I suffered
severely from pain and exhaustion, and almost fell into despair about
ever reaching the sea.  In these wild regions there are no _kago_ or
_norimons_ to be had, and a pack-horse is the only conveyance, and
yesterday, having abandoned my own saddle, I had the bad luck to get a
pack-saddle with specially angular and uncompromising peaks, with a
soaked and extremely unwashed _futon_ on the top, spars, tackle, ridges,
and furrows of the most exasperating description, and two nooses of rope
to hold on by as the animal slid down hill on his haunches, or let me
almost slide over his tail as he scrambled and plunged up hill.

It was pretty country, even in the downpour, when white mists parted and
fir-crowned heights looked out for a moment, or we slid down into a deep
glen with mossy boulders, lichen-covered stumps, ferny carpet, and damp,
balsamy smell of pyramidal cryptomeria, and a tawny torrent dashing
through it in gusts of passion.  Then there were low hills, much scrub,
immense rice-fields, and violent inundations.  But it is not pleasant,
even in the prettiest country, to cling on to a pack-saddle with a
saturated quilt below you and the water slowly soaking down through your
wet clothes into your boots, knowing all the time that when you halt you
must sleep on a wet bed, and change into damp clothes, and put on the wet
ones again the next morning.  The villages were poor, and most of the
houses were of boards rudely nailed together for ends, and for sides
straw rudely tied on; they had no windows, and smoke came out of every
crack.  They were as unlike the houses which travellers see in southern
Japan as a “black hut” in Uist is like a cottage in a trim village in
Kent.  These peasant proprietors have much to learn of the art of living.
At Tsuguriko, the next stage, where the Transport Office was so dirty
that I was obliged to sit in the street in the rain, they told us that we
could only get on a _ri_ farther, because the bridges were all carried
away and the fords were impassable; but I engaged horses, and, by dint of
British doggedness and the willingness of the _mago_, I got the horses
singly and without their loads in small punts across the swollen waters
of the Hayakuchi, the Yuwasé, and the Mochida, and finally forded three
branches of my old friend the Yonetsurugawa, with the foam of its
hurrying waters whitening the men’s shoulders and the horses’ packs, and
with a hundred Japanese looking on at the “folly” of the foreigner.

I like to tell you of kind people everywhere, and the two _mago_ were
specially so, for, when they found that I was pushing on to Yezo for fear
of being laid up in the interior wilds, they did all they could to help
me; lifted me gently from the horse, made steps of their backs for me to
mount, and gathered for me handfuls of red berries, which I ate out of
politeness, though they tasted of some nauseous drug.  They suggested
that I should stay at the picturesquely-situated old village of
Kawaguchi, but everything about it was mildewed and green with damp, and
the stench from the green and black ditches with which it abounded was so
overpowering, even in passing through, that I was obliged to ride on to
Odaté, a crowded, forlorn, half-tumbling-to-pieces town of 8000 people,
with bark roofs held down by stones.

The _yadoyas_ are crowded with storm-staid travellers, and I had a weary
tramp from one to another, almost sinking from pain, pressed upon by an
immense crowd, and frequently bothered by a policeman, who followed me
from one place to the other, making wholly unrighteous demands for my
passport at that most inopportune time.  After a long search I could get
nothing better than this room, with _fusuma_ of tissue paper, in the
centre of the din of the house, close to the _doma_ and _daidokoro_.
Fifty travellers, nearly all men, are here, mostly speaking at the top of
their voices, and in a provincial jargon which exasperates Ito.  Cooking,
bathing, eating, and, worst of all, perpetual drawing water from a well
with a creaking hoisting apparatus, are going on from 4.30 in the morning
till 11.30 at night, and on both evenings noisy mirth, of alcoholic
inspiration, and dissonant performances by _geishas_ have added to the
din.

In all places lately _Hai_, “yes,” has been pronounced _Hé_, _Chi_, _Na_,
_Né_, to Ito’s great contempt.  It sounds like an expletive or
interjection rather than a response, and seems used often as a sign of
respect or attention only.  Often it is loud and shrill, then guttural,
at times little more than a sigh.  In these _yadoyas_ every sound is
audible, and I hear low rumbling of mingled voices, and above all the
sharp _Hai_, _Hai_ of the tea-house girls in full chorus from every
quarter of the house.  The habit of saying it is so strong that a man
roused out of sleep jumps up with _Hai_, _Hai_, and often, when I speak
to Ito in English, a stupid Hebe sitting by answers _Hai_.

I don’t want to convey a false impression of the noise here.  It would be
at least three times as great were I in equally close proximity to a
large hotel kitchen in England, with fifty Britons only separated from me
by paper partitions.  I had not been long in bed on Saturday night when I
was awoke by Ito bringing in an old hen which he said he could stew till
it was tender, and I fell asleep again with its dying squeak in my ears,
to be awoke a second time by two policemen wanting for some occult reason
to see my passport, and a third time by two men with lanterns scrambling
and fumbling about the room for the strings of a mosquito net, which they
wanted for another traveller.  These are among the ludicrous incidents of
Japanese travelling.  About five Ito woke me by saying he was quite sure
that the _moxa_ would be the thing to cure my spine, and, as we were
going to stay all day, he would go and fetch an operator; but I rejected
this as emphatically as the services of the blind man!  Yesterday a man
came and pasted slips of paper over all the “peep holes” in the _shôji_,
and I have been very little annoyed, even though the _yadoya_ is so
crowded.

The rain continues to come down in torrents, and rumours are hourly
arriving of disasters to roads and bridges on the northern route.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXVII.


Good-tempered Intoxication—The Effect of Sunshine—A tedious
Altercation—Evening Occupations—Noisy Talk—Social Gathering—Unfair
Comparisons.

                                                     SHIRASAWA, _July_ 29.

EARLY this morning the rain-clouds rolled themselves up and disappeared,
and the bright blue sky looked as if it had been well washed.  I had to
wait till noon before the rivers became fordable, and my day’s journey is
only seven miles, as it is not possible to go farther till more of the
water runs off.  We had very limp, melancholy horses, and my _mago_ was
half-tipsy, and sang, talked, and jumped the whole way.  _Saké_ is
frequently taken warm, and in that state produces a very noisy but
good-tempered intoxication.  I have seen a good many intoxicated persons,
but never one in the least degree quarrelsome; and the effect very soon
passes off, leaving, however, an unpleasant nausea for two or three days
as a warning against excess.  The abominable concoctions known under the
names of beer, wine, and brandy, produce a bad-tempered and prolonged
intoxication, and _delirium tremens_, rarely known as a result of _saké_
drinking, is being introduced under their baleful influence.

The sun shone gloriously and brightened the hill-girdled valley in which
Odaté stands into positive beauty, with the narrow river flinging its
bright waters over green and red shingle, lighting it up in glints among
the conical hills, some richly wooded with _coniferæ_, and others merely
covered with scrub, which were tumbled about in picturesque confusion.
When Japan gets the sunshine, its forest-covered hills and garden-like
valleys are turned into paradise.  In a journey of 600 miles there has
hardly been a patch of country which would not have been beautiful in
sunlight.

We crossed five severe fords with the water half-way up the horses’
bodies, in one of which the strong current carried my _mago_ off his
feet, and the horse towed him ashore, singing and capering, his drunken
glee nothing abated by his cold bath.  Everything is in a state of wreck.
Several river channels have been formed in places where there was only
one; there is not a trace of the road for a considerable distance, not a
bridge exists for ten miles, and a great tract of country is covered with
boulders, uprooted trees, and logs floated from the mountain sides.
Already, however, these industrious peasants are driving piles, carrying
soil for embankments in creels on horses’ backs, and making ropes of
stones to prevent a recurrence of the calamity.  About here the female
peasants wear for field-work a dress which pleases me much by its
suitability—light blue trousers, with a loose sack over them, confined at
the waist by a girdle.

On arriving here in much pain, and knowing that the road was not open any
farther, I was annoyed by a long and angry conversation between the
house-master and Ito, during which the horses were not unloaded, and the
upshot of it was that the man declined to give me shelter, saying that
the police had been round the week before giving notice that no foreigner
was to be received without first communicating with the nearest police
station, which, in this instance, is three hours off.  I said that the
authorities of Akita _ken_ could not by any local regulations override
the Imperial edict under which passports are issued; but he said he
should be liable to a fine and the withdrawal of his license if he
violated the rule.  No foreigner, he said, had ever lodged in Shirasawa,
and I have no doubt that he added that he hoped no foreigner would ever
seek lodgings again.  My passport was copied and sent off by special
runner, as I should have deeply regretted bringing trouble on the poor
man by insisting on my rights, and in much trepidation he gave me a room
open on one side to the village, and on another to a pond, over which, as
if to court mosquitoes, it is partially built.  I cannot think how the
Japanese can regard a hole full of dirty water as an ornamental appendage
to a house.

My hotel expenses (including Ito’s) are less than 3s. a-day, and in
nearly every place there has been a cordial desire that I should be
comfortable, and, considering that I have often put up in small, rough
hamlets off the great routes even of Japanese travel, the accommodation,
_minus_ the fleas and the odours, has been surprisingly excellent, not to
be equalled, I should think, in equally remote regions in any country in
the world.

This evening, here, as in thousands of other villages, the men came home
from their work, ate their food, took their smoke, enjoyed their
children, carried them about, watched their games, twisted straw ropes,
made straw sandals, split bamboo, wove straw rain-coats, and spent the
time universally in those little economical ingenuities and skilful
adaptations which our people (the worse for them) practise perhaps less
than any other.  There was no assembling at the _saké_ shop.  Poor though
the homes are, the men enjoy them; the children are an attraction at any
rate, and the brawling and disobedience which often turn our
working-class homes into bear-gardens are unknown here, where docility
and obedience are inculcated from the cradle as a matter of course.  The
signs of religion become fewer as I travel north, and it appears that the
little faith which exists consists mainly in a belief in certain charms
and superstitions, which the priests industriously foster.

A low voice is not regarded as “a most excellent thing,” in man at least,
among the lower classes in Japan.  The people speak at the top of their
voices, and, though most words and syllables end in vowels, the general
effect of a conversation is like the discordant gabble of a farm-yard.
The next room to mine is full of storm-bound travellers, and they and the
house-master kept up what I thought was a most important argument for
four hours at the top of their voices.  I supposed it must be on the new
and important ordinance granting local elective assemblies, of which I
heard at Odaté, but on inquiry found that it was possible to spend four
mortal hours in discussing whether the day’s journey from Odaté to
Noshiro could be made best by road or river.

Japanese women have their own gatherings, where gossip and chit-chat,
marked by a truly Oriental indecorum of speech, are the staple of talk.
I think that in many things, specially in some which lie on the surface,
the Japanese are greatly our superiors, but that in many others they are
immeasurably behind us.  In living altogether among this courteous,
industrious, and civilised people, one comes to forget that one is doing
them a gross injustice in comparing their manners and ways with those of
a people moulded by many centuries of Christianity.  Would to God that we
were so Christianised that the comparison might always be favourable to
us, which it is not!

_July_ 30.—In the room on the other side of mine were two men with severe
eye-disease, with shaven heads and long and curious rosaries, who beat
small drums as they walked, and were on pilgrimage to the shrine of Fudo
at Megura, near Yedo, a seated, flame-surrounded idol, with a naked sword
in one hand and a coil of rope in the other, who has the reputation of
giving sight to the blind.  At five this morning they began their
devotions, which consisted in repeating with great rapidity, and in a
high monotonous key for two hours, the invocation of the Nichiren sect of
Buddhists, _Namu miyô hô ren ge Kiyô_, which certainly no Japanese
understands, and on the meaning of which even the best scholars are
divided; one having given me, “Glory to the salvation-bringing
Scriptures;” another, “Hail, precious law and gospel of the lotus
flower;” and a third, “Heaven and earth!  The teachings of the wonderful
lotus flower sect.”  _Namu amidu Butsu_ occurred at intervals, and two
drums were beaten the whole time!

The rain, which began again at eleven last night, fell from five till
eight this morning, not in drops, but in streams, and in the middle of it
a heavy pall of blackness (said to be a total eclipse) enfolded all
things in a lurid gloom.  Any detention is exasperating within one day of
my journey’s end, and I hear without equanimity that there are great
difficulties ahead, and that our getting through in three or even four
days is doubtful.  I hope you will not be tired of the monotony of my
letters.  Such as they are, they represent the scenes which a traveller
would see throughout much of northern Japan, and whatever interest they
have consists in the fact that they are a faithful representation, made
upon the spot, of what a foreigner sees and hears in travelling through a
large but unfrequented region.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXVIII.


Torrents of Rain—An unpleasant Detention—Devastations produced by
Floods—The Yadate Pass—The Force of Water—Difficulties thicken—A
Primitive Yadoya—The Water rises.

                                      IKARIGASEKI, AOMORI KEN, _August_ 2.

THE prophecies concerning difficulties are fulfilled.  For six days and
five nights the rain has never ceased, except for a few hours at a time,
and for the last thirteen hours, as during the eclipse at Shirasawa, it
has been falling in such sheets as I have only seen for a few minutes at
a time on the equator.  I have been here storm-staid for two days, with
damp bed, damp clothes, damp everything, and boots, bag, books, are all
green with mildew.  And still the rain falls, and roads, bridges,
rice-fields, trees, and hillsides are being swept in a common ruin
towards the Tsugaru Strait, so tantalisingly near; and the simple people
are calling on the forgotten gods of the rivers and the hills, on the sun
and moon, and all the host of heaven, to save them from this “plague of
immoderate rain and waters.”  For myself, to be able to lie down all day
is something, and as “the mind, when in a healthy state, reposes as
quietly before an insurmountable difficulty as before an ascertained
truth,” so, as I cannot get on, I have ceased to chafe, and am rather
inclined to magnify the advantages of the detention, a necessary process,
as you would think if you saw my surroundings!

The day before yesterday, in spite of severe pain, was one of the most
interesting of my journey.  As I learned something of the force of fire
in Hawaii, I am learning not a little of the force of water in Japan.  We
left Shirasawa at noon, as it looked likely to clear, taking two horses
and three men.  It is beautiful scenery—a wild valley, upon which a
number of lateral ridges descend, rendered strikingly picturesque by the
dark pyramidal cryptomeria, which are truly the glory of Japan.  Five of
the fords were deep and rapid, and the entrance on them difficult, as the
sloping descents were all carried away, leaving steep banks, which had to
be levelled by the mattocks of the _mago_.  Then the fords themselves
were gone; there were shallows where there had been depths, and depths
where there had been shallows; new channels were carved, and great beds
of shingle had been thrown up.  Much wreckage lay about.  The road and
its small bridges were all gone, trees torn up by the roots or snapped
short off by being struck by heavy logs were heaped together like
barricades, leaves and even bark being in many cases stripped completely
off; great logs floated down the river in such numbers and with such
force that we had to wait half an hour in one place to secure a safe
crossing; hollows were filled with liquid mud, boulders of great size
were piled into embankments, causing perilous alterations in the course
of the river; a fertile valley had been utterly destroyed, and the men
said they could hardly find their way.

At the end of five miles it became impassable for horses, and, with two
of the _mago_ carrying the baggage, we set off, wading through water and
climbing along the side of a hill, up to our knees in soft wet soil.  The
hillside and the road were both gone, and there were heavy landslips
along the whole valley.  Happily there was not much of this exhausting
work, for, just as higher and darker ranges, densely wooded with
cryptomeria, began to close us in, we emerged upon a fine new road, broad
enough for a carriage, which, after crossing two ravines on fine bridges,
plunges into the depths of a magnificent forest, and then by a long
series of fine zigzags of easy gradients ascends the pass of Yadate, on
the top of which, in a deep sandstone cutting, is a handsome obelisk
marking the boundary between Akita and Aomori _ken_.  This is a
marvellous road for Japan, it is so well graded and built up, and logs
for travellers’ rests are placed at convenient distances.  Some very
heavy work in grading and blasting has been done upon it, but there are
only four miles of it, with wretched bridle tracks at each end.  I left
the others behind, and strolled on alone over the top of the pass and
down the other side, where the road is blasted out of rock of a vivid
pink and green colour, looking brilliant under the trickle of water.  I
admire this pass more than anything I have seen in Japan; I even long to
see it again, but under a bright blue sky.  It reminds me much of the
finest part of the Brunig Pass, and something of some of the passes in
the Rocky Mountains, but the trees are far finer than in either.  It was
lonely, stately, dark, solemn; its huge cryptomeria, straight as masts,
sent their tall spires far aloft in search of light; the ferns, which
love damp and shady places, were the only undergrowth; the trees flung
their balsamy, aromatic scent liberally upon the air, and, in the
unlighted depths of many a ravine and hollow, clear bright torrents leapt
and tumbled, drowning with their thundering bass the musical treble of
the lighter streams.  Not a traveller disturbed the solitude with his
sandalled footfall; there was neither song of bird nor hum of insect.

In the midst of this sublime scenery, and at the very top of the pass,
the rain, which had been light but steady during the whole day, began to
come down in streams and then in sheets.  I have been so rained upon for
weeks that at first I took little notice of it, but very soon changes
occurred before my eyes which concentrated my attention upon it.  The
rush of waters was heard everywhere, trees of great size slid down,
breaking others in their fall; rocks were rent and carried away trees in
their descent, the waters rose before our eyes; with a boom and roar as
of an earthquake a hillside burst, and half the hill, with a noble forest
of cryptomeria, was projected outwards, and the trees, with the land on
which they grew, went down heads foremost, diverting a river from its
course, and where the forest-covered hillside had been there was a great
scar, out of which a torrent burst at high pressure, which in half an
hour carved for itself a deep ravine, and carried into the valley below
an avalanche of stones and sand.  Another hillside descended less
abruptly, and its noble groves found themselves at the bottom in a
perpendicular position, and will doubtless survive their transplantation.
Actually, before my eyes, this fine new road was torn away by hastily
improvised torrents, or blocked by landslips in several places, and a
little lower, in one moment, a hundred yards of it disappeared, and with
them a fine bridge, which was deposited aslant across the torrent lower
down.

On the descent, when things began to look very bad, and the
mountain-sides had become cascades bringing trees, logs, and rocks down
with them, we were fortunate enough to meet with two pack-horses whose
leaders were ignorant of the impassability of the road to Odaté, and they
and my coolies exchanged loads.  These were strong horses, and the _mago_
were skilful and courageous.  They said if we hurried we could just get
to the hamlet they had left, they thought; but while they spoke the road
and the bridge below were carried away.  They insisted on lashing me to
the pack-saddle.  The great stream, whose beauty I had formerly admired,
was now a thing of dread, and had to be forded four times without fords.
It crashed and thundered, drowning the feeble sound of human voices, the
torrents from the heavens hissed through the forest, trees and logs came
crashing down the hillsides, a thousand cascades added to the din, and in
the bewilderment produced by such an unusual concatenation of sights and
sounds we stumbled through the river, the men up to their shoulders, the
horses up to their backs.  Again and again we crossed.  The banks being
carried away, it was very hard to get either into or out of the water;
the horses had to scramble or jump up places as high as their shoulders,
all slippery and crumbling, and twice the men cut steps for them with
axes.  The rush of the torrent at the last crossing taxed the strength of
both men and horses, and, as I was helpless from being tied on, I confess
that I shut my eyes!  After getting through, we came upon the lands
belonging to this village—rice-fields with the dykes burst, and all the
beautiful ridge and furrow cultivation of the other crops carried away.
The waters were rising fast, the men said we must hurry; they unbound me,
so that I might ride more comfortably, spoke to the horses, and went on
at a run.  My horse, which had nearly worn out his shoes in the fords,
stumbled at every step, the _mago_ gave me a noose of rope to clutch, the
rain fell in such torrents that I speculated on the chance of being
washed off my saddle, when suddenly I saw a shower of sparks; I felt
unutterable things; I was choked, bruised, stifled, and presently found
myself being hauled out of a ditch by three men, and realised that the
horse had tumbled down in going down a steepish hill, and that I had gone
over his head.  To climb again on the soaked _futon_ was the work of a
moment, and, with men running and horses stumbling and splashing, we
crossed the Hirakawa by one fine bridge, and half a mile farther
re-crossed it on another, wishing as we did so that all Japanese bridges
were as substantial, for they were both 100 feet long, and had central
piers.

We entered Ikarigaseki from the last bridge, a village of 800 people, on
a narrow ledge between an abrupt hill and the Hirakawa, a most forlorn
and tumble-down place, given up to felling timber and making shingles;
and timber in all its forms—logs, planks, faggots, and shingles—is heaped
and stalked about.  It looks more like a lumberer’s encampment than a
permanent village, but it is beautifully situated, and unlike any of the
innumerable villages that I have ever seen.

The street is long and narrow, with streams in stone channels on either
side; but these had overflowed, and men, women, and children were
constructing square dams to keep the water, which had already reached the
_doma_, from rising over the _tatami_.  Hardly any house has paper
windows, and in the few which have, they are so black with smoke as to
look worse than none.  The roofs are nearly flat, and are covered with
shingles held on by laths and weighted with large stones.  Nearly all the
houses look like temporary sheds, and most are as black inside as a Barra
hut.  The walls of many are nothing but rough boards tied to the uprights
by straw ropes.

In the drowning torrent, sitting in puddles of water, and drenched to the
skin hours before, we reached this very primitive _yadoya_, the lower
part of which is occupied by the _daidokoro_, a party of storm-bound
students, horses, fowls, and dogs.  My room is a wretched loft, reached
by a ladder, with such a quagmire at its foot that I have to descend into
it in Wellington boots.  It was dismally grotesque at first.  The torrent
on the unceiled roof prevented Ito from hearing what I said, the bed was
soaked, and the water, having got into my box, had dissolved the remains
of the condensed milk, and had reduced clothes, books, and paper into a
condition of universal stickiness.  My kimono was less wet than anything
else, and, borrowing a sheet of oiled paper, I lay down in it, till
roused up in half an hour by Ito shrieking above the din on the roof that
the people thought that the bridge by which we had just entered would
give way; and, running to the river bank, we joined a large crowd, far
too intensely occupied by the coming disaster to take any notice of the
first foreign lady they had ever seen.

The Hirakawa, which an hour before was merely a clear, rapid mountain
stream, about four feet deep, was then ten feet deep, they said, and
tearing along, thick and muddy, and with a fearful roar,

    “And each wave was crested with tawny foam,
          Like the mane of a chestnut steed.”

Immense logs of hewn timber, trees, roots, branches, and faggots, were
coming down in numbers.  The abutment on this side was much undermined,
but, except that the central pier trembled whenever a log struck it, the
bridge itself stood firm—so firm, indeed, that two men, anxious to save
some property on the other side, crossed it after I arrived.  Then logs
of planed timber of large size, and joints, and much wreckage, came
down—fully forty fine timbers, thirty feet long, for the fine bridge
above had given way.  Most of the harvest of logs cut on the Yadate Pass
must have been lost, for over 300 were carried down in the short time in
which I watched the river.  This is a very heavy loss to this village,
which lives by the timber trade.  Efforts were made at a bank higher up
to catch them as they drifted by, but they only saved about one in
twenty.  It was most exciting to see the grand way in which these timbers
came down; and the moment in which they were to strike or not to strike
the pier was one of intense suspense.  After an hour of this two superb
logs, fully thirty feet long, came down close together, and, striking the
central pier nearly simultaneously, it shuddered horribly, the great
bridge parted in the middle, gave an awful groan like a living thing,
plunged into the torrent, and re-appeared in the foam below only as
disjointed timbers hurrying to the sea.  Not a vestige remained.  The
bridge below was carried away in the morning, so, till the river becomes
fordable, this little place is completely isolated.  On thirty miles of
road, out of nineteen bridges only two remain, and the road itself is
almost wholly carried away!



LETTER XXVIII.—(_Continued_.)


Scanty Resources—Japanese Children—Children’s Games—A Sagacious Example—A
Kite Competition—Personal Privations.

                                                              IKARIGASEKI.

I HAVE well-nigh exhausted the resources of this place.  They are to go
out three times a day to see how much the river has fallen; to talk with
the house-master and _Kôchô_; to watch the children’s games and the
making of shingles; to buy toys and sweetmeats and give them away; to
apply zinc lotion to a number of sore eyes three times daily, under which
treatment, during three days, there has been a wonderful amendment; to
watch the cooking, spinning, and other domestic processes in the
_daidokoro_; to see the horses, which are also actually in it, making
meals of green leaves of trees instead of hay; to see the lepers, who are
here for some waters which are supposed to arrest, if not to cure, their
terrible malady; to lie on my stretcher and sew, and read the papers of
the Asiatic Society, and to go over all possible routes to Aomori.  The
people have become very friendly in consequence of the eye lotion, and
bring many diseases for my inspection, most of which would never have
arisen had cleanliness of clothing and person been attended to.  The
absence of soap, the infrequency with which clothing is washed, and the
absence of linen next the skin, cause various cutaneous diseases, which
are aggravated by the bites and stings of insects.  Scald-head affects
nearly half the children here.

I am very fond of Japanese children.  I have never yet heard a baby cry,
and I have never seen a child troublesome or disobedient.  Filial piety
is the leading virtue in Japan, and unquestioning obedience is the habit
of centuries.  The arts and threats by which English mothers cajole or
frighten children into unwilling obedience appear unknown.  I admire the
way in which children are taught to be independent in their amusements.
Part of the home education is the learning of the rules of the different
games, which are absolute, and when there is a doubt, instead of a
quarrelsome suspension of the game, the fiat of a senior child decides
the matter.  They play by themselves, and don’t bother adults at every
turn.  I usually carry sweeties with me, and give them to the children,
but not one has ever received them without first obtaining permission
from the father or mother.  When that is gained they smile and bow
profoundly, and hand the sweeties to those present before eating any
themselves.  They are gentle creatures, but too formal and precocious.

They have no special dress.  This is so queer that I cannot repeat it too
often.  At three they put on the _kimono_ and girdle, which are as
inconvenient to them as to their parents, and childish play in this garb
is grotesque.  I have, however, never seen what we call child’s play—that
general abandonment to miscellaneous impulses, which consists in
struggling, slapping, rolling, jumping, kicking, shouting, laughing, and
quarrelling!  Two fine boys are very clever in harnessing paper carts to
the backs of beetles with gummed traces, so that eight of them draw a
load of rice up an inclined plane.  You can imagine what the fate of such
a load and team would be at home among a number of snatching hands.  Here
a number of infants watch the performance with motionless interest, and
never need the adjuration, “Don’t touch.”  In most of the houses there
are bamboo cages for “the shrill-voiced Katydid,” and the children amuse
themselves with feeding these vociferous grasshoppers.  The channels of
swift water in the street turn a number of toy water-wheels, which set in
motion most ingenious mechanical toys, of which a model of the automatic
rice-husker is the commonest, and the boys spend much time in devising
and watching these, which are really very fascinating.  It is the
holidays, but “holiday tasks” are given, and in the evenings you hear the
hum of lessons all along the street for about an hour.  The school
examination is at the re-opening of the school after the holidays,
instead of at the end of the session—an arrangement which shows an honest
desire to discern the permanent gain made by the scholars.

This afternoon has been fine and windy, and the boys have been flying
kites, made of tough paper on a bamboo frame, all of a rectangular shape,
some of them five feet square, and nearly all decorated with huge faces
of historical heroes.  Some of them have a humming arrangement made of
whale-bone.  There was a very interesting contest between two great
kites, and it brought out the whole population.  The string of each kite,
for 30 feet or more below the frame, was covered with pounded glass, made
to adhere very closely by means of tenacious glue, and for two hours the
kite-fighters tried to get their kites into a proper position for sawing
the adversary’s string in two.  At last one was successful, and the
severed kite became his property, upon which victor and vanquished
exchanged three low bows.  Silently as the people watched and received
the destruction of their bridge, so silently they watched this exciting
contest.  The boys also flew their kites while walking on stilts—a most
dexterous performance, in which few were able to take part—and then a
larger number gave a stilt race.  The most striking out-of-door games are
played at fixed seasons of the year, and are not to be seen now.

There are twelve children in this _yadoya_, and after dark they regularly
play at a game which Ito says “is played in the winter in every house in
Japan.”  The children sit in a circle, and the adults look on eagerly,
child-worship being more common in Japan than in America, and, to my
thinking, the Japanese form is the best.

From proverbial philosophy to personal privation is rather a descent, but
owing to the many detentions on the journey my small stock of foreign
food is exhausted, and I have been living here on rice, cucumbers, and
salt salmon—so salt that, after being boiled in two waters, it produces a
most distressing thirst.  Even this has failed to-day, as communication
with the coast has been stopped for some time, and the village is
suffering under the calamity of its stock of salt-fish being completely
exhausted.  There are no eggs, and rice and cucumbers are very like the
“light food” which the Israelites “loathed.”  I had an omelette one day,
but it was much like musty leather.  The Italian minister said to me in
Tôkiyô, “No question in Japan is so solemn as that of food,” and many
others echoed what I thought at the time a most unworthy sentiment.  I
recognised its truth to-day when I opened my last resort, a box of
Brand’s meat lozenges, and found them a mass of mouldiness.  One can only
dry clothes here by hanging them in the wood smoke, so I prefer to let
them mildew on the walls, and have bought a straw rain-coat, which is
more reliable than the paper waterproofs.  I hear the hum of the children
at their lessons for the last time, for the waters are falling fast, and
we shall leave in the morning.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXIX.


Hope deferred—Effects of the Flood—Activity of the Police—A Ramble in
Disguise—The _Tanabata_ Festival—Mr. Satow’s Reputation.

                                                     KUROISHI, _August_ 5.

AFTER all the waters did not fall as was expected, and I had to spend a
fourth day at Ikarigaseki.  We left early on Saturday, as we had to
travel fifteen miles without halting.  The sun shone on all the beautiful
country, and on all the wreck and devastation, as it often shines on the
dimpling ocean the day after a storm.  We took four men, crossed two
severe fords where bridges had been carried away, and where I and the
baggage got very wet; saw great devastations and much loss of crops and
felled timber; passed under a cliff, which for 200 feet was composed of
fine columnar basalt in six-sided prisms, and quite suddenly emerged on a
great plain, on which green billows of rice were rolling sunlit before a
fresh north wind.  This plain is liberally sprinkled with wooded villages
and surrounded by hills; one low range forming a curtain across the base
of Iwakisan, a great snow-streaked dome, which rises to the west of the
plain to a supposed height of 5000 feet.  The water had risen in most of
the villages to a height of four feet, and had washed the lower part of
the mud walls away.  The people were busy drying their _tatami_,
_futons_, and clothing, reconstructing their dykes and small bridges, and
fishing for the logs which were still coming down in large quantities.

In one town two very shabby policemen rushed upon us, seized the bridle
of my horse, and kept me waiting for a long time in the middle of a
crowd, while they toilsomely _bored_ through the passport, turning it up
and down, and holding it up to the light, as though there were some
nefarious mystery about it.  My horse stumbled so badly that I was
obliged to walk to save myself from another fall, and, just as my powers
were failing, we met a _kuruma_, which by good management, such as being
carried occasionally, brought me into Kuroishi, a neat town of 5500
people, famous for the making of clogs and combs, where I have obtained a
very neat, airy, upstairs room, with a good view over the surrounding
country and of the doings of my neighbours in their back rooms and
gardens.  Instead of getting on to Aomori I am spending three days and
two nights here, and, as the weather has improved and my room is
remarkably cheerful, the rest has been very pleasant.  As I have said
before, it is difficult to get any information about anything even a few
miles off, and even at the Post Office they cannot give any intelligence
as to the date of the sailings of the mail steamer between Aomori, twenty
miles off, and Hakodaté.

The police were not satisfied with seeing my passport, but must also see
me, and four of them paid me a polite but domiciliary visit the evening
of my arrival.  That evening the sound of drumming was ceaseless, and
soon after I was in bed Ito announced that there was something really
worth seeing, so I went out in my _kimono_ and without my hat, and in
this disguise altogether escaped recognition as a foreigner.  Kuroishi is
unlighted, and I was tumbling and stumbling along in overhaste when a
strong arm cleared the way, and the house-master appeared with a very
pretty lantern, hanging close to the ground from a cane held in the hand.
Thus came the phrase, “Thy word is a light unto my feet.”

We soon reached a point for seeing the festival procession advance
towards us, and it was so beautiful and picturesque that it kept me out
for an hour.  It passes through all the streets between 7 and 10 p.m.
each night during the first week in August, with an ark, or coffer,
containing slips of paper, on which (as I understand) wishes are written,
and each morning at seven this is carried to the river and the slips are
cast upon the stream.  The procession consisted of three monster drums
nearly the height of a man’s body, covered with horsehide, and strapped
to the drummers, end upwards, and thirty small drums, all beaten
rub-a-dub-dub without ceasing.  Each drum has the _tomoyé_ painted on its
ends.  Then there were hundreds of paper lanterns carried on long poles
of various lengths round a central lantern, 20 feet high, itself an
oblong 6 feet long, with a front and wings, and all kinds of mythical and
mystical creatures painted in bright colours upon it—a transparency
rather than a lantern, in fact.  Surrounding it were hundreds of
beautiful lanterns and transparencies of all sorts of fanciful
shapes—fans, fishes, birds, kites, drums; the hundreds of people and
children who followed all carried circular lanterns, and rows of lanterns
with the _tomoyé_ on one side and two Chinese characters on the other
hung from the eaves all along the line of the procession.  I never saw
anything more completely like a fairy scene, the undulating waves of
lanterns as they swayed along, the soft lights and soft tints moving
aloft in the darkness, the lantern-bearers being in deep shadow.  This
festival is called the _tanabata_, or _seiseki_ festival, but I am unable
to get any information about it.  Ito says that he knows what it means,
but is unable to explain, and adds the phrase he always uses when in
difficulties, “Mr. Satow would be able to tell you all about it.”

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXX.


A Lady’s Toilet—Hair-dressing—Paint and Cosmetics—Afternoon
Visitors—Christian Converts.

                                                     KUROISHI, _August_ 5.

THIS is a pleasant place, and my room has many advantages besides light
and cleanliness, as, for instance, that I overlook my neighbours and that
I have seen a lady at her toilet preparing for a wedding!  A married girl
knelt in front of a black lacquer toilet-box with a spray of cherry
blossoms in gold sprawling over it, and lacquer uprights at the top,
which supported a polished metal mirror.  Several drawers in the
toilet-box were open, and toilet requisites in small lacquer boxes were
lying on the floor.  A female barber stood behind the lady, combing,
dividing, and tying her hair, which, like that of all Japanese women, was
glossy black, but neither fine nor long.  The coiffure is an erection, a
complete work of art.  Two divisions, three inches apart, were made along
the top of the head, and the lock of hair between these was combed,
stiffened with a bandoline made from the _Uvario Japonica_, raised two
inches from the forehead, turned back, tied, and pinned to the back hair.
The rest was combed from each side to the back, and then tied loosely
with twine made of paper.  Several switches of false hair were then taken
out of a long lacquer box, and, with the aid of a quantity of bandoline
and a solid pad, the ordinary smooth chignon was produced, to which
several loops and bows of hair were added, interwoven with a little
dark-blue _crêpe_, spangled with gold.  A single, thick, square-sided,
tortoiseshell pin was stuck through the whole as an ornament.

The fashions of dressing the hair are fixed.  They vary with the ages of
female children, and there is a slight difference between the _coiffure_
of the married and unmarried.  The two partings on the top of the head
and the chignon never vary.  The amount of stiffening used is necessary,
as the head is never covered out of doors.  This arrangement will last in
good order for a week or more—thanks to the wooden pillow.

                        [Picture: A Lady’s Mirror]

The barber’s work was only partially done when the hair was dressed, for
every vestige of recalcitrant eyebrow was removed, and every downy hair
which dared to display itself on the temples and neck was pulled out with
tweezers.  This removal of all short hair has a tendency to make even the
natural hair look like a wig.  Then the lady herself took a box of white
powder, and laid it on her face, ears, and neck, till her skin looked
like a mask.  With a camel’s-hair brush she then applied some mixture to
her eyelids to make the bright eyes look brighter, the teeth were
blackened, or rather reblackened, with a feather brush dipped in a
solution of gall-nuts and iron-filings—a tiresome and disgusting process,
several times repeated, and then a patch of red was placed upon the lower
lip.  I cannot say that the effect was pleasing, but the girl thought so,
for she turned her head so as to see the general effect in the mirror,
smiled, and was satisfied.  The remainder of her toilet, which altogether
took over three hours, was performed in private, and when she reappeared
she looked as if a very unmeaning-looking wooden doll had been dressed up
with the exquisite good taste, harmony, and quietness which characterise
the dress of Japanese women.

A most rigid social etiquette draws an impassable line of demarcation
between the costume of the virtuous woman in every rank and that of her
frail sister.  The humiliating truth that many of our female fashions are
originated by those whose position we the most regret, and are then
carefully copied by all classes of women in our country, does not obtain
credence among Japanese women, to whom even the slightest approximation
in the style of hair-dressing, ornament, or fashion of garments would be
a shame.

I was surprised to hear that three “Christian students” from Hirosaki
wished to see me—three remarkably intelligent-looking, handsomely-dressed
young men, who all spoke a little English.  One of them had the brightest
and most intellectual face which I have seen in Japan.  They are of the
_samurai_ class, as I should have known from the superior type of face
and manner.  They said that they heard that an English lady was in the
house, and asked me if I were a Christian, but apparently were not
satisfied till, in answer to the question if I had a Bible, I was able to
produce one.

Hirosaki is a castle town of some importance, 3½ _ri_ from here, and its
_ex-daimiyô_ supports a high-class school or college there, which has had
two Americans successively for its headmasters.  These gentlemen must
have been very consistent in Christian living as well as energetic in
Christian teaching, for under their auspices thirty young men have
embraced Christianity.  As all of these are well educated, and several
are nearly ready to pass as teachers into Government employment, their
acceptance of the “new way” may have an important bearing on the future
of this region.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXI.


A Travelling Curiosity—Rude Dwellings—Primitive Simplicity—The Public
Bath-house.

                                                                 KUROISHI.

YESTERDAY was beautiful, and, dispensing for the first time with Ito’s
attendance, I took a _kuruma_ for the day, and had a very pleasant
excursion into a _cul de sac_ in the mountains.  The one drawback was the
infamous road, which compelled me either to walk or be mercilessly
jolted.  The runner was a nice, kind, merry creature, quite delighted,
Ito said, to have a chance of carrying so great a sight as a foreigner
into a district in which no foreigner has even been seen.  In the
absolute security of Japanese travelling, which I have fully realised for
a long time, I look back upon my fears at Kasukabé with a feeling of
self-contempt.

The scenery, which was extremely pretty, gained everything from sunlight
and colour—wonderful shades of cobalt and indigo, green blues and blue
greens, and flashes of white foam in unsuspected rifts.  It looked a
simple, home-like region, a very pleasant land.

We passed through several villages of farmers who live in very primitive
habitations, built of mud, looking as if the mud had been dabbed upon the
framework with the hands.  The walls sloped slightly inwards, the thatch
was rude, the eaves were deep and covered all manner of lumber; there was
a smoke-hole in a few, but the majority smoked all over like brick-kilns;
they had no windows, and the walls and rafters were black and shiny.
Fowls and horses live on one side of the dark interior, and the people on
the other.  The houses were alive with unclothed children, and as I
repassed in the evening unclothed men and women, nude to their waists,
were sitting outside their dwellings with the small fry, clothed only in
amulets, about them, several big yellow dogs forming part of each family
group, and the faces of dogs, children, and people were all placidly
contented!  These farmers owned many good horses, and their crops were
splendid.  Probably on _matsuri_ days all appear in fine clothes taken
from ample hoards.  They cannot be so poor, as far as the necessaries of
life are concerned; they are only very “far back.”  They know nothing
better, and are contented; but their houses are as bad as any that I have
ever seen, and the simplicity of Eden is combined with an amount of dirt
which makes me sceptical as to the performance of even weekly ablutions.

                       [Picture: Akita Farm-House]

Upper Nakano is very beautiful, and in the autumn, when its myriads of
star-leaved maples are scarlet and crimson, against a dark background of
cryptomeria, among which a great white waterfall gleams like a snow-drift
before it leaps into the black pool below, it must be well worth a long
journey.  I have not seen anything which has pleased me more.  There is a
fine flight of moss-grown stone steps down to the water, a pretty bridge,
two superb stone _torii_, some handsome stone lanterns, and then a grand
flight of steep stone steps up a hillside dark with cryptomeria leads to
a small Shintô shrine.  Not far off there is a sacred tree, with the
token of love and revenge upon it.  The whole place is entrancing.

Lower Nakano, which I could only reach on foot, is only interesting as
possessing some very hot springs, which are valuable in cases of
rheumatism and sore eyes.  It consists mainly of tea-houses and
_yadoyas_, and seemed rather gay.  It is built round the edge of an
oblong depression, at the bottom of which the bath-houses stand, of which
there are four, only nominally separated, and with but two entrances,
which open directly upon the bathers.  In the two end houses women and
children were bathing in large tanks, and in the centre ones women and
men were bathing together, but at opposite sides, with wooden ledges to
sit upon all round.  I followed the _kuruma_-runner blindly to the baths,
and when once in I had to go out at the other side, being pressed upon by
people from behind; but the bathers were too polite to take any notice of
my most unwilling intrusion, and the _kuruma_-runner took me in without
the slightest sense of impropriety in so doing.  I noticed that formal
politeness prevailed in the bath-house as elsewhere, and that dippers and
towels were handed from one to another with profound bows.  The public
bath-house is said to be the place in which public opinion is formed, as
it is with us in clubs and public-houses, and that the presence of women
prevents any dangerous or seditious consequences; but the Government is
doing its best to prevent promiscuous bathing; and, though the reform may
travel slowly into these remote regions, it will doubtless arrive sooner
or later.  The public bath-house is one of the features of Japan.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXII.


A Hard Day’s Journey—An Overturn—Nearing the Ocean—Joyful
Excitement—Universal Greyness—Inopportune Policemen—A Stormy Voyage—A
Wild Welcome—A Windy Landing—The Journey’s End.

                                             HAKODATÉ, YEZO, August, 1878.

THE journey from Kuroishi to Aomori, though only 22½ miles, was a
tremendous one, owing to the state of the roads; for more rain had
fallen, and the passage of hundreds of pack-horses heavily loaded with
salt-fish had turned the tracks into quagmires.  At the end of the first
stage the Transport Office declined to furnish a _kuruma_, owing to the
state of the roads; but, as I was not well enough to ride farther, I
bribed two men for a very moderate sum to take me to the coast; and by
accommodating each other we got on tolerably, though I had to walk up all
the hills and down many, to get out at every place where a little bridge
had been carried away, that the _kuruma_ might be lifted over the gap,
and often to walk for 200 yards at a time, because it sank up to its
axles in the quagmire.  In spite of all precautions I was upset into a
muddy ditch, with the _kuruma_ on the top of me; but, as my air-pillow
fortunately fell between the wheel and me, I escaped with nothing worse
than having my clothes soaked with water and mud, which, as I had to keep
them on all night, might have given me cold, but did not.  We met strings
of pack-horses the whole way, carrying salt-fish, which is taken
throughout the interior.

The mountain-ridge, which runs throughout the Main Island, becomes
depressed in the province of Nambu, but rises again into grand, abrupt
hills at Aomori Bay.  Between Kuroishi and Aomori, however, it is broken
up into low ranges, scantily wooded, mainly with pine, scrub oak, and the
dwarf bamboo.  The _Sesamum ignosco_, of which the incense-sticks are
made, covers some hills to the exclusion of all else.  Rice grows in the
valleys, but there is not much cultivation, and the country looks rough,
cold, and hyperborean.

The farming hamlets grew worse and worse, with houses made roughly of
mud, with holes scratched in the side for light to get in, or for smoke
to get out, and the walls of some were only great pieces of bark and
bundles of straw tied to the posts with straw ropes.  The roofs were
untidy, but this was often concealed by the profuse growth of the
water-melons which trailed over them.  The people were very dirty, but
there was no appearance of special poverty, and a good deal of money must
be made on the horses and _mago_ required for the transit of fish from
Yezo, and for rice to it.

At Namioka occurred the last of the very numerous ridges we have crossed
since leaving Nikkô at a point called Tsugarusaka, and from it looked
over a rugged country upon a dark-grey sea, nearly landlocked by
pine-clothed hills, of a rich purple indigo colour.  The clouds were
drifting, the colour was intensifying, the air was fresh and cold, the
surrounding soil was peaty, the odours of pines were balsamic, it looked,
felt, and smelt like home; the grey sea was Aomori Bay, beyond was the
Tsugaru Strait,—my long land-journey was done.  A traveller said a
steamer was sailing for Yezo at night, so, in a state of joyful
excitement, I engaged four men, and by dragging, pushing, and lifting,
they got me into Aomori, a town of grey houses, grey roofs, and grey
stones on roofs, built on a beach of grey sand, round a grey bay—a
miserable-looking place, though the capital of the _ken_.

It has a great export trade in cattle and rice to Yezo, besides being the
outlet of an immense annual emigration from northern Japan to the Yezo
fishery, and imports from Hakodaté large quantities of fish, skins, and
foreign merchandise.  It has some trade in a pretty but not valuable
“seaweed,” or variegated lacquer, called Aomori lacquer, but not actually
made there, its own speciality being a sweetmeat made of beans and sugar.
It has a deep and well-protected harbour, but no piers or conveniences
for trade.  It has barracks and the usual Government buildings, but there
was no time to learn anything about it,—only a short half-hour for
getting my ticket at the _Mitsu Bishi_ office, where they demanded and
copied my passport; for snatching a morsel of fish at a restaurant where
“foreign food” was represented by a very dirty table-cloth; and for
running down to the grey beach, where I was carried into a large _sampan_
crowded with Japanese steerage passengers.

The wind was rising, a considerable surf was running, the spray was
flying over the boat, the steamer had her steam up, and was ringing and
whistling impatiently, there was a scud of rain, and I was standing
trying to keep my paper waterproof from being blown off, when three
inopportune policemen jumped into the boat and demanded my passport.  For
a moment I wished them and the passport under the waves!  The steamer is
a little old paddle-boat of about 70 tons, with no accommodation but a
single cabin on deck.  She was as clean and trim as a yacht, and, like a
yacht, totally unfit for bad weather.  Her captain, engineers, and crew
were all Japanese, and not a word of English was spoken.  My clothes were
very wet, and the night was colder than the day had been, but the captain
kindly covered me up with several blankets on the floor, so I did not
suffer.  We sailed early in the evening, with a brisk northerly breeze,
which chopped round to the south-east, and by eleven blew a gale; the sea
ran high, the steamer laboured and shipped several heavy seas, much water
entered the cabin, the captain came below every half-hour, tapped the
barometer, sipped some tea, offered me a lump of sugar, and made a face
and gesture indicative of bad weather, and we were buffeted about
mercilessly till 4 a.m., when heavy rain came on, and the gale fell
temporarily with it.  The boat is not fit for a night passage, and always
lies in port when bad weather is expected; and as this was said to be the
severest gale which has swept the Tsugaru Strait since January, the
captain was uneasy about her, but being so, showed as much calmness as if
he had been a Briton!

The gale rose again after sunrise, and when, after doing sixty miles in
fourteen hours, we reached the heads of Hakodaté Harbour, it was blowing
and pouring like a bad day in Argyllshire, the spin-drift was driving
over the bay, the Yezo mountains loomed darkly and loftily through rain
and mist, and wind and thunder, and “noises of the northern sea,” gave me
a wild welcome to these northern shores.  A rocky head like Gibraltar, a
cold-blooded-looking grey town, straggling up a steep hillside, a few
_coniferæ_, a great many grey junks, a few steamers and vessels of
foreign rig at anchor, a number of _sampans_ riding the rough water
easily, seen in flashes between gusts of rain and spin-drift, were all I
saw, but somehow it all pleased me from its breezy, northern look.

The steamer was not expected in the gale, so no one met me, and I went
ashore with fifty Japanese clustered on the top of a decked _sampan_ in
such a storm of wind and rain that it took us 1½ hours to go half a mile;
then I waited shelterless on the windy beach till the Customs’ Officers
were roused from their late slumbers, and then battled with the storm for
a mile up a steep hill.  I was expected at the hospitable Consulate, but
did not know it, and came here to the Church Mission House, to which Mr.
and Mrs. Dening kindly invited me when I met them in Tôkiyô.  I was unfit
to enter a civilised dwelling; my clothes, besides being soaked, were
coated and splashed with mud up to the top of my hat; my gloves and boots
were finished, my mud-splashed baggage was soaked with salt water; but I
feel a somewhat legitimate triumph at having conquered all obstacles, and
having accomplished more than I intended to accomplish when I left Yedo.

How musical the clamour of the northern ocean is!  How inspiriting the
shrieking and howling of the boisterous wind!  Even the fierce pelting of
the rain is home-like, and the cold in which one shivers is stimulating!
You cannot imagine the delight of being in a room with a door that will
lock, to be in a bed instead of on a stretcher, of finding twenty-three
letters containing good news, and of being able to read them in warmth
and quietness under the roof of an English home!

                                                                  I. L. B.



ITINERARY of ROUTE from NIIGATA to AOMORI.

                   No. of Houses.     _Ri_.      _Chô_.
Kisaki                          56           4
Tsuiji                         209           6
Kurokawa                       215           2        12
Hanadati                        20           2
Kawaguchi                       27           3
Numa                            24           1        18
Tamagawa                        40           3
Okuni                          210           2        11
Kurosawa                        17           1        18
Ichinono                        20           1        18
Shirokasawa                     42           1        21
Tenoko                         120           3        11
Komatsu                        513           2        13
Akayu                          350           4
Kaminoyama                     650           5
Yamagata              21,000 souls           3        19
Tendo                        1,040           3         8
Tateoka                        307           3        21
Tochiida                       217           1        33
Obanasawa                      506           1        21
Ashizawa                        70           1        21
Shinjô                       1,060           4         6
Kanayama                       165           3        27
Nosoki                          37           3         9
Innai                          257           3        12
Yusawa                       1,506           3        35
Yokote                       2,070           4        27
Rokugo                       1,062           6
Shingoji                       209           1        28
Kubota                36,587 souls          16
Minato                       2,108           1        28
Abukawa                        163           3        33
Ichi Nichi Ichi                306           1        34
Kado                           151           2         9
Hinikoyama                     396           2         9
Tsugurata                      186           1        14
Tubiné                         153           1        18
Kiriishi                        31           1        14
Kotsunagi                       47           1        16
Tsuguriko                      136           3         5
Odaté                        1,673           4        23
Shirasawa                       71           2        19
Ikarigaseki                    175           4        18
Kuroishi                     1,176           6        19
Daishaka                        43           4
Shinjo                          51           2        21
Aomori                                       1        24
                                      _Ri_ 153         9

About 368 miles.

This is considerably under the actual distance, as on several of the
mountain routes the _ri_ is 56 _chô_, but in the lack of accurate
information the _ri_ has been taken at its ordinary standard of 36 _chô_
throughout.



LETTER XXXIII.


Form and Colour—A Windy Capital—Eccentricities in House Roofs.

                                           HAKODATÉ, YEZO, August 13, 1878

AFTER a tremendous bluster for two days the weather has become
beautifully fine, and I find the climate here more invigorating than that
of the main island.  It is Japan, but yet there is a difference somehow.
When the mists lift they reveal not mountains smothered in greenery, but
naked peaks, volcanoes only recently burnt out, with the red ash flaming
under the noonday sun, and passing through shades of pink into violet at
sundown.  Strips of sand border the bay, ranges of hills, with here and
there a patch of pine or scrub, fade into the far-off blue, and the great
cloud shadows lie upon their scored sides in indigo and purple.  Blue as
the Adriatic are the waters of the land-locked bay, and the snowy sails
of pale junks look whiter than snow against its intense azure.  The
abruptness of the double peaks behind the town is softened by a belt of
cryptomeria, the sandy strip which connects the headland with the
mainland heightens the general resemblance of the contour of the ground
to Gibraltar; but while one dreams of the western world a _kuruma_ passes
one at a trot, temple drums are beaten in a manner which does not recall
“the roll of the British drum,” a Buddhist funeral passes down the
street, or a man-cart pulled and pushed by four yellow-skinned,
little-clothed mannikins, creaks by, with the monotonous grunt of _Ha
huida_.

A single look at Hakodaté itself makes one feel that it is Japan all
over.  The streets are very wide and clean, but the houses are mean and
low.  The city looks as if it had just recovered from a conflagration.
The houses are nothing but tinder.  The grand tile roofs of some other
cities are not to be seen.  There is not an element of permanence in the
wide, and windy streets.  It is an increasing and busy place; it lies for
two miles along the shore, and has climbed the hill till it can go no
higher; but still houses and people look poor.  It has a skeleton aspect
too, which is partially due to the number of permanent “clothes-horses”
on the roofs.  Stones, however, are its prominent feature.  Looking down
upon it from above you see miles of grey boulders, and realise that every
roof in the windy capital is “hodden doun” by a weight of paving stones.
Nor is this all.  Some of the flatter roofs are pebbled all over like a
courtyard, and others, such as the roof of this house, for instance, are
covered with sod and crops of grass, the two latter arrangements being
precautions against risks from sparks during fires.  These paving stones
are certainly the cheapest possible mode of keeping the roofs on the
houses in such a windy region, but they look odd.

None of the streets, except one high up the hill, with a row of fine
temples and temple grounds, call for any notice.  Nearly every house is a
shop; most of the shops supply only the ordinary articles consumed by a
large and poor population; either real or imitated foreign goods abound
in Main Street, and the only novelties are the furs, skins, and horns,
which abound in shops devoted to their sale.  I covet the great bear furs
and the deep cream-coloured furs of Aino dogs, which are cheap as well as
handsome.  There are many second-hand, or, as they are called, “curio”
shops, and the cheap lacquer from Aomori is also tempting to a stranger.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXIV.


Ito’s Delinquency—“Missionary Manners”—A Predicted Failure.

                                                           HAKODATÉ, YEZO.

I AM enjoying Hakodaté so much that, though my tour is all planned and my
arrangements are made, I linger on from day to day.  There has been an
unpleasant _éclaircissement_ about Ito.  You will remember that I engaged
him without a character, and that he told both Lady Parkes and me that
after I had done so his former master, Mr. Maries, asked him to go back
to him, to which he had replied that he had “a contract with a lady.”
Mr. Maries is here, and I now find that he had a contract with Ito, by
which Ito bound himself to serve him as long as he required him, for $7 a
month, but that, hearing that I offered $12, he ran away from him and
entered my service with a lie!  Mr. Maries has been put to the greatest
inconvenience by his defection, and has been hindered greatly in
completing his botanical collection, for Ito is very clever, and he had
not only trained him to dry plants successfully, but he could trust him
to go away for two or three days and collect seeds.  I am very sorry
about it.  He says that Ito was a bad boy when he came to him, but he
thinks that he cured him of some of his faults, and that he has served me
faithfully.  I have seen Mr. Maries at the Consul’s, and have arranged
that, after my Yezo tour is over, Ito shall be returned to his rightful
master, who will take him to China and Formosa for a year and a half, and
who, I think, will look after his well-being in every way.  Dr. and Mrs.
Hepburn, who are here, heard a bad account of the boy after I began my
travels and were uneasy about me, but, except for this original lie, I
have no fault to find with him, and his Shintô creed has not taught him
any better.  When I paid him his wages this morning he asked me if I had
any fault to find, and I told him of my objection to his manners, which
he took in very good part and promised to amend them; “but,” he added,
“mine are just missionary manners!”

Yesterday I dined at the Consulate, to meet Count Diesbach, of the French
Legation, Mr. Von Siebold, of the Austrian Legation, and Lieutenant
Kreitner, of the Austrian army, who start to-morrow on an exploring
expedition in the interior, intending to cross the sources of the rivers
which fall into the sea on the southern coast and measure the heights of
some of the mountains.  They are “well found” in food and claret, but
take such a number of pack-ponies with them that I predict that they will
fail, and that I, who have reduced my luggage to 45 lbs., will succeed!

I hope to start on my long-projected tour to-morrow; I have planned it
for myself with the confidence of an experienced traveller, and look
forward to it with great pleasure, as a visit to the aborigines is sure
to be full of novel and interesting experiences.  Good-bye for a long
time.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXV. {216}


A Lovely Sunset—An Official Letter—A “Front Horse”—Japanese Courtesy—The
Steam Ferry—Coolies Abscond—A Team of Savages—A Drove of Horses—Floral
Beauties—An Unbeaten Track—A Ghostly Dwelling—Solitude and Eeriness.

                                            GINSAINOMA, YEZO, _August_ 17.

I AM once again in the wilds!  I am sitting outside an upper room built
out almost over a lonely lake, with wooded points purpling and still
shadows deepening in the sinking sun.  A number of men are dragging down
the nearest hillside the carcass of a bear which they have just
despatched with spears.  There is no village, and the busy clatter of the
_cicada_ and the rustle of the forest are the only sounds which float on
the still evening air.  The sunset colours are pink and green; on the
tinted water lie the waxen cups of great water-lilies, and above the
wooded heights the pointed, craggy, and altogether naked summit of the
volcano of Komono-taki flushes red in the sunset.  Not the least of the
charms of the evening is that I am absolutely alone, having ridden the
eighteen miles from Hakodaté without Ito or an attendant of any kind;
have unsaddled my own horse, and by means of much politeness and a
dexterous use of Japanese substantives have secured a good room and
supper of rice, eggs, and black beans for myself and a mash of beans for
my horse, which, as it belongs to the _Kaitakushi_, and has the dignity
of iron shoes, is entitled to special consideration!

I am not yet off the “beaten track,” but my spirits are rising with the
fine weather, the drier atmosphere, and the freedom of Yezo.  Yezo is to
the main island of Japan what Tipperary is to an Englishman, Barra to a
Scotchman, “away down in Texas” to a New Yorker—in the rough, little
known, and thinly-peopled; and people can locate all sorts of improbable
stories here without much fear of being found out, of which the Ainos and
the misdeeds of the ponies furnish the staple, and the queer doings of
men and dogs, and adventures with bears, wolves, and salmon, the
embroidery.  Nobody comes here without meeting with something queer, and
one or two tumbles either with or from his horse.  Very little is known
of the interior except that it is covered with forest matted together by
lianas, and with an undergrowth of scrub bamboo impenetrable except to
the axe, varied by swamps equally impassable, which give rise to hundreds
of rivers well stocked with fish.  The glare of volcanoes is seen in
different parts of the island.  The forests are the hunting-grounds of
the Ainos, who are complete savages in everything but their disposition,
which is said to be so gentle and harmless that I may go among them with
perfect safety.

Kindly interest has been excited by the first foray made by a lady into
the country of the aborigines; and Mr. Eusden, the Consul, has worked
upon the powers that be with such good effect that the Governor has
granted me a _shomon_, a sort of official letter or certificate, giving
me a right to obtain horses and coolies everywhere at the Government rate
of 6 _sen_ a _ri_, with a prior claim to accommodation at the houses kept
up for officials on their circuits, and to help and assistance from
officials generally; and the Governor has further telegraphed to the
other side of Volcano Bay desiring the authorities to give me the use of
the Government _kuruma_ as long as I need it, and to detain the steamer
to suit my convenience!  With this document, which enables me to dispense
with my passport, I shall find travelling very easy, and I am very
grateful to the Consul for procuring it for me.

Here, where rice and tea have to be imported, there is a uniform charge
at the _yadoyas_ of 30 _sen_ a day, which includes three meals, whether
you eat them or not.  Horses are abundant, but are small, and are not up
to heavy weights.  They are entirely unshod, and, though their hoofs are
very shallow and grow into turned-up points and other singular shapes,
they go over rough ground with facility at a scrambling run of over four
miles an hour following a leader called a “front horse.”  If you don’t
get a “front horse” and try to ride in front, you find that your horse
will not stir till he has another before him; and then you are perfectly
helpless, as he follows the movements of his leader without any reference
to your wishes.  There are no _mago_; a man rides the “front horse” and
goes at whatever pace you please, or, if you get a “front horse,” you may
go without any one.  Horses are cheap and abundant.  They drive a number
of them down from the hills every morning into _corrals_ in the villages,
and keep them there till they are wanted.  Because they are so cheap they
are very badly used.  I have not seen one yet without a sore back,
produced by the harsh pack-saddle rubbing up and down the spine, as the
loaded animals are driven at a run.  They are mostly very poor-looking.

As there was some difficulty about getting a horse for me the Consul sent
one of the _Kaitakushi_ saddle-horses, a handsome, lazy animal, which I
rarely succeeded in stimulating into a heavy gallop.  Leaving Ito to
follow with the baggage, I enjoyed my solitary ride and the possibility
of choosing my own pace very much, though the choice was only between a
slow walk and the lumbering gallop aforesaid.

I met strings of horses loaded with deer hides, and overtook other
strings loaded with _saké_ and manufactured goods and in each case had a
fight with my sociably inclined animal.  In two villages I was interested
to see that the small shops contained lucifer matches, cotton umbrellas,
boots, brushes, clocks, slates, and pencils, engravings in frames,
kerosene lamps, {218} and red and green blankets, all but the last, which
are unmistakable British “shoddy,” being Japanese imitations of foreign
manufactured goods, more or less cleverly executed.  The road goes up
hill for fifteen miles, and, after passing Nanai, a trim Europeanised
village in the midst of fine crops, one of the places at which the
Government is making acclimatisation and other agricultural experiments,
it fairly enters the mountains, and from the top of a steep hill there is
a glorious view of Hakodaté Head, looking like an island in the deep blue
sea, and from the top of a higher hill, looking northward, a magnificent
view of the volcano with its bare, pink summit rising above three lovely
lakes densely wooded.  These are the flushed scaurs and outbreaks of bare
rock for which I sighed amidst the smothering greenery of the main
island, and the silver gleam of the lakes takes away the blindness from
the face of nature.  It was delicious to descend to the water’s edge in
the dewy silence amidst balsamic odours, to find not a clattering grey
village with its monotony, but a single, irregularly-built house, with
lovely surroundings.

It is a most displeasing road for most of the way; sides with deep
corrugations, and in the middle a high causeway of earth, whose height is
being added to by hundreds of creels of earth brought on ponies’ backs.
It is supposed that carriages and waggons will use this causeway, but a
shying horse or a bad driver would overturn them.  As it is at present
the road is only passable for pack-horses, owing to the number of broken
bridges.  I passed strings of horses laden with _saké_ going into the
interior.  The people of Yezo drink freely, and the poor Ainos
outrageously.  On the road I dismounted to rest myself by walking up
hill, and, the saddle being loosely girthed, the gear behind it dragged
it round and under the body of the horse, and it was too heavy for me to
lift on his back again.  When I had led him for some time two Japanese
with a string of pack-horses loaded with deer-hides met me, and not only
put the saddle on again, but held the stirrup while I remounted, and
bowed politely when I went away.  Who could help liking such a courteous
and kindly people?

                                * * * * *

                                              MORI, VOLCANO BAY, _Monday_.

Even Ginsainoma was not Paradise after dark, and I was actually driven to
bed early by the number of mosquitoes.  Ito is in an excellent humour on
this tour.  Like me, he likes the freedom of the _Hokkaidô_.  He is much
more polite and agreeable also, and very proud of the Governor’s
_shomon_, with which he swaggers into hotels and Transport Offices.  I
never get on so well as when he arranges for me.  Saturday was grey and
lifeless, and the ride of seven miles here along a sandy road through
monotonous forest and swamp, with the volcano on one side and low wooded
hills on the other, was wearisome and fatiguing.  I saw five large snakes
all in a heap, and a number more twisting through the grass.  There are
no villages, but several very poor tea-houses, and on the other side of
the road long sheds with troughs hollowed like canoes out of the trunks
of trees, containing horse food.  Here nobody walks, and the men ride at
a quick run, sitting on the tops of their pack-saddles with their legs
crossed above their horses’ necks, and wearing large hats like
coal-scuttle bonnets.  The horses are infested with ticks, hundreds upon
one animal sometimes, and occasionally they become so mad from the
irritation that they throw themselves suddenly on the ground, and roll
over load and rider.  I saw this done twice.  The ticks often transfer
themselves to the riders.

Mori is a large, ramshackle village, near the southern point of Volcano
Bay—a wild, dreary-looking place on a sandy shore, with a number of
_jôrôyas_ and disreputable characters.  Several of the yadoyas are not
respectable, but I rather like this one, and it has a very fine view of
the volcano, which forms one point of the bay.  Mori has no anchorage,
though it has an unfinished pier 345 feet long.  The steam ferry across
the mouth of the bay is here, and there is a very difficult bridle-track
running for nearly 100 miles round the bay besides, and a road into the
interior.  But it is a forlorn, decayed place.  Last night the inn was
very noisy, as some travellers in the next room to mine hired _geishas_,
who played, sang, and danced till two in the morning, and the whole party
imbibed _saké_ freely.  In this comparatively northern latitude the
summer is already waning.  The seeds of the blossoms which were in their
glory when I arrived are ripe, and here and there a tinge of yellow on a
hillside, or a scarlet spray of maple, heralds the glories and the
coolness of autumn.

                                * * * * *

                                                            YUBETS.  YEZO.

A loud yell of “steamer,” coupled with the information that “she could
not wait one minute,” broke in upon _gô_ and everything else, and in a
broiling sun we hurried down to the pier, and with a heap of Japanese,
who filled two _scows_, were put on board a steamer not bigger than a
large decked steam launch, where the natives were all packed into a
covered hole, and I was conducted with much ceremony to the forecastle, a
place at the bow 5 feet square, full of coils of rope, shut in, and left
to solitude and dignity, and the stare of eight eyes, which perseveringly
glowered through the windows!  The steamer had been kept waiting for me
on the other side for two days, to the infinite disgust of two
foreigners, who wished to return to Hakodaté, and to mine.

It was a splendid day, with foam crests on the wonderfully blue water,
and the red ashes of the volcano, which forms the south point of the bay,
glowed in the sunlight.  This wretched steamer, whose boilers are so
often “sick” that she can never be relied upon, is the only means of
reaching the new capital without taking a most difficult and circuitous
route.  To continue the pier and put a capable good steamer on the ferry
would be a useful expenditure of money.  The breeze was strong and in our
favour, but even with this it took us six weary hours to steam
twenty-five miles, and it was eight at night before we reached the
beautiful and almost land-locked bay of Mororan, with steep, wooded
sides, and deep water close to the shore, deep enough for the foreign
ships of war which occasionally anchor there, much to the detriment of
the town.  We got off in over-crowded _sampans_, and several people fell
into the water, much to their own amusement.  The servants from the
different _yadoyas_ go down to the jetty to “tout” for guests with large
paper lanterns, and the effect of these, one above another, waving and
undulating, with their soft coloured light, was as bewitching as the
reflection of the stars in the motionless water.  Mororan is a small town
very picturesquely situated on the steep shore of a most lovely bay, with
another height, richly wooded, above it, with shrines approached by
flights of stone stairs, and behind this hill there is the first Aino
village along this coast.

The long, irregular street is slightly picturesque, but I was impressed
both with the unusual sight of loafers and with the dissolute look of the
place, arising from the number of _jôrôyas_, and from the number of
_yadoyas_ that are also haunts of the vicious.  I could only get a very
small room in a very poor and dirty inn, but there were no mosquitoes,
and I got a good meal of fish.  On sending to order horses I found that
everything was arranged for my journey.  The Governor sent his card
early, to know if there were anything I should like to see or do, but, as
the morning was grey and threatening, I wished to push on, and at 9.30 I
was in the _kuruma_ at the inn door.  I call it the _kuruma_ because it
is the only one, and is kept by the Government for the conveyance of
hospital patients.  I sat there uncomfortably and patiently for half an
hour, my only amusement being the flirtations of Ito with a very pretty
girl.  Loiterers assembled, but no one came to draw the vehicle, and by
degrees the dismal truth leaked out that the three coolies who had been
impressed for the occasion had all absconded, and that four policemen
were in search of them.  I walked on in a dawdling way up the steep hill
which leads from the town, met Mr. Akboshi, a pleasant young Japanese
surveyor, who spoke English and stigmatised Mororan as “the worst place
in Yezo;” and, after fuming for two hours at the waste of time, was
overtaken by Ito with the horses, in a boiling rage.  “They’re the worst
and wickedest coolies in all Japan,” he stammered; “two more ran away,
and now three are coming, and have got paid for four, and the first three
who ran away got paid, and the Express man’s so ashamed for a foreigner,
and the Governor’s in a furious rage.”

Except for the loss of time it made no difference to me, but when the
_kuruma_ did come up the runners were three such ruffianly-looking men,
and were dressed so wildly in bark cloth, that, in sending Ito on twelve
miles to secure relays, I sent my money along with him.  These men,
though there were three instead of two, never went out of a walk, and, as
if on purpose, took the vehicle over every stone and into every rut, and
kept up a savage chorus of “_haes-ha_, _haes-hora_” the whole time, as if
they were pulling stone-carts.  There are really no runners out of
Hakodaté, and the men don’t know how to pull, and hate doing it.

Mororan Bay is truly beautiful from the top of the ascent.  The coast
scenery of Japan generally is the loveliest I have ever seen, except that
of a portion of windward Hawaii, and this yields in beauty to none.  The
irregular grey town, with a grey temple on the height above, straggles
round the little bay on a steep, wooded terrace; hills, densely wooded,
and with a perfect entanglement of large-leaved trailers, descend
abruptly to the water’s edge; the festoons of the vines are mirrored in
the still waters; and above the dark forest, and beyond the gleaming sea,
rises the red, peaked top of the volcano.  Then the road dips abruptly to
sandy swellings, rising into bold headlands here and there; and for the
first time I saw the surge of 5000 miles of unbroken ocean break upon the
shore.  Glimpses of the Pacific, an uncultivated, swampy level quite
uninhabited, and distant hills mainly covered with forest, made up the
landscape till I reached Horobets, a mixed Japanese and Aino village
built upon the sand near the sea.

                 [Picture: Aino Store-House at Horobets]

In these mixed villages the Ainos are compelled to live at a respectful
distance from the Japanese, and frequently out-number them, as at
Horobets, where there are forty-seven Aino and only eighteen Japanese
houses.  The Aino village looks larger than it really is, because nearly
every house has a _kura_, raised six feet from the ground by wooden
stilts.  When I am better acquainted with the houses I shall describe
them; at present I will only say that they do not resemble the Japanese
houses so much as the Polynesian, as they are made of reeds very neatly
tied upon a wooden framework.  They have small windows, and roofs of a
very great height, and steep pitch, with the thatch in a series of very
neat frills, and the ridge poles covered with reeds, and ornamented.  The
coast Ainos are nearly all engaged in fishing, but at this season the men
hunt deer in the forests.  On this coast there are several names
compounded with _bets_ or _pets_, the Aino for a river, such as Horobets,
Yubets, Mombets, etc.

             [Picture: Aino Lodges (from a Japanese Sketch)]

I found that Ito had been engaged for a whole hour in a violent
altercation, which was caused by the Transport Agent refusing to supply
runners for the _kuruma_, saying that no one in Horobets would draw one,
but on my producing the _shomon_ I was at once started on my journey of
sixteen miles with three Japanese lads, Ito riding on to Shiraôi to get
my room ready.  I think that the Transport Offices in Yezo are in
Government hands.  In a few minutes three Ainos ran out of a house, took
the _kuruma_, and went the whole stage without stopping.  They took a boy
and three saddled horses along with them to bring them back, and rode and
hauled alternately, two youths always attached to the shafts, and a man
pushing behind.  They were very kind, and so courteous, after a new
fashion, that I quite forgot that I was alone among savages.  The lads
were young and beardless, their lips were thick, and their mouths very
wide, and I thought that they approached more nearly to the Eskimo type
than to any other.  They had masses of soft black hair falling on each
side of their faces.  The adult man was not a pure Aino.  His dark hair
was not very thick, and both it and his beard had an occasional auburn
gleam.  I think I never saw a face more completely beautiful in features
and expression, with a lofty, sad, far-off, gentle, intellectual look,
rather that of Sir Noël Paton’s “Christ” than of a savage.  His manner
was most graceful, and he spoke both Aino and Japanese in the low musical
tone which I find is a characteristic of Aino speech.  These Ainos never
took off their clothes, but merely let them fall from one or both
shoulders when it was very warm.

The road from Horobets to Shiraôi is very solitary, with not more than
four or five houses the whole way.  It is broad and straight, except when
it ascends hills or turns inland to cross rivers, and is carried across a
broad swampy level, covered with tall wild flowers, which extends from
the high beach thrown up by the sea for two miles inland, where there is
a lofty wall of wooded rock, and beyond this the forest-covered mountains
of the interior.  On the top of the raised beach there were Aino hamlets,
and occasionally a nearly overpowering stench came across the level from
the sheds and apparatus used for extracting fish-oil.  I enjoyed the
afternoon thoroughly.  It is so good to have got beyond the confines of
stereotyped civilisation and the trammels of Japanese travelling to the
solitude of nature and an atmosphere of freedom.  It was grey, with a
hard, dark line of ocean horizon, and over the weedy level the grey road,
with grey telegraph-poles along it, stretched wearisomely like a grey
thread.  The breeze came up from the sea, rustled the reeds, and waved
the tall plumes of the _Eulalia japonica_, and the thunder of the Pacific
surges boomed through the air with its grand, deep bass.  Poetry and
music pervaded the solitude, and my spirit was rested.

Going up and then down a steep, wooded hill, the road appeared to return
to its original state of brushwood, and the men stopped at the broken
edge of a declivity which led down to a shingle bank and a foam-crested
river of clear, blue-green water, strongly impregnated with sulphur from
some medicinal springs above, with a steep bank of tangle on the opposite
side.  This beautiful stream was crossed by two round poles, a foot
apart, on which I attempted to walk with the help of an Aino hand; but
the poles were very unsteady, and I doubt whether any one, even with a
strong head, could walk on them in boots.  Then the beautiful Aino signed
to me to come back and mount on his shoulders; but when he had got a few
feet out the poles swayed and trembled so much that he was obliged to
retrace his way cautiously, during which process I endured miseries from
dizziness and fear; after which he carried me through the rushing water,
which was up to his shoulders, and through a bit of swampy jungle, and up
a steep bank, to the great fatigue both of body and mind, hardly
mitigated by the enjoyment of the ludicrous in riding a savage through
these Yezo waters.  They dexterously carried the _kuruma_ through, on the
shoulders of four, and showed extreme anxiety that neither it nor I
should get wet.  After this we crossed two deep, still rivers in scows,
and far above the grey level and the grey sea the sun was setting in gold
and vermilion-streaked green behind a glorified mountain of great height,
at whose feet the forest-covered hills lay in purple gloom.  At dark we
reached Shiraôi, a village of eleven Japanese houses, with a village of
fifty-one Aino houses, near the sea.  There is a large _yadoya_ of the
old style there; but I found that Ito had chosen a very pretty new one,
with four stalls open to the road, in the centre one of which I found
him, with the welcome news that a steak of fresh salmon was broiling on
the coals; and, as the room was clean and sweet and I was very hungry, I
enjoyed my meal by the light of a rush in a saucer of fish-oil as much as
any part of the day.

                                * * * * *

                                                                 SARUFUTO.

The night was too cold for sleep, and at daybreak, hearing a great din, I
looked out, and saw a drove of fully a hundred horses all galloping down
the road, with two Ainos on horseback, and a number of big dogs after
them.  Hundreds of horses run nearly wild on the hills, and the Ainos,
getting a large drove together, skilfully head them for the entrance into
the corral, in which a selection of them is made for the day’s needs, and
the remainder—that is, those with the deepest sores on their backs—are
turned loose.  This dull rattle of shoeless feet is the first sound in
the morning in these Yezo villages.  I sent Ito on early, and followed at
nine with three Ainos.  The road is perfectly level for thirteen miles,
through gravel flats and swamps, very monotonous, but with a wild charm
of its own.  There were swampy lakes, with wild ducks and small white
water-lilies, and the surrounding levels were covered with reedy grass,
flowers, and weeds.  The early autumn has withered a great many of the
flowers; but enough remains to show how beautiful the now russet plains
must have been in the early summer.  A dwarf rose, of a deep crimson
colour, with orange, medlar-shaped hips, as large as crabs, and corollas
three inches across, is one of the features of Yezo; and besides, there
is a large rose-red convolvulus, a blue campanula, with tiers of bells, a
blue monkshood, the _Aconitum Japonicum_, the flaunting _Calystegia
soldanella_, purple asters, grass of Parnassus, yellow lilies, and a
remarkable trailer, whose delicate leafage looked quite out of place
among its coarse surroundings, with a purplish-brown campanulate blossom,
only remarkable for a peculiar arrangement of the pistil, green stamens,
and a most offensive carrion-like odour, which is probably to attract to
it a very objectionable-looking fly, for purposes of fertilisation.

We overtook four Aino women, young and comely, with bare feet, striding
firmly along; and after a good deal of laughing with the men, they took
hold of the _kuruma_, and the whole seven raced with it at full speed for
half a mile, shrieking with laughter.  Soon after we came upon a little
tea-house, and the Ainos showed me a straw package, and pointed to their
open mouths, by which I understood that they wished to stop and eat.
Later we overtook four Japanese on horseback, and the Ainos raced with
them for a considerable distance, the result of these spurts being that I
reached Tomakomai at noon—a wide, dreary place, with houses roofed with
sod, bearing luxuriant crops of weeds.  Near this place is the volcano of
Tarumai, a calm-looking, grey cone, whose skirts are draped by tens of
thousands of dead trees.  So calm and grey had it looked for many a year
that people supposed it had passed into endless rest, when quite lately,
on a sultry day, it blew off its cap and covered the whole country for
many a mile with cinders and ashes, burning up the forest on its sides,
adding a new covering to the Tomakomai roofs, and depositing fine ash as
far as Cape Erimo, fifty miles off.

At this place the road and telegraph wires turn inland to Satsuporo, and
a track for horses only turns to the north-east, and straggles round the
island for about seven hundred miles.  From Mororan to Sarufuto there are
everywhere traces of new and old volcanic action—pumice, tufas,
conglomerates, and occasional beds of hard basalt, all covered with
recent pumice, which, from Shiraôi eastwards, conceals everything.  At
Tomakomai we took horses, and, as I brought my own saddle, I have had the
nearest approach to real riding that I have enjoyed in Japan.  The wife
of a Satsuporo doctor was there, who was travelling for two hundred miles
astride on a pack-saddle, with rope-loops for stirrups.  She rode well,
and vaulted into my saddle with circus-like dexterity, and performed many
equestrian feats upon it, telling me that she should be quite happy if
she were possessed of it.

I was happy when I left the “beaten track” to Satsuporo, and saw before
me, stretching for I know not how far, rolling, sandy _machirs_ like
those of the Outer Hebrides, desert-like and lonely, covered almost
altogether with dwarf roses and campanulas, a prairie land on which you
can make any tracks you please.  Sending the others on, I followed them
at the Yezo _scramble_, and soon ventured on a long gallop, and revelled
in the music of the thud of shoeless feet over the elastic soil; but I
had not realised the peculiarities of Yezo steeds, and had forgotten to
ask whether mine was a “front horse,” and just as we were going at full
speed we came nearly up with the others, and my horse coming abruptly to
a full stop, I went six feet over his head among the rose-bushes.  Ito
looking back saw me tightening the saddle-girths, and I never divulged
this escapade.

After riding eight miles along this breezy belt, with the sea on one side
and forests on the other, we came upon Yubets, a place which has
fascinated me so much that I intend to return to it; but I must confess
that its fascinations depend rather upon what it has not than upon what
it has, and Ito says that it would kill him to spend even two days there.
It looks like the end of all things, as if loneliness and desolation
could go no farther.  A sandy stretch on three sides, a river arrested in
its progress to the sea, and compelled to wander tediously in search of
an outlet by the height and mass of the beach thrown up by the Pacific, a
distant forest-belt rising into featureless, wooded ranges in shades of
indigo and grey, and a never-absent consciousness of a vast ocean just
out of sight, are the environments of two high look-outs, some sheds for
fish-oil purposes, four or five Japanese houses, four Aino huts on the
top of the beach across the river, and a grey barrack, consisting of a
polished passage eighty feet long, with small rooms on either side, at
one end a gravelled yard, with two quiet rooms opening upon it, and at
the other an immense _daidokoro_, with dark recesses and blackened
rafters—a haunted-looking abode.  One would suppose that there had been a
special object in setting the houses down at weary distances from each
other.  Few as they are, they are not all inhabited at this season, and
all that can be seen is grey sand, sparse grass, and a few savages
creeping about.

Nothing that I have seen has made such an impression upon me as that
ghostly, ghastly fishing-station.  In the long grey wall of the long grey
barrack there were many dismal windows, and when we hooted for admission
a stupid face appeared at one of them and disappeared.  Then a grey
gateway opened, and we rode into a yard of grey gravel, with some silent
rooms opening upon it.  The solitude of the thirty or forty rooms which
lie between it and the kitchen, and which are now filled with nets and
fishing-tackle, was something awful; and as the wind swept along the
polished passage, rattling the _fusuma_ and lifting the shingles on the
roof, and the rats careered from end to end, I went to the great black
_daidokoro_ in search of social life, and found a few embers and an
_andon_, and nothing else but the stupid-faced man deploring his fate,
and two orphan boys whose lot he makes more wretched than his own.  In
the fishing-season this barrack accommodates from 200 to 300 men.

I started to the sea-shore, crossing the dreary river, and found open
sheds much blackened, deserted huts of reeds, long sheds with a nearly
insufferable odour from caldrons in which oil had been extracted from
last year’s fish, two or three Aino huts, and two or three grand-looking
Ainos, clothed in skins, striding like ghosts over the sandbanks, a
number of wolfish dogs, some log canoes or “dug-outs,” the bones of a
wrecked junk, a quantity of bleached drift-wood, a beach of dark-grey
sand, and a tossing expanse of dark-grey ocean under a dull and windy
sky.  On this part of the coast the Pacific spends its fury, and has
raised up at a short distance above high-water mark a sandy sweep of such
a height that when you descend its seaward slope you see nothing but the
sea and the sky, and a grey, curving shore, covered thick for many a
lonely mile with fantastic forms of whitened drift-wood, the shattered
wrecks of forest-trees, which are carried down by the innumerable rivers,
till, after tossing for weeks and months along with

       “—wrecks of ships, and drifting
             spars uplifting
          On the desolate, rainy seas:
    Ever drifting, drifting, drifting,
          On the shifting
    Currents of the restless main;”

the “toiling surges” cast them on Yubets beach, and

    “All have found repose again.”

A grim repose!

The deep boom of the surf was music, and the strange cries of sea-birds,
and the hoarse notes of the audacious black crows, were all harmonious,
for nature, when left to herself, never produces discords either in sound
or colour.



LETTER XXXV.—(_Continued_.)


The Harmonies of Nature—A Good Horse—A Single Discord—A Forest—Aino
Ferrymen—“_Les Puces_!  _Les Puces_!”—Baffled Explorers—Ito’s Contempt
for Ainos—An Aino Introduction.

                                                                 SARUFUTO.

NO!  Nature has no discords.  This morning, to the far horizon,
diamond-flashing blue water shimmered in perfect peace, outlined by a
line of surf which broke lazily on a beach scarcely less snowy than
itself.  The deep, perfect blue of the sky was only broken by a few
radiant white clouds, whose shadows trailed slowly over the plain on
whose broad bosom a thousand corollas, in the glory of their brief but
passionate life, were drinking in the sunshine, wavy ranges slept in
depths of indigo, and higher hills beyond were painted in faint blue on
the dreamy sky.  Even the few grey houses of Yubets were spiritualised
into harmony by a faint blue veil which was not a mist, and the loud
croak of the loquacious and impertinent crows had a cheeriness about it,
a hearty mockery, which I liked.

Above all, I had a horse so good that he was always trying to run away,
and galloped so lightly over the flowery grass that I rode the seventeen
miles here with great enjoyment.  Truly a good horse, good ground to
gallop on, and sunshine, make up the sum of enjoyable travelling.  The
discord in the general harmony was produced by the sight of the Ainos, a
harmless people without the instinct of progress, descending to that vast
tomb of conquered and unknown races which has opened to receive so many
before them.  A mounted policeman started with us from Yubets, and rode
the whole way here, keeping exactly to my pace, but never speaking a
word.  We forded one broad, deep river, and crossed another, partly by
fording and partly in a scow, after which the track left the level, and,
after passing through reedy grass as high as the horse’s ears, went for
some miles up and down hill, through woods composed entirely of the
_Ailanthus glandulosus_, with leaves much riddled by the mountain
silk-worm, and a ferny undergrowth of the familiar _Pteris aquilina_.
The deep shade and glancing lights of this open copsewood were very
pleasant; and as the horse tripped gaily up and down the little hills,
and the sea murmur mingled with the rustle of the breeze, and a glint of
white surf sometimes flashed through the greenery, and dragonflies and
butterflies in suits of crimson and black velvet crossed the path
continually like “living flashes” of light, I was reminded somewhat,
though faintly, of windward Hawaii.  We emerged upon an Aino hut and a
beautiful placid river, and two Ainos ferried the four people and horses
across in a scow, the third wading to guide the boat.  They wore no
clothing, but only one was hairy.  They were superb-looking men, gentle,
and extremely courteous, handing me in and out of the boat, and holding
the stirrup while I mounted, with much natural grace.  On leaving they
extended their arms and waved their hands inwards twice, stroking their
grand beards afterwards, which is their usual salutation.  A short
distance over shingle brought us to this Japanese village of sixty-three
houses, a colonisation settlement, mainly of _samurai_ from the province
of Sendai, who are raising very fine crops on the sandy soil.  The
mountains, twelve miles in the interior, have a large Aino population,
and a few Ainos live near this village and are held in great contempt by
its inhabitants.  My room is on the village street, and, as it is too
warm to close the _shôji_, the aborigines stand looking in at the lattice
hour after hour.

A short time ago Mr. Von Siebold and Count Diesbach galloped up on their
return from Biratori, the Aino village to which I am going; and Count D.,
throwing himself from his horse, rushed up to me with the exclamation,
_Les puces_! _les puces_!  They have brought down with them the chief,
Benri, a superb but dissipated-looking savage.  Mr. Von Siebold called on
me this evening, and I envied him his fresh, clean clothing as much as he
envied me my stretcher and mosquito-net.  They have suffered terribly
from fleas, mosquitoes, and general discomfort, and are much exhausted;
but Mr. Von S. thinks that, in spite of all, a visit to the mountain
Ainos is worth a long journey.  As I expected, they have completely
failed in their explorations, and have been deserted by Lieutenant
Kreitner.  I asked Mr. Von S. to speak to Ito in Japanese about the
importance of being kind and courteous to the Ainos whose hospitality I
shall receive; and Ito is very indignant at this.  “Treat Ainos
politely!” he says; “they’re just dogs, not men;” and since he has
regaled me with all the scandal concerning them which he has been able to
rake together in the village.

We have to take not only food for both Ito and myself, but cooking
utensils.  I have been introduced to Benri, the chief; and, though he
does not return for a day or two, he will send a message along with us
which will ensure me hospitality.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXVI.


Savage Life—A Forest Track—Cleanly Villages—A Hospitable Reception—The
Chief’s Mother—The Evening Meal—A Savage _Séance_—Libations to the
Gods—Nocturnal Silence—Aino Courtesy—The Chief’s Wife.

                                          AINO HUT, BIRATORI, _August_ 23.

                          [Picture: Aino Houses]

I AM in the lonely Aino land, and I think that the most interesting of my
travelling experiences has been the living for three days and two nights
in an Aino hut, and seeing and sharing the daily life of complete
savages, who go on with their ordinary occupations just as if I were not
among them.  I found yesterday a most fatiguing and over-exciting day, as
everything was new and interesting, even the extracting from men who have
few if any ideas in common with me all I could extract concerning their
religion and customs, and that through an interpreter.  I got up at six
this morning to write out my notes, and have been writing for five hours,
and there is shortly the prospect of another savage _séance_.  The
distractions, as you can imagine, are many.  At this moment a savage is
taking a cup of _saké_ by the fire in the centre of the floor.  He
salutes me by extending his hands and waving them towards his face, and
then dips a rod in the _saké_, and makes six libations to the god—an
upright piece of wood with a fringe of shavings planted in the floor of
the room.  Then he waves the cup several times towards himself, makes
other libations to the fire, and drinks.  Ten other men and women are
sitting along each side of the fire-hole, the chief’s wife is cooking,
the men are apathetically contemplating the preparation of their food;
and the other women, who are never idle, are splitting the bark of which
they make their clothes.  I occupy the guest seat—a raised platform at
one end of the fire, with the skin of a black bear thrown over it.

           [Picture: Ainos at Home.  (From a Japanese Sketch)]

I have reserved all I have to say about the Ainos till I had been
actually among them, and I hope you will have patience to read to the
end.  Ito is very greedy and self-indulgent, and whimpered very much
about coming to Biratori at all,—one would have thought he was going to
the stake.  He actually borrowed for himself a sleeping mat and _futons_,
and has brought a chicken, onions, potatoes, French beans, Japanese
sauce, tea, rice, a kettle, a stew-pan, and a rice-pan, while I contented
myself with a cold fowl and potatoes.

We took three horses and a mounted Aino guide, and found a beaten track
the whole way.  It turns into the forest at once on leaving Sarufuto, and
goes through forest the entire distance, with an abundance of reedy grass
higher than my hat on horseback along it, and, as it is only twelve
inches broad and much overgrown, the horses were constantly pushing
through leafage soaking from a night’s rain, and I was soon wet up to my
shoulders.  The forest trees are almost solely the _Ailanthus
glandulosus_ and the _Zelkowa keaki_, often matted together with a
white-flowered trailer of the Hydrangea genus.  The undergrowth is simply
hideous, consisting mainly of coarse reedy grass, monstrous docks, the
large-leaved _Polygonum cuspidatum_, several umbelliferous plants, and a
“ragweed” which, like most of its gawky fellows, grows from five to six
feet high.  The forest is dark and very silent, threaded by this narrow
path, and by others as narrow, made by the hunters in search of game.
The “main road” sometimes plunges into deep bogs, at others is roughly
corduroyed by the roots of trees, and frequently hangs over the edge of
abrupt and much-worn declivities, in going up one of which the
baggage-horse rolled down a bank fully thirty feet high, and nearly all
the tea was lost.  At another the guide’s pack-saddle lost its balance,
and man, horse, and saddle went over the slope, pots, pans, and packages
flying after them.  At another time my horse sank up to his chest in a
very bad bog, and, as he was totally unable to extricate himself, I was
obliged to scramble upon his neck and jump to _terra firma_ over his
ears.

There is something very gloomy in the solitude of this silent land, with
its beast-haunted forests, its great patches of pasture, the resort of
wild animals which haunt the lower regions in search of food when the
snow drives them down from the mountains, and its narrow track,
indicating the single file in which the savages of the interior walk with
their bare, noiseless feet.  Reaching the Sarufutogawa, a river with a
treacherous bottom, in which Mr. Von Siebold and his horse came to grief,
I hailed an Aino boy, who took me up the stream in a “dug-out,” and after
that we passed through Biroka, Saruba, and Mina, all purely Aino
villages, situated among small patches of millet, tobacco, and pumpkins,
so choked with weeds that it was doubtful whether they were crops.  I was
much surprised with the extreme neatness and cleanliness outside the
houses; “model villages” they are in these respects, with no litter lying
in sight anywhere, nothing indeed but dog troughs, hollowed out of logs,
like “dug-outs,” for the numerous yellow dogs, which are a feature of
Aino life.  There are neither puddles nor heaps, but the houses, all trim
and in good repair, rise clean out of the sandy soil.

Biratori, the largest of the Aino settlements in this region, is very
prettily situated among forests and mountains, on rising ground, with a
very sinuous river winding at its feet and a wooded height above.  A
lonelier place could scarcely be found.  As we passed among the houses
the yellow dogs barked, the women looked shy and smiled, and the men made
their graceful salutation.  We stopped at the chief’s house, where, of
course, we were unexpected guests; but Shinondi, his nephew, and two
other men came out, saluted us, and with most hospitable intent helped
Ito to unload the horses.  Indeed their eager hospitality created quite a
commotion, one running hither and the other thither in their anxiety to
welcome a stranger.  It is a large house, the room being 35 by 25, and
the roof 20 feet high; but you enter by an ante-chamber, in which are
kept the millet-mill and other articles.  There is a doorway in this, but
the inside is pretty dark, and Shinondi, taking my hand, raised the reed
curtain bound with hide, which concealed the entrance into the actual
house, and, leading me into it, retired a footstep, extended his arms,
waved his arms inwards three times, and then stroked his beard several
times, after which he indicated by a sweep of his hand and a beautiful
smile that the house and all it contained were mine.  An aged woman, the
chief’s mother, who was splitting bark by the fire, waved her hands also.
She is the queen-regnant of the house.

                  [Picture: Aino Millet-Mill and Pestle]

Again taking my hand, Shinondi led me to the place of honour at the head
of the fire—a rude, movable platform six feet long by four broad, and a
foot high, on which he laid an ornamental mat, apologising for not having
at that moment a bearskin wherewith to cover it.  The baggage was
speedily brought in by several willing pairs of hands; some reed mats
fifteen feet long were laid down upon the very coarse ones which covered
the whole floor, and when they saw Ito putting up my stretcher they hung
a fine mat along the rough wall to conceal it, and suspended another on
the beams of the roof for a canopy.  The alacrity and instinctive
hospitality with which these men rushed about to make things comfortable
were very fascinating, though comfort is a word misapplied in an Aino
hut.  The women only did what the men told them.

They offered food at once, but I told them that I had brought my own, and
would only ask leave to cook it on their fire.  I need not have brought
any cups, for they have many lacquer bowls, and Shinondi brought me on a
lacquer tray a bowl full of water from one of their four wells.  They
said that Benri, the chief, would wish me to make his house my own for as
long as I cared to stay, and I must excuse them in all things in which
their ways were different from my own.  Shinondi and four others in the
village speak tolerable Japanese, and this of course is the medium of
communication.  Ito has exerted himself nobly as an interpreter, and has
entered into my wishes with a cordiality and intelligence which have been
perfectly invaluable; and, though he did growl at Mr. Von Siebold’s
injunctions regarding politeness, he has carried them out to my
satisfaction, and even admits that the mountain Ainos are better than he
expected; “but,” he added “they have learned their politeness from the
Japanese!”  They have never seen a foreign woman, and only three foreign
men, but there is neither crowding nor staring as among the Japanese,
possibly in part from apathy and want of intelligence.  For three days
they have kept up their graceful and kindly hospitality, going on with
their ordinary life and occupations, and, though I have lived among them
in this room by day and night, there has been nothing which in any way
could offend the most fastidious sense of delicacy.

They said they would leave me to eat and rest, and all retired but the
chief’s mother, a weird, witch-like woman of eighty, with shocks of
yellow-white hair, and a stern suspiciousness in her wrinkled face.  I
have come to feel as if she had the evil eye, as she sits there watching,
watching always, and for ever knotting the bark thread like one of the
Fates, keeping a jealous watch on her son’s two wives, and on other young
women who come in to weave—neither the dulness nor the repose of old age
about her; and her eyes gleam with a greedy light when she sees _saké_,
of which she drains a bowl without taking breath.  She alone is
suspicious of strangers, and she thinks that my visit bodes no good to
her tribe.  I see her eyes fixed upon me now, and they make me shudder.

I had a good meal seated in my chair on the top of the guest-seat to
avoid the fleas, which are truly legion.  At dusk Shinondi returned, and
soon people began to drop in, till eighteen were assembled, including the
sub-chief and several very grand-looking old men, with full, grey, wavy
beards.  Age is held in much reverence, and it is etiquette for these old
men to do honour to a guest in the chief’s absence.  As each entered he
saluted me several times, and after sitting down turned towards me and
saluted again, going through the same ceremony with every other person.
They said they had come “to bid me welcome.”  They took their places in
rigid order at each side of the fireplace, which is six feet long,
Benri’s mother in the place of honour at the right, then Shinondi, then
the sub-chief, and on the other side the old men.  Besides these, seven
women sat in a row in the background splitting bark.  A large iron pan
hung over the fire from a blackened arrangement above, and Benri’s
principal wife cut wild roots, green beans, and seaweed, and shred dried
fish and venison among them, adding millet, water, and some
strong-smelling fish-oil, and set the whole on to stew for three hours,
stirring the “mess” now and then with a wooden spoon.

Several of the older people smoke, and I handed round some mild tobacco,
which they received with waving hands.  I told them that I came from a
land in the sea, very far away, where they saw the sun go down—so very
far away that a horse would have to gallop day and night for five weeks
to reach it—and that I had come a long journey to see them, and that I
wanted to ask them many questions, so that when I went home I might tell
my own people something about them.  Shinondi and another man, who
understood Japanese, bowed, and (as on every occasion) translated what I
said into Aino for the venerable group opposite.  Shinondi then said
“that he and Shinrichi, the other Japanese speaker, would tell me all
they knew, but they were but young men, and only knew what was told to
them.  They would speak what they believed to be true, but the chief knew
more than they, and when he came back he might tell me differently, and
then I should think that they had spoken lies.”  I said that no one who
looked into their faces could think that they ever told lies.  They were
very much pleased, and waved their hands and stroked their beards
repeatedly.  Before they told me anything they begged and prayed that I
would not inform the Japanese Government that they had told me of their
customs, or harm might come to them!

For the next two hours, and for two more after supper, I asked them
questions concerning their religion and customs, and again yesterday for
a considerable time, and this morning, after Benri’s return, I went over
the same subjects with him, and have also employed a considerable time in
getting about 300 words from them, which I have spelt phonetically of
course, and intend to go over again when I visit the coast Ainos. {241}

The process was slow, as both question and answer had to pass through
three languages.  There was a very manifest desire to tell the truth, and
I think that their statements concerning their few and simple customs may
be relied upon.  I shall give what they told me separately when I have
time to write out my notes in an orderly manner.  I can only say that I
have seldom spent a more interesting evening.

About nine the stew was ready, and the women ladled it into lacquer bowls
with wooden spoons.  The men were served first, but all ate together.
Afterwards _saké_, their curse, was poured into lacquer bowls, and across
each bowl a finely-carved “saké-_stick_” was laid.  These sticks are very
highly prized.  The bowls were waved several times with an inward motion,
then each man took his stick and, dipping it into the _saké_, made six
libations to the fire and several to the “god”—a wooden post, with a
quantity of spiral white shavings falling from near the top.  The Ainos
are not affected by _saké_ nearly so easily as the Japanese.  They took
it cold, it is true, but each drank about three times as much as would
have made a Japanese foolish, and it had no effect upon them.  After two
hours more talk one after another got up and went out, making profuse
salutations to me and to the others.  My candles had been forgotten, and
our _séance_ was held by the fitful light of the big logs on the fire,
aided by a succession of chips of birch bark, with which a woman
replenished a cleft stick that was stuck into the fire-hole.  I never saw
such a strangely picturesque sight as that group of magnificent savages
with the fitful firelight on their faces, and for adjuncts the flare of
the torch, the strong lights, the blackness of the recesses of the room
and of the roof, at one end of which the stars looked in, and the row of
savage women in the background—eastern savagery and western civilisation
met in this hut, savagery giving and civilisation receiving, the
yellow-skinned Ito the connecting-link between the two, and the
representative of a civilisation to which our own is but an “infant of
days.”

I found it very exciting, and when all had left crept out into the
starlight.  The lodges were all dark and silent, and the dogs, mild like
their masters, took no notice of me.  The only sound was the rustle of a
light breeze through the surrounding forest.  The verse came into my
mind, “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of
these little ones should perish.”  Surely these simple savages are
children, as children to be judged; may we not hope as children to be
saved through Him who came “not to judge the world, but to save the
world”?

I crept back again and into my mosquito net, and suffered not from fleas
or mosquitoes, but from severe cold.  Shinondi conversed with Ito for
some time in a low musical voice, having previously asked if it would
keep me from sleeping.  No Japanese ever intermitted his ceaseless
chatter at any hour of the night for a similar reason.  Later, the
chief’s principal wife, Noma, stuck a triply-cleft stick in the
fire-hole, put a potsherd with a wick and some fish-oil upon it, and by
the dim light of this rude lamp sewed until midnight at a garment of bark
cloth which she was ornamenting for her lord with strips of blue cloth,
and when I opened my eyes the next morning she was at the window sewing
by the earliest daylight.  She is the most intelligent-looking of all the
women, but looks sad and almost stern, and speaks seldom.  Although she
is the principal wife of the chief she is not happy, for she is
childless, and I thought that her sad look darkened into something evil
as the other wife caressed a fine baby boy.  Benri seems to me something
of a brute, and the mother-in-law obviously holds the reins of government
pretty tight.  After sewing till midnight she swept the mats with a bunch
of twigs, and then crept into her bed behind a hanging mat.  For a moment
in the stillness I felt a feeling of panic, as if I were incurring a risk
by being alone among savages, but I conquered it, and, after watching the
fire till it went out, fell asleep till I was awoke by the severe cold of
the next day’s dawn.



LETTER XXXVI.—(_Continued_.)


A Supposed Act of Worship—Parental Tenderness—Morning Visits—Wretched
Cultivation—Honesty and Generosity—A “Dug-out”—Female Occupations—The
Ancient Fate—A New Arrival—A Perilous Prescription—The Shrine of
Yoshitsuné—The Chief’s Return.

WHEN I crept from under my net much benumbed with cold, there were about
eleven people in the room, who all made their graceful salutation.  It
did not seem as if they had ever heard of washing, for, when water was
asked for, Shinondi brought a little in a lacquer bowl, and held it while
I bathed my face and hands, supposing the performance to be an act of
worship!  I was about to throw some cold tea out of the window by my bed
when he arrested me with an anxious face, and I saw, what I had not
observed before, that there was a god at that window—a stick with
festoons of shavings hanging from it, and beside it a dead bird.  The
Ainos have two meals a day, and their breakfast was a repetition of the
previous night’s supper.  We all ate together, and I gave the children
the remains of my rice, and it was most amusing to see little creatures
of three, four, and five years old, with no other clothing than a piece
of pewter hanging round their necks, first formally asking leave of the
parents before taking the rice, and then waving their hands.  The
obedience of the children is instantaneous.  Their parents are more
demonstrative in their affection than the Japanese are, caressing them a
good deal, and two of the men are devoted to children who are not their
own.  These little ones are as grave and dignified as Japanese children,
and are very gentle.

I went out soon after five, when the dew was glittering in the sunshine,
and the mountain hollow in which Biratori stands was looking its very
best, and the silence of the place, even though the people were all
astir, was as impressive as that of the night before.  What a strange
life! knowing nothing, hoping nothing, fearing a little, the need for
clothes and food the one motive principle, _saké_ in abundance the one
good!  How very few points of contact it is possible to have!  I was just
thinking so when Shinondi met me, and took me to his house to see if I
could do anything for a child sorely afflicted with skin disease, and his
extreme tenderness for this very loathsome object made me feel that human
affections were the same among them as with us.  He had carried it on his
back from a village, five miles distant, that morning, in the hope that
it might be cured.  As soon as I entered he laid a fine mat on the floor,
and covered the guest-seat with a bearskin.  After breakfast he took me
to the lodge of the sub-chief, the largest in the village, 45 feet
square, and into about twenty others all constructed in the same way, but
some of them were not more than 20 feet square.  In all I was received
with the same courtesy, but a few of the people asked Shinondi not to
take me into their houses, as they did not want me to see how poor they
are.  In every house there was the low shelf with more or fewer curios
upon it, but, besides these, none but the barest necessaries of life,
though the skins which they sell or barter every year would enable them
to surround themselves with comforts, were it not that their gains
represent to them _saké_, and nothing else.  They are not nomads.  On the
contrary, they cling tenaciously to the sites on which their fathers have
lived and died.  But anything more deplorable than the attempts at
cultivation which surround their lodges could not be seen.  The soil is
little better than white sand, on which without manure they attempt to
grow millet, which is to them in the place of rice, pumpkins, onions, and
tobacco; but the look of their plots is as if they had been cultivated
ten years ago, and some chance-sown grain and vegetables had come up
among the weeds.  When nothing more will grow, they partially clear
another bit of forest, and exhaust that in its turn.

In every house the same honour was paid to a guest.  This seems a savage
virtue which is not strong enough to survive much contact with
civilisation.  Before I entered one lodge the woman brought several of
the finer mats, and arranged them as a pathway for me to walk to the fire
upon.  They will not accept anything for lodging, or for anything that
they give, so I was anxious to help them by buying some of their
handiwork, but found even this a difficult matter.  They were very
anxious to give, but when I desired to buy they said they did not wish to
part with their things.  I wanted what they had in actual use, such as a
tobacco-box and pipe-sheath, and knives with carved handles and
scabbards, and for three of these I offered 2½ dollars.  They said they
did not care to sell them, but in the evening they came saying they were
not worth more than 1 dollar 10 cents, and they would sell them for that;
and I could not get them to take more.  They said it was “not their
custom.”  I bought a bow and three poisoned arrows, two reed-mats, with a
diamond pattern on them in reeds stained red, some knives with sheaths,
and a bark cloth dress.  I tried to buy the _saké_-sticks with which they
make libations to their gods, but they said it was “not their custom” to
part with the _saké_-stick of any living man; however, this morning
Shinondi has brought me, as a very valuable present, the stick of a dead
man!  This morning the man who sold the arrows brought two new ones, to
replace two which were imperfect.  I found them, as Mr. Von Siebold had
done, punctiliously honest in all their transactions.  They wear very
large earrings with hoops an inch and a half in diameter, a pair
constituting the dowry of an Aino bride; but they would not part with
these.

A house was burned down two nights ago, and “custom” in such a case
requires that all the men should work at rebuilding it, so in their
absence I got two boys to take me in a “dug-out” as far as we could go up
the Sarufutogawa—a lovely river, which winds tortuously through the
forests and mountains in unspeakable loveliness.  I had much of the
feeling of the ancient mariner—

    “We were the first
    Who ever burst
          Into that silent sea.”

For certainly no European had ever previously floated on the dark and
forest-shrouded waters.  I enjoyed those hours thoroughly, for the
silence was profound, and the faint blue of the autumn sky, and the soft
blue veil which “spiritualised” the distances, were so exquisitely like
the Indian summer.

                       [Picture: Aino Store-House]

The evening was spent like the previous one, but the hearts of the
savages were sad, for there was no more _saké_ in Biratori, so they could
not “drink to the god,” and the fire and the post with the shavings had
to go without libations.  There was no more oil, so after the strangers
retired the hut was in complete darkness.

Yesterday morning we all breakfasted soon after daylight, and the
able-bodied men went away to hunt.  Hunting and fishing are their
occupations, and for “indoor recreation” they carve tobacco-boxes,
knife-sheaths, _saké_-sticks, and shuttles.  It is quite unnecessary for
them to do anything; they are quite contented to sit by the fire, and
smoke occasionally, and eat and sleep, this apathy being varied by spasms
of activity when there is no more dried flesh in the _kuras_, and when
skins must be taken to Sarufuto to pay for _saké_.  The women seem never
to have an idle moment.  They rise early to sew, weave, and split bark,
for they not only clothe themselves and their husbands in this nearly
indestructible cloth, but weave it for barter, and the lower class of
Japanese are constantly to be seen wearing the product of Aino industry.
They do all the hard work, such as drawing water, chopping wood, grinding
millet, and cultivating the soil, after their fashion; but, to do the men
justice, I often see them trudging along carrying one and even two
children.  The women take the exclusive charge of the _kuras_, which are
never entered by men.

I was left for some hours alone with the women, of whom there were seven
in the hut, with a few children.  On the one side of the fire the chief’s
mother sat like a Fate, for ever splitting and knotting bark, and
petrifying me by her cold, fateful eyes.  Her thick, grey hair hangs in
shocks, the tattooing round her mouth has nearly faded, and no longer
disguises her really handsome features.  She is dressed in a much
ornamented bark-cloth dress, and wears two silver beads tied round her
neck by a piece of blue cotton, in addition to very large earrings.  She
has much sway in the house, sitting on the men’s side of the fire,
drinking plenty of _saké_, and occasionally chiding her grandson Shinondi
for telling me too much, saying that it will bring harm to her people.
Though her expression is so severe and forbidding, she is certainly very
handsome, and it is a European, not an Asiatic, beauty.

The younger women were all at work; two were seated on the floor weaving
without a loom, and the others were making and mending the bark coats
which are worn by both sexes.  Noma, the chief’s principal wife, sat
apart, seldom speaking.  Two of the youngest women are very pretty—as
fair as ourselves, and their comeliness is of the rosy, peasant kind.  It
turns out that two of them, though they would not divulge it before men,
speak Japanese, and they prattled to Ito with great vivacity and
merriment, the ancient Fate scowling at them the while from under her
shaggy eyebrows.  I got a number of words from them, and they laughed
heartily at my erroneous pronunciation.  They even asked me a number of
questions regarding their own sex among ourselves, but few of these would
bear repetition, and they answered a number of mine.  As the merriment
increased the old woman looked increasingly angry and restless, and at
last rated them sharply, as I have heard since, telling them that if they
spoke another word she should tell their husbands that they had been
talking to strangers.  After this not another word was spoken, and Noma,
who is an industrious housewife, boiled some millet into a mash for a
mid-day lunch.  During the afternoon a very handsome young Aino, with a
washed, richly-coloured skin and fine clear eyes, came up from the coast,
where he had been working at the fishing.  He saluted the old woman and
Benri’s wife on entering, and presented the former with a gourd of
_saké_, bringing a greedy light into her eyes as she took a long draught,
after which, saluting me, he threw himself down in the place of honour by
the fire, with the easy grace of a staghound, a savage all over.  His
name is Pipichari, and he is the chief’s adopted son.  He had cut his
foot badly with a root, and asked me to cure it, and I stipulated that it
should be bathed for some time in warm water before anything more was
done, after which I bandaged it with lint.  He said “he did not like me
to touch his foot, it was not clean enough, my hands were too white,”
etc.; but when I had dressed it, and the pain was much relieved, he bowed
very low and then kissed my hand!  He was the only one among them all who
showed the slightest curiosity regarding my things.  He looked at my
scissors, touched my boots, and watched me, as I wrote, with the simple
curiosity of a child.  He could speak a little Japanese, but he said he
was “too young to tell me anything, the older men would know.”  He is a
“total abstainer” from _saké_, and he says that there are four such
besides himself among the large number of Ainos who are just now at the
fishing at Mombets, and that the others keep separate from them, because
they think that the gods will be angry with them for not drinking.

Several “patients,” mostly children, were brought in during the
afternoon.  Ito was much disgusted by my interest in these people, who,
he repeated, “are just dogs,” referring to their legendary origin, of
which they are not ashamed.  His assertion that they have learned
politeness from the Japanese is simply baseless.  Their politeness,
though of quite another and more manly stamp, is savage, not civilised.
The men came back at dark, the meal was prepared, and we sat round the
fire as before; but there was no _saké_, except in the possession of the
old woman; and again the hearts of the savages were sad.  I could
multiply instances of their politeness.  As we were talking, Pipichari,
who is a very “untutored” savage, dropped his coat from one shoulder, and
at once Shinondi signed to him to put it on again.  Again, a woman was
sent to a distant village for some oil as soon as they heard that I
usually burned a light all night.  Little acts of courtesy were
constantly being performed; but I really appreciated nothing more than
the quiet way in which they went on with the routine of their ordinary
lives.

During the evening a man came to ask if I would go and see a woman who
could hardly breathe; and I found her very ill of bronchitis, accompanied
with much fever.  She was lying in a coat of skins, tossing on the hard
boards of her bed, with a matting-covered roll under her head, and her
husband was trying to make her swallow some salt-fish.  I took her dry,
hot hand—such a small hand, tattooed all over the back—and it gave me a
strange thrill.  The room was full of people, and they all seemed very
sorry.  A medical missionary would be of little use here; but a
medically-trained nurse, who would give medicines and proper food, with
proper nursing, would save many lives and much suffering.  It is of no
use to tell these people to do anything which requires to be done more
than once: they are just like children.  I gave her some chlorodyne,
which she swallowed with difficulty, and left another dose ready mixed,
to give her in a few hours; but about midnight they came to tell me that
she was worse; and on going I found her very cold and weak, and breathing
very hard, moving her head wearily from side to side.  I thought she
could not live for many hours, and was much afraid that they would think
that I had killed her.  I told them that I thought she would die; but
they urged me to do something more for her, and as a last hope I gave her
some brandy, with twenty-five drops of chlorodyne, and a few spoonfuls of
very strong beef-tea.  She was unable, or more probably unwilling, to
make the effort to swallow it, and I poured it down her throat by the
wild glare of strips of birch bark.  An hour later they came back to tell
me that she felt as if she were very drunk; but, going back to her house,
I found that she was sleeping quietly, and breathing more easily; and,
creeping back just at dawn, I found her still sleeping, and with her
pulse stronger and calmer.  She is now decidedly better and quite
sensible, and her husband, the sub-chief, is much delighted.  It seems so
sad that they have nothing fit for a sick person’s food; and though I
have made a bowl of beef-tea with the remains of my stock, it can only
last one day.

I was so tired with these nocturnal expeditions and anxieties that on
lying down I fell asleep, and on waking found more than the usual
assemblage in the room, and the men were obviously agog about something.
They have a singular, and I hope an unreasonable, fear of the Japanese
Government.  Mr. Von Siebold thinks that the officials threaten and knock
them about; and this is possible; but I really think that the
_Kaitaikushi_ Department means well by them, and, besides removing the
oppressive restrictions by which, as a conquered race, they were
fettered, treats them far more humanely and equitably than the U.S.
Government, for instance, treats the North American Indians.  However,
they are ignorant; and one of the men, who had been most grateful because
I said I would get Dr. Hepburn to send some medicine for his child, came
this morning and begged me not to do so, as, he said, “the Japanese
Government would be angry.”  After this they again prayed me not to tell
the Japanese Government that they had told me their customs and then they
began to talk earnestly together.

The sub-chief then spoke, and said that I had been kind to their sick
people, and they would like to show me their temple, which had never been
seen by any foreigner; but they were very much afraid of doing so, and
they asked me many times “not to tell the Japanese Government that they
showed it to me, lest some great harm should happen to them.”  The
sub-chief put on a sleeveless Japanese war-cloak to go up, and he,
Shinondi, Pipichari, and two others accompanied me.  It was a beautiful
but very steep walk, or rather climb, to the top of an abrupt acclivity
beyond the village, on which the temple or shrine stands.  It would be
impossible to get up were it not for the remains of a wooden staircase,
not of Aino construction.  Forest and mountain surround Biratori, and the
only breaks in the dense greenery are glints of the shining waters of the
Sarufutogawa, and the tawny roofs of the Aino lodges.  It is a lonely and
a silent land, fitter for the _hiding_ place than the _dwelling_ place of
men.

When the splendid young savage, Pipichari, saw that I found it difficult
to get up, he took my hand and helped me up, as gently as an English
gentleman would have done; and when he saw that I had greater difficulty
in getting down, he all but insisted on my riding down on his back, and
certainly would have carried me had not Benri, the chief, who arrived
while we were at the shrine, made an end of it by taking my hand and
helping me down himself.  Their instinct of helpfulness to a foreign
woman strikes me as so odd, because they never show any courtesy to their
own women, whom they treat (though to a less extent than is usual among
savages) as inferior beings.

On the very edge of the cliff, at the top of the zigzag, stands a wooden
temple or shrine, such as one sees in any grove, or on any high place on
the main island, obviously of Japanese construction, but concerning which
Aino tradition is silent.  No European had ever stood where I stood, and
there was a solemnity in the knowledge.  The sub-chief drew back the
sliding doors, and all bowed with much reverence, It was a simple shrine
of unlacquered wood, with a broad shelf at the back, on which there was a
small shrine containing a figure of the historical hero Yoshitsuné, in a
suit of inlaid brass armour, some metal _gohei_, a pair of tarnished
brass candle-sticks, and a coloured Chinese picture representing a junk.
Here, then, I was introduced to the great god of the mountain Ainos.
There is something very pathetic in these people keeping alive the memory
of Yoshitsuné, not on account of his martial exploits, but simply because
their tradition tells them that he was kind to them.  They pulled the
bell three times to attract his attention, bowed three times, and made
six libations of _saké_, without which ceremony he cannot be approached.
They asked me to worship their god, but when I declined on the ground
that I could only worship my own God, the Lord of Earth and Heaven, of
the dead and of the living, they were too courteous to press their
request.  As to Ito, it did not signify to him whether or not he added
another god to his already crowded Pantheon, and he “worshipped,” i.e.
bowed down, most willingly before the great hero of his own, the
conquering race.

While we were crowded there on the narrow ledge of the cliff, Benri, the
chief, arrived—a square-built, broad-shouldered, elderly man, strong as
an ox, and very handsome, but his expression is not pleasing, and his
eyes are bloodshot with drinking.  The others saluted him very
respectfully, but I noticed then and since that his manner is very
arbitrary, and that a blow not infrequently follows a word.  He had sent
a message to his people by Ito that they were not to answer any questions
till he returned, but Ito very tactfully neither gave it nor told me of
it, and he was displeased with the young men for having talked to me so
much.  His mother had evidently “peached.”  I like him less than any of
his tribe.  He has some fine qualities, truthfulness among others, but he
has been contaminated by the four or five foreigners that he has seen,
and is a brute and a sot.  The hearts of his people are no longer sad,
for there is _saké_ in every house to-night.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXVII.


Barrenness of Savage Life—Irreclaimable Savages—The Aino Physique—Female
Comeliness—Torture and Ornament—Child Life—Docility and Obedience.

                                              BIRATORI, YEZO, _August_ 24.

I EXPECTED to have written out my notes on the Ainos in the comparative
quiet and comfort of Sarufuto, but the delay in Benri’s return, and the
non-arrival of the horses, have compelled me to accept Aino hospitality
for another night, which involves living on tea and potatoes, for my
stock of food is exhausted.  In some respects I am glad to remain longer,
as it enables me to go over my stock of words, as well as my notes, with
the chief, who is intelligent and it is a pleasure to find that his
statements confirm those which have been made by the young men.  The
glamour which at first disguises the inherent barrenness of savage life
has had time to pass away, and I see it in all its nakedness as a life
not much raised above the necessities of animal existence, timid,
monotonous, barren of good, dark, dull, “without hope, and without God in
the world;” though at its lowest and worst considerably higher and better
than that of many other aboriginal races, and—must I say it?—considerably
higher and better than that of thousands of the lapsed masses of our own
great cities who are baptized into Christ’s name, and are laid at last in
holy ground, inasmuch as the Ainos are truthful, and, on the whole,
chaste, hospitable, honest, reverent, and kind to the aged.  Drinking,
their great vice, is not, as among us, in antagonism to their religion,
but is actually a part of it, and as such would be exceptionally
difficult to eradicate.

The early darkness has once again come on, and once again the elders have
assembled round the fire in two long lines, with the younger men at the
ends, Pipichari, who yesterday sat in the place of honour and was helped
to food first as the newest arrival, taking his place as the youngest at
the end of the right-hand row.  The birch-bark chips beam with fitful
glare, the evening _saké_ bowls are filled, the fire-god and the
garlanded god receive their libations, the ancient woman, still sitting
like a Fate, splits bark, and the younger women knot it, and the log-fire
lights up as magnificent a set of venerable heads as painter or sculptor
would desire to see,—heads, full of—what?  They have no history, their
traditions are scarcely worthy the name, they claim descent from a dog,
their houses and persons swarm with vermin, they are sunk in the grossest
ignorance, they have no letters or any numbers above a thousand, they are
clothed in the bark of trees and the untanned skins of beasts, they
worship the bear, the sun, moon, fire, water, and I know not what, they
are uncivilisable and altogether irreclaimable savages, yet they are
attractive, and in some ways fascinating, and I hope I shall never forget
the music of their low, sweet voices, the soft light of their mild, brown
eyes, and the wonderful sweetness of their smile.

After the yellow skins, the stiff horse hair, the feeble eyelids, the
elongated eyes, the sloping eyebrows, the flat noses, the sunken chests,
the Mongolian features, the puny physique, the shaky walk of the men, the
restricted totter of the women, and the general impression of degeneracy
conveyed by the appearance of the Japanese, the Ainos make a very
singular impression.  All but two or three that I have seen are the most
ferocious-looking of savages, with a physique vigorous enough for
carrying out the most ferocious intentions, but as soon as they speak the
countenance brightens into a smile as gentle as that of a woman,
something which can never be forgotten.

The men are about the middle height, broad-chested, broad-shouldered,
“thick set,” very strongly built, the arms and legs short, thick, and
muscular, the hands and feet large.  The bodies, and specially the limbs,
of many are covered with short bristly hair.  I have seen two boys whose
backs are covered with fur as fine and soft as that of a cat.  The heads
and faces are very striking.  The foreheads are very high, broad, and
prominent, and at first sight give one the impression [Picture: Ainos of
Yezo] of an unusual capacity for intellectual development; the ears are
small and set low; the noses are straight but short, and broad at the
nostrils; the mouths are wide but well formed; and the lips rarely show a
tendency to fulness.  The neck is short, the cranium rounded, the
cheek-bones low, and the lower part of the face is small as compared with
the upper, the peculiarity called a “jowl” being unknown.  The eyebrows
are full, and form a straight line nearly across the face.  The eyes are
large, tolerably deeply set, and very beautiful, the colour a rich liquid
brown, the expression singularly soft, and the eyelashes long, silky, and
abundant.  The skin has the Italian olive tint, but in most cases is
thin, and light enough to show the changes of colour in the cheek.  The
teeth are small, regular, and very white; the incisors and “eye teeth”
are not disproportionately large, as is usually the case among the
Japanese; there is no tendency towards prognathism; and the fold of
integument which conceals the upper eyelids of the Japanese is never to
be met with.  The features, expression, and aspect, are European rather
than Asiatic.

The “ferocious savagery” of the appearance of the men is produced by a
profusion of thick, soft, black hair, divided in the middle, and falling
in heavy masses nearly to the shoulders.  Out of doors it is kept from
falling over the face by a fillet round the brow.  The beards are equally
profuse, quite magnificent, and generally wavy, and in the case of the
old men they give a truly patriarchal and venerable aspect, in spite of
the yellow tinge produced by smoke and want of cleanliness.  The savage
look produced by the masses of hair and beard, and the thick eyebrows, is
mitigated by the softness in the dreamy brown eyes, and is altogether
obliterated by the exceeding sweetness of the smile, which belongs in
greater or less degree to all the rougher sex.

I have measured the height of thirty of the adult men of this village,
and it ranges from 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6½ inches.  The
circumference of the heads averages 22.1 inches, and the arc, from ear to
ear, 13 inches.  According to Mr. Davies, the average weight of the Aino
adult masculine brain, ascertained by measurement of Aino skulls, is
45.90 ounces avoirdupois, a brain weight said to exceed that of all the
races, Hindoo and Mussulman, on the Indian plains, and that of the
aboriginal races of India and Ceylon, and is only paralleled by that of
the races of the Himalayas, the Siamese, and the Chinese Burmese.  Mr.
Davies says, further, that it exceeds the mean brain weight of Asiatic
races in general.  Yet with all this the Ainos are a stupid people!

                       [Picture: An Aino Patriarch]

Passing travellers who have seen a few of the Aino women on the road to
Satsuporo speak of them as very ugly, but as making amends for their
ugliness by their industry and conjugal fidelity.  Of the latter there is
no doubt, but I am not disposed to admit the former.  The ugliness is
certainly due to art and dirt.  The Aino women seldom exceed five feet
and half an inch in height, but they are beautifully formed, straight,
lithe, and well-developed, with small feet and hands, well-arched
insteps, rounded limbs, well-developed busts, and a firm, elastic gait.
Their heads and faces are small; but the hair, which falls in masses on
each side of the face like that of the men, is equally redundant.  They
have superb teeth, and display them liberally in smiling.  Their mouths
are somewhat wide, but well formed, and they have a ruddy comeliness
about them which is pleasing, in spite of the disfigurement of the band
which is tattooed both above and below the mouth, and which, by being
united at the corners, enlarges its apparent size and width.  A girl at
Shiraôi, who, for some reason, has not been subjected to this process, is
the most beautiful creature in features, colouring, and natural grace of
form, that I have seen for a long time.  Their complexions are lighter
than those of the men.  There are not many here even as dark as our
European brunettes.  A few unite the eyebrows by a streak of tattooing,
so as to produce a straight line.  Like the men, they cut their hair
short for two or three inches above the nape of the neck, but instead of
using a fillet they take two locks from the front and tie them at the
back.

They are universally tattooed, not only with the broad band above and
below the mouth, but with a band across the knuckles, succeeded by an
elaborate pattern on the back of the hand, and a series of bracelets
extending to the elbow.  The process of disfigurement begins at the age
of five, when some of the sufferers are yet unweaned.  I saw the
operation performed on a dear little bright girl this morning.  A woman
took a large knife with a sharp edge, and rapidly cut several horizontal
lines on the upper lip, following closely the curve of the very pretty
mouth, and before the slight bleeding had ceased carefully rubbed in some
of the shiny soot which collects on the mat above the fire.  In two or
three days the scarred lip will be washed with the decoction of the bark
of a tree to fix the pattern, and give it that blue look which makes many
people mistake it for a daub of paint.  A child who had this second
process performed yesterday has her lip fearfully swollen and inflamed.
The latest victim held her hands clasped tightly together while the cuts
were inflicted, but never cried.  The pattern on the lips is deepened and
widened every year up to the time of marriage, and the circles on the arm
are extended in a similar way.  The men cannot give any reason for the
universality of this custom.  It is an old custom, they say, and part of
their religion, and no woman could marry without it.  Benri fancies that
the Japanese custom of blackening the teeth is equivalent to it; but he
is mistaken, as that ceremony usually succeeds marriage.  They begin to
tattoo the arms when a girl is five or six, and work from the elbow
downwards.  They expressed themselves as very much grieved and tormented
by the recent prohibition of tattooing.  They say the gods will be angry,
and that the women can’t marry unless they are tattooed; and they
implored both Mr. Von Siebold and me to intercede with the Japanese
Government on their behalf in this respect.  They are less apathetic on
this than on any subject, and repeat frequently, “It’s a part of our
religion.”

                     [Picture: Tattooed Female Hand]

The children are very pretty and attractive, and their faces give promise
of an intelligence which is lacking in those of the adults.  They are
much loved, and are caressing as well as caressed.  The infants of the
mountain Ainos have seeds of millet put into their mouths as soon as they
are born, and those of the coast Ainos a morsel of salt-fish; and
whatever be the hour of birth, “custom” requires that they shall not be
fed until a night has passed.  They are not weaned until they are at
least three years old.  Boys are preferred to girls, but both are highly
valued, and a childless wife may be divorced.

Children do not receive names till they are four or five years old, and
then the father chooses a name by which his child is afterwards known.
Young children when they travel are either carried on their mothers’
backs in a net, or in the back of the loose garment; but in both cases
the weight is mainly supported by a broad band which passes round the
woman’s forehead.  When men carry them they hold them in their arms.  The
hair of very young children is shaven, and from about five to fifteen the
boys wear either a large tonsure or tufts above the ears, while the girls
are allowed to grow hair all over their heads.

Implicit and prompt obedience is required from infancy; and from a very
early age the children are utilised by being made to fetch and carry and
go on messages.  I have seen children apparently not more than two years
old sent for wood; and even at this age they are so thoroughly trained in
the observances of etiquette that babies just able to walk never toddle
into or out of this house without formal salutations to each person
within it, the mother alone excepted.  They don’t wear any clothing till
they are seven or eight years old, and are then dressed like their
elders.  Their manners to their parents are very affectionate.  Even
to-day, in the chief’s awe-inspiring presence, one dear little nude
creature, who had been sitting quietly for two hours staring into the
fire with her big brown eyes, rushed to meet her mother when she entered,
and threw her arms round her, to which the woman responded by a look of
true maternal tenderness and a kiss.  These little creatures, in the
absolute unconsciousness of innocence, with their beautiful faces,
olive-tinted bodies,—all the darker, sad to say, from dirt,—their perfect
docility, and absence of prying curiosity, are very bewitching.  They all
wear silver or pewter ornaments tied round their necks by a wisp of blue
cotton.

Apparently the ordinary infantile maladies, such as whooping-cough and
measles, do not afflict the Ainos fatally; but the children suffer from a
cutaneous affection, which wears off as they reach the age of ten or
eleven years, as well as from severe toothache with their first teeth.



LETTER XXXVII.—(_Continued_.)


Aino Clothing—Holiday Dress—Domestic Architecture—Household Gods—Japanese
Curios—The Necessaries of Life—Clay Soup—Arrow Poison—Arrow-Traps—Female
Occupations—Bark Cloth—The Art of Weaving.

AINO clothing, for savages, is exceptionally good.  In the winter it
consists of one, two, or more coats of skins, with hoods of the same, to
which the men add rude moccasins when they go out hunting.  In summer
they wear kimonos, or loose coats, made of cloth woven from the split
bark of a forest tree.  This is a durable and beautiful fabric in various
shades of natural buff, and somewhat resembles what is known to fancy
workers as “Panama canvas.”  Under this a skin or bark-cloth vest may or
may not be worn.  The men wear these coats reaching a little below the
knees, folded over from right to left, and confined at the waist by a
narrow girdle of the same cloth, to which is attached a rude,
dagger-shaped knife, with a carved and engraved wooden handle and sheath.
Smoking is by no means a general practice; consequently the pipe and
tobacco-box are not, as with the Japanese, a part of ordinary male
attire.  Tightly-fitting leggings, either of bark-cloth or skin, are worn
by both sexes, but neither shoes nor sandals.  The coat worn by the women
reaches half-way between the knees and ankles, and is quite loose and
without a girdle.  It is fastened the whole way up to the collar-bone;
and not only is the Aino woman completely covered, but she will not
change one garment for another except alone or in the dark.  Lately a
Japanese woman at Sarufuto took an Aino woman into her house, and
insisted on her taking a bath, which she absolutely refused to do till
the bath-house had been made quite private by means of screens.  On the
Japanese woman going back a little later to see what had become of her,
she found her sitting in the water in her clothes; and on being
remonstrated with, she said that the gods would be angry if they saw her
without clothes!

Many of the garments for holiday occasions are exceedingly handsome,
being decorated with “geometrical” patterns, in which the “Greek fret”
takes part, in coarse blue cotton, braided most dexterously with scarlet
and white thread.  Some of the handsomest take half a year to make.  The
masculine dress is completed by an apron of oblong shape decorated in the
same elaborate manner.  These handsome savages, with their powerful
physique, look remarkably well in their best clothes.  I have not seen a
boy or girl above nine who is not thoroughly clothed.  The “jewels” of
the women are large, hoop earrings of silver or pewter, with attachments
of a classical pattern, and silver neck ornaments, and a few have brass
bracelets soldered upon their arms.  The women have a perfect passion for
every hue of red, and I have made friends with them by dividing among
them a large turkey-red silk handkerchief, strips of which are already
being utilised for the ornamenting of coats.

The houses in the five villages up here are very good.  So they are at
Horobets, but at Shiraôi, where the aborigines suffer from the close
proximity of several grog shops, they are inferior.  They differ in many
ways from any that I have before seen, approaching most nearly to the
grass houses of the natives of Hawaii.  Custom does not appear to permit
either of variety or innovations; in all the style is the same, and the
difference consists in the size and plenishings.  The dwellings seem
ill-fitted for a rigorous climate, but the same thing may be said of
those of the Japanese.  In their houses, as in their faces, the Ainos are
more European than their conquerors, as they possess doorways, windows,
central fireplaces, like those of the Highlanders of Scotland, and raised
sleeping-places.

The usual appearance is that of a small house built on at the end of a
larger one.  The small house is the vestibule or ante-room, and is
entered by a low doorway screened by a heavy mat of reeds.  It contains
the large wooden mortar and pestle with two ends, used for pounding
millet, a wooden receptacle for millet, nets or hunting gear, and some
bundles of reeds for repairing roof or walls.  This room never contains a
window.  From it the large room is entered by a doorway, over which a
heavy reed-mat, bound with hide, invariably hangs.  This room in Benri’s
case is 35 feet long by 25 feet broad, another is 45 feet square, the
smallest measures 20 feet by 15.  On entering, one is much impressed by
the great height and steepness of the roof, altogether out of proportion
to the height of the walls.

The frame of the house is of posts, 4 feet 10 inches high, placed 4 feet
apart, and sloping slightly inwards.  The height of the walls is
apparently regulated by that of the reeds, of which only one length is
used, and which never exceed 4 feet 10 inches.  The posts are scooped at
the top, and heavy poles, resting on the scoops, are laid along them to
form the top of the wall.  The posts are again connected twice by
slighter poles tied on horizontally.  The wall is double; the outer part
being formed of reeds tied very neatly to the framework in small, regular
bundles, the inner layer or wall being made of reeds attached singly.
From the top of the pole, which is secured to the top of the posts, the
framework of the roof rises to a height of twenty-two feet, made, like
the rest, of poles tied to a heavy and roughly-hewn ridge-beam.  At one
end under the ridge-beam there is a large triangular aperture for the
exit of smoke.  Two very stout, roughly-hewn beams cross the width of the
house, resting on the posts of the wall, and on props let into the floor,
and a number of poles are laid at the same height, by means of which a
secondary roof formed of mats can be at once extemporised, but this is
only used for guests.  These poles answer the same purpose as shelves.
Very great care is bestowed upon the outside of the roof, which is a
marvel of neatness and prettiness, and has the appearance of a series of
frills being thatched in ridges.  The ridge-pole is very thickly covered,
and the thatch both there and at the corners is elaborately laced with a
pattern in strong peeled twigs.  The poles, which, for much of the room,
run from wall to wall, compel one to stoop, to avoid fracturing one’s
skull, and bringing down spears, bows and arrows, arrow-traps, and other
primitive property.  The roof and rafters are black and shiny from wood
smoke.  Immediately under them, at one end and one side, are small,
square windows, which are closed at night by wooden shutters, which
during the day-time hang by ropes.  Nothing is a greater insult to an
Aino than to look in at his window.

On the left of the doorway is invariably a fixed wooden platform,
eighteen inches high, and covered with a single mat, which is the
sleeping-place.  The pillows are small stiff bolsters, covered with
ornamental matting.  If the family be large there are several of these
sleeping platforms.  A pole runs horizontally at a fitting distance above
the outside edge of each, over which mats are thrown to conceal the
sleepers from the rest of the room.  The inside half of these mats is
plain, but the outside, which is seen from the room, has a diamond
pattern woven into it in dull reds and browns.  The whole floor is
covered with a very coarse reed-mat, with interstices half an inch wide.
The fireplace, which is six feet long, is oblong.  Above it, on a very
black and elaborate framework, hangs a very black and shiny mat, whose
superfluous soot forms the basis of the stain used in tattooing, and
whose apparent purpose is to prevent the smoke ascending, and to diffuse
it equally throughout the room.  From this framework depends the great
cooking-pot, which plays a most important part in Aino economy.

Household gods form an essential part of the furnishing of every house.
In this one, at the left of the entrance, there are ten white wands, with
shavings depending from the upper end, stuck in the wall; another
projects from the window which faces the sunrise, and the great god—a
white post, two feet high, with spirals of shavings depending from the
top—is always planted in the floor, near the wall, on the left side,
opposite the fire, between the platform bed of the householder and the
low, broad shelf placed invariably on the same side, and which is a
singular feature of all Aino houses, coast and mountain, down to the
poorest, containing, as it does, Japanese curios, many of them very
valuable objects of antique art, though much destroyed by damp and dust.
They are true curiosities in the dwellings of these northern aborigines,
and look almost solemn ranged against the wall.  In this house there are
twenty-four lacquered urns, or tea-chests, or seats, each standing two
feet high on four small legs, shod with engraved or filigree brass.
Behind these are eight lacquered tubs, and a number of bowls and lacquer
trays, and above are spears with inlaid handles, and fine Kaga and Awata
bowls.  The lacquer is good, and several of the urns have _daimiyô’s_
crests in gold upon them.  One urn and a large covered bowl are
beautifully inlaid with Venus’ ear.  The great urns are to be seen in
every house, and in addition there are suits of inlaid armour, and swords
with inlaid hilts, engraved blades, and _répoussé_ scabbards, for which a
collector would give almost anything.  No offers, however liberal, can
tempt them to sell any of these antique possessions.  “They were
presents,” they say in their low, musical voices; “they were presents
from those who were kind to our fathers; no, we cannot sell them; they
were presents.”  And so gold lacquer, and pearl inlaying, and gold
niello-work, and _daimiyô’s_ crests in gold, continue to gleam in the
smoky darkness of their huts.  Some of these things were doubtless gifts
to their fathers when they went to pay tribute to the representative of
the Shôgun and the Prince of Matsumæ, soon after the conquest of Yezo.
Others were probably gifts from _samurai_, who took refuge here during
the rebellion, and some must have been obtained by barter.  They are the
one possession which they will not barter for _saké_, and are only parted
with in payment of fines at the command of a chief, or as the dower of a
girl.

[Picture: Aino Gods]

Except in the poorest houses, where the people can only afford to lay
down a mat for a guest, they cover the coarse mat with fine ones on each
side of the fire.  These mats and the bark-cloth are really their only
manufactures.  They are made of fine reeds, with a pattern in dull reds
or browns, and are 14 feet long by 3 feet 6 inches wide.  It takes a
woman eight days to make one of them.  In every house there are one or
two movable platforms 6 feet by 4 and 14 inches high, which are placed at
the head of the fireplace, and on which guests sit and sleep on a
bearskin or a fine mat.  In many houses there are broad seats a few
inches high, on which the elder men sit cross-legged, as their custom is,
not squatting Japanese fashion on the heels.  A water-tub always rests on
a stand by the door, and the dried fish and venison or bear for daily use
hang from the rafters, as well as a few skins.  Besides these things
there are a few absolute necessaries,—lacquer or wooden bowls for food
and _saké_, a chopping-board and rude chopping-knife, a cleft-stick for
burning strips of birch-bark, a triply-cleft stick for supporting the
potsherd in which, on rare occasions, they burn a wick with oil, the
component parts of their rude loom, the bark of which they make their
clothes, the reeds of which they make their mats,—and the inventory of
the essentials of their life is nearly complete.  No iron enters into the
construction of their houses, its place being supplied by a remarkably
tenacious fibre.

                     [Picture: Plan of an Aino House]

I have before described the preparation of their food, which usually
consists of a stew “of abominable things.”  They eat salt and fresh fish,
dried fish, seaweed, slugs, the various vegetables which grow in the
wilderness of tall weeds which surrounds their villages, wild roots and
berries, fresh and dried venison and bear; their carnival consisting of
fresh bear’s flesh and _saké_, seaweed, mushrooms, and anything they can
get, in fact, which is not poisonous, mixing everything up together.
They use a wooden spoon for stirring, and eat with chopsticks.  They have
only two regular meals a day, but eat very heartily.  In addition to the
eatables just mentioned they have a thick soup made from a putty-like
clay which is found in one or two of the valleys.  This is boiled with
the bulb of a wild lily, and, after much of the clay has been allowed to
settle, the liquid, which is very thick, is poured off.  In the north, a
valley where this earth is found is called Tsie-toi-nai, literally
“eat-earth-valley.”

The men spend the autumn, winter, and spring in hunting deer and bears.
Part of their tribute or taxes is paid in skins, and they subsist on the
dried meat.  Up to about this time the Ainos have obtained these beasts
by means of poisoned arrows, arrow-traps, and pitfalls, but the Japanese
Government has prohibited the use of poison and arrow-traps, and these
men say that hunting is becoming extremely difficult, as the wild animals
are driven back farther and farther into the mountains by the sound of
the guns.  However, they add significantly, “the eyes of the Japanese
Government are not in every place!”

Their bows are only three feet long, and are made of stout saplings with
the bark on, and there is no attempt to render them light or shapely at
the ends.  The wood is singularly inelastic.  The arrows (of which I have
obtained a number) are very peculiar, and are made in three pieces, the
point consisting of a sharpened piece of bone with an elongated cavity on
one side for the reception of the poison.  This point or head is very
slightly fastened by a lashing of bark to a fusiform piece of bone about
four inches long, which is in its turn lashed to a shaft about fourteen
inches long, the other end of which is sometimes equipped with a triple
feather and sometimes is not.

The poison is placed in the elongated cavity in the head in a very soft
state, and hardens afterwards.  In some of the arrow-heads fully half a
teaspoonful of the paste is inserted.  From the nature of the very slight
lashings which attach the arrow-head to the shaft, it constantly remains
fixed in the slight wound that it makes, while the shaft falls off.

Pipichari has given me a small quantity of the poisonous paste, and has
also taken me to see the plant from the root of which it is made, the
_Aconitum Japonicum_, a monkshood, whose tall spikes of blue flowers are
brightening the brushwood in all directions.  The root is pounded into a
pulp, mixed with a reddish earth like an iron ore pulverised, and again
with animal fat, before being placed in the arrow.  It has been said that
the poison is prepared for use by being buried in the earth, but Benri
says that this is needless.  They claim for it that a single wound kills
a bear in ten minutes, but that the flesh is not rendered unfit for
eating, though they take the precaution of cutting away a considerable
quantity of it round the wound.

                       [Picture: Weaver’s Shuttle]

Dr. Eldridge, formerly of Hakodaté, obtained a small quantity of the
poison, and, after trying some experiments with it, came to the
conclusion that it is less virulent than other poisons employed for a
like purpose, as by the natives of Java, the Bushmen, and certain tribes
of the Amazon and Orinoco.  The Ainos say that if a man is accidentally
wounded by a poisoned arrow the only cure is immediate excision of the
part.

I do not wonder that the Government has prohibited arrow-traps, for they
made locomotion unsafe, and it is still unsafe a little farther north,
where the hunters are more out of observation than here.  The traps
consist of a large bow with a poisoned arrow, fixed in such a way that
when the bear walks over a cord which is attached to it he is
simultaneously transfixed.  I have seen as many as fifty in one house.
The simple contrivance for inflicting this silent death is most
ingenious.

The women are occupied all day, as I have before said.  They look
cheerful, and even merry when they smile, and are not like the Japanese,
prematurely old, partly perhaps because their houses are well ventilated,
and the use of charcoal is unknown.  I do not think that they undergo the
unmitigated drudgery which falls to the lot of most savage women, though
they work hard.  The men do not like them to speak to strangers, however,
and say that their place is to work and rear children.  They eat of the
same food, and at the same time as the men, laugh and talk before them,
and receive equal support and respect in old age.  They sell mats and
bark-cloth in the piece, and made up, when they can, and their husbands
do not take their earnings from them.  All Aino women understand the
making of bark-cloth.  The men bring in the bark in strips, five feet
long, having removed the outer coating.  This inner bark is easily
separated into several thin layers, which are split into very narrow
strips by the older women, very neatly knotted, and wound into balls
weighing about a pound each.  No preparation of either the bark or the
thread is required to fit it for weaving, but I observe that some of the
women steep it in a decoction of a bark which produces a brown dye to
deepen the buff tint.

The loom is so simple that I almost fear to represent it as complicated
by description.  It consists of a stout hook fixed in the floor, to which
the threads of the far end of the web are secured, a cord fastening the
near end to the waist of the worker, who supplies, by dexterous rigidity,
the necessary tension; a frame like a comb resting on the ankles, through
which the threads pass, a hollow roll for keeping the upper and under
threads separate, a spatula-shaped shuttle of engraved wood, and a roller
on which the cloth is rolled as it is made.  The length of the web is
fifteen feet, and the width of the cloth fifteen inches.  It is woven
with great regularity, and the knots in the thread are carefully kept on
the under side. {271}  It is a very slow and fatiguing process, and a
woman cannot do much more than a foot a day.  The weaver sits on the
floor with the whole arrangement attached to her waist, and the loom, if
such it may be called, on her ankles.  It takes long practice before she
can supply the necessary tension by spinal rigidity.  As the work
proceeds she drags herself almost imperceptibly nearer the hook.  In this
house and other large ones two or three women bring in their webs in the
morning, fix their hooks, and weave all day, while others, who have not
equal advantages, put their hooks in the ground and weave in the
sunshine.  The web and loom can be bundled up in two minutes, and carried
away quite as easily as a knitted soft blanket.  It is the simplest and
perhaps the most primitive form of hand-loom, and comb, shuttle, and
roll, are all easily fashioned with an ordinary knife.

                        [Picture: A Hiogo Buddha]



LETTER XXXVII.—(_Continued_.)


A Simple Nature-Worship—Aino Gods—A Festival Song—Religious
Intoxication—Bear-Worship—The Annual Saturnalia—The Future State—Marriage
and Divorce—Musical Instruments—Etiquette—The Chieftainship—Death and
Burial—Old Age—Moral Qualities.

THERE cannot be anything more vague and destitute of cohesion than Aino
religious notions.  With the exception of the hill shrines of Japanese
construction dedicated to Yoshitsuné, they have no temples, and they have
neither priests, sacrifices, nor worship.  Apparently through all
traditional time their _cultus_ has been the rudest and most primitive
form of nature-worship, the attaching of a vague sacredness to trees,
rivers, rocks, and mountains, and of vague notions of power for good or
evil to the sea, the forest, the fire, and the sun and moon.  I cannot
make out that they possess a trace of the deification of ancestors,
though their rude nature worship may well have been the primitive form of
Japanese Shintô.  The solitary exception to their adoration of animate
and inanimate nature appears to be the reverence paid to Yoshitsuné, to
whom they believe they are greatly indebted, and who, it is supposed by
some, will yet interfere on their behalf. {273}  Their gods—that is, the
outward symbols of their religion, corresponding most likely with the
Shintô _gohei_—are wands and posts of peeled wood, whittled nearly to the
top, from which the pendent shavings fall down in white curls.  These are
not only set up in their houses, sometimes to the number of twenty, but
on precipices, banks of rivers and streams, and mountain-passes, and such
wands are thrown into the rivers as the boatmen descend rapids and
dangerous places.  Since my baggage horse fell over an acclivity on the
trail from Sarufuto, four such wands have been placed there.  It is
nonsense to write of the religious ideas of a people who have none, and
of beliefs among people who are merely adult children.  The traveller who
formulates an Aino creed must “evolve it from his inner consciousness.”
I have taken infinite trouble to learn from themselves what their
religious notions are, and Shinondi tells me that they have told me all
they know, and the whole sum is a few vague fears and hopes, and a
suspicion that there are things outside themselves more powerful than
themselves, whose good influences may be obtained, or whose evil
influences may be averted, by libations of _saké_.

The word worship is in itself misleading.  When I use it of these savages
it simply means libations of _saké_, waving bowls and waving hands,
without any spiritual act of deprecation or supplication.  In such a
sense and such alone they worship the sun and moon (but not the stars),
the forest, and the sea.  The wolf, the black snake, the owl, and several
other beasts and birds have the word _kamoi_, god, attached to them, as
the wolf is the “howling god,” the owl “the bird of the gods,” a black
snake the “raven god;” but none of these things are now “worshipped,”
wolf-worship having quite lately died out.  Thunder, “the voice of the
gods,” inspires some fear.  The sun, they say, is their best god, and the
fire their next best, obviously the divinities from whom their greatest
benefits are received.  Some idea of gratitude pervades their rude
notions, as in the case of the “worship” paid to Yoshitsuné, and it
appears in one of the rude recitations chanted at the Saturnalia which in
several places conclude the hunting and fishing seasons:—

“To the sea which nourishes us, to the forest which protects us, we
present our grateful thanks.  You are two mothers that nourish the same
child; do not be angry if we leave one to go to the other.

“The Ainos will always be the pride of the forest and of the sea.”

The solitary act of sacrifice which they perform is the placing of a
worthless, dead bird, something like a sparrow, near one of their peeled
wands, where it is left till it reaches an advanced stage of
putrefaction.  “To drink for the god” is the chief act of “worship,” and
thus drunkenness and religion are inseparably connected, as the more
_saké_ the Ainos drink the more devout they are, and the better pleased
are the gods.  It does not appear that anything but _saké_ is of
sufficient value to please the gods.  The libations to the fire and the
peeled post are never omitted, and are always accompanied by the inward
waving of the _saké_ bowls.

The peculiarity which distinguishes this rude mythology is the “worship”
of the bear, the Yezo bear being one of the finest of his species; but it
is impossible to understand the feelings by which it is prompted, for
they worship it after their fashion, and set up its head in their
villages, yet they trap it, kill it, eat it, and sell its skin.  There is
no doubt that this wild beast inspires more of the feeling which prompts
worship than the inanimate forces of nature, and the Ainos may be
distinguished as bear-worshippers, and their greatest religious festival
or Saturnalia as the Festival of the Bear.  Gentle and peaceable as they
are, they have a great admiration for fierceness and courage; and the
bear, which is the strongest, fiercest, and most courageous animal known
to them, has probably in all ages inspired them with veneration.  Some of
their rude chants are in praise of the bear, and their highest eulogy on
a man is to compare him to a bear.  Thus Shinondi said of Benri, the
chief, “He is as strong as a bear,” and the old Fate praising Pipichari
called him “The young bear.”

In all Aino villages, specially near the chief’s house, there are several
tall poles with the fleshless skull of a bear on the top of each, and in
most there is also a large cage, made grid-iron fashion, of stout
timbers, and raised two or three feet from the ground.  At the present
time such cages contain young but well-grown bears, captured when quite
small in the early spring.  After the capture the bear cub is introduced
into a dwelling-house, generally that of the chief, or sub-chief, where
it is suckled by a woman, and played with by the children, till it grows
too big and rough for domestic ways, and is placed in a strong cage, in
which it is fed and cared for, as I understand, till the autumn of the
following year, when, being strong and well-grown, the Festival of the
Bear is celebrated.  The customs of this festival vary considerably, and
the manner of the bear’s death differs among the mountain and coast
Ainos, but everywhere there is a general gathering of the people, and it
is the occasion of a great feast, accompanied with much _saké_ and a
curious dance, in which men alone take part.

Yells and shouts are used to excite the bear, and when he becomes much
agitated a chief shoots him with an arrow, inflicting a slight wound
which maddens him, on which the bars of the cage are raised, and he
springs forth, very furious.  At this stage the Ainos run upon him with
various weapons, each one striving to inflict a wound, as it brings good
luck to draw his blood.  As soon as he falls down exhausted, his head is
cut off, and the weapons with which he has been wounded are offered to
it, and he is asked to avenge himself upon them.  Afterwards the carcass,
amidst a frenzied uproar, is distributed among the people, and amidst
feasting and riot the head, placed upon a pole, is worshipped, i.e. it
receives libations of _saké_, and the festival closes with general
intoxication.  In some villages it is customary for the foster-mother of
the bear to utter piercing wails while he is delivered to his murderers,
and after he is slain to beat each one of them with a branch of a tree.
[Afterwards at Usu, on Volcano Bay, the old men told me that at their
festival they despatch the bear after a different manner.  On letting it
loose from the cage two men seize it by the ears, and others
simultaneously place a long, stout pole across the nape of its neck, upon
which a number of Ainos mount, and after a prolonged struggle the neck is
broken.  As the bear is seen to approach his end, they shout in chorus,
“We kill you, O bear! come back soon into an Aino.”]  When a bear is
trapped or wounded by an arrow, the hunters go through an apologetic or
propitiatory ceremony.  They appear to have certain rude ideas of
metempsychosis, as is evidenced by the Usu prayer to the bear and certain
rude traditions; but whether these are indigenous, or have arisen by
contact with Buddhism at a later period, it is impossible to say.

They have no definite ideas concerning a future state, and the subject is
evidently not a pleasing one to them.  Such notions as they have are few
and confused.  Some think that the spirits of their friends go into
wolves and snakes; others, that they wander about the forests; and they
are much afraid of ghosts.  A few think that they go to “a good or bad
place,” according to their deeds; but Shinondi said, and there was an
infinite pathos in his words, “How can we know?  No one ever came back to
tell us!”  On asking him what were bad deeds, he said, “Being bad to
parents, stealing, and telling lies.”  The future, however, does not
occupy any place in their thoughts, and they can hardly be said to
believe in the immortality of the soul, though their fear of ghosts shows
that they recognise a distinction between body and spirit.

Their social customs are very simple.  Girls never marry before the age
of seventeen, or men before twenty-one.  When a man wishes to marry he
thinks of some particular girl, and asks the chief if he may ask for her.
If leave is given, either through a “go-between” or personally, he asks
her father for her, and if he consents the bridegroom gives him a
present, usually a Japanese “curio.”  This constitutes betrothal, and the
marriage, which immediately follows, is celebrated by carousals and the
drinking of much _saké_.  The bride receives as her dowry her earrings
and a highly ornamented _kimono_.  It is an essential that the husband
provides a house to which to take his wife.  Each couple lives
separately, and even the eldest son does not take his bride to his
father’s house.  Polygamy is only allowed in two cases.  The chief may
have three wives; but each must have her separate house.  Benri has two
wives; but it appears that he took the second because the first was
childless.  [The Usu Ainos told me that among the tribes of Volcano Bay
polygamy is not practised, even by the chiefs.]  It is also permitted in
the case of a childless wife; but there is no instance of it in Biratori,
and the men say that they prefer to have one wife, as two quarrel.

Widows are allowed to marry again with the chief’s consent; but among
these mountain Ainos a woman must remain absolutely secluded within the
house of her late husband for a period varying from six to twelve months,
only going to the door at intervals to throw _saké_ to the right and
left.  A man secludes himself similarly for thirty days.  [So greatly do
the customs vary, that round Volcano Bay I found that the period of
seclusion for a widow is only thirty days, and for a man twenty-five; but
that after a father’s death the house in which he has lived is burned
down after the thirty days of seclusion, and the widow and her children
go to a friend’s house for three years, after which the house is rebuilt
on its former site.]

If a man does not like his wife, by obtaining the chief’s consent he can
divorce her; but he must send her back to her parents with plenty of good
clothes; but divorce is impracticable where there are children, and is
rarely if ever practised.  Conjugal fidelity is a virtue among Aino
women; but “custom” provides that, in case of unfaithfulness, the injured
husband may bestow his wife upon her paramour, if he be an unmarried man;
in which case the chief fixes the amount of damages which the paramour
must pay; and these are usually valuable Japanese curios.

The old and blind people are entirely supported by their children, and
receive until their dying day filial reverence and obedience.

If one man steals from another he must return what he has taken, and give
the injured man a present besides, the value of which is fixed by the
chief.

Their mode of living you already know, as I have shared it, and am still
receiving their hospitality.  “Custom” enjoins the exercise of
hospitality on every Aino.  They receive all strangers as they received
me, giving them of their best, placing them in the most honourable place,
bestowing gifts upon them, and, when they depart, furnishing them with
cakes of boiled millet.

They have few amusements, except certain feasts.  Their dance, which they
have just given in my honour, is slow and mournful, and their songs are
chants or recitative.  They have a musical instrument, something like a
guitar, with three, five, or six strings, which are made from sinews of
whales cast up on the shore.  They have another, which is believed to be
peculiar to themselves, consisting of a thin piece of wood, about five
inches long and two and a half inches broad, with a pointed wooden
tongue, about two lines in breadth and sixteen in length, fixed in the
middle, and grooved on three sides.  The wood is held before the mouth,
and the tongue is set in motion by the vibration of the breath in
singing.  Its sound, though less penetrating, is as discordant as that of
a Jew’s harp, which it somewhat resembles.  One of the men used it as an
accompaniment of a song; but they are unwilling to part with them, as
they say that it is very seldom that they can find a piece of wood which
will bear the fine splitting necessary for the tongue.

They are a most courteous people among each other.  The salutations are
frequent—on entering a house, on leaving it, on meeting on the road, on
receiving anything from the hand of another, and on receiving a kind or
complimentary speech.  They do not make any acknowledgments of this kind
to the women, however.  The common salutation consists in extending the
hands and waving them inwards, once or oftener, and stroking the beard;
the formal one in raising the hands with an inward curve to the level of
the head two or three times, lowering them, and rubbing them together;
the ceremony concluding with stroking the beard several times.  The
latter and more formal mode of salutation is offered to the chief, and by
the young to the old men.  The women have no “manners!”

They have no “medicine men,” and, though they are aware of the existence
of healing herbs, they do not know their special virtues or the manner of
using them.  Dried and pounded bear’s liver is their specific, and they
place much reliance on it in colic and other pains.  They are a healthy
race.  In this village of 300 souls, there are no chronically ailing
people; nothing but one case of bronchitis, and some cutaneous maladies
among children.  Neither is there any case of deformity in this and five
other large villages which I have visited, except that of a girl, who has
one leg slightly shorter than the other.

They ferment a kind of intoxicating liquor from the root of a tree, and
also from their own millet and Japanese rice, but Japanese _saké_ is the
one thing that they care about.  They spend all their gains upon it, and
drink it in enormous quantities.  It represents to them all the good of
which they know, or can conceive.  Beastly intoxication is the highest
happiness to which these poor savages aspire, and the condition is
sanctified to them under the fiction of “drinking to the gods.”  Men and
women alike indulge in this vice.  A few, however, like Pipichari,
abstain from it totally, taking the bowl in their hands, making the
libations to the gods, and then passing it on.  I asked Pipichari why he
did not take _saké_, and he replied with a truthful terseness, “Because
it makes men like dogs.”

Except the chief, who has two horses, they have no domestic animals
except very large, yellow dogs, which are used in hunting, but are never
admitted within the houses.

The habits of the people, though by no means destitute of decency and
propriety, are not cleanly.  The women bathe their hands once a day, but
any other washing is unknown.  They never wash their clothes, and wear
the same by day and night.  I am afraid to speculate on the condition of
their wealth of coal-black hair.  They may be said to be very dirty—as
dirty fully as masses of our people at home.  Their houses swarm with
fleas, but they are not worse in this respect than the Japanese
_yadoyas_.  The mountain villages have, however, the appearance of
extreme cleanliness, being devoid of litter, heaps, puddles, and
untidiness of all kinds, and there are no unpleasant odours inside or
outside the houses, as they are well ventilated and smoked, and the salt
fish and meat are kept in the godowns.  The hair and beards of the old
men, instead of being snowy as they ought to be, are yellow from smoke
and dirt.

They have no mode of computing time, and do not know their own ages.  To
them the past is dead, yet, like other conquered and despised races, they
cling to the idea that in some far-off age they were a great nation.
They have no traditions of internecine strife, and the art of war seems
to have been lost long ago.  I asked Benri about this matter, and he says
that formerly Ainos fought with spears and knives as well as with bows
and arrows, but that Yoshitsuné, their hero god, forbade war for ever,
and since then the two-edged spear, with a shaft nine feet long, has only
been used in hunting bears.

The Japanese Government, of course, exercises the same authority over the
Ainos as over its other subjects, but probably it does not care to
interfere in domestic or tribal matters, and within this outside limit
despotic authority is vested in the chiefs.  The Ainos live in village
communities, and each community has its own chief, who is its lord
paramount.  It appears to me that this chieftainship is but an expansion
of the paternal relation, and that all the village families are ruled as
a unit.  Benri, in whose house I am, is the chief of Biratori, and is
treated by all with very great deference of manner.  The office is
nominally for life; but if a chief becomes blind, or too infirm to go
about, he appoints a successor.  If he has a “smart” son, who he thinks
will command the respect of the people, he appoints him; but if not, he
chooses the most suitable man in the village.  The people are called upon
to approve the choice, but their ratification is never refused.  The
office is not hereditary anywhere.

Benri appears to exercise the authority of a very strict father.  His
manner to all the men is like that of a master to slaves, and they bow
when they speak to him.  No one can marry without his approval.  If any
one builds a house he chooses the site.  He has absolute jurisdiction in
civil and criminal cases, unless (which is very rare) the latter should
be of sufficient magnitude to be reported to the Imperial officials.  He
compels restitution of stolen property, and in all cases fixes the fines
which are to be paid by delinquents.  He also fixes the hunting
arrangements and the festivals.  The younger men were obviously much
afraid of incurring his anger in his absence.

An eldest son does not appear to be, as among the Japanese, a privileged
person.  He does not necessarily inherit the house and curios.  The
latter are not divided, but go with the house to the son whom the father
regards as being the “smartest.”  Formal adoption is practised.
Pipichari is an adopted son, and is likely to succeed to Benri’s property
to the exclusion of his own children.  I cannot get at the word which is
translated “smartness,” but I understand it as meaning general capacity.
The chief, as I have mentioned before, is allowed three wives among the
mountain Ainos, otherwise authority seems to be his only privilege.

The Ainos have a singular dread of snakes.  Even their bravest fly from
them.  One man says that it is because they know of no cure for their
bite; but there is something more than this, for they flee from snakes
which they know to be harmless.

They have an equal dread of their dead.  Death seems to them very
specially “the shadow fear’d of man.”  When it comes, which it usually
does from bronchitis in old age, the corpse is dressed in its best
clothing, and laid upon a shelf for from one to three days.  In the case
of a woman her ornaments are buried with her, and in that of a man his
knife and _saké_-stick, and, if he were a smoker, his smoking apparatus.
The corpse is sewn up with these things in a mat, and, being slung on
poles, is carried to a solitary grave, where it is laid in a recumbent
position.  Nothing will induce an Aino to go near a grave.  Even if a
valuable bird or animal falls near one, he will not go to pick it up.  A
vague dread is for ever associated with the departed, and no dream of
Paradise ever lights for the Aino the “Stygian shades.”

Benri is, for an Aino, intelligent.  Two years ago Mr. Dening of Hakodaté
came up here and told him that there was but one God who made us all, to
which the shrewd old man replied, “If the God who made you made us, how
is it that you are so different—you so rich, we so poor?”  On asking him
about the magnificent pieces of lacquer and inlaying which adorn his
curio shelf, he said that they were his father’s, grandfather’s, and
great-grandfather’s at least, and he thinks they were gifts from the
_daimiyô_ of Matsumae soon after the conquest of Yezo.  He is a
grand-looking man, in spite of the havoc wrought by his intemperate
habits.  There is plenty of room in the house, and this morning, when I
asked him to show me the use of the spear, he looked a truly magnificent
savage, stepping well back with the spear in rest, and then springing
forward for the attack, his arms and legs turning into iron, the big
muscles standing out in knots, his frame quivering with excitement, the
thick hair falling back in masses from his brow, and the fire of the
chase in his eye.  I trembled for my boy, who was the object of the
imaginary onslaught, the passion of sport was so admirably acted.

As I write, seven of the older men are sitting by the fire.  Their grey
beards fall to their waists in rippled masses, and the slight baldness of
age not only gives them a singularly venerable appearance, but enhances
the beauty of their lofty brows.  I took a rough sketch of one of the
handsomest, and, showing it to him, asked if he would have it, but
instead of being amused or pleased he showed symptoms of fear, and asked
me to burn it, saying it would bring him bad luck and he should die.
However, Ito pacified him, and he accepted it, after a Chinese character,
which is understood to mean good luck, had been written upon it; but all
the others begged me not to “make pictures” of them, except Pipichari,
who lies at my feet like a staghound.

The profusion of black hair, and a curious intensity about their eyes,
coupled with the hairy limbs and singularly vigorous physique, give them
a formidably savage appearance; but the smile, full of “sweetness and
light,” in which both eyes and mouth bear part, and the low, musical
voice, softer and sweeter than anything I have previously heard, make me
at times forget that they are savages at all.  The venerable look of
these old men harmonises with the singular dignity and courtesy of their
manners, but as I look at the grand heads, and reflect that the Ainos
have never shown any capacity, and are merely adult children, they seem
to suggest water on the brain rather than intellect.  I am more and more
convinced that the expression of their faces is European.  It is
truthful, straightforward, manly, but both it and the tone of voice are
strongly tinged with pathos.

Before these elders Benri asked me, in a severe tone, if I had been
annoyed in any way during his absence.  He feared, he said, that the
young men and the women would crowd about me rudely.  I made a
complimentary speech in return, and all the ancient hands were waved, and
the venerable beards were stroked in acknowledgment.

These Ainos, doubtless, stand high among uncivilised peoples.  They are,
however, as completely irreclaimable as the wildest of nomad tribes, and
contact with civilisation, where it exists, only debases them.  Several
young Ainos were sent to Tôkiyô, and educated and trained in various
ways, but as soon as they returned to Yezo they relapsed into savagery,
retaining nothing but a knowledge of Japanese.  They are charming in many
ways, but make one sad, too, by their stupidity, apathy, and
hopelessness, and all the sadder that their numbers appear to be again
increasing; and as their physique is very fine, there does not appear to
be a prospect of the race dying out at present.

They are certainly superior to many aborigines, as they have an approach
to domestic life.  They have one word for _house_, and another for
_home_, and one word for husband approaches very nearly to house-band.
Truth is of value in their eyes, and this in itself raises them above
some peoples.  Infanticide is unknown, and aged parents receive filial
reverence, kindness, and support, while in their social and domestic
relations there is much that is praiseworthy.

I must conclude this letter abruptly, as the horses are waiting, and I
must cross the rivers, if possible, before the bursting of an impending
storm.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XXXVIII.


A Parting Gift—A Delicacy—Generosity—A Seaside Village—Pipichari’s
Advice—A Drunken Revel—Ito’s Prophecies—The _Kôchô’s_ Illness—Patent
Medicines.

                                              SARUFUTO, YEZO, _August_ 27.

I LEFT the Ainos yesterday with real regret, though I must confess that
sleeping in one’s clothes and the lack of ablutions are very fatiguing.
Benri’s two wives spent the early morning in the laborious operation of
grinding millet into coarse flour, and before I departed, as their custom
is, they made a paste of it, rolled it with their unclean fingers into
well-shaped cakes, boiled them in the unwashed pot in which they make
their stew of “abominable things,” and presented them to me on a lacquer
tray.  They were distressed that I did not eat their food, and a woman
went to a village at some distance and brought me some venison fat as a
delicacy.  All those of whom I had seen much came to wish me good-bye,
and they brought so many presents (including a fine bearskin) that I
should have needed an additional horse to carry them had I accepted but
one-half.

I rode twelve miles through the forest to Mombets, where I intended to
spend Sunday, but I had the worst horse I ever rode, and we took five
hours.  The day was dull and sad, threatening a storm, and when we got
out of the forest, upon a sand-hill covered with oak scrub, we
encountered a most furious wind.  Among the many views which I have seen,
that is one to be remembered.  Below lay a bleached and bare sand-hill,
with a few grey houses huddled in its miserable shelter, and a heaped-up
shore of grey sand, on which a brown-grey sea was breaking with clash and
boom in long, white, ragged lines, with all beyond a confusion of surf,
surge, and mist, with driving brown clouds mingling sea and sky, and all
between showing only in glimpses amidst scuds of sand.

At a house in the scrub a number of men were drinking _saké_ with much
uproar, and a superb-looking Aino came out, staggered a few yards, and
then fell backwards among the weeds, a picture of debasement.  I forgot
to tell you that before I left Biratori, I inveighed to the assembled
Ainos against the practice and consequences of _saké_-drinking, and was
met with the reply, “We must drink to the gods, or we shall die;” but
Pipichari said, “You say that which is good; let us give _saké_ to the
gods, but not drink it,” for which bold speech he was severely rebuked by
Benri.

Mombets is a stormily-situated and most wretched cluster of twenty-seven
decayed houses, some of them Aino, and some Japanese.  The fish-oil and
seaweed fishing trades are in brisk operation there now for a short time,
and a number of Aino and Japanese strangers are employed.  The boats
could not get out because of the surf, and there was a drunken debauch.
The whole place smelt of _saké_.  Tipsy men were staggering about and
falling flat on their backs, to lie there like dogs till they were
sober,—Aino women were vainly endeavouring to drag their drunken lords
home, and men of both races were reduced to a beastly equality.  I went
to the _yadoya_ where I intended to spend Sunday, but, besides being very
dirty and forlorn, it was the very centre of the _saké_ traffic, and in
its open space there were men in all stages of riotous and stupid
intoxication.  It was a sad scene, yet one to be matched in a hundred
places in Scotland every Saturday afternoon.  I am told by the _Kôchô_
here that an Aino can drink four or five times as much as a Japanese
without being tipsy, so for each tipsy Aino there had been an outlay of
6s. or 7s., for _saké_ is 8d. a cup here!

I had some tea and eggs in the _daidokoro_, and altered my plans
altogether on finding that if I proceeded farther round the east coast,
as I intended, I should run the risk of several days’ detention on the
banks of numerous “bad rivers” if rain came on, by which I should run the
risk of breaking my promise to deliver Ito to Mr. Maries by a given day.
I do not surrender this project, however, without an equivalent, for I
intend to add 100 miles to my journey, by taking an almost disused track
round Volcano Bay, and visiting the coast Ainos of a very primitive
region.  Ito is very much opposed to this, thinking that he has made a
sufficient sacrifice of personal comfort at Biratori, and plies me with
stories, such as that there are “many bad rivers to cross,” that the
track is so worn as to be impassable, that there are no _yadoyas_, and
that at the Government offices we shall neither get rice nor eggs!  An
old man who has turned back unable to get horses is made responsible for
these stories.  The machinations are very amusing.  Ito was much smitten
with the daughter of the house-master at Mororan, and left some things in
her keeping, and the desire to see her again is at the bottom of his
opposition to the other route.

_Monday_.—The horse could not or would not carry me farther than Mombets,
so, sending the baggage on, I walked through the oak wood, and enjoyed
its silent solitude, in spite of the sad reflections upon the enslavement
of the Ainos to _saké_.  I spent yesterday quietly in my old quarters,
with a fearful storm of wind and rain outside.  Pipichari appeared at
noon, nominally to bring news of the sick woman, who is recovering, and
to have his nearly healed foot bandaged again, but really to bring me a
knife sheath which he has carved for me.  He lay on the mat in the corner
of my room most of the afternoon, and I got a great many more words from
him.  The house-master, who is the _Kôchô_ of Sarufuto, paid me a
courteous visit, and in the evening sent to say that he would be very
glad of some medicine, for he was “very ill and going to have fever.”  He
had caught a bad cold and sore throat, had bad pains in his limbs, and
was bemoaning himself ruefully.  To pacify his wife, who was very sorry
for him, I gave him some “Cockle’s Pills” and the trapper’s remedy of “a
pint of hot water with a pinch of cayenne pepper,” and left him moaning
and bundled up under a pile of _futons_, in a nearly hermetically sealed
room, with a _hibachi_ of charcoal vitiating the air.  This morning when
I went and inquired after him in a properly concerned tone, his wife told
me very gleefully that he was quite well and had gone out, and had left
25 _sen_ for some more of the medicines that I had given him, so with
great gravity I put up some of Duncan and Flockhart’s most pungent
cayenne pepper, and showed her how much to use.  She was not content,
however, without some of the “Cockles,” a single box of which has
performed six of those “miraculous cures” which rejoice the hearts and
fill the pockets of patent medicine makers!

                                                                  I. L. B.

                         [Picture: The Rokkukado]



LETTER XXXIX.


A Welcome Gift—Recent Changes—Volcanic Phenomena—Interesting Tufa
Cones—Semi-strangulation—A Fall into a Bear-trap—The Shiraôi
Ainos—Horsebreaking and Cruelty.

                                           OLD MORORAN, VOLCANO BAY, YEZO,
                                                            _September_ 2.

AFTER the storm of Sunday, Monday was a grey, still, tender day, and the
ranges of wooded hills were bathed in the richest indigo colouring.  A
canter of seventeen miles among the damask roses on a very rough horse
only took me to Yubets, whose indescribable loneliness fascinated me into
spending a night there again, and encountering a wild clatter of wind and
rain; and another canter of seven miles the next morning took me to
Tomakomai, where I rejoined my _kuruma_, and after a long delay, three
trotting Ainos took me to Shiraôi, where the “clear shining after rain,”
and the mountains against a lemon-coloured sky, were extremely beautiful;
but the Pacific was as unrestful as a guilty thing, and its crash and
clamour and the severe cold fatigued me so much that I did not pursue my
journey the next day, and had the pleasure of a flying visit from Mr. Von
Siebold and Count Diesbach, who bestowed a chicken upon me.

I like Shiraôi very much, and if I were stronger would certainly make it
a basis for exploring a part of the interior, in which there is much to
reward the explorer.  Obviously the changes in this part of Yezo have
been comparatively recent, and the energy of the force which has produced
them is not yet extinct.  The land has gained from the sea along the
whole of this part of the coast to the extent of two or three miles, the
old beach with its bays and headlands being a marked feature of the
landscape.  This new formation appears to be a vast bed of pumice,
covered by a thin layer of vegetable mould, which cannot be more than
fifty years old.  This pumice fell during the eruption of the volcano of
Tarumai, which is very near Shiraôi, and is also brought down in large
quantities from the interior hills and valleys by the numerous rivers,
besides being washed up by the sea.  At the last eruption pumice fell
over this region of Yezo to a medium depth of 3 feet 6 inches.  In nearly
all the rivers good sections of the formation may be seen in their
deeply-cleft banks, broad, light-coloured bands of pumice, with a few
inches of rich, black, vegetable soil above, and several feet of black
sea-sand below.  During a freshet which occurred the first night I was at
Shiraôi, a single stream covered a piece of land with pumice to the depth
of nine inches, being the wash from the hills of the interior, in a
course of less than fifteen miles.

Looking inland, the volcano of Tarumai, with a bare grey top and a
blasted forest on its sides, occupies the right of the picture.  To the
left and inland are mountains within mountains, tumbled together in most
picturesque confusion, densely covered with forest and cleft by
magnificent ravines, here and there opening out into narrow valleys.  The
whole of the interior is jungle penetrable for a few miles by shallow and
rapid rivers, and by nearly smothered trails made by the Ainos in search
of game.  The general lie of the country made me very anxious to find out
whether a much-broken ridge lying among the mountains is or is not a
series of tufa cones of ancient date; and, applying for a good horse and
Aino guide on horseback, I left Ito to amuse himself, and spent much of a
most splendid day in investigations and in attempting to get round the
back of the volcano and up its inland side.  There is a great deal to see
and learn there.  Oh that I had strength!  After hours of most tedious
and exhausting work I reached a point where there were several great
fissures emitting smoke and steam, with occasional subterranean
detonations.  These were on the side of a small, flank crack which was
smoking heavily.  There was light pumice everywhere, but nothing like
recent lava or scoriæ.  One fissure was completely lined with exquisite,
acicular crystals of sulphur, which perished with a touch.  Lower down
there were two hot springs with a deposit of sulphur round their margins,
and bubbles of gas, which, from its strong, garlicky smell, I suppose to
be sulphuretted hydrogen.  Farther progress in that direction was
impossible without a force of pioneers.  I put my arm down several deep
crevices which were at an altitude of only about 500 feet, and had to
withdraw it at once, owing to the great heat, in which some beautiful
specimens of tropical ferns were growing.  At the same height I came to a
hot spring—hot enough to burst one of my thermometers, which was
graduated above the boiling point of Fahrenheit; and tying up an egg in a
pocket-handkerchief and holding it by a stick in the water, it was hard
boiled in 8½ minutes.  The water evaporated without leaving a trace of
deposit on the handkerchief, and there was no crust round its margin.  It
boiled and bubbled with great force.

Three hours more of exhausting toil, which almost knocked up the horses,
brought us to the apparent ridge, and I was delighted to find that it
consisted of a lateral range of tufa cones, which I estimate as being
from 200 to 350, or even 400 feet high.  They are densely covered with
trees of considerable age, and a rich deposit of mould; but their conical
form is still admirably defined.  An hour of very severe work, and
energetic use of the knife on the part of the Aino, took me to the top of
one of these through a mass of entangled and gigantic vegetation, and I
was amply repaid by finding a deep, well-defined crateriform cavity of
great depth, with its sides richly clothed with vegetation, closely
resembling some of the old cones in the island of Kauai.  This cone is
partially girdled by a stream, which in one place has cut through a bank
of both red and black volcanic ash.  All the usual phenomena of volcanic
regions are probably to be met with north of Shiraôi, and I hope they
will at some future time be made the object of careful investigation.

In spite of the desperate and almost overwhelming fatigue, I have enjoyed
few things more than that “exploring expedition.”  If the Japanese have
no one to talk to they croon hideous discords to themselves, and it was a
relief to leave Ito behind and get away with an Aino, who was at once
silent, trustworthy, and faithful.  Two bright rivers bubbling over beds
of red pebbles run down to Shiraôi out of the back country, and my
directions, which were translated to the Aino, were to follow up one of
these and go into the mountains in the direction of one I pointed out
till I said “Shiraôi.”  It was one of those exquisite mornings which are
seen sometimes in the Scotch Highlands before rain, with intense
clearness and visibility, a blue atmosphere, a cloudless sky, blue
summits, heavy dew, and glorious sunshine, and under these circumstances
scenery beautiful in itself became entrancing.

The trailers are so formidable that we had to stoop over our horses’
necks at all times, and with pushing back branches and guarding my face
from slaps and scratches, my thick dogskin gloves were literally frayed
off, and some of the skin of my hands and face in addition, so that I
returned with both bleeding and swelled.  It was on the return ride,
fortunately, that in stooping to escape one great liana the loop of
another grazed my nose, and, being unable to check my unbroken horse
instantaneously, the loop caught me by the throat, nearly strangled me,
and in less time than it takes to tell it I was drawn over the back of
the saddle, and found myself lying on the ground, jammed between a tree
and the hind leg of the horse, which was quietly feeding.  The Aino,
whose face was very badly scratched, missing me, came back, said never a
word, helped me up, brought me some water in a leaf, brought my hat, and
we rode on again.  I was little the worse for the fall, but on borrowing
a looking-glass I see not only scratches and abrasions all over my face,
but a livid mark round my throat as if I had been hung!  The Aino left
portions of his bushy locks on many of the branches.  You would have been
amused to see me in this forest, preceded by this hairy and
formidable-looking savage, who was dressed in a coat of skins with the
fur outside, seated on the top of a pack-saddle covered with a deer hide,
and with his hairy legs crossed over the horse’s neck—a fashion in which
the Ainos ride any horses over any ground with the utmost serenity.

It was a wonderful region for beauty.  I have not seen so beautiful a
view in Japan as from the river-bed from which I had the first near view
of the grand assemblage of tufa cones, covered with an ancient
vegetation, backed by high mountains of volcanic origin, on whose ragged
crests the red ash was blazing vermilion against the blue sky, with a
foreground of bright waters flashing through a primeval forest.  The
banks of these streams were deeply excavated by the heavy rains, and
sometimes we had to jump three and even four feet out of the forest into
the river, and as much up again, fording the Shiraôi river only more than
twenty times, and often making a pathway of its treacherous bed and
rushing waters, because the forest was impassable from the great size of
the prostrate trees.  The horses look at these jumps, hold back, try to
turn, and then, making up their minds, suddenly plunge down or up.  When
the last vestige of a trail disappeared, I signed to the Aino to go on,
and our subsequent “exploration” was all done at the rate of about a mile
an hour.  On the openings the grass grows stiff and strong to the height
of eight feet, with its soft reddish plumes waving in the breeze.  The
Aino first forced his horse through it, but of course it closed again, so
that constantly when he was close in front I was only aware of his
proximity by the tinkling of his horse’s bells, for I saw nothing of him
or of my own horse except the horn of my saddle.  We tumbled into holes
often, and as easily tumbled out of them; but once we both went down in
the most unexpected manner into what must have been an old bear-trap,
both going over our horses’ heads, the horses and ourselves struggling
together in a narrow space in a mist of grassy plumes, and, being unable
to communicate with my guide, the sense of the ridiculous situation was
so overpowering that, even in the midst of the mishap, I was exhausted
with laughter, though not a little bruised.  It was very hard to get out
of that pitfall, and I hope I shall never get into one again.  It is not
the first occasion on which I have been glad that the Yezo horses are
shoeless.  It was through this long grass that we fought our way to the
tufa cones, with the red ragged crests against the blue sky.

The scenery was magnificent, and after getting so far I longed to explore
the sources of the rivers, but besides the many difficulties the day was
far spent.  I was also too weak for any energetic undertaking, yet I felt
an intuitive perception of the passion and fascination of exploring, and
understood how people could give up their lives to it.  I turned away
from the tufa cones and the glory of the ragged crests very sadly, to
ride a tired horse through great difficulties; and the animal was so
thoroughly done up that I had to walk, or rather wade, for the last hour,
and it was nightfall when I returned, to find that Ito had packed up all
my things, had been waiting ever since noon to start for Horobets, was
very grumpy at having to unpack, and thoroughly disgusted when I told him
that I was so tired and bruised that I should have to remain the next day
to rest.  He said indignantly, “I never thought that when you’d got the
_Kaitakushi kuruma_ you’d go off the road into those woods!”  We had seen
some deer and many pheasants, and a successful hunter brought in a fine
stag, so that I had venison steak for supper, and was much comforted,
though Ito seasoned the meal with well-got-up stories of the
impracticability of the Volcano Bay route.

Shiraôi consists of a large old _Honjin_, or _yadoya_, where the
_daimiyô_ and his train used to lodge in the old days, and about eleven
Japanese houses, most of which are _saké_ shops—a fact which supplies an
explanation of the squalor of the Aino village of fifty-two houses, which
is on the shore at a respectful distance.  There is no cultivation, in
which it is like all the fishing villages on this part of the coast, but
fish-oil and fish-manure are made in immense quantities, and, though it
is not the season here, the place is pervaded by “an ancient and
fish-like smell.”

The Aino houses are much smaller, poorer, and dirtier than those of
Biratori.  I went into a number of them, and conversed with the people,
many of whom understand Japanese.  Some of the houses looked like dens,
and, as it was raining, husband, wife, and five or six naked children,
all as dirty as they could be, with unkempt, elf-like locks, were huddled
round the fires.  Still, bad as it looked and smelt, the fire was the
hearth, and the hearth was inviolate, and each smoked and dirt-stained
group was a family, and it was an advance upon the social life of, for
instance, Salt Lake City.  The roofs are much flatter than those of the
mountain Ainos, and, as there are few store-houses, quantities of fish,
“green” skins, and venison, hang from the rafters, and the smell of these
and the stinging of the smoke were most trying.  Few of the houses had
any guest-seats, but in the very poorest, when I asked shelter from the
rain, they put their best mat upon the ground, and insisted, much to my
distress, on my walking over it in muddy boots, saying, “It is Aino
custom.”  Ever, in those squalid homes the broad shelf, with its rows of
Japanese curios, always has a place.  I mentioned that it is customary
for a chief to appoint a successor when he becomes infirm, and I came
upon a case in point, through a mistaken direction, which took us to the
house of the former chief, with a great empty bear cage at its door.  On
addressing him as the chief, he said, “I am old and blind, I cannot go
out, I am of no more good,” and directed us to the house of his
successor.  Altogether it is obvious, from many evidences in this
village, that Japanese contiguity is hurtful, and that the Ainos have
reaped abundantly of the disadvantages without the advantages of contact
with Japanese civilisation.

That night I saw a specimen of Japanese horse-breaking as practised in
Yezo.  A Japanese brought into the village street a handsome, spirited
young horse, equipped with a Japanese _demi-pique_ saddle, and a most
cruel gag bit.  The man wore very cruel spurs, and was armed with a bit
of stout board two feet long by six inches broad.  The horse had not been
mounted before, and was frightened, but not the least vicious.  He was
spurred into a gallop, and ridden at full speed up and down the street,
turned by main force, thrown on his haunches, goaded with the spurs, and
cowed by being mercilessly thrashed over the ears and eyes with the piece
of board till he was blinded with blood.  Whenever he tried to stop from
exhaustion he was spurred, jerked, and flogged, till at last, covered
with sweat, foam, and blood, and with blood running from his mouth and
splashing the road, he reeled, staggered, and fell, the rider dexterously
disengaging himself.  As soon as he was able to stand, he was allowed to
crawl into a shed, where he was kept without food till morning, when a
child could do anything with him.  He was “broken,” effectually
spirit-broken, useless for the rest of his life.  It was a brutal and
brutalising exhibition, as triumphs of brute force always are.



LETTER XXXIX.—(_Continued_.)


The Universal Language—The Yezo Corrals—A “Typhoon Rain”—Difficult
Tracks—An Unenviable Ride—Drying Clothes—A Woman’s Remorse.

THIS morning I left early in the _kuruma_ with two kind and delightful
savages.  The road being much broken by the rains I had to get out
frequently, and every time I got in again they put my air-pillow behind
me, and covered me up in a blanket; and when we got to a rough river, one
made a step of his back by which I mounted their horse, and gave me
nooses of rope to hold on by, and the other held my arm to keep me
steady, and they would not let me walk up or down any of the hills.  What
a blessing it is that, amidst the confusion of tongues, the language of
kindness and courtesy is universally understood, and that a kindly smile
on a savage face is as intelligible as on that of one’s own countryman!
They had never drawn a _kuruma_, and were as pleased as children when I
showed them how to balance the shafts.  They were not without the
capacity to originate ideas, for, when they were tired of the frolic of
pulling, they attached the _kuruma_ by ropes to the horse, which one of
them rode at a “scramble,” while the other merely ran in the shafts to
keep them level.  This is an excellent plan.

Horobets is a fishing station of antique and decayed aspect, with
eighteen Japanese and forty-seven Aino houses.  The latter are much
larger than at Shiraôi, and their very steep roofs are beautifully
constructed.  It was a miserable day, with fog concealing the mountains
and lying heavily on the sea, but as no one expected rain I sent the
_kuruma_ back to Mororan and secured horses.  On principle I always go to
the _corral_ myself to choose animals, if possible, without sore backs,
but the choice is often between one with a mere raw and others which have
holes in their backs into which I could put my hand, or altogether
uncovered spines.  The practice does no immediate good, but by showing
the Japanese that foreign opinion condemns these cruelties an amendment
may eventually be brought about.  At Horobets, among twenty horses, there
was not one that I would take,—I should like to have had them all shot.
They are cheap and abundant, and are of no account.  They drove a number
more down from the hills, and I chose the largest and finest horse I have
seen in Japan, with some spirit and action, but I soon found that he had
tender feet.  We shortly left the high-road, and in torrents of rain
turned off on “unbeaten tracks,” which led us through a very bad swamp
and some much swollen and very rough rivers into the mountains, where we
followed a worn-out track for eight miles.  It was literally “_foul_
weather,” dark and still, with a brown mist, and rain falling in sheets.
I threw my paper waterproof away as useless, my clothes were of course
soaked, and it was with much difficulty that I kept my _shomon_ and paper
money from being reduced to pulp.  Typhoons are not known so far north as
Yezo, but it was what they call a “typhoon rain” without the typhoon, and
in no time it turned the streams into torrents barely fordable, and tore
up such of a road as there is, which at its best is a mere water-channel.
Torrents, bringing tolerable-sized stones, tore down the track, and when
the horses had been struck two or three times by these, it was with
difficulty that they could be induced to face the rushing water.
Constantly in a pass, the water had gradually cut a track several feet
deep between steep banks, and the only possible walking place was a stony
gash not wide enough for the two feet of a horse alongside of each other,
down which water and stones were rushing from behind, with all manner of
trailers matted overhead, and between avoiding being strangled and
attempting to keep a tender-footed horse on his legs, the ride was a very
severe one.  The poor animal fell five times from stepping on stones, and
in one of his falls twisted my left wrist badly.  I thought of the many
people who envied me my tour in Japan, and wondered whether they would
envy me that ride!

After this had gone on for four hours, the track, with a sudden dip over
a hillside, came down on Old Mororan, a village of thirty Aino and nine
Japanese houses, very unpromising-looking, although exquisitely situated
on the rim of a lovely cove.  The Aino huts were small and poor, with an
unusual number of bear skulls on poles, and the village consisted mainly
of two long dilapidated buildings, in which a number of men were mending
nets.  It looked a decaying place, of low, mean lives.  But at a
“merchant’s” there was one delightful room with two translucent sides—one
opening on the village, the other looking to the sea down a short, steep
slope, on which is a quaint little garden, with dwarfed fir-trees in
pots, a few balsams, and a red cabbage grown with much pride as a
“foliage plant.”

It is nearly midnight, but my bed and bedding are so wet that I am still
sitting up and drying them, patch by patch, with tedious slowness, on a
wooden frame placed over a charcoal brazier, which has given my room the
dryness and warmth which are needed when a person has been for many hours
in soaked clothing, and has nothing really dry to put on.  Ito bought a
chicken for my supper, but when he was going to kill it an hour later its
owner in much grief returned the money, saying she had brought it up and
could not bear to see it killed.  This is a wild, outlandish place, but
an intuition tells me that it is beautiful.  The ocean at present is
thundering up the beach with the sullen force of a heavy ground-swell,
and the rain is still falling in torrents.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XL.


“More than Peace”—Geographical Difficulties—Usu-taki—Swimming the
Osharu—A Dream of Beauty—A Sunset Effect—A Nocturnal Alarm—The Coast
Ainos.

                                               LEBUNGÉ, VOLCANO BAY, YEZO,
                                                            _September_ 6.

    “Weary wave and dying blast
    Sob and moan along the shore,
             All is peace at last.”

AND more than peace.  It was a heavenly morning.  The deep blue sky was
perfectly unclouded, a blue sea with diamond flash and a “many-twinkling
smile” rippled gently on the golden sands of the lovely little bay, and
opposite, forty miles away, the pink summit of the volcano of
Komono-taki, forming the south-western point of Volcano Bay, rose into a
softening veil of tender blue haze.  There was a balmy breeziness in the
air, and tawny tints upon the hill, patches of gold in the woods, and a
scarlet spray here and there heralded the glories of the advancing
autumn.  As the day began, so it closed.  I should like to have detained
each hour as it passed.  It was thorough enjoyment.  I visited a good
many of the Mororan Ainos, saw their well-grown bear in its cage, and,
tearing myself away with difficulty at noon, crossed a steep hill and a
wood of scrub oak, and then followed a trail which runs on the amber
sands close to the sea, crosses several small streams, and passes the
lonely Aino village of Maripu, the ocean always on the left and wooded
ranges on the right, and in front an apparent bar to farther progress in
the volcano of Usu-taki, an imposing mountain, rising abruptly to a
height of nearly 3000 feet, I should think.

In Yezo, as on the main island, one can learn very little about any
prospective route.  Usually when one makes an inquiry a Japanese puts on
a stupid look, giggles, tucks his thumbs into his girdle, hitches up his
garments, and either professes perfect ignorance or gives one some vague
second-hand information, though it is quite possible that he may have
been over every foot of the ground himself more than once.  Whether
suspicion of your motives in asking, or a fear of compromising himself by
answering, is at the bottom of this I don’t know, but it is most
exasperating to a traveller.  In Hakodaté I failed to see Captain
Blakiston, who has walked round the whole Yezo sea-board, and all I was
able to learn regarding this route was that the coast was thinly peopled
by Ainos, that there were Government horses which could be got, and that
one could sleep where one got them; that rice and salt fish were the only
food; that there were many “bad rivers,” and that the road went over “bad
mountains;” that the only people who went that way were Government
officials twice a year, that one could not get on more than four miles a
day, that the roads over the passes were “all big stones,” etc. etc.  So
this Usu-taki took me altogether by surprise, and for a time confounded
all my carefully-constructed notions of locality.  I had been told that
the one volcano in the bay was Komono-taki, near Mori, and this I
believed to be eighty miles off, and there, confronting me, within a
distance of two miles, was this grand, splintered, vermilion-crested
thing, with a far nobler aspect than that of “_the_” volcano, with a
curtain range in front, deeply scored, and slashed with ravines and
abysses whose purple gloom was unlighted even by the noon-day sun.  One
of the peaks was emitting black smoke from a deep crater, another steam
and white smoke from various rents and fissures in its side—vermilion
peaks, smoke, and steam all rising into a sky of brilliant blue, and the
atmosphere was so clear that I saw everything that was going on there
quite distinctly, especially when I attained an altitude exceeding that
of the curtain range.  It was not for two days that I got a correct idea
of its geographical situation, but I was not long in finding out that it
was not Komono-taki!  There is much volcanic activity about it.  I saw a
glare from it last night thirty miles away.  The Ainos said that it was
“a god,” but did not know its name, nor did the Japanese who were living
under its shadow.  At some distance from it in the interior rises a great
dome-like mountain, Shiribetsan, and the whole view is grand.

A little beyond Mombets flows the river Osharu, one of the largest of the
Yezo streams.  It was much swollen by the previous day’s rain; and as the
ferry-boat was carried away we had to swim it, and the swim seemed very
long.  Of course, we and the baggage got very wet.  The coolness with
which the Aino guide took to the water without giving us any notice that
its broad, eddying flood was a swim, and not a ford, was very amusing.

From the top of a steepish ascent beyond the Osharugawa there is a view
into what looks like a very lovely lake, with wooded promontories, and
little bays, and rocky capes in miniature, and little heights, on which
Aino houses, with tawny roofs, are clustered; and then the track dips
suddenly, and deposits one, not by a lake at all, but on Usu Bay, an
inlet of the Pacific, much broken up into coves, and with a very narrow
entrance, only obvious from a few points.  Just as the track touches the
bay there is a road-post, with a prayer-wheel in it, and by the shore an
upright stone of very large size, inscribed with Sanskrit characters,
near to a stone staircase and a gateway in a massive stone-faced
embankment, which looked much out of keeping with the general wildness of
the place.  On a rocky promontory in a wooded cove there is a large,
rambling house, greatly out of repair, inhabited by a Japanese man and
his son, who are placed there to look after Government interests, exiles
among 500 Ainos.  From among the number of rat-haunted, rambling rooms
which had once been handsome, I chose one opening on a yard or garden
with some distorted yews in it, but found that the great gateway and the
_amado_ had no bolts, and that anything might be appropriated by any one
with dishonest intentions; but the house-master and his son, who have
lived for ten years among the Ainos, and speak their language, say that
nothing is ever taken, and that the Ainos are thoroughly honest and
harmless.  Without this assurance I should have been distrustful of the
number of wide-mouthed youths who hung about, in the listlessness and
vacuity of savagery, if not of the bearded men who sat or stood about the
gateway with children in their arms.

Usu is a dream of beauty and peace.  There is not much difference between
the height of high and low water on this coast, and the lake-like
illusion would have been perfect had it not been that the rocks were
tinged with gold for a foot or so above the sea by a delicate species of
_fucus_.  In the exquisite inlet where I spent the night, trees and
trailers drooped into the water and were mirrored in it, their green,
heavy shadows lying sharp against the sunset gold and pink of the rest of
the bay; log canoes, with planks laced upon their gunwales to heighten
them, were drawn upon a tiny beach of golden sand, and in the shadiest
cove, moored to a tree, an antique and much-carved junk was “floating
double.”  Wooded, rocky knolls, with Aino huts, the vermilion peaks of
the volcano of Usu-taki redder than ever in the sinking sun, a few Ainos
mending their nets, a few more spreading edible seaweed out to dry, a
single canoe breaking the golden mirror of the cove by its noiseless
motion, a few Aino loungers, with their “mild-eyed, melancholy” faces and
quiet ways suiting the quiet evening scene, the unearthly sweetness of a
temple bell—this was all, and yet it was the loveliest picture I have
seen in Japan.

In spite of Ito’s remonstrances and his protestations that an
exceptionally good supper would be spoiled, I left my rat-haunted room,
with its tarnished gilding and precarious _fusuma_, to get the last of
the pink and lemon-coloured glory, going up the staircase in the
stone-faced embankment, and up a broad, well-paved avenue, to a large
temple, within whose open door I sat for some time absolutely alone, and
in a wonderful stillness; for the sweet-toned bell which vainly chimes
for vespers amidst this bear-worshipping population had ceased.  This
temple was the first symptom of Japanese religion that I remember to have
seen since leaving Hakodaté, and worshippers have long since ebbed away
from its shady and moss-grown courts.  Yet it stands there to protest for
the teaching of the great Hindu; and generations of Aino heathen pass
away one after another; and still its bronze bell tolls, and its altar
lamps are lit, and incense burns for ever before Buddha.  The characters
on the great bell of this temple are said to be the same lines which are
often graven on temple bells, and to possess the dignity of twenty-four
centuries:

    “All things are transient;
    They being born must die,
    And being born are dead;
    And being dead are glad
    To be at rest.”

The temple is very handsome, the baldachino is superb, and the bronzes
and brasses on the altar are specially fine.  A broad ray of sunlight
streamed in, crossed the matted floor, and fell full upon the figure of
Sakya-muni in his golden shrine; and just at that moment a shaven priest,
in silk-brocaded vestments of faded green, silently passed down the
stream of light, and lit the candles on the altar, and fresh incense
filled the temple with a drowsy fragrance.  It was a most impressive
picture.  His curiosity evidently shortened his devotions, and he came
and asked me where I had been and where I was going, to which, of course,
I replied in excellent Japanese, and then stuck fast.

Along the paved avenue, besides the usual stone trough for holy water,
there are on one side the thousand-armed Kwan-non, a very fine relief,
and on the other a Buddha, throned on the eternal lotus blossom, with an
iron staff, much resembling a crozier, in his hand, and that eternal
apathy on his face which is the highest hope of those who hope at all.  I
went through a wood, where there are some mournful groups of graves on
the hillside, and from the temple came the sweet sound of the great
bronze bell and the beat of the big drum, and then, more faintly, the
sound of the little bell and drum, with which the priest accompanies his
ceaseless repetition of a phrase in the dead tongue of a distant land.
There is an infinite pathos about the lonely temple in its splendour, the
absence of even possible worshippers, and the large population of Ainos,
sunk in yet deeper superstitions than those which go to make up popular
Buddhism.  I sat on a rock by the bay till the last pink glow faded from
Usu-taki and the last lemon stain from the still water; and a beautiful
crescent, which hung over the wooded hill, had set, and the heavens
blazed with stars:

    “Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
       Ten thousand in the sea,
    And every wave with dimpled face,
       That leapt upon the air,
    Had caught a star in its embrace,
       And held it trembling there.”

The loneliness of Usu Bay is something wonderful—a house full of empty
rooms falling to decay, with only two men in it—one Japanese house among
500 savages, yet it was the only one in which I have slept in which they
bolted neither the _amado_ nor the gate.  During the night the _amado_
fell out of the worn-out grooves with a crash, knocking down the _shôji_,
which fell on me, and rousing Ito, who rushed into my room half-asleep,
with a vague vision of blood-thirsty Ainos in his mind.  I then learned
what I have been very stupid not to have learned before, that in these
sliding wooden shutters there is a small door through which one person
can creep at a time called the _jishindo_, or “earthquake door,” because
it provides an exit during the alarm of an earthquake, in case of the
_amado_ sticking in their grooves, or their bolts going wrong.  I believe
that such a door exists in all Japanese houses.

The next morning was as beautiful as the previous evening, rose and gold
instead of gold and pink.  Before the sun was well up I visited a number
of the Aino lodges, saw the bear, and the chief, who, like all the rest,
is a monogamist, and, after breakfast, at my request, some of the old men
came to give me such information as they had.  These venerable elders sat
cross-legged in the verandah, the house-master’s son, who kindly acted as
interpreter, squatting, Japanese fashion, at the side, and about thirty
Ainos, mostly women, with infants, sitting behind.  I spent about two
hours in going over the same ground as at Biratori, and also went over
the words, and got some more, including some synonyms.  The _click_ of
the _ts_ before the _ch_ at the beginning of a word is strongly marked
among these Ainos.  Some of their customs differ slightly from those of
their brethren of the interior, specially as to the period of seclusion
after a death, the non-allowance of polygamy to the chief, and the manner
of killing the bear at the annual festival.  Their ideas of
metempsychosis are more definite, but this, I think, is to be accounted
for by the influence and proximity of Buddhism.  They spoke of the bear
as their chief god, and next the sun and fire.  They said that they no
longer worship the wolf, and that though they call the volcano and many
other things _kamoi_, or god, they do not worship them.  I ascertained
beyond doubt that worship with them means simply making libations of
_saké_ and “drinking to the god,” and that it is unaccompanied by
petitions, or any vocal or mental act.

These Ainos are as dark as the people of southern Spain, and very hairy.
Their expression is earnest and pathetic, and when they smiled, as they
did when I could not pronounce their words, their faces had a touching
sweetness which was quite beautiful, and European, not Asiatic.  Their
own impression is that they are now increasing in numbers after
diminishing for many years.  I left Usu sleeping in the loveliness of an
autumn noon with great regret.  No place that I have seen has fascinated
me so much.

                       [Picture: My Kuruma-Runner]



LETTER XL.—(_Continued_.)


The Sea-shore—A “Hairy Aino”—A Horse Fight—The Horses of Yezo—“Bad
Mountains”—A Slight Accident—Magnificent Scenery—A Bleached
Halting-Place—A Musty Room—Aino “Good-breeding.”

A CHARGE of 3 _sen_ per _ri_ more for the horses for the next stage,
because there were such “bad mountains to cross,” prepared me for what
followed—many miles of the worst road for horses I ever saw.  I should
not have complained if they had charged double the price.  As an almost
certain consequence, it was one of the most picturesque routes I have
ever travelled.  For some distance, however, it runs placidly along by
the sea-shore, on which big, blue, foam-crested rollers were disporting
themselves noisily, and passes through several Aino hamlets, and the Aino
village of Abuta, with sixty houses, rather a prosperous-looking place,
where the cultivation was considerably more careful, and the people
possessed a number of horses.  Several of the houses were surrounded by
bears’ skulls grinning from between the forked tops of high poles, and
there was a well-grown bear ready for his doom and apotheosis.  In nearly
all the houses a woman was weaving bark-cloth, with the hook which holds
the web fixed into the ground several feet outside the house.  At a deep
river called the Nopkobets, which emerges from the mountains close to the
sea, we were ferried by an Aino completely covered with hair, which on
his shoulders was wavy like that of a retriever, and rendered clothing
quite needless either for covering or warmth.  A wavy, black beard
rippled nearly to his waist over his furry chest, and, with his black
locks hanging in masses over his shoulders, he would have looked a
thorough savage had it not been for the exceeding sweetness of his smile
and eyes.  The Volcano Bay Ainos are far more hairy than the mountain
Ainos, but even among them it is quite common to see men not more so than
vigorous Europeans, and I think that the hairiness of the race as a
distinctive feature has been much exaggerated, partly by the
smooth-skinned Japanese.

The ferry scow was nearly upset by our four horses beginning to fight.
At first one bit the shoulders of another; then the one attacked uttered
short, sharp squeals, and returned the attack by striking with his fore
feet, and then there was a general mêlée of striking and biting, till
some ugly wounds were inflicted.  I have watched fights of this kind on a
large scale every day in the _corral_.  The miseries of the Yezo horses
are the great drawback of Yezo travelling.  They are brutally used, and
are covered with awful wounds from being driven at a fast “scramble” with
the rude, ungirthed pack-saddle and its heavy load rolling about on their
backs, and they are beaten unmercifully over their eyes and ears with
heavy sticks.  Ito has been barbarous to these gentle, little-prized
animals ever since we came to Yezo; he has vexed me more by this than by
anything else, especially as he never dared even to carry a switch on the
main island, either from fear of the horses or their owners.  To-day he
was beating the baggage horse unmercifully, when I rode back and
interfered with some very strong language, saying, “You are a bully, and,
like all bullies, a coward.”  Imagine my aggravation when, at our first
halt, he brought out his note-book, as usual, and quietly asked me the
meaning of the words “bully” and “coward.”  It was perfectly impossible
to explain them, so I said a bully was the worst name I could call him,
and that a coward was the meanest thing a man could be.  Then the
provoking boy said, “Is bully a worse name than devil?”  “Yes, far
worse,” I said, on which he seemed rather crestfallen, and he has not
beaten his horse since, in my sight at least.

The breaking-in process is simply breaking the spirit by an hour or two
of such atrocious cruelty as I saw at Shiraôi, at the end of which the
horse, covered with foam and blood, and bleeding from mouth and nose,
falls down exhausted.  Being so ill used they have all kinds of tricks,
such as lying down in fords, throwing themselves down head foremost and
rolling over pack and rider, bucking, and resisting attempts to make them
go otherwise than in single file.  Instead of bits they have bars of wood
on each side of the mouth, secured by a rope round the nose and chin.
When horses which have been broken with bits gallop they put up their
heads till the nose is level with the ears, and it is useless to try
either to guide or check them.  They are always wanting to join the great
herds on the hillside or sea-shore, from which they are only driven down
as they are needed.  In every Yezo village the first sound that one hears
at break of day is the gallop of forty or fifty horses, pursued by an
Aino, who has hunted them from the hills.  A horse is worth from
twenty-eight shillings upwards.  They are very sure-footed when their
feet are not sore, and cross a stream or chasm on a single rickety plank,
or walk on a narrow ledge above a river or gulch without fear.  They are
barefooted, their hoofs are very hard, and I am glad to be rid of the
perpetual tying and untying and replacing of the straw shoes of the
well-cared-for horses of the main island.  A man rides with them, and for
a man and three horses the charge is only sixpence for each 2½ miles.  I
am now making Ito ride in front of me, to make sure that he does not beat
or otherwise misuse his beast.

After crossing the Nopkobets, from which the fighting horses have led me
to make so long a digression, we went right up into the “bad mountains,”
and crossed the three tremendous passes of Lebungétogé.  Except by saying
that this disused bridle-track is impassable, people have scarcely
exaggerated its difficulties.  One horse broke down on the first pass,
and we were long delayed by sending the Aino back for another.  Possibly
these extraordinary passes do not exceed 1500 feet in height, but the
track ascends them through a dense forest with most extraordinary
abruptness, to descend as abruptly, to rise again sometimes by a series
of nearly washed-away zigzags, at others by a straight, ladder-like
ascent deeply channelled, the bottom of the trough being filled with
rough stones, large and small, or with ledges of rock with an entangled
mass of branches and trailers overhead, which render it necessary to
stoop over the horse’s head while he is either fumbling, stumbling, or
tumbling among the stones in a gash a foot wide, or else is awkwardly
leaping up broken rock steps nearly the height of his chest, the whole
performance consisting of a series of scrambling jerks at the rate of a
mile an hour.

In one of the worst places the Aino’s horse, which was just in front of
mine, in trying to scramble up a nearly breast-high and much-worn ledge,
fell backwards, nearly overturning my horse, the stretcher poles, which
formed part of his pack, striking me so hard above my ankle that for some
minutes afterwards I thought the bone was broken.  The ankle was severely
cut and bruised, and bled a good deal, and I was knocked out of the
saddle.  Ito’s horse fell three times, and eventually the four were roped
together.  Such are some of the _divertissements_ of Yezo travel.

Ah, but it was glorious!  The views are most magnificent.  This is really
Paradise.  Everything is here—huge headlands magnificently timbered,
small, deep bays into which the great green waves roll majestically,
great, grey cliffs, too perpendicular for even the most adventurous
trailer to find root-hold, bold bluffs and outlying stacks cedar-crested,
glimpses of bright, blue ocean dimpling in the sunshine or tossing up
wreaths of foam among ferns and trailers, and inland ranges of mountains
forest-covered, with tremendous gorges between, forest filled, where
wolf, bear, and deer make their nearly inaccessible lairs, and outlying
battlements, and ridges of grey rock with hardly six feet of level on
their sinuous tops, and cedars in masses giving deep shadow, and sprays
of scarlet maple or festoons of a crimson vine lighting the gloom.  The
inland view suggested infinity.  There seemed no limit to the
forest-covered mountains and the unlighted ravines.  The wealth of
vegetation was equal in luxuriance and entanglement to that of the
tropics, primeval vegetation, on which the lumberer’s axe has never rung.
Trees of immense height and girth, specially the beautiful _Salisburia
adiantifolia_, with its small fan-shaped leaves, all matted together by
riotous lianas, rise out of an impenetrable undergrowth of the dwarf,
dark-leaved bamboo, which, dwarf as it is, attains a height of seven
feet, and all is dark, solemn, soundless, the haunt of wild beasts, and
of butterflies and dragonflies of the most brilliant colours.  There was
light without heat, leaves and streams sparkled, and there was nothing of
the half-smothered sensation which is often produced by the choking
greenery of the main island, for frequently, far below, the Pacific
flashed in all its sunlit beauty, and occasionally we came down
unexpectedly on a little cove with abrupt cedar-crested headlands and
stacks, and a heavy surf rolling in with the deep thunder music which
alone breaks the stillness of this silent land.

There was one tremendous declivity where I got off to walk, but found it
too steep to descend on foot with comfort.  You can imagine how steep it
was, when I tell you that the deep groove being too narrow for me to get
to the side of my horse, I dropped down upon him from behind, between his
tail and the saddle, and so scrambled on!

The sun had set and the dew was falling heavily when the track dipped
over the brow of a headland, becoming a waterway so steep and rough that
I could not get down it on foot without the assistance of my hands, and
terminating on a lonely little bay of great beauty, walled in by
impracticable-looking headlands, which was the entrance to an equally
impracticable-looking, densely-wooded valley running up among
densely-wooded mountains.  There was a margin of grey sand above the sea,
and on this the skeleton of an enormous whale was bleaching.  Two or
three large “dug-outs,” with planks laced with stout fibre on their
gunwales, and some bleached drift-wood lay on the beach, the foreground
of a solitary, rambling, dilapidated grey house, bleached like all else,
where three Japanese men with an old Aino servant live to look after
“Government interests,” whatever these may be, and keep rooms and horses
for Government officials—a great boon to travellers who, like me, are
belated here.  Only one person has passed Lebungé this year, except two
officials and a policeman.

There was still a red glow on the water, and one horn of a young moon
appeared above the wooded headland; but the loneliness and isolation are
overpowering, and it is enough to produce madness to be shut in for ever
with the thunder of the everlasting surf, which compels one to raise
one’s voice in order to be heard.  In the wood, half a mile from the sea,
there is an Aino village of thirty houses, and the appearance of a few of
the savages gliding noiselessly over the beach in the twilight added to
the ghastliness and loneliness of the scene.  The horses were unloaded by
the time I arrived, and several courteous Ainos showed me to my room,
opening on a small courtyard with a heavy gate.  The room was musty, and,
being rarely used, swarmed with spiders.  A saucer of fish-oil and a wick
rendered darkness visible, and showed faintly the dark, pathetic faces of
a row of Ainos in the verandah, who retired noiselessly with their
graceful salutation when I bade them good-night.  Food was hardly to be
expected, yet they gave me rice, potatoes, and black beans boiled in
equal parts of brine and syrup, which are very palatable.  The cuts and
bruises of yesterday became so very painful with the cold of the early
morning that I have been obliged to remain here.

                                                                  I. L. B.

                  [Picture: Temple Gateway at Isshinden]



LETTER XLI.


A Group of Fathers—The Lebungé Ainos—The _Salisburia adiantifolia_—A
Family Group—The Missing Link—Oshamambé—Disorderly Horses—The River
Yurapu—The Seaside—Aino Canoes—The Last Morning—Dodging Europeans.

                                                 HAKODATÉ, _September_ 12.

LEBUNGÉ is a most fascinating place in its awful isolation.  The
house-master was a friendly man, and much attached to the Ainos.  If
other officials entrusted with Aino concerns treat the Ainos as
fraternally as those of Usu and Lebungé, there is not much to lament.
This man also gave them a high character for honesty and harmlessness,
and asked if they might come and see me before I left; so twenty men,
mostly carrying very pretty children, came into the yard with the horses.
They had never seen a foreigner, but, either from apathy or politeness,
they neither stare nor press upon one as the Japanese do, and always make
a courteous recognition.  The bear-skin housing of my saddle pleased them
very much, and my boots of unblacked leather, which they compare to the
deer-hide moccasins which they wear for winter hunting.  Their voices
were the lowest and most musical that I have heard, incongruous sounds to
proceed from such hairy, powerful-looking men.  Their love for their
children was most marked.  They caressed them tenderly, and held them
aloft for notice, and when the house-master told them how much I admired
the brown, dark-eyed, winsome creatures, their faces lighted with
pleasure, and they saluted me over and over again.  These, like other
Ainos, utter a short screeching sound when they are not pleased, and then
one recognises the savage.

These Lebungé Ainos differ considerably from those of the eastern
villages, and I have again to notice the decided sound or _click_ of the
_ts_ at the beginning of many words.  Their skins are as swarthy as those
of Bedaween, their foreheads comparatively low, their eyes far more
deeply set their stature lower, their hair yet more abundant, the look of
wistful melancholy more marked, and two, who were unclothed for hard work
in fashioning a canoe, were almost entirely covered with short, black
hair, specially thick on the shoulders and back, and so completely
concealing the skin as to reconcile one to the lack of clothing.  I
noticed an enormous breadth of chest, and a great development of the
muscles of the arms and legs.  All these Ainos shave their hair off for
two inches above their brows, only allowing it there to attain the length
of an inch.  Among the well-clothed Ainos in the yard there was one
smooth-faced, smooth-skinned, concave-chested, spindle-limbed, yellow
Japanese, with no other clothing than the decorated bark-cloth apron
which the Ainos wear in addition to their coats and leggings.  Escorted
by these gentle, friendly savages, I visited their lodges, which are very
small and poor, and in every way inferior to those of the mountain Ainos.
The women are short and thick-set, and most uncomely.

From their village I started for the longest, and by reputation the
worst, stage of my journey, seventeen miles, the first ten of which are
over mountains.  So solitary and disused is this track that on a four
days’ journey we have not met a human being.  In the Lebungé valley,
which is densely forested, and abounds with fordable streams and
treacherous ground, I came upon a grand specimen of the _Salisburia
adiantifolia_, which, at a height of three feet from the ground, divides
into eight lofty stems, none of them less than 2 feet 5 inches in
diameter.  This tree, which grows rapidly, is so well adapted to our
climate that I wonder it has not been introduced on a large scale, as it
may be seen by everybody in Kew Gardens.  There is another tree with
orbicular leaves in pairs, which grows to an immense size.

From this valley a worn-out, stony bridle-track ascends the western side
of Lebungétogé, climbing through a dense forest of trees and trailers to
a height of about 2000 feet, where, contented with its efforts, it
reposes, and, with only slight ups and downs, continues along the top of
a narrow ridge within the seaward mountains, between high walls of dense
bamboo, which, for much of that day’s journey, is the undergrowth alike
of mountain and valley, ragged peak, and rugged ravine.  The scenery was
as magnificent as on the previous day.  A guide was absolutely needed, as
the track ceased altogether in one place, and for some time the horses
had to blunder their way along a bright, rushing river, swirling rapidly
downwards, heavily bordered with bamboo, full of deep holes, and made
difficult by trees which have fallen across it.  There Ito, whose horse
could not keep up with the others, was lost, or rather lost himself,
which led to a delay of two hours.  I have never seen grander forest than
on that two days’ ride.

At last the track, barely passable after its recovery, dips over a
precipitous bluff, and descends close to the sea, which has evidently
receded considerably.  Thence it runs for six miles on a level, sandy
strip, covered near the sea with a dwarf bamboo about five inches high,
and farther inland with red roses and blue campanula.

At the foot of the bluff there is a ruinous Japanese house, where an Aino
family has been placed to give shelter and rest to any who may be
crossing the pass.  I opened my _bentô bako_ of red lacquer, and found
that it contained some cold, waxy potatoes, on which I dined, with the
addition of some tea, and then waited wearily for Ito, for whom the guide
went in search.  The house and its inmates were a study.  The ceiling was
gone, and all kinds of things, for which I could not imagine any possible
use, hung from the blackened rafters.  Everything was broken and decayed,
and the dirt was appalling.  A very ugly Aino woman, hardly human in her
ugliness, was splitting bark fibre.  There were several _irori_, Japanese
fashion, and at one of them a grand-looking old man was seated
apathetically contemplating the boiling of a pot.  Old, and sitting among
ruins, he represented the fate of a race which, living, has no history,
and perishing leaves no monument.  By the other _irori_ sat, or rather
crouched, the “MISSING LINK.”  I was startled when I first saw it.  It
was—shall I say?—a man, and the mate, I cannot write the husband, of the
ugly woman.  It was about fifty.  The lofty Aino brow had been made still
loftier by shaving the head for three inches above it.  The hair hung,
not in shocks, but in snaky wisps, mingling with a beard which was grey
and matted.  The eyes were dark but vacant, and the face had no other
expression than that look of apathetic melancholy which one sometimes
sees on the faces of captive beasts.  The arms and legs were unnaturally
long and thin, and the creature sat with the knees tucked into the
armpits.  The limbs and body, with the exception of a patch on each side,
were thinly covered with fine black hair, more than an inch long, which
was slightly curly on the shoulders.  It showed no other sign of
intelligence than that evidenced by boiling water for my tea.  When Ito
arrived he looked at it with disgust, exclaiming, “The Ainos are just
dogs; they had a dog for their father,” in allusion to their own legend
of their origin.

The level was pleasant after the mountains, and a canter took us
pleasantly to Oshamambé, where we struck the old road from Mori to
Satsuporo, and where I halted for a day to rest my spine, from which I
was suffering much.  Oshamambé looks dismal even in the sunshine, decayed
and dissipated, with many people lounging about in it doing nothing, with
the dazed look which over-indulgence in _saké_ gives to the eyes.  The
sun was scorching hot, and I was glad to find refuge from it in a crowded
and dilapidated _yadoya_, where there were no black beans, and the use of
eggs did not appear to be recognised.  My room was only enclosed by
_shôji_, and there were scarcely five minutes of the day in which eyes
were not applied to the finger-holes with which they were liberally
riddled; and during the night one of them fell down, revealing six
Japanese sleeping in a row, each head on a wooden pillow.

The grandeur of the route ceased with the mountain-passes, but in the
brilliant sunshine the ride from Oshamambé to Mori, which took me two
days, was as pretty and pleasant as it could be.  At first we got on very
slowly, as besides my four horses there were four led ones going home,
which got up fights and entangled their ropes, and occasionally lay down
and rolled; and besides these there were three foals following their
mothers, and if they stayed behind the mares hung back neighing, and if
they frolicked ahead the mares wanted to look after them, and the whole
string showed a combined inclination to dispense with their riders and
join the many herds of horses which we passed.  It was so tedious that,
after enduring it for some time I got Ito’s horse and mine into a scow at
a river of some size, and left the disorderly drove to follow at leisure.

At Yurapu, where there is an Aino village of thirty houses, we saw the
last of the aborigines, and the interest of the journey ended.  Strips of
hard sand below high-water mark, strips of red roses, ranges of wooded
mountains, rivers deep and shallow, a few villages of old grey houses
amidst grey sand and bleaching driftwood, and then came the river Yurapu,
a broad, deep stream, navigable in a canoe for fourteen miles.  The
scenery there was truly beautiful in the late and splendid afternoon.
The long blue waves rolled on shore, each one crested with light as it
curled before it broke, and hurled its snowy drift for miles along the
coast with a deep booming music.  The glorious inland view was composed
of six ranges of forest-covered mountains, broken, chasmed, caverned, and
dark with timber, and above them bald, grey peaks rose against a green
sky of singular purity.  I longed to take a boat up the Yurapu, which
penetrates by many a gorge into their solemn recesses, but had not
strength to carry my wish.

After this I exchanged the silence or low musical speech of Aino guides
for the harsh and ceaseless clatter of Japanese.  At Yamakushinoi, a
small hamlet on the sea-shore, where I slept, there was a sweet, quiet
_yadoya_, delightfully situated, with a wooded cliff at the back, over
which a crescent hung out of a pure sky; and besides, there were the more
solid pleasures of fish, eggs, and black beans.  Thus, instead of being
starved and finding wretched accommodation, the week I spent on Volcano
Bay has been the best fed, as it was certainly the most comfortable, week
of my travels in northern Japan.

Another glorious day favoured my ride to Mori, but I was unfortunate in
my horse at each stage, and the Japanese guide was grumpy and
ill-natured—a most unusual thing.  Otoshibé and a few other small
villages of grey houses, with “an ancient and fish-like smell,” lie along
the coast, busy enough doubtless in the season, but now looking deserted
and decayed, and houses are rather plentifully sprinkled along many parts
of the shore, with a wonderful profusion of vegetables and flowers about
them, raised from seeds liberally supplied by the _Kaitakushi_ Department
from its Nanai experimental farm and nurseries.  For a considerable part
of the way to Mori there is no track at all, though there is a good deal
of travel.  One makes one’s way fatiguingly along soft sea sand or coarse
shingle close to the sea, or absolutely in it, under cliffs of hardened
clay or yellow conglomerate, fording many small streams, several of which
have cut their way deeply through a stratum of black volcanic sand.  I
have crossed about 100 rivers and streams on the Yezo coast, and all the
larger ones are marked by a most noticeable peculiarity, i.e. that on
nearing the sea they turn south, and run for some distance parallel with
it, before they succeed in finding an exit through the bank of sand and
shingle which forms the beach and blocks their progress.

On the way I saw two Ainos land through the surf in a canoe, in which
they had paddled for nearly 100 miles.  A river canoe is dug out of a
single log, and two men can fashion one in five days; but on examining
this one, which was twenty-five feet long, I found that it consisted of
two halves, laced together with very strong bark fibre for their whole
length, and with high sides also laced on.  They consider that they are
stronger for rough sea and surf work when made in two parts.  Their
bark-fibre rope is beautifully made, and they twist it of all sizes, from
twine up to a nine-inch hawser.

Beautiful as the blue ocean was, I had too much of it, for the horses
were either walking in a lather of sea foam or were crowded between the
cliff and the sea, every larger wave breaking over my foot and
irreverently splashing my face; and the surges were so loud-tongued and
incessant, throwing themselves on the beach with a tremendous boom, and
drawing the shingle back with them with an equally tremendous rattle, so
impolite and noisy, bent only on showing their strength, reckless, rude,
self-willed, and inconsiderate!  This purposeless display of force, and
this incessant waste of power, and the noisy self-assertion in both,
approach vulgarity!

Towards evening we crossed the last of the bridgeless rivers, and put up
at Mori, which I left three weeks before, and I was very thankful to have
accomplished my object without disappointment, disaster, or any
considerable discomfort.  Had I not promised to return Ito to his master
by a given day, I should like to spend the next six weeks in the Yezo
wilds, for the climate is good, the scenery beautiful, and the objects of
interest are many.

Another splendid day favoured my ride from Mori to Togénoshita, where I
remained for the night, and I had exceptionally good horses for both
days, though the one which Ito rode, while going at a rapid “scramble,”
threw himself down three times and rolled over to rid himself from flies.
I had not admired the wood between Mori and Ginsainoma (the lakes) on the
sullen, grey day on which I saw it before, but this time there was an
abundance of light and shadow and solar glitter, and many a scarlet spray
and crimson trailer, and many a maple flaming in the valleys, gladdened
me with the music of colour.  From the top of the pass beyond the lakes
there is a grand view of the volcano in all its nakedness, with its lava
beds and fields of pumice, with the lakes of Onuma, Konuma, and
Ginsainoma, lying in the forests at its feet, and from the top of another
hill there is a remarkable view of windy Hakodaté, with its headland
looking like Gibraltar.  The slopes of this hill are covered with the
_Aconitum Japonicum_, of which the Ainos make their arrow poison.

The _yadoya_ at Togénoshita was a very pleasant and friendly one, and
when Ito woke me yesterday morning, saying, “Are you sorry that it’s the
last morning?  I am,” I felt we had one subject in common, for I was very
sorry to end my pleasant Yezo tour, and very sorry to part with the boy
who had made himself more useful and invaluable even than before.  It was
most wearisome to have Hakodaté in sight for twelve miles, so near across
the bay, so far across the long, flat, stony strip which connects the
headland upon which it is built with the mainland.  For about three miles
the road is rudely macadamised, and as soon as the bare-footed horses get
upon it they seem lame of all their legs; they hang back, stumbling,
dragging, edging to the side, and trying to run down every opening, so
that when we got into the interminable main street I sent Ito on to the
Consulate for my letters, and dismounted, hoping that as it was raining I
should not see any foreigners; but I was not so lucky, for first I met
Mr. Dening, and then, seeing the Consul and Dr. Hepburn coming down the
road, evidently dressed for dining in the flag-ship, and looking spruce
and clean, I dodged up an alley to avoid them; but they saw me, and did
not wonder that I wished to escape notice, for my old _betto’s_ hat, my
torn green paper waterproof, and my riding-skirt and boots, were not only
splashed but _caked_ with mud, and I had the general look of a person
“fresh from the wilds.”

                                                                  I. L. B.



ITINERARY of TOUR in YEZO.


Hakodaté to

              No. of Houses.
              Jap.      Aino.      _Ri_.    _Chô_.
Ginsainoma           4                   7        18
Mori               105                   4
Mororan             57                  11
Horobets            18         47        5         1
Shiraôi             11         51        6        32
Tomakomai           38                   5        21
Yubets               7          3        3         5
Sarufuto            63                   7         5
Biratori                       53        5
Mombets             27                   5         1

From Horobets to

               Jap.           Aino.      _Ri_.    _Chô_.
Old Mororan                9         30        4        28
Usu                        3         99        6         2
Lebungé                    1         27        5        22
Oshamambé                 56         38        6        34
Yamakushinai              40                   4        18
Otoshibé                  40                   2         3
Mori                     105                   3        29
Togénoshita               55                   6         7
Hakodaté        37,000 souls                   3        29

About 358 English miles.



LETTER XLII.


Pleasant Last Impressions—The Japanese Junk—Ito Disappears—My Letter of
Thanks.

                                     HAKODATÉ, YEZO, _September_ 14, 1878.

THIS is my last day in Yezo, and the sun, shining brightly over the grey
and windy capital, is touching the pink peaks of Komono-taki with a
deeper red, and is brightening my last impressions, which, like my first,
are very pleasant.  The bay is deep blue, flecked with violet shadows,
and about sixty junks are floating upon it at anchor.  There are vessels
of foreign rig too, but the wan, pale junks lying motionless, or rolling
into the harbour under their great white sails, fascinate me as when I
first saw them in the Gulf of Yedo.  They are antique-looking and
picturesque, but are fitter to give interest to a picture than to battle
with stormy seas.

Most of the junks in the bay are about 120 tons burthen, 100 feet long,
with an extreme beam, far aft, of twenty-five feet.  The bow is long, and
curves into a lofty stem, like that of a Roman galley, finished with a
beak head, to secure the forestay of the mast.  This beak is furnished
with two large, goggle eyes.  The mast is a ponderous spar, fifty feet
high, composed of pieces of pine, pegged, glued, and hooped together.  A
heavy yard is hung amidships.  The sail is an oblong of widths of strong,
white cotton artistically “_puckered_,” not sewn together, but laced
vertically, leaving a decorative lacing six inches wide between each two
widths.  Instead of reefing in a strong wind, a width is unlaced, so as
to reduce the canvas vertically, not horizontally.  Two blue spheres
commonly adorn the sail.  The mast is placed well abaft, and to tack or
veer it is only necessary to reverse the sheet.  When on a wind the long
bow and nose serve as a head-sail.  The high, square, piled-up stern,
with its antique carving, and the sides with their lattice-work, are
wonderful, together with the extraordinary size and projection of the
rudder, and the length of the tiller.  The anchors are of grapnel shape,
and the larger junks have from six to eight arranged on the fore-end,
giving one an idea of bad holding-ground along the coast.  They really
are much like the shape of a Chinese “small-footed” woman’s shoe, and
look very unmanageable.  They are of unpainted wood, and have a wintry,
ghastly look about them. {321}

I have parted with Ito finally to-day, with great regret.  He has served
me faithfully, and on most common topics I can get much more information
through him than from any foreigner.  I miss him already, though he
insisted on packing for me as usual, and put all my things in order.  His
cleverness is something surprising.  He goes to a good, manly master, who
will help him to be good and set him a virtuous example, and that is a
satisfaction.  Before he left he wrote a letter for me to the Governor of
Mororan, thanking him on my behalf for the use of the _kuruma_ and other
courtesies.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XLIII.


Pleasant Prospects—A Miserable Disappointment—Caught in a Typhoon—A Dense
Fog—Alarmist Rumours—A Welcome at Tôkiyô—The Last of the Mutineers.

                                H. B. M.’s LEGATION, YEDO, _September_ 21.

A PLACID sea, which after much disturbance had sighed itself to rest, and
a high, steady barometer promised a fifty hours’ passage to Yokohama, and
when Dr. and Mrs. Hepburn and I left Hakodaté, by moonlight, on the night
of the 14th, as the only passengers in the _Hiogo Maru_, Captain Moore,
her genial, pleasant master, congratulated us on the rapid and delightful
passage before us, and we separated at midnight with many projects for
pleasant intercourse and occupation.

But a more miserable voyage I never made, and it was not until the
afternoon of the 17th that we crawled forth from our cabins to speak to
each other.  On the second day out, great heat came on with suffocating
closeness, the mercury rose to 85°, and in lat. 38° 0′ N. and long.  141°
30′ E. we encountered a “typhoon,” otherwise a “cyclone,” otherwise a
“revolving hurricane,” which lasted for twenty-five hours, and
“jettisoned” the cargo.  Captain Moor has given me a very interesting
diagram of it, showing the attempts which he made to avoid its vortex,
through which our course would have taken us, and to keep as much outside
it as possible.  The typhoon was succeeded by a dense fog, so that our
fifty-hour passage became seventy-two hours, and we landed at Yokohama
near upon midnight of the 17th, to find traces of much disaster, the
whole low-lying country flooded, the railway between Yokohama and the
capital impassable, great anxiety about the rice crop, the air full of
alarmist rumours, and paper money, which was about par when I arrived in
May, at a discount of [Picture: Entrance to Shrine of Seventh Shôgun,
Shiba, Tôkiyô] 13 per cent!  In the early part of this year (1880) it has
touched 42 per cent.

Late in the afternoon the railroad was re-opened, and I came here with
Mr. Wilkinson, glad to settle down to a period of rest and ease under
this hospitable roof.  The afternoon was bright and sunny, and Tôkiyô was
looking its best.  The long lines of _yashikis_ looked handsome, the
castle moat was so full of the gigantic leaves of the lotus, that the
water was hardly visible, the grass embankments of the upper moat were a
brilliant green, the pines on their summits stood out boldly against the
clear sky, the hill on which the Legation stands looked dry and cheerful,
and, better than all, I had a most kindly welcome from those who have
made this house my home in a strange land.

Tôkiyô is tranquil, that is, it is disturbed only by fears for the rice
crop, and by the fall in _satsu_.  The military mutineers have been
tried, popular rumour says tortured, and fifty-two have been shot.  The
summer has been the worst for some years, and now dark heat, moist heat,
and nearly ceasless rain prevail.  People have been “rained up” in their
summer quarters.  “Surely it will change soon,” people say, and they have
said the same thing for three months.

                                                                  I. L. B.



LETTER XLIV.


Fine Weather—Cremation in Japan—The Governor of Tôkiyô—An Awkward
Question—An Insignificant Building—Economy in Funeral Expenses—Simplicity
of the Cremation Process—The Last of Japan.

                                 H. B. M.’s LEGATION, YEDO, _December_ 18.

I HAVE spent the last ten days here, in settled fine weather, such as
should have begun two months ago if the climate had behaved as it ought.
The time has flown by in excursions, shopping, select little
dinner-parties, farewell calls, and visits made with Mr. Chamberlain to
the famous groves and temples of Ikegami, where the Buddhist bishop and
priests entertained us in one of the guest-rooms, and to Enoshima and
Kamakura, “vulgar” resorts which nothing can vulgarise so long as Fujisan
towers above them.

I will mention but one “sight,” which is so far out of the beaten track
that it was only after prolonged inquiry that its whereabouts was
ascertained.  Among Buddhists, specially of the Monto sect, cremation was
largely practised till it was forbidden five years ago, as some suppose
in deference to European prejudices.  Three years ago, however, the
prohibition was withdrawn, and in this short space of time the number of
bodies burned has reached nearly nine thousand annually.  Sir H. Parkes
applied for permission for me to visit the Kirigaya ground, one of five,
and after a few delays it was granted by the Governor of Tôkiyô at Mr.
Mori’s request, so yesterday, attended by the Legation linguist, I
presented myself at the fine _yashiki_ of the Tôkiyô _Fu_, and quite
unexpectedly was admitted to an audience of the Governor.  Mr. Kusamoto
is a well-bred gentleman, and his face expresses the energy and ability
which he has given proof of possessing.  He wears his European clothes
becomingly, and in attitude, as well as manner, is easy and dignified.
After asking me a great deal about my northern tour and the Ainos, he
expressed a wish for candid criticism; but as this in the East must not
be taken literally, I merely ventured to say that the roads lag behind
the progress made in other directions, upon which he entered upon
explanations which doubtless apply to the past road-history of the
country.  He spoke of cremation and its “necessity” in large cities, and
terminated the interview by requesting me to dismiss my interpreter and
_kuruma_, as he was going to send me to Meguro in his own carriage with
one of the Government interpreters, adding very courteously that it gave
him pleasure to show this attention to a guest of the British Minister,
“for whose character and important services to Japan he has a high
value.”

            [Picture: Fujisan, from a Village on the Tokaido]

An hour’s drive, with an extra amount of yelling from the _bettos_, took
us to a suburb of little hills and valleys, where red camellias and
feathery bamboo against backgrounds of cryptomeria contrast with the grey
monotone of British winters, and, alighting at a farm road too rough for
a carriage, we passed through fields and hedgerows to an erection which
looks too insignificant for such solemn use.  Don’t expect any ghastly
details.  A longish building of “wattle and dab,” much like the northern
farmhouses, a high roof, and chimneys resembling those of the “oast
houses” in Kent, combine with the rural surroundings to suggest “farm
buildings” rather than the “funeral pyre,” and all that is horrible is
left to the imagination.

The end nearest the road is a little temple, much crowded with images,
and small, red, earthenware urns and tongs for sale to the relatives of
deceased persons, and beyond this are four rooms with earthen floors and
mud walls; nothing noticeable about them except the height of the peaked
roof and the dark colour of the plaster.  In the middle of the largest
are several pairs of granite supports at equal distances from each other,
and in the smallest there is a solitary pair.  This was literally all
that was to be seen.  In the large room several bodies are burned at one
time, and the charge is only one _yen_, about 3s. 8d., solitary cremation
costing five _yen_.  Faggots are used, and 1s. worth ordinarily suffices
to reduce a human form to ashes.  After the funeral service in the house
the body is brought to the cremation ground, and is left in charge of the
attendant, a melancholy, smoked-looking man, as well he may be.  The
richer people sometimes pay priests to be present during the burning, but
this is not usual.  There were five “quick-tubs” of pine hooped with
bamboo in the larger room, containing the remains of coolies, and a few
oblong pine chests in the small rooms containing those of middle-class
people.  At 8 p.m. each “coffin” is placed on the stone trestles, the
faggots are lighted underneath, the fires are replenished during the
night, and by 6 a.m. that which was a human being is a small heap of
ashes, which is placed in an urn by the relatives and is honourably
interred.  In some cases the priests accompany the relations on this last
mournful errand.  Thirteen bodies were burned the night before my visit,
but there was not the slightest odour in or about the building, and the
interpreter told me that, owing to the height of the chimneys, the people
of the neighbourhood never experience the least annoyance, even while the
process is going on.  The simplicity of the arrangement is very
remarkable, and there can be no reasonable doubt that it serves the
purpose of the innocuous and complete destruction of the corpse as well
as any complicated apparatus (if not better), while its cheapness places
it within the reach of the class which is most heavily burdened by
ordinary funeral expenses. {328}  This morning the Governor sent his
secretary to present me with a translation of an interesting account of
the practice of cremation and its introduction into Japan.

_S.S._ “_Volga_,” Christmas Eve, 1878.—The snowy dome of Fujisan
reddening in the sunrise rose above the violet woodlands of Mississippi
Bay as we steamed out of Yokohama Harbour on the 19th, and three days
later I saw the last of Japan—a rugged coast, lashed by a wintry sea.

                                                                  I. L. B.



INDEX.


ABUKAWA, 173; village forge, 173.

Abuta, Aino village, 306.

Adzuma bridge, 22.

Agano river, 102.

Aganokawa river, 120.

A Hiogo Buddha, 272.

Aidzu mountains, 103; plain, 106.

Aino farmhouse, 204; storehouses, 223, 247; lodges, 224; chief, 233 _et
seq._; house, 234; millet-mill and pestle, 238; patriarch, 258; gods,
265; urns, 265, 266; house, plan of, 267.

AINOS, the hairy, 225; superb-looking, 232; huts, life in, 234, 235; at
home, 235; model villages, 237; hospitality, 237, 278; politeness, 239,
250; witch-like woman, 239; reverence for age, 240; salutation, 240, 279;
truthfulness, 240; chief’s wife, 242, 243; children, 244, 260; tenderness
to a sick child, 245; occupations, 247, 248; women, 248, 258, 259;
Pipichari, 249, 287; sick woman, 250, 251; fear of Japanese Government,
251; shrine, 252; handsome chief, 253; qualities, 254; no history, 255;
physique, 255; of Yezo, 256; European resemblances, 257; savage look,
257; height, 257; tattooing, 259, 260; children, obedience of, 261;
clothing, 262; jewellery, 263; houses, 263–265; household gods, 265;
Japanese curios, 265, 266; mats, 268; food, 268; bows and arrows, 269;
arrow-traps, 269, 270; weaving, 271; no religion, 273; libations, 274;
recitation, 275; solitary act of sacrifice, 275; bear-worship, 275;
Festival of the Bear, 275, 277; ideas of a future state, 277; social
customs, 277, 278; marriage and divorce, 278; amusements, 279; musical
instruments, 279; manners, 279; health, 279, 280; intoxication, 280;
uncleanly habits, 280; office of chief, 281; eldest son, 281; dread of
snakes, 282; fear of death, 282; appearance of old men, 283; domestic
life, 284.

Ainos, coast, 304, 305; Lebungé, 313.

Akayu, 132; horse fair, 132; sulphur springs, 134; bathing sheds, 134;
_yadoya_, 134.

Akita farm-house, 204.

A kuruma, 35.

A lady’s mirror, 201.

A Lake Biwa tea-house, 20.

_Amado_, or wooden shutters, 71.

_Amainu_, or heavenly dogs, 27.

_Andon_, the, or native lamp, 73.

Aomori Bay, 207; town, 207; lacquer, 207.

Arai river, 122.

Arakai river, 96; mode of crossing, 96.

Araya, 156.

Archery galleries at Asakusa, 29.

Architecture, temple, uniformity of, 21.

Arrow-traps, 269, 270.

Asakusa, temple of Kwan-non at, 21; sights of, 27; its novelties, 30.

Asiatic Arcadia, an, 133.

Attendant at tea-house, 64.

                                * * * * *

BAGGAGE coolies in distress, 126.

Bandaisan, the double-peaked, 103.

Bangé, 100; congress of schoolmasters, 100; stampede, 101.

Barbarism and ignorance, 107.

Barber, female, 200.

Barbers’ shops, 77.

Bargaining, 77.

Bear, Festival of the, 275, 277.

Beggary, absence of, 127.

Benri, chief of the Ainos, 233, 240, 241, 281, 283.

_Bettos_, or running-grooms, 8.

Binzuru, the medicine god, 26, 27.

Biratori, 234; situation of, 237.

Blind men in Japan, 175, 176.

Boats, 178.

Bone, a, extracted, 104.

Booths, various, 29, 30.

Boys and girls, a procession of, 68.

British doggedness, 180.

Buddhist priests, 112.

Burial, a splendid, 54, 55.

                                * * * * *

CALIGRAPHY, 70.

Canoes, 317.

_Chaya_ and _yadoya_, distinction between, 37.

_Chayas_, or tea-houses, 36, 37.

Cheating a policeman, 152, 153.

Children, Japanese, docility of, 75.

Children’s parties, 68; names, 68, 69; games, amusing, 69; dignity and
self-possession, 69; etiquette, 69.

Chinamen in Yokohama, 15.

Chlorodyne, cures effected by, 93, 94, 250, 251.

Chôkaizan, snow mountain, 139, 148.

Christian converts, 202.

Cleanliness, want of, 94, 95.

Climate of Niigata, 119.

Clogs, 12.

“Cockle’s Pills,” 287.

_Coiffure_, 200.

Coolies, baggage, 126, 127.

Corrals, Yezo, 296.

Country, a pretty, 180.

Cow, riding a, 124.

Cows, cotton cloths on, for protection, 128.

Cremation, 325; building for the purpose, 327; mode of burning, 327.

                                * * * * *

DAIKOKU, the god of wealth, 104, 154.

_Daimiyô_, or feudal princes, 13 _et seq._

Dainichido, gardens of, 54.

Daiya river, the, 49, 51.

Dinner, Japanese etiquette at, 142.

Dirt and disease, 93–95.

Distinction between costume of moral and immoral women, 202.

Ditty, a dismal, 67.

Doctors, Japanese, prejudice against surgical operations, 141, 142.

Dogs, Japanese, 86; yellow, 237.

_Doma_, the, 37.

Dr. Palm and his tandem, 121.

Dress, female, 83, 84.

                                * * * * *

EARTHQUAKE, shocks of, 59; effect on priests, 59.

Eden, a garden of, 133.

_Élégante_, a Japanese, 31.

England unknown, 105.

Entrance to shrine of Seventh Shôgun, Shiba, Tôkiyô, 323.

Equipments, travelling, list of, 32, 33.

Etiquette, Japanese, 69.

Excess of males over females, 98.

Excursion, solitary, a, 203.

Expedition, an, entertaining account of, 328, _note_.

                                * * * * *

FAIR, perpetual, 23.

Farm-houses, 203, 204.

Female hand, tattooed, 260.

Ferry, a Japanese, 96.

Festival, the Tanabata, at Kuroishi, 198, 199; of the Bear, 275.

Fleas, consensus of opinion as to, 18.

Flowers, art of arranging, 70.

Flowers of Yezo, 227.

“Flowing Invocation,” the, 130, 131.

“Food Question,” the, 19.

Forgeries of European eatables and drinkables, 138.

“Front-horse,” a, 218, 228.

Funeral, a Shôgun’s, 54, 55; Buddhist, at Rokugo, 148; the coffin or box,
150; procession, 151.

Fujihari, 85; dirt and squalor at, 86; primitive Japanese dog in, 86;
fleas, 86.

Fujisan, first view of, 2; from a village on the Tôkaidô, 326.

_Fusuma_, or sliding paper panels, 38, 45.

Fyson, Mrs., and Ruth, 118, 119.

                                * * * * *

GAMES, children’s, 69, 195.

Gardens, Japanese, 118.

_Geishas_, or dancing-girls, 46.

Ginsainoma, Yezo, 216.

God-shelf, the, 72.

Gods, Aino household, 265.

Guide-books, Japanese, 71.

                                * * * * *

HACHIISHI, its doll street, 49; specialties of its shops, 49.

_Hai_, “yes,” 181.

Hair-dressing, 75, 76, 201.

HAKODATÉ, external aspect, 212; peculiar roofs, 213; junks, 320, 321.

Hakodaté harbour, 208.

Hepburn, Dr., 16, 17.

_Hibachi_, or brazier, 77.

Hinokiyama village, 176.

Hirakawa river, 191; destruction of bridge, 192.

Hirosaki, 202.

Home-life in Japan, 71.

Home occupations, 185.

Honoki, pass of, 125.

Hornets, 140.

Horobets village, 223, 296.

Horse, a wicked, 147.

Horse-ants, 140.

Horse-breaking, Japanese, 295, 307.

Horse-fights, 307.

Horses, treatment of, 164; in Yezo, 218; drove of, 226, 227.

Hotel expenses, 184.

Hot springs, 89, 290.

House, a pleasant, 51.

Houses, scenes in the, 74; hermetically sealed, 95; numbers in, 124.

Hozawa village, 106.

                                * * * * *

ICHIKAWA pass, 97; glorious view, 97; village, 97; waterfall, 97.

Ichinono hamlet, 127.

Idyll, a Japanese, 151.

Ikari, 90; the people at, 91.

Ikarigaseki, 191; detention at, 193–196; occupation, 193; kite-flying,
195; games, 195.

Imaichi, 48.

Inari, the god of rice-farmers, 93.

Infant prodigy, an, 166.

Iniwashiro lake, 99.

Innai, 143; Upper and Lower, malady at, 144; description of, 144, 145.

Insect pests at Niigata, 114.

Invocation, the flowing, 129–131.

Irimichi, 51; a “squeeze” at, 65; village of, 66; school at, 66, 67.

_Irori_, the 38.

Isshinden, temple gateway at, 311.

_Itama_, the, 37.

Ito, first impressions of, 17, 18, taking a “squeeze,” 65; personal
vanity, 78; ashamed, 86, 125; cleverness and intelligence, 87; a zealous
student, 87; intensely Japanese, 87; a Shintôist, 88; particularly
described, 161; excellent memory, 161; keeps a diary, 161;
characteristics, 162; prophecy, 162; patriotism, 162; an apt pupil, 163;
fairly honest, 164; surliness, 175; delinquency, 214; selfishness, 236;
smitten, 287; cruelty, 307; parting, 321.

Itosawa, 93.

Itoyasan precipices, 103.

Iwakisan plain, 197; snow mountain, 197.

Iyémitsu, temple of, at Nikkô, 58.

Iyéyasu’s tomb at Nikkô, 58.

                                * * * * *

JAPAN, first view of, 1; Chinamen in, 15; tiling in, 60; home-life in,
71; excess of males over females in the empire of, 98; freedom from
insult and incivility in, 101; barbarism and ignorance in, 107; winter
evenings in, 123; divorce in, 124; absence of mendicancy in, 127; convict
labour in, 137; drawbacks of travelling in, 140; firmness in travelling
necessary in, 155; police force in, and cost of, 160; blind men in, 175,
176; effect of sunshine in, 183; evening occupations in, 185; rain in,
187; cremation in, 325–327.

JAPANESE restaurant, portable, 4; paper-money, 7; man-cart, 9; railroad
and railway station, 10; railway cars, 11; in European dress, 11; clogs,
12; temple architecture, uniformity of, 21; temples, 21, 55, 58, 99, 151,
302, 303; lanterns, stone, 28; booths, 29, 30; temple grounds and archery
galleries, 29; _éléganté_, 31; passport, 33, 34; tattooing, 34; tea, 39;
threshing, varieties in, 44; inquisitiveness, 45; dancing-girls, 46;
idyll, 51; masonry, 58; wood-carving, 60; watering-place, 65; school, a
village, 66—punishments at, 67; children’s parties, 68; names, female,
68, 69; etiquette, 69; needle-work and garments, 69; circulating
libraries, 69, 70; games, children’s, 69, 195; children’s names, 69;
caligraphy, 70; guide-books, 71; recreations, 71; lamp, 73; shops,
articles sold in, 73, 74; parental love, 75; hair-dressing, 75, 76, 201;
children, docility of, 75; barbers’ shops, 77; bargaining, 77; money,
current, 79; female dress, 83, 84; dog, primitive, 86; rivers, change of
names of, 90; ferry, 96; policemen, 100—vigilance of, 197, 198; mountain
scenery, 103; gardens, 118; doctors, 121; dirt and barbarism, 123;
houses, tables outside of, 124—numbers in, 124; baggage coolies, 126,
127; cows, 128; criticism on a foreign usage, 128; pack-horse, 132;
doctors and rheumatism, 135, 136—their prejudice against surgical
operations, 141, 142; gentleman, agreeable, 137; convicts, 137; love of
foreign intoxicants, 138; doctor, 141;—his treatment and fee, 141;
etiquette at dinner, 142; men and women, costume of, 143; crowd,
curiosity of, 146; treatment of the dead, 149; silk factory, 159; horses,
treatment of, 164, 218; belief as to their descent, 165; visitors, 165;
infant prodigy, 166; marriage, 166, 167; trousseau, 167; furniture, 167;
marriage ceremony, 167, 169; holiday scene, 170; festivals, 171, 198,
199, 275; gods and demons, 172; village forge, 173; travelling, fatigues
of, of, 175—ludicrous incidents of, 182; boats, 178; kindness, 181;
conversation, effect of, 185; home occupations, 185; devotions, 186;
children, 193, 194; kite flying and games, 195; toilet, a lady’s, 200;
_coiffure_, 200; hair-dressing, 200, 201; female barber, 200; lady’s
mirror, 201; farm-houses, 203, 204; bath-houses, politeness in, 205, 218;
imitations of foreign manufactured British goods, 218; horse-breaking,
295, 307; road-post, 301; Paradise, 309; canoes, 317; junks, 320, 321.

Jin-ri-ki-shas, 4, 5 (see _Kuruma_).

_Jishindo_, or “earthquake door,” 304.

Junks, 320.

“John Chinaman,” 15, 16.

Journey, an experimental, on horseback, 62.

Juvenile belle and her costume, a, 68.

                                * * * * *

_Kaimiyô_, or posthumous name, 130, 149.

Kaitakushi saddle-horse, 218.

Kajikawa river, 120.

_Kakemonos_, or wall-pictures, 46, 52.

_Kak’ké_, a Japanese disease, 144, 145.

_Kamidana_, the, or god-shelf, 72.

Kaminoyama, 134; hot springs, 135; the belle of, 135; _yadoya_, 136;
_kura_, or godown, 136.

Kanaya, 50; his house, 51, 52; floral decorations, 52; table equipments,
53.

Kanayama, 140.

Kasayanagê, farming village, 120.

_Kashitsukeya_, disreputable houses, 46.

Kasukabé, 39; the _yadoya_, 39; lack of privacy, 40; a night alarm, 41.

Katakado hamlet, 102.

Kawaguchi village, 122, 181.

Kayashima, 93; discomfort, 93; a boy cured, 94; a diseased crowd, 94;
habits and food of the natives, 94; houses hermetically sealed, 95.

_Kenrei_, or provincial governor, 115.

_Kimono_, the, or gown for both sexes, 43 _et seq._

Kinugawa river, 84, 89; beauty of scenery on its banks, 89.

Kiri Furi, the falls of, 54.

Kiriishi hamlet, 177.

Kisagoi, a poor place, 82.

Kisaki, 120.

Kite competition, 195.

_Kôchô_, or chief man of the village, 143.

Kohiaku, mountain farm of, 81.

Komatsu, 131; spacious room and luxurious appointments, 131; frogs, 132;
runaway pack-horse, 132.

Komoni-taki volcano, 216.

Kotsunagi, 177.

Kubota, 155; brisk trade, 156; suburban residences, 156; hospital,
157–158; public buildings, 158; Normal School, 158; silk factory, 159;
police escort, 159; afternoon visitors, 165; infant prodigy, 166;
Japanese wedding, 167–169.

_Kura_, or fire-proof storehouse, 53.

Kuroishi, 198; festival at, 198, 199.

Kurokawa, 121; _matsuri_ at, 122.

Kurosawa, poverty and dulness, 123; dirt and barbarism, 125.

_Kuruma_, the, or jin-ri-ki-sha, 4, 5, 35 _et seq._

Kuruma pass, 103.

_Kuruma_-runners, costume of, 34.

Kurumatogé, 92; inn on the hill, 103; bone extracted, 104; hostess, 104;
the road from, infamous, 106; pass, 106.

Kusamoto, Mr., 325, 326.

KWAN-NON, temple of, at Asakusa, 21; perpetual fair, 23; the _Ni-ô_, 24;
votive offerings, 25; the high altar, 25; prayers and pellets, 26;
Binzuru, the medicine god, 26, 27; _Amainu_, or heavenly dogs, 27; stone
lanterns, 28; revolving shrine, 28; temple grounds and archery galleries,
29; booths, 29, 30.

                                * * * * *

LAGOON, curious, 172.

Lake of Blood, the, 131.

Lamp, Japanese, 73.

Land Transport Company, or _Riku-un-kaisha_, 79.

Lanterns, stone, 28.

Lebungé, 310; its isolation, 312; Ainos; 312, 313.

Lebungétogé passes, 308.

Legation, the British, at Yedo, 13.

Libraries, circulating, 69, 70.

Ludicrous incident, a, 152.

                                * * * * *

_Mago_, the, or leader of a pack-horse, 62, 84.

Maladies, repulsive, prevalence of, 76.

Man-carts, two-wheeled, 8, 9.

Mari, farming-village, 120.

_Maro_, or loin-cloth, 46.

Marriage, a Japanese, 166, 167; trousseau and furniture, 167; ceremony,
167, 169.

Masonry, Japanese, 58.

Matsuhara village, mistake at, 129.

Matsuka river, 133.

_Matsuri_ at Minato, 171; classic dance, 171; cars, 171.

Medicine god, the, at Asakusa, 26, 27.

Mihashi, or Sacred Bridge, 50.

_Mikoshi_, or sacred car, 24.

Millet-mill and pestle, 238.

Minato, the junk port of Kubota, 170; _matsuri_ at, 170, 171; sobriety
and order, 171.

Mirror, a lady’s, 201.

“MISSING LINK,” the, 314.

Miyojintaké, snow-fields and ravines, 103.

Mogami river, 139.

Mombets, 286; scenes at, 286.

Money, 7; current, 79.

Mono, farming village, 120.

Moore, Captain, 322.

Moral lesson, a, 36.

Mori village, 317, 318, 220.

Morioka village, 173.

Mororan, 221; bay, 222.

Mororan, Old, 297, 298.

Mountain scenery, 103.

Mud-flat or swamp of Yedo, 36.

My _kuruma_-runner, 305.

Myself in a straw rain-cloak, 176.

                                * * * * *

NAKAJO, Japanese doctors at, 121.

Nakano, Lower, 205; bath-houses, 205.

Nakano, Upper, 204, 205.

Names, female, 68, 69.

Namioka, 207.

Nanai, Yezo, 218.

Nantaizan mountains, 49.

Needle-work, Japanese, 69.

Night-alarm, a, 41.

NIIGATA, landward side disappointing, 111; Church Mission House, 111,
112; itinerary of route from Nikkô to, 113; a Treaty Port, 114; insect
pests, 114; without foreign trade, 114; its river, 114, 115; population,
115; hospital and schools, 115; gardens, 116; beautiful tea-houses, 116;
cleanliness, 116; water-ways, 116; houses, 117, 118; climate, 119; to
Aomori, itinerary of route from, 210, 211.

Nikkôsan mountains, the, 80.

NIKKÔ, “sunny splendour,” 54; its beauties, 54; the Red Bridge, 55; the
Yomei Gate, 56; the mythical _Kirin_, 56; the _haiden_ or chapel, 57; the
Shôgun’s room, 57; the Abbot’s room, 57; the great staircase, 57;
Iyéyasu’s tomb, 58; temples of Iyémetsu, 58; gigantic _Ni-ô_, 58; Buddha,
59; the Tennô, 59; wood-carving, 60, 61; shops, 73, 74; houses, 75; to
Niigata, itinerary of route from, 113.

_Ni-ô_, the, at Asakusa, 24.

Nocturnal disturbance, a, 179.

Nojiri village, 103, 104.

Nopkobets river, 306.

Nosoki, Dr., 141; lotion and febrifuge, 141; old-fashioned practitioner,
142; at dinner, 142.

Nosoki village, 143.

Nozawa town, 103.

Numa hamlet, 123; crowded dwellings, 124.

                                * * * * *

OBANASAWA, 139.

Odaté, 181; _yadoyas_, nocturnal disturbances at, 181, 182.

Okawa stream, 90.

Okimi, 124.

Omagori, manufacture of earthenware jars for interment, 149, 150.

Omono river, 143, 148, 155, 156.

Ori pass, 124.

Oshamambé, 315.

Osharu river, 301.

Ouchi hamlet, 96.

Oyakê lake, 97.

                                * * * * *

PACK-COWS, 124, 128.

Pack-horse, the Japanese, 62, 63; a vicious, 102.

Pack-saddle, description of, 62, 63.

Packet-boat, “running the rapids” of Tsugawa, 109, 110.

Palm, Dr., his tandem, 121.

Paper-money, 7.

Parental love, 75.

Parkes, Sir Harry and Lady, 8.

Parting, a regretful, 50.

Passport, travelling, 33; regulations of, 33, 34.

Peasant costume, 43.

Pellets and prayers, 26.

Picture and guidebooks, Japanese, 71.

Pipicharo, the Aino, 249, 250, 252, 287; a “total abstainer,” 249.

Poison and arrow-traps, 269.

Priests, Buddhist, fees to, 151.

Prospect, a painful, 19.

                                * * * * *

QUERIES, curious, 163.

“Quiver of poverty,” the, 92.

                                * * * * *

RAIN-CLOAK, straw, 176.

Reception, a formal, 157.

Reiheishi-kaido, an “In memoriam” avenue, 48.

Restaurant, portable, 4.

Rice, 36.

Rivers, Japanese, change of names of, 90.

Road-side tea-house, 38.

Rokkukado, the, 288.

Rokugo, 148; Buddhist funeral at, 148; temple at, 151.

                                * * * * *

SAIKAIYAMA, 106.

Sakamoki river, 137; handsome bridge at, 137.

Sakatsu pass, 143.

_Saké_, the national drink, 71, 168, 169; effects of, 71, 183; libations
of, 274.

Sakuratogé river, 128.

_Salisburia adiantifolia_, 309, 313.

_Samisen_, the national female instrument, 70.

_Sampans_, or native boats, 3; mode of sculling, 4.

Sanno pass, 96.

Sarufuto, 231.

Sarufutogawa river, 237, 246.

Satow, Mr. Ernest, Japanese Secretary of Legation, 14; his reputation,
199.

_Satsu_, or paper money, 7.

Savage life at Biratori, 234–236.

School, a village, 66; lessons and punishments, 67.

Science, native, dissection unknown to, 142.

Scramble, a Yezo, 228.

Seaweed, symbolism of, 165.

Seed shop, a, 78.

Servant, engaging a, 16–18.

Shinagawa or Shinbashi village, 12.

Shinano river, 114, 115, 120.

Shingoji, 153; rude intrusion, 153.

Shinjô, 139; trade, 139; discomforts, 140.

Shinkawa river, 120.

Shione pass, 143.

Shirakasawa, mountain village, 128; graceful act at, 129.

Shiraôi village, 226, 289; volcanic phenomena, 290; hot spring, 291;
lianas, 292; beautiful scenery, 292, 293; bear-trap, 293; houses, 294.

Shirawasa, 183; eclipse at, 186.

Shiribetsan mountain, 301.

Shoes, straw, a nuisance, 88.

_Shôji_, or sliding screens, 40.

Shopping, 77.

Shops, Japanese, articles sold in, 73, 74.

Shrine, revolving, 28.

Shrines, beauty of, 60.

Sight, a strange, 81.

Silk factory, 159.

Sir Harry’s messenger, 42.

Skin-diseases, 76.

Solitary ride, a, 216–219.

Springs, hot, 89.

“Squeeze,” a, 19, 65.

Stone lanterns, 28.

Storm, effects of a, 188.

Straw rain-cloak, 176, 177.

Straw shoes for horses, 88.

Street, a clean, 49.

Street and canal, 117.

Sulphur spring at Yumoto, 65.

Sumida river, 22.

Summer and winter costume, 82.

                                * * * * *

TAIHEISAN mountain, 156.

Tajima, 96.

Takadayama mountain, 88.

Takahara, 88, 89; hot springs, 89.

Takata, 99; general aspect, 100; policemen at, 100.

Tamagawa hamlet, 124.

Tarumai volcano, 227, 228.

_Tatami_, or house mats, 40.

Tattooing, 34, 259, 260.

Tea, Japanese, 39.

_Teishi_, or landlord, 39.

Temple architecture, uniformity of, 21.

Tendo town, 138.

Threshing, varieties in, 44.

Tochigi, 45; the _yadoya_ and _shôji_, 45.

Tochiida, 139.

Togénoshita, 318.

Toilet, a lady’s, 200; hair-dressing, 200, 201; paint and cosmetics, 201,
202; mirror, 201.

TÔKIYÔ, 10; first impressions, 12; the British Legation, 13; Kwan-non
temple of Asakusa, 21; a perpetual fair, 23; archery galleries, 29;
western innovations, 30; tranquillity of, 324.

_Tokonoma_, or floors of polished wood, 52.

Tomakomai, 227.

Toné, river, 43.

_Torii_, a, 149.

Toyôka village, 174.

Transport, prices, 79; agent, 97.

Travelling equipments, 32, 33; passports, 33, 34.

Travelling, slow, 143.

Tsugawa river, 106; _yadoya_, 107; town, 108; packet-boat, 109; “running
the rapids,” 109; fantastic scenery, 110; river-course, 110; river-life,
110.

Tsuguriko, 180.

Tsuiji, farming village, 120, 121.

Tsukuno, 134.

Tufa cones, 290.

“Typhoon,” a, 322.

“Typhoon rain,” a, 297.

                                * * * * *

UDONOSAN snow-fields, 139.

Universal greyness, 207; language, the, 296.

Unpleasant detention, an, 187.

Usu, 302; temple, 302, 303; bay, 304; Aino lodges at, 304.

Usu-taki volcano, 300.

Utsu pass, view from, 129.

                                * * * * *

VEGETATION, tropical, 85.

Village life, 47.

Vineyards on the Tsugawa, 111.

Volcano Bay, 220.

                                * * * * *

WAKAMATSU, 99.

Watering-place, a native, 65.

Waterproof cloak, a paper, 78.

Water-shed, the, 93.

Welcome, a wild, 208, 209.

Wilkinson, Mr., 19.

Winter dismalness, 123.

Women, employment for, 159.

Wood-carving at Nikkö, 60.

Worship, a supposed act of, 244.

                                * * * * *

YADATE Pass, 188, 189; the force of water, 189; landslips, 189.

_Yadoya_, or hotel, 37, 39, 45, 48, 63, 65, 85, 93, 100, 101, 103, 107,
122, 123, 131, 132, 134, 136, 144, 147, 156, 178, 179, 181, 191, 195,
217, 220, 226, 280, 294, 315, 316, 318; taxes on, 136.

Yamagata _ken_, 125; prosperous, 137; plain, 137; convict labour at, 137;
town, 137; its streets, 137; forgeries of eatables and drinkables, 138;
public buildings, 138; vulgarity of policemen, 138.

Yamakushinoi hamlet, 316.

Yedo city, 10 (_see_ Tôkiyô); gulf of, 11; plain of, 11.

YEZO, 216, 217; itinerary of tour in, 319.

Yokohama, 3; _sampans_, 3; portable restaurant, 4; _kurumas_, or
jin-ri-ki-shas, 4; man-carts, 8; railway station and fares, 10, 11;
Chinamen, 15.

Yokokawa, 92; filth and squalor, 92.

Yokote, 147; discomfort, 148; Shintô temple, 148; _torii_, 148.

Yomei Gate, the, 56.

Yonetsurugawa river, 177; exciting transit, 177, 178.

Yonezawa plain, 129, 131, 133.

Yoshida, 133.

Yoshitsuné, shrine of, 252, 253, 273, _note_.

Yubets, 228, 289; a ghostly dwelling at, 229.

Yuki, her industry, 69.

Yumoto village, 65; bathing sheds at, 65.

Yurapu, Aino village, 316; river, 316.

Yusowa, 145; fire at, 145; lunch in public, 146; accident at, 146;
curiosity of crowd, 146.

                                * * * * *

_Zen_, or small table, 53.

                                * * * * *

          PRINTED AT THE EDINBURGH PRESS, 9 AND 11 YOUNG STREET.



FOOTNOTES.


{2}  This is an altogether exceptional aspect of Fujisan, under
exceptional atmospheric conditions.  The mountain usually looks broader
and lower, and is often compared to an inverted fan.

{5}  I continue hereafter to use the Japanese word _kuruma_ instead of
the Chinese word _Jin-ri-ki-sha_.  _Kuruma_, literally a wheel or
vehicle, is the word commonly used by the _Jin-ri-ki-sha_ men and other
Japanese for the “man-power-carriage,” and is certainly more euphonious.
From _kuruma_ naturally comes _kurumaya_ for the _kuruma_ runner.

{14}  Often in the later months of my residence in Japan, when I asked
educated Japanese questions concerning their history, religions, or
ancient customs, I was put off with the answer, “You should ask Mr.
Satow, he could tell you.”

{19}  After several months of travelling in some of the roughest parts of
the interior, I should advise a person in average health—and none other
should travel in Japan—not to encumber himself with tinned meats, soups,
claret, or any eatables or drinkables, except Liebig’s extract of meat.

{27}  I visited this temple alone many times afterwards, and each visit
deepened the interest of my first impressions.  There is always enough of
change and novelty to prevent the interest from flagging, and the mild,
but profoundly superstitious, form of heathenism which prevails in Japan
is nowhere better represented.

{32}  The list of my equipments is given as a help to future travellers,
especially ladies, who desire to travel long distances in the interior of
Japan.  One wicker basket is enough, as I afterwards found.

{41}  My fears, though quite natural for a lady alone, had really no
justification.  I have since travelled 1200 miles in the interior, and in
Yezo, with perfect safety and freedom from alarm, and I believe that
there is no country in the world in which a lady can travel with such
absolute security from danger and rudeness as in Japan.

{46}  In my northern journey I was very frequently obliged to put up with
rough and dirty accommodation, because the better sort of houses were of
this class.  If there are few sights which shock the traveller, there is
much even on the surface to indicate vices which degrade and enslave the
manhood of Japan.

{79}  I advise every traveller in the ruder regions of Japan to take a
similar stretcher and a good mosquito net.  With these he may defy all
ordinary discomforts.

{87}  This can only be true of the behaviour of the lowest excursionists
from the Treaty Ports.

{95}  Many unpleasant details have necessarily been omitted.  If the
reader requires any apology for those which are given here and elsewhere,
it must be found in my desire to give such a faithful picture of peasant
life, as I saw it in Northern Japan, as may be a contribution to the
general sum of knowledge of the country, and, at the same time, serve to
illustrate some of the difficulties which the Government has to encounter
in its endeavour to raise masses of people as deficient as these are in
some of the first requirements of civilisation.

{98}  The excess of males over females in the capital is 36,000, and in
the whole Empire nearly half a million.

{115a}  By one of these, not fitted up for passengers, I have sent one of
my baskets to Hakodaté, and by doing so have come upon one of the
vexatious restrictions by which foreigners are harassed.  It would seem
natural to allow a foreigner to send his personal luggage from one Treaty
Port to another without going through a number of formalities which
render it nearly impossible, but it was only managed by Ito sending mine
in his own name to a Japanese at Hakodaté with whom he is slightly
acquainted.

{115b}  This hospital is large and well ventilated, but has not as yet
succeeded in attracting many in-patients; out-patients, specially
sufferers from ophthalmia, are very numerous.  The Japanese chief
physician regards the great prevalence of the malady in this
neighbourhood as the result of damp, the reflection of the sun’s rays
from sand and snow, inadequate ventilation and charcoal fumes.

{145}  _Kak’ké_, by William Anderson, F.R.C.S.  Transactions of English
Asiatic Society of Japan, January 1878.

{168}  I failed to learn what the liquor was which was drunk so freely,
but as no unseemly effects followed its use, I think it must either have
been light wine, or light _saké_.

{216}  I venture to present this journal letter, with a few omissions,
just as it was written, trusting that the interest which attaches to
aboriginal races and little-visited regions will carry my readers through
the minuteness and multiplicity of its details.

{218}  The use of kerosene in matted wooden houses is a new cause of
conflagrations.  It is not possible to say how it originated, but just
before Christmas 1879 a fire broke out in Hakodaté, which in a few hours
destroyed 20 streets, 2500 houses, the British Consulate, several public
buildings, the new native Christian church, and the church Mission House,
leaving 11,000 people homeless.

{241}  I went over them with the Ainos of a remote village on Volcano
Bay, and found the differences in pronunciation very slight, except that
the definiteness of the sound which I have represented by Tsch was more
strongly marked.  I afterwards went over them with Mr. Dening, and with
Mr. Von Siebold at Tôkiyô, who have made a larger collection of words
than I have, and it is satisfactory to find that we have represented the
words in the main by the same letters, with the single exception that
usually the sound represented by them by the letters _ch_ I have given as
_Tsch_, and I venture to think that is the most correct rendering.

{271}  I have not been able to obtain from any botanist the name of the
tree from the bark of which the thread is made, but suppose it to be a
species of _Tiliaceæ_.

{273}  Yoshitsuné is the most popular hero of Japanese history, and the
special favourite of boys.  He was the brother of Yoritomo, who was
appointed by the Mikado in 1192 _Sei-i Tai Shôgun_ (barbarian-subjugating
great general) for his victories, and was the first of that series of
great Shôguns whom our European notions distorted into “Temporal
Emperors” of Japan.  Yoshitsuné, to whom the real honour of these
victories belonged, became the object of the jealousy and hatred of his
brother, and was hunted from province to province, till, according to
popular belief, he committed _hara-kiri_, after killing his wife and
children, and his head, preserved in _saké_, was sent to his brother at
Kamakura.  Scholars, however, are not agreed as to the manner, period, or
scene of his death.  Many believe that he escaped to Yezo and lived among
the Ainos for many years, dying among them at the close of the twelfth
century.  None believe this more firmly than the Ainos themselves, who
assert that he taught their fathers the arts of civilisation, with
letters and numbers, and gave them righteous laws, and he is worshipped
by many of them under a name which signifies Master of the Law.  I have
been told by old men in Biratori, Usu, and Lebungé, that a later Japanese
conqueror carried away the books in which the arts were written, and that
since his time the arts themselves have been lost, and the Ainos have
fallen into their present condition!  On asking why the Ainos do not make
vessels of iron and clay as well as knives and spears, the invariable
answer is, “The Japanese took away the books.”

{321}  The duty paid by junks is 4s. for each twenty-five tons, by
foreign ships of foreign shape and rig £2 for each 100 tons, and by
steamers £3 for each 100 tons.

{328}  The following very inaccurate but entertaining account of this
expedition was given by the _Yomi-uri-Shimbun_, a daily newspaper with
the largest, though not the most aristocratic, circulation in Tôkiyô,
being taken in by the servants and tradespeople.  It is a literal
translation made by Mr. Chamberlain.  “The person mentioned in our
yesterday’s issue as ‘an English subject of the name of Bird’ is a lady
from Scotland, a part of England.  This lady spends her time in
travelling, leaving this year the two American continents for a passing
visit to the Sandwich Islands, and landing in Japan early in the month of
May.  She has toured all over the country, and even made a five months’
stay in the Hokkaidô, investigating the local customs and productions.
Her inspection yesterday of the cremation ground at Kirigaya is believed
to have been prompted by a knowledge of the advantages of this method of
disposing of the dead, and a desire to introduce the same into England(!)
On account of this lady’s being so learned as to have published a
quantity of books, His Excellency the Governor was pleased to see her
yesterday, and to show her great civility, sending her to Kirigaya in his
own carriage, a mark of attention which is said to have pleased the lady
much(!)”





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