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Mysterious Japan

Mysterious Japan
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Title: Mysterious Japan
Release Date: 2018-09-07
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Mysterious Japan, by Julian Street

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Title: Mysterious Japan

Author: Julian Street

Release Date: September 7, 2018 [eBook #57861]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MYSTERIOUS JAPAN***

 

E-text prepared by MFR, Ernest Schaal,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive
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Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/mysteriousjapan00stre

 


 

 

cover

calligraphy that translates as "Mysterious Japan"

Books by Julian Street


Abroad at Home

After Thirty

American Adventures

The Need of Change

The Most Interesting American
(A close-range study of Theodore Roosevelt)

Paris à la Carte

Ship-Bored

Welcome to Our City

The Goldfish
(For Children)

Sunbeams, Inc.

Mysterious Japan


Photo. by Marguerite LeonardAt the top of the temple steps, above Lake Biwa


MYSTERIOUSJAPANBYJULIAN STREET[Illustration]WITH ILLUSTRATIONSFROM PHOTOGRAPHSBY THE AUTHOR ANDOTHERSGARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTODOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY1921

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY

JULIAN STREET

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION

INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

COPYRIGHT, 1920, 1921, BY MCCLURE'S MAGAZINE, INCORPORATED

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY THE CENTURY COMPANY, THE OUTLOOK COMPANY,

P. F. COLLIER & SON COMPANY, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES

PRINTED AT GARDEN CITY, N. Y., U. S. A.

First Edition


TO

FRANK A. VANDERLIP


"To see once is better than
to hear a hundred times"
--Mencius

[pg ix]


CONTENTS

page

CHAPTER PAGE

I. Discussing Curious Traits of the Pacific Ocean1

II. The Road to Tokyo16

III. The Capital and Costumes26

IV. Earthquakes and Burglars38

V. Inversions and the Oriental Mind48

VI. The Isles of Complexities63

PART II

VII. The Gentlest of the Gentler Sex81

VIII. More About Women93

IX. The National Sport103

X. On Sak and Its Effects115

XI. Diet and Dancing127

XII. Geisha Parties137

XIII. The Nightless City154

XIV. In a Garden163

XV. An Explosive Philosopher172

[pg x]

PART III

XVI. Grand Old Men183

XVII. Recollections of Viscount Shibusawa201

XVIII. Viscount Kaneko's Memories of Roosevelt212

XIX. Are the Japanese Efficient?228

XX. Japanese-American Relations242

XXI. Courtesy and Diplomacy258

PART IV

XXII. A Rural Railroad273

XXIII. Adventures in a Bath at Kamogawa284

XXIV. A Night at an Inn295

XXV. Pretty Gen Tajima306

XXVI. Superstitions and Yuki's Eyes315

XXVII. "Japanned English" and Art321

XXVIII. Sayonara335

[pg xi]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

At the top of the temple steps, above Lake Biwa

Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

Peasants of the region speak of Fuji as O Yama, the "Honourable Mountain" 15

With his drum and his monkey he is Japan's nearest equivalent for our old-style organ-grinder 23

The Japanese is not a slave to his possessions 40

The bath of the proletariat consists of a large barrel 47

Sawing and planing are accomplished with a pulling instead of a driving motion 49

Nor is the potency of Ceremonial Tea diminished by the fact that it is served by a lovely little Japanese hand 75

You cannot understand Japan without understanding the Japanese woman 75

A laundry on the river's brim 94

No one without a sweet nature could smile the smile of one of these tea-house maids. 117

[pg xii]

Cocoons--Five thousand silk worms make one kimono 118

Family luncheon à la Japonaise 120

The theatre street in Kyoto is one of the most interesting highways in the world 137

Digging clams at low-tide in Tokyo Bay 138

Kimi-chiyo was at almost every Japanese-style party I attended 142

A bill from the Kanetanaka teahouse 151

It takes two hours to do a geisha's hair 162

Mrs. Charles Burnett in a 15th-Century Japanese Court costume 170

A teahouse garden, Tokyo 177

Viscount Kentaro Kaneko 197

Viscount Shibusawa 211

The film was not large enough to hold the family of this youngish fisherman at Nabuto 231

Tai-no-ura 285

The gates of the Tanjo-ji temple 287

Nor could a grande dame in an opera box have exhibited more aplomb 294

Pretty Gen was between the shafts 307

The middle-aged coolie hurriedly seated himself on the bank 310

Asakusa, the great popular temple of Tokyo 318

While Yuki's fortune was being told I photographed her 319

Saki, the housekeeper, obligingly posed for me 336


PART I


[pg 1]

MYSTERIOUS JAPAN

Far lie the Isles of Mystery,
With never a port between;
Green on the yellow of Asia's breast,
Like a necklace of tourmaline.

CHAPTER I

A Day Goes Overboard—A Sunday Schism—A DesertIsland—Water, Water Everywhere—Men with Tails—Anecdotesof the Emperor of Korea—Korean Reforms—Curedby Brigands—The Man who Went to Florida—The BlackCurrent—White Cliffs and Coloured Sails—Fuji Ahoy!

A peculiar ocean, the Pacific. A large andlonely ocean with few ships and many ruttyspots that need mending. Ploughing westwardover its restless surface for a week, you cometo the place where East meets West with a bump thatdislocates the calendar. It is as though a date-pad inyour hand were knocked to pieces and the days distributedabout the deck. You pick them up andreassemble them, but one is missing. Poor littlelost day! It became entangled with the 180thmeridian and was dragged overboard never to beseen again.

With us, aboard the admirable Kashima Maru, the[pg 2]lost day happened to be Sunday, which caused aschism on the ship. In the smokeroom, where pokerwas a daily pastime, resignation was expressed, theimpression being that with the lost day went the customarySunday services. But in reaching this conclusionthe smokeroom group had failed to reckonwith the fact that missionaries were aboard. Themissionaries held a hasty conference in the socialhall, and ignoring the irreverent pranks of longitudeand time, announced a service for the day that followedSaturday. Upon this a counter-conferencewas held around the poker table, whereat werereached the following conclusions:

That aboard ship the captain's will is, and of aright ought to be, absolute; that the captain hadpronounced the day Monday; that in the eyes of thislaw-abiding though poker-playing group, it thereforewas Monday; that the proposal to hold churchservices on Monday constituted an attempt uponthe part of certain passengers to set their will abovethat of the captain; that such action was, in theopinion of the smokeroom group, subversive to theship's discipline, if indeed it did not constituteactual mutiny on the high seas; that membersof this group could not, therefore, be party to theaction proposed; that, upon the contrary, theydeemed it their clear duty in this crisis to stand backof the captain; and finally, that in pursuance of thisduty they should and would remain in the smokeroomthroughout the entire day, carrying on theirregular Monday game, even though others might[pg 3]see fit to carry on their regular Sunday game elsewherein the vessel.


Had this been the Atlantic crossing we should bynow have landed on the other side; yet here we were,pitching upon a cold gray waste a few miles southof Behring Sea, with Yokohama a full week away.

Yet land—land of a kind—was not so distant as Ihad imagined. Early one morning in the middleof the voyage my steward, Sugimoto, came to mycabin and woke me up to see it. (A splendid fellow,Sugimoto; short and round of body, with flesh solidand resilient as a hard rubber ball, and a circularsweet face that Raphael might have painted fora cherub, had Raphael been Japanese.)

"Good morning, gentleman," said he. "Gentlemanlook porthole, he see land."

I arose and looked.

A flounce of foam a mile or two away across thewater edged the skirt of a dark mountain juttingabruptly from the sea. Through a mist, like a half-raisedcurtain of gray gauze, I saw a wintry peakfrom which long tongues of snow trailed downward,marking seams and gorges. It was, in short,just such an island as is discovered in the nick oftime by a shipwrecked whaler who, famished andfreezing in an open boat, has drifted for days throughthe storm-tossed pages of a sea story. He would landin a sheltered cove and would quickly discover aspring and a cave. He would devise a skilfulmeans of killing seals, would dress himself in their[pg 4]skins, and subsist upon their meat—preceded by thecustomary clam and fish courses. For three yearshe would live upon the island, believing himselfalone. Then suddenly would come to him theknowledge that life in this place was no longer safe.About the entrance to his cave he would find thetracks of a predatory animal—fresh prints of Frenchheels in the snow!

Austere though the island looked, my heartwarmed at the sight of it; for there is no land somiserable that it is not to be preferred abovethe sea. Moreover I saw in this land a harbinger.The Empire of Japan, I knew, consisted of severallarge islands—to the chief one of which we werebound—and some four thousand smaller onesstretching out in a vast chain. This island, then,must be the first one of the chain. From now onwe would no doubt be passing islands every littlewhile. The remainder of the voyage would be likea trip down the St. Lawrence River.

Soothed and encouraged by this pleasant thought,and wishing always to remember this outpost of theIsland Empire, I asked its name of Sugimoto.

"That Araska, gentleman," he answered.

"Are you glad to see Japan again, Sugimoto?"

"That Araska," he repeated.

"Yes. A part of Japan, isn't it?"

Sugimoto shook his head.

"No, gentleman. Araska American land."

"That island belongs to the United States?"

"Yes, gentleman. That Araska."

[pg 5]I had never heard of an island of that name.Surely Sugimoto was mistaken in thinking it anAmerican possession.

"Could you show it to me on the map?" I asked.

From my dresser he took a folder of the steamshipcompany and opening to a map of the Pacific,pointed to one of many little dots. "AleutianIslands," they were marked. They dangled far,far out from the end of that peninsula which resemblesa long tongue hanging from the mouthof a dog, the head of which is rudely suggestedby the cartographic outlines of our northernmostterritory. We had sailed directly away from ournative land for a week, only to find ourselves, atthe end of that time, still in sight of its outskirts.Like many another of his fellow countrymen, goodSugimoto had difficulties with his l's and r's. Hehad been trying to inform me that the island—thename of which proved to be Amatisnok—belongedto Alaska.

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