Infomotions, Inc.Unbeaten Tracks in Japan / Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy), 1831-1904



Author: Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy), 1831-1904
Title: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): aino; japanese; ito; ainos; japan; rice
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 113,472 words (average) Grade range: 14-16 (college) Readability score: 48 (average)
Identifier: etext2184
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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

by Isabella L. Bird

May, 2000 [Etext #2184]


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This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
from the 1911 John Murray edition.  Second proofing by Kate Ruffell.





UNBEATEN TRACKS IN JAPAN
AN ACCOUNT OF TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR
INCLUDING VISITS TO THE ABORIGINES OF YEZO AND
THE SHRINE OF NIKKO BY ISABELLA L. BIRD




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 Nikko 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 Nikko, have been dismissed in a few
sentences, but where their features have undergone marked changes
within a few years, as in the case of Tokiyo (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 Tokiyo 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.



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.
{1}  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.

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.

The kuruma, or jin-ri-ki-sha, {2} 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 pounds 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.



LETTER III



Yedo and Tokiyo--The Yokohama Railroad--The Effect of Misfits--The
Plain of Yedo--Personal Peculiarities--First Impressions of Tokiyo-
-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 Tokiyo, or Eastern Capital,
is used, Kiyoto, the Mikado's former residence, having received the
name of Saikio, or Western Capital, though it has now no claim to
be regarded as a capital at all.  Yedo belongs to the old regime
and the Shogunate, Tokiyo to the new regime 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
Tokiyo.

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 Tokiyo, 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 Kiyoto 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 Tokiyo, were waiting outside the station, and
an English brougham for me, with a running betto.  The Legation
stands in Kojimachi 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
Shogun, and on the left sundry yashikis, as the mansions of the
daimiyo 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 Tokiyo 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 {3}--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, archaeology, 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 qua 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
Kiyoto, to Nikko," 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.
{4}

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
Tokiyo, 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.



LETTER V



Kwan-non Temple--Uniformity of Temple Architecture--A Kuruma
Expedition--A Perpetual Festival--The Ni-o--The Limbo of Vanity--
Heathen Prayers--Binzuru--A Group of Devils--Archery Galleries--New
Japan--An Elegante.

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 Tokiyo, which connects east Tokiyo, 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
Tokiyo 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, Shintoist, 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-o, 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-o.

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 Shinto, 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-o 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. {5}

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 Shinto 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."

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 crepe, 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 Kasukabe--Lack of Privacy--A Concourse of Noises--A Nocturnal
Alarm--A Vision of Policemen--A Budget from Yedo.

KASUKABE, 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 Nikko, 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. {6}

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 2.5 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
1.5 inches between the hat and the head for the free circulation of
air.  It only weighs 2.5 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 degrees, 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 Nikko, 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 Tokiyo 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."

NIKKO, June 13.--This is one of the paradises of Japan!  It is a
proverbial saying, "He who has not seen Nikko must not use the word
kek'ko" (splendid, delicious, beautiful); but of this more
hereafter.  My attempt to write to you from Kasukabe 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 am. on Monday and reached Kasukabe 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.

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 roadside 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.

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 Kasukabe, a good-sized but miserable-looking town,
with its main street like one of the poorest streets in Tokiyo, 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 2.5 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 shoji, 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 shoji 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! {7}

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 shoji, "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.



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--Nikko--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 Kasukabe,
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
degrees in the shade, but the heat was not oppressive.  At noon we
reached the Tone, 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
Tokiyo, 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 daimiyo.  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 Kasukabe 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
Tokiyo.  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
shoji, 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 shoji
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 shoji, 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 shoji 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. {8}

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 Shinto 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 Nikko, 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 Nikko.  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 Nikko, 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 Shoguns 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 coniferae, 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 Nikko, took up their
abode in the Imperial Hombo.  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 Shoguns "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 Nikkosan 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 Shoguns,
the envoy of the Mikado, and to pilgrims twice a year.  Both its
gates are locked.  Grand and lonely Nikko 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, NIKKO, 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 shoji, 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.

Kanaya leads the discords at the Shinto 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 Nikko--The Burial of Iyeyasu--The Approach to the
Great Shrines--The Yomei Gate--Gorgeous Decorations--Simplicity of
the Mausoleum--The Shrine of Iyemitsu--Religious Art of Japan and
India--An Earthquake--Beauties of Wood-carving.

KANAYA'S, NIKKO, June 21.

I have been at Nikko for nine days, and am therefore entitled to
use the word "Kek'ko!"

Nikko 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 Kegon,
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 Shoguns.

To a glorious resting-place on the hill-slope of Hotoke Iwa, sacred
since 767, when a Buddhist saint, called Shodo Shonin, visited it,
and declared the old Shinto deity of the mountain to be only a
manifestation of Buddha, Hidetada, the second Shogun of the
Tokugawa dynasty, conveyed the corpse of his father, Iyeyasu, in
1617.  It was a splendid burial.  An Imperial envoy, a priest of
the Mikado's family, court nobles from Kivoto, and hundreds of
daimiyos, 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 Iyeyasu was deified by a
decree of the Mikado under a name signifying "light of the east,
great incarnation of Buddha."  The less important Shoguns 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 Iyeyasu 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 Shinto 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 daimiyo 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 Iyeyasu, the name of the giver, and a legend of
the offering--all the gifts of daimiyo--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-o 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 Somendaki 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 Shogun and
the other "for his Holiness the Abbot."  Both, of course, are
empty.  The roof of the hall is panelled and richly frescoed.  The
Shogun'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 Iyeyasu 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 hepaticae.  Within, wealth and art have created a
fairyland of gold and colour; without, Nature, at her stateliest,
has surrounded the great Shogun'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 Iyeyasu 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 Iyemitsu are close to those of Iyeyasu, 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
Shinto mirror in the midst of the blaze of gold and colour.  In the
grand entrance gate are gigantic Ni-o, 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
Iyemitsu'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 Tenno, 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.  Iyemitsu's
tomb is reached by flights of steps on the right of the chapel.  It
is in the same style as Iyeyasu'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 Hotoke 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 Shinto 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, NIKKOZAN 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.

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.

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 degrees F.; but after
the water has travelled to the village, along an open wooden pipe,
it is only 84 degrees.  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, Nikko, 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 crepe 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 crepe 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 crepe, 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
Shinto 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.
Sake, or rice beer, is always passed round before the visitors
leave, in little cups with the gods of luck at the bottom of them.
Sake, 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 Shinto temple, which
contains the memorial tablets to deceased relations.  Each morning
a sprig of evergreen and a little rice and sake are placed before
it, and every evening a lighted lamp.



LETTER X--(Continued)



Darkness visible--Nikko 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, 2.5 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, 1.5 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
Nikko.

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, {9} 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 Tokiyo, 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 2.5 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, cho, and ken.  Six feet make one ken, sixty ken one
cho, and thirty-six cho one ri, or nearly 2.5 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 Nikko!

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 Nikko 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 Nikkosan 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 sake 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.

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 cortege 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, 2.5 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 Shinto 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
coniferae, 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
sake, 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 deshabille 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.
{10}  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 Shintoist, which means nothing.
At Nikko 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, confervae,
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 daimiyo used to
halt here on his way to Tokiyo, so there are two rooms for
travellers, called daimiyos' rooms, fifteen feet high, handsomely
ceiled in dark wood, the shoji 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 daimiyo and the feudal regime, 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 Nikko, 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 degrees 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 shoji, 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 shoji 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. {11}



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 daimiyo'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 daimiyo'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 Oyake, 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. {12}  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 shoji, 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 Bange, 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 degrees, 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.

Bange 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 Miyojintake 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 Kurumatoge 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
confervae, 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 Tokiyo and Kiyoto.

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 Kurumatoge 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!  Kurumatoge was the last of
seventeen mountain-passes, over 2000 feet high, which I have
crossed since leaving Nikko.  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 Nikko, 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 sake, 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.


ITINERARY OF ROUTE FROM NIKKO TO NIIGATA

(Kinugawa Route.)

From Tokiyo to

               No. of houses.     Ri.      Cho
Nikko                             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            2O             2        21
Itosawa             38             2        34
Kayashima           57             1         4
Tajima             25O             1        21
Toyonari           120             2        12
Atomi               34             1
Ouchi               27             2        12
Ichikawa             7             2        22
Takata             42O             2        11
Bange              910             3         4
Katakado            50             1        20
Nosawa             306             3        24
Nojiri             110             1        27
Kurumatoge           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
degrees in the day to 80 degrees 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. {13}  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 {14} arranged by a European doctor, with a medical school
attached, and it, the Kencho, the Saibancho, 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 Nikko, 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.

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 Tokiyo.  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 deshabille 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 sake; 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 degrees in summer, falls to 15
degrees in winter.  And all this is in latitude 37 degrees 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 4.5 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,
Kasayanage, 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 sake, and that
they sometimes get sake 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 1.5 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 sake
was on the move, and we met hundreds of pack-cows, all of the same
comely breed, in strings of four.

We crossed the Sakuratoge, 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 sake, 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.

According to him the tablet bears on it the kaimiyo, 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 mio ho ren ge kio.  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 sake.

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 daimiyo'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 kakemonos 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 Nikko 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 degrees, 105 degrees, and 107 degrees.  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.

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 degrees, 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 sake.

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 kencho 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 Kencho,
Saibancho, 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 degrees, 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 Chokaizan, 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 Shinjo, 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 Shinjo is a wretched place.  It is a daimiyo's
town, and every daimiyo'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.  Shinjo 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 Shinjo 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 Nikko!

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
Shinjo.  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 sake 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 kocho, 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'ke--The Fatal Close--A Great Fire--Security of the
Kuras.

SHINGOJI, July 21.

Very early in the morning, after my long talk with the Kocho 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 Kocho 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 shoji, 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 Tokiyo 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'ke,
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'ke in more than
1100 cases in Tokiyo, 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." {15}

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 5.5 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 Shinto
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 Shinto, 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
Shinto 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.

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
kaimiyo, 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 crepe 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 crepe and a scarlet crepe
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 sake, 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 shoji, 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 shoji 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 degrees, 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
shoji 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.



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 crepe with a raised woof, which brings a high
price in Tokiyo 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 Tokiyo, 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 Kiyoto,
and 815 at Osaka, and the remaining 10,000 are spread over the
country.  The police force costs something over 400,000 pounds
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 Tokiyo, 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 Tokiyo 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 sake, 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 Nikko I asked him how many legal wives
a man could have in Japan, and he replied, "Only one lawful one,
but as many others (mekake) 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 degrees, 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 pounds, that day.  His father is
going to travel to Kiyoto 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
Kiyoto, 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 crepe, a kimono of soft, green, striped silk of a darker
shade, with a fold of white crepe, 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 crepe, a large number of made-up garments, a piece of white
silk, six barrels of wine or sake, 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
etagere.  As the things are all very handsome the parents must be
well off.  The sake 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 sake, some sake 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 sake,
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 sake 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!
{16}

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 sake 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 sake 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 Sake 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 crepe 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 sake 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 No 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 sake
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 Shinto 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
Nio of temple gates, was killing a revolting-looking demon.  On
another a daimiyo'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 Chamaerops 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 sake brewer.  A bush
denotes the manufacture as well as the sale of sake, 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 Toyoka 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
Toyoka 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

ODATE, 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.

We have had a very severe journey from Toyoka.  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 Tubine
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 2.5 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 2.5 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 daimiyo'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 Yuwase, 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 Odate, 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 dim

In all places lately Hai, "yes," has been pronounced He, Chi, Na,
Ne, 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 shoji, 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.  Sake 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 sake drinking, is being introduced under their baleful
influence.

The sun shone gloriously and brightened the hill-girdled valley in
which Odate 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
coniferae, 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 sake 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 stormbound
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 Odate, but
on inquiry found that it was possible to spend four mortal hours in
discussing whether the day's journey from Odate 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 miyo ho ren ge Kiyo, 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 Odate, 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 Kocho; 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
Tokiyo, "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 Hakodate.

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 tomoye 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 tomoye 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 crepe, 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.

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, 3.5 ri from here, and
its ex-daimiyo 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 Kasukabe 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.

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 hill-side dark with cryptomeria leads to a
small Shinto 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.

HAKODATE, YEZO, August, 1878.

The journey from Kuroishi to Aomori, though only 22.5 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 Nikko 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 Hakodate 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 Hakodate 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 coniferae,
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 1.5 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 Tokiyo.  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.     Cho.

Kisaki                 56          4
Tsuiji                209          6
Kurokawa              215          2      12
Hanadati               2O          2
Kawaguchi              27          3
Numa                   24          1      18
Tamagawa               40          3
Okuni                 210          2      11
Kurosawa               17          1      18
Ichinono               2O          1      18
Shirokasawa            42          1      21
Tenoko                120          3      11
Komatsu               513          2      13
Akayu                 350          4
Kaminoyama            650          5
Yamagata           21,O00 souls    3      19
Tendo               1,040          3       8
Tateoka               307          3      21
Tochiida              217          1      33
Obanasawa             506          1      21
Ashizawa               70          1      21
Shinjo              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
Carry forward                    107      21

                  No. of Houses   Ri.   Cho.
Brought forward       107                 21
Abukawa               163          3      33
Ichi Nichi Ichi       306          1      34
Kado                  151          2       9
Hinikoyama            396          2       9
Tsugurata             186          1      14
Tubine                153          1      18
Kiriishi               31          1      14
Kotsunagi              47          1      16
Tsuguriko             136          3       5
Odate               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 cho, but in the lack of accurate
information the ri has been taken at its ordinary standard of 36
cho throughout.



LETTER XXXIII



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

HAKODATE, 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 Hakodate 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.

HAKODATE, YEZO.

I am enjoying Hakodate 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 eclaircissement 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 Shinto 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 {17}



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 Hakodate 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 sake 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, {18} 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 Hakodate 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 sake 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 Hokkaido.  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 joroyas 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 sake 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 go 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 Hakodate, 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 joroyas,
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 Hakodate, 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.

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.

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 Shiraoi 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 Noel 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 Shiraoi 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 Shiraoi, 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 horse-back, 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 Shiraoi
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
shoji, 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 Seance--
Libations to the Gods--Nocturnal Silence--Aino Courtesy--The
Chief's Wife.

AINO HUT, BIRATORI, August 23.

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 seance.  The distractions,
as you can imagine, are many.  At this moment a savage is taking a
cup of sake 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 sake, 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.

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.

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 sake, 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. {19}

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 sake, their curse, was poured into lacquer
bowls, and across each bowl a finely-carved "sake-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 sake, 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 sake 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 seance 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 Yoshitsune--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, sake 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 sake, 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 2.5 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 sake-
sticks with which they make libations to their gods, but they said
it was "not their custom" to part with the sake-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.

The evening was spent like the previous one, but the hearts of the
savages were sad, for there was no more sake 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, sake-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
sake.  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 sake, 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
sake, 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 sake, 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
sake, 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 Yoshitsune, 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 Yoshitsune, 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
sake, 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 sake 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 sake 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 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 6.5 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!

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 Shiraoi, 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."

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 Shiraoi, 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 daimiyo'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 repousse 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 daimiyo'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 Shogun and the Prince of Matsumae, 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 sake, and are only parted with in payment of fines
at the command of a chief, or as the dower of a girl.

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 sake, 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.

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 sake, 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.

Dr. Eldridge, formerly of Hakodate, 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. {20}  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.



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 Yoshitsune, 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 Shinto.
The solitary exception to their adoration of animate and inanimate
nature appears to be the reverence paid to Yoshitsune, to whom they
believe they are greatly indebted, and who, it is supposed by some,
will yet interfere on their behalf. {21}  Their gods--that is, the
outward symbols of their religion, corresponding most likely with
the Shinto 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 sake.

The word worship is in itself misleading.  When I use it of these
savages it simply means libations of sake, 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 Yoshitsune, 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 sake the Ainos drink the more devout they
are, and the better pleased are the gods.  It does not appear that
anything but sake 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 sake 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 sake 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 sake, 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 sake.  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 sake
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 sake
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
sake, 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 Yoshitsune, 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 sake-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
Hakodate 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 daimiyo 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 Tokiyo, 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 Kocho'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 sake 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 sake-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 sake 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 sake.  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 sake 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 Kocho 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 sake 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 sake.  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 Kocho 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.



LETTER XXXIX



A Welcome Gift--Recent Changes--Volcanic Phenomena--Interesting
Tufa Cones--Semi-strangulation--A Fall into a Bear-trap--The
Shiraoi 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
Shiraoi, 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 Shiraoi 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 Shiraoi, 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 Shiraoi, 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 scoriae.  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 8.5
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 Shiraoi,
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
Shiraoi 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
"Shiraoi."  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 Shiraoi 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.

Shiraoi consists of a large old Honjin, or yadoya, where the
daimiyo and his train used to lodge in the old days, and about
eleven Japanese houses, most of which are sake 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 Shiraoi, 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.

LEBUNGE, 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 Hakodate 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
Hakodate, 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 shoji, 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 sake 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.



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 melee 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 Shiraoi, 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 2.5
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 Lebungetoge.
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 Lebunge 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.



LETTER XLI



A Group of Fathers--The Lebunge Ainos--The Salisburia adiantifolia-
-A Family Group--The Missing Link--Oshamambe--Disorderly Horses--
The River Yurapu--The Seaside--Aino Canoes--The Last Morning--
Dodging Europeans.

HAKODATE, September 12.

Lebunge 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 Lebunge, 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 Lebunge 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 Lebunge
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 Lebungetoge, 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 bento 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 Oshamambe, 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.  Oshamambe 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
sake 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 shoji, 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 Oshamambe 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.  Otoshibe 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 Togenoshita,
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 Hakodate, 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 Togenoshita 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
Hakodate 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.

Hakodate to

                No. of Houses.
                Jap.     Aino.       Ri.     Cho.

Ginsainoma       4                    7       18
Mori           105                    4
Mororan         57                   11
Horobets        18          47        5        1
Shiraoi         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.     Cho.
Old Mororan      9          30        4       28
Usu              3          99        6        2
Lebunge          1          27        5       22
Oshamambe       56          38        6       34
Yamakushinai    40                    4       18
Otoshibe        40                    2        3
Mori           105                    3       29
Togenoshita     55                    6        7
Hakodate    37,000 souls              3       29

About 358 English miles.



LETTER XLII



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

HAKODATE, 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. {22}

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 Tokiyo--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 Hakodate, 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 degrees, and in
lat. 38 degrees 0' N. and long.  141 degrees 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 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 Tokiyo 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.

Tokiyo 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 Tokiyo--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 Tokiyo at Mr. Mori's
request, so yesterday, attended by the Legation linguist, I
presented myself at the fine yashiki of the Tokiyo 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."

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. {23}  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.

SS. "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.



Footnotes:


{1}  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.

{2}  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.

{3}  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."

{4}  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.

{5}  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.

{6}  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.

{7}  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.

{8}  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.

{9}  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.

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

{11}  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.

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

{13}  By one of these, not fitted up for passengers, I have sent
one of my baskets to Hakodate, 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
Hakodate with whom he is slightly acquainted.

{14}  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.

{15}  Kak'ke, by William Anderson, F.R.C.S.  Transactions of
English Asiatic Society of Japan, January 1878.

{16}  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 sake.

{17}  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.

{18}  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 Hakodate, 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.

{19}  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 Tokiyo, 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.

{20}  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 Tiliaceae.

{21}  Yoshitsune 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 Shogun (barbarian-
subjugating great general) for his victories, and was the first of
that series of great Shoguns whom our European notions distorted
into "Temporal Emperors" of Japan.  Yoshitsune, 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 sake, 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 Lebunge, 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."

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

{23}  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 Tokiyo, 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 Hokkaido, 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(!)"





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, by Bird


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