round, so that all can know where I am and what I have told you about
Japan. When I don't write to each one of you, I know you will under-
stand why it is, because I am so busy, and trying to learn all I can. Give
my love to each and every one in the family, and tell Mary she knows
somebody outside of it that wants a share. Tell her I often think of the
morning we left, and how a handkerchief waved from the railway station
when we came away. And tell Mary, too, that I haven't yet opened her
list of things I am to get for her ; but I haven't forgotten it, and have it
all safe and right. There are lots of pretty things to buy here ; and if she
has made a full catalogue of Japanese curiosities, she has given me enough
to do for the present and the presents.
" Good-night, dear mother, and look for another letter by the next
" Your loving son,
Fred finished his letter almost at the same moment that Frank affixed
the signature to his own. By the time they were through it was late in
the evening, and the hour for retiring to bed. Their sleeping-places were
exactly such as they might have found in any American hotel, and they
longed for a view of a Japanese bed. Frank was inclined to ask Doctor
Bronson to describe one to them, but Fred thought it would be time
enough when they went into the interior of the country and saw one.
They were up early the next morning, but not as early as the Jap-
" I tell you what," said Frank, " I have made a discovery."
" What is it ?"
" I have been thinking of something to introduce into the United
States, and make everybody get up early in the morning."
" Something Japanese ?"
"Yes. Something that interested us yesterday when we saw it."
" Well, we saw so many things that I couldn't begin to guess in half
an hour. What was it ?"
" It was a pillow."
94: THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
" You mean. those little things the Japanese sleep on ?"
"Yes; they are so uncomfortable that we couldn't use them with anv
sort of pleasure. Nobody would want to lie in bed after he had waked
uj), if he had such a pillow under his head. He would be out in a minute,
and wouldn't think of turning over for another doze.
"Now, if our Congress will pass a law abolishing the feather pillow all
over the United States, and commanding everybody to sleep on the Jap-
anese one, it would make every man, woman, and child get up at least an
hour earlier every day. For forty millions of people this would make a
gain of fort} r million hours daih', and that would be equal to forty -live
thousand vears. Just think what an advantage that would be to the
country, and how much more we could accomplish than we do now.
Isn't it a grand idea ?"
Fred thought it might be grand and profitable to the country, but it
would be necessary to make the pillows for the people ; and from what he
had heard of Congress, he didn't think they would vote away the public
money for anything of the sort. Besides, the members of Congress would
not wish to deprive themselves of the privilege of sleeping on feather pil-
lows, and therefore they wouldn't vote away their liberties. So he ad-
vised Frank to study Japan a little longer before he suggested the adop-
tion of the Japanese pillow in America.
This conversation occurred while the boys were in front of the hotel,
and waiting for the Doctor, whom they expected every moment. When
he came, the three went out for a stroll, and returned in good season for
breakfast. While they were out they took a peep into a Japanese house,
where the family were at their morning meal, and thus the boys had an
opportunity of comparing their own ways with those of the country they
A dignified native, with the fore part of his head closely shaven, was
squatted on the floor in front of a little box about a foot high, which
served as a table. Opposite was his wife, and at the moment our party
looked in she was engaged in pouring something from a bottle into a
small cup the size of a thimble. Directly under her hand was a bowl
filled with freshly boiled rice, from which the steam was slowly rising; and
at the side of the table was another and smaller one, holding some plates
and chopsticks. A tiny cup and a bowl constituted the rest of the break-
fast equipment. The master was waited upon by his wife, who was not
supposed to attend to her own wants until his had been fully met. She
sat with her back to the window, which was covered with paper in small
squares pasted to the frame, and at her right was a screen, such as one
A CUP OF SA-KEE.
A JAPANESE BREAKFAST.
finds in nearly all Eastern countries. On her left was a chest of drawers
with curious locks and handles, which doubtless contained the family
wealth of linen.
As they went on, after their view of a Japanese interior, Frank asked
what was the name and character of the liquid the woman was pouring
into the glass or cup for her husband.
" That was probably sa-kee," replied the Doctor.
"And what is sa-kee, please?"
" It is," answered the Doctor, " a sort of wine distilled from rice.
Foreigners generally call it rice wine, but, more properly speaking, it is
rice whiskey, as it partakes more of the nature of spirit than of wine.
It is very strong, and will intoxicate if taken in any considerable quantity.
The Japanese usually drink it hot, and take it from the little cups that
yon saw. The cups hold so small a quantity that a great many fillings
are necessary to produce any unpleasant effect. The Japanese rarely drink
to intoxication, and, on the whole, they are a very temperate people."
Fred thereupon began to moralize on the policy of introducing Japan-
ese customs into America. He thought more practicable good could be
done by the adoption of the Japanese cup which would teach our people
96 THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
to drink more lightly than at present than by Frank's plan of introduc-
ing the Japanese pillow. He thought there would be some drawbacks to
Frank's enterprise, which would offset the good it could do. Thus a great
number of people whom the pillow might bring up at an early hour
would spend the time in ways that would not be any benefit to society,
and they might as well be asleep, and in many cases better, too. But the
tiny drinking-cup would moderate the quantity of stimulants many per-
sons would take, and thus a great good might be accomplished.
While thus talking, and trying to conjure up absurd things, they
reached the hotel, and soon were seated at breakfast.
During breakfast Doctor Bronson unfolded some of the plans lie had
made for the disposal of their time, so that they might see as much as
possible of Japan.
"We have taken a look at Yokohama since we arrived," said he, "but
there is still a great deal to see. We can study the place at our leisure, as
I think it best to make this our headquarters while in this part of the
empire, and then we will make excursions from here to the points of in-
terest in the vicinity. To-day we will go to Tokio."
" Can't we go first to Yeddo ?" said Fred ; " I want so much to see that
city, and it is said to be very large."
Doctor Bronson laughed slightly as he replied,
" Tokio and Yeddo are one and the same thing. Tokio means the East-
ern capital, while Yeddo means the Great City. Both names have long
been in use ; but the city was first known to foreigners as Yeddo. Hence
it was called so in all the books that were written prior to a few years
ago, when it was officially announced to be Tokio. It was considered the
capital at the time Japan was opened to foreigners; but there were polit-
ical complications not .understood by the strangers, and the true relations
of the city we are talking about and kioto, which is the Western capital,
were not explained until some time after. It was believed that there were
two emperors or kings, the one in Yeddo and the other in Kioto, and that
the one here was highest in authority. The real fact was that the Sho-
goon, or Tycoon (as he was called by the foreigners), at Yeddo was subor-
dinate to the real emperor at Kioto ; and the action of the former led to
a war which resulted in the complete overthrow of the Tycoon, and the
establishment of the Mikado's authority through the entire country."
" Then the emperor is called the Mikado, is he not?"
" Yes ; that is his official title. Formerly he was quite secluded, as his
person was considered too sacred to be seen by ordinary eyes ; but since
the rebellion and revolution he has come out from his seclusion, and takes
THE JAPANESE EMPEROR.
MLTSUHITU, MIKADO OF JAPAN.
part in public ceremonials, receives visitors, and does other things like the
monarchs of European countries. He is enlightened and progressive, and
is doing all he can for the good of his country and its people.
" The curious feature of the revolution which established the Mikado
on his throne, and made him the ruler of the whole country is this that
;t> T1IK BOY TRAVELLERS.
the movement was undertaken to prevent the very things it has brought
How was that?" Frank asked.
"Down to 1853 Japan was in a condition of exclusiveness in regard to
other nations. There was a Dutch trading-post at Nagasaki, on the wi->t-
ern coast; but it was confined to a little island, about six hundred feet
square, and the people that lived there were not allowed to go out of their
enclosure except at rare intervals, and under restrictions that amounted to
practical imprisonment. In the year I mentioned Commodore Perry came
here with a fleet of American ships, left some presents that had been sent
LANDING OF PERKY S EXPEDITION.
by the President of the United States, and sailed away. Before he left he
laid the foundation for the present commercial intercourse between Japan
and the United States; and on his return in the following year the priv-
ileges were considerably enlarged. Then came the English, and secured
similar concessions ; and thus Japan has reached her present standing
among the nations.
"Having been exclusive so long, and having been compelled against
her will to open her ports to strangers, there was naturally a good deal of
opposition to foreigners even after the treaty was signed. The govern-
ment endeavored to carry out the terms of the treaty faithfully ; but there
OVERTHROW OF THE TYCOON'S GOVERNMENT.
was a large party opposed to it, and anxious to have the treaties torn up
and the foreigners expelled. This party was so powerful that it seemed
to include almost a majority of the nation, and the Kioto government took
the Yeddo section to task for what it had done in admitting the foreign-
ers. One thing led to another, and tinally came the war between the Mi-
kado and the Tycoon. The latter was overthrown, as I have already told
you, and the Mikado was the supreme ruler of the land.
" The Mikado's party was opposed to the presence of foreigners in the
country, and their war-cry was 'Death to the strangers!' When the wnr
was over, there was a general expectation that measures would be adopted
looking to the expulsion of the hated intruder. But, to the surprise of
many, the government became even more progressive than its predecessor
had been, and made concessions to the foreigners that the others had never
granted. It was a curious spectacle to see the conservative government
doing more for the introduction of the foreigner than the very men they
had put down because of their making a treaty with the Americans.
" The opponents of the Mikado's government accuse it of acting in bad
faith, but I do not see that the charge is just. As I understand the sit-
uation, the government acted
honestly, and with good intent
to expel the foreigner in case
it should obtain power. But
when the power was obtained,
they found the. foreigner could
not be expelled so easily; he
was here, and intended to re-
main, and the only thing the
government could do was to
make the best of it. The for-
eign nations who had treaties
with Japan would not tear them
up, and the government found
that what it had intended at the
time of the revolution could not
be accomplished. Foreign in-
tercourse went on, and the Jap-
anese began to instruct them-
selves in Western ways. They
sent their young men to Amer-
ica and other countries to be
THE LAST SHOGOON OF JAPAN.
THE BOY TKAVELLKlis.
educated. They hired teachers to take charge of schools in Japan, and
in every way tried to turn the presence of the foreigner to their advan-
tage. There is an old adage that wllat can't be cured must be endured,
and Japan seems to have acted upon it. The foreigner was here as an
evil, and they couldn't cure him out. So they set about finding the best
way of enduring him.
"But it is time we were getting ready for a start for Tokio, and so
we'll suspend our discussion of Japanese political history. It's a dry sub-
ject, and I hesitate to talk to you about it lest I may weary you."
Both the boys declared the topic was interesting, and they would con-
sider their study of Japan incomplete without some of its history. The
Doctor promised to return to the subject at some future occasion; and
with this understanding they separated to prepare for their journey to
THE RAILWAY IN JAPAN. 101
FROM YOKOHAMA TO TOKIO.
OXE of the innovations in Japan since the arrival of the foreigners is
the railway. Among the presents carried to the country by Commo-
dore Perry were a miniature locomotive and some cars, and several miles
of railway track. The track was set up, and the new toy was regarded
with much interest by 'the Japanese. For some years after the country
was opened there was considerable opposition to the introduction of the
new mode of travel, but by degrees all hostility vanished, and the govern-
ment entered into contracts for the construction of a line from Yoko-
hama to Tokio. The distance is about seventeen miles, and the route fol-
lows the shore of the bay, where there are no engineering difficulties of
consequence. In spite of the ease of construction and the low price of
labor in Japan, the cost of the work was very great, and would have
astonished a railway engineer in America. The work was done under
English supervision and by English contractors, and from all accounts
there is no reason to suppose that they lost anything by the operation.
Doctor Bronson and our young friends went from Yokohama to the
capital by the railway, and found the ride a pleasant one of about an
hour's duration. They found that the conductors, ticket -sellers, brake-
men, and all others w r ith whom they came in contact were Japanese. For
some time after the line was opened the management was in the hands of
foreigners; but by degrees they were removed, and the Japanese took
charge of the business, for which they had paid a liberal price. They
have shown themselves fully competent to manage it, and the new system
of travel is quite popular with the people. Three kinds of carriages are
run on most of the trains; the first class is patronized by the high officials
and the foreigners who have plenty of money ; the second by the middle-
class natives official and otherwise and foreigners whose purses are not
plethoric ; and the third class by the peasantry, and common people gen-
erally. Frank observed that there were few passengers in the first-class
carriages, more in the second, and that the third class attracted a crowd,
THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
and was evidently popular. The Doctor told him that the railway had
been well patronized since the day it was first opened, and that the facili-
ties of steam locomotion have not been confined to the eastern end of the
empire. The experiment on the shores of Yeddo Bay proved so satis-
factory that a line has since been opened from Kobe to Osaka and Kioto,
in the West a distance of a little more than fifty miles. The people
take to it as kindly as did those of the East, and the third-class carriages
are generally well filled.
At the station in Yokohama the boys found a news-stand, the same as
they might find one in a station in America, but with the difference
against them that they were unable to read the papers that were sold
there. They bought some, however, to send- home as curiosities, and
found them very cheap. Newspapers existed in Japan before the for-
eigners went there ; but since the advent of the latter the number of pub-
lications has increased, as the Japanese can hardly fail to observe the great
influence on public opinion which is exercised by the daily press. They
have introduced metal types after the foreign system, instead of printing
from wooden blocks, as they formerly did, and, but for the difference in
the character, one of their sheets might be taken for a paper printed in
Europe or America. Some of the papers have large circulations, and the
newsboys sell them in the streets, in the same way as the urchins of New
VIEWS FROM THE CAR WINDOWS.
York engage in the kindred business. There is this difference, however,
that the Japanese newsboys are generally men, and as they walk along
they read in a monotonous tone the news which the paper they are selling
The train started promptly on the advertised time, and the boys found
that there were half a dozen trains each way daily, some of them running
through, like express trains in other countries, while others were slower,
and halted at every station. The line ran through a succession of fields
and villages, the former bearing evidence of careful cultivation, while the
hitter were thickly populated, and gave indications of a good deal of taste
in their arrangement. Shade-trees were numerous, and Frank readily
accepted as correct the statement he had somewhere read, that a Japanese
would rather move his house than cut down a tree in case the one inter-
fered with the other. The rice harvest was nearly at hand, and the fields
were thickly burdened with the waving rice-plants. Men were working
in the fields, and moving slowly to and fro, and everywhere there was an
activity that did not betoken a lazy people. The Doctor explained that if
they had been there a month earlier, they would have witnessed the proc-
ess of hoeing the rice-plants to keep down the weeds, but that now the
hoeing was over, and there was little to do beyond keeping the fields
properly flooded with water, so that the ripening plants should have the
THK BOY TRAVKLLEKS.
necessary nourishment. He pointed out an irrigating-maehine, which was
in operation close to the railway, and the boys looked at it with much
interest. A wheel was so fixed in a small trough that when it was turned
the water Mas raised from a little pool, and flowed over the land it was
doi ruble to irrigate. The turning process was performed by a man who
stood above the wheel, and stepped from one float to another. The
machinery was very simple, and had the merit of cheapness, as its cost
could not have been large at the price of labor in Japan.
In another place a man was engaged in ploughing. He had a primi-
tive-looking instrument with a blade like that
of a large hatchet, a beam set at right angles,
and a single handle which he grasped with both
hands. It was propelled by a horse which re-
quired some one to lead him, but he did not
seem to regard the labor of dragging the
plough as anything serious, as he walked off
very much as though nothing were behind him.
Just beyond the ploughman there was a man
with a roller, engaged in covering some seed
that had been put in for a late crop. He was
using a common roller, which closely resembled
the one we employ for smoothing our garden walks and beds, with the
exception that it was rougher in construction, and did not appear as round
as one naturally expects a roller to be.
FARMING PROCESSES IN JAPAN.
Fred saw a man dipping something from a hole in the ground, and
asked the Doctor what lie was doing.
The Doctor explained that
the hole was a cask set in the
ground, and that it probably
contained liquid manure. The
Japanese use it for enriching
their fields. They keep it in
these holes, covered with a
slight roof to prevent its evap-
oration as much as possible,
and they spread it around
where wanted by means of
buckets. The great drawback
to a walk in a Japanese field is
the frequency of the manure
deposits, as the odor arising
from them is anything but
agreeable. Particularly is this
so in the early part of the sea-
son, when the young plants re-
quire a great deal of attention
and nourishment. A nose at such times is an organ of great inconven-
The Doctor went on to explain that the Japanese farmers were very
watchful of their crops, and that men were employed to scare away the
birds, that sometimes dug up the seed after it was planted, and also ate
the grain while it was ripening. The \vatehmen had pieces of board
which they put on frames suspended in the air, and so arranged that they
rattled in the wind, and performed a service similar to that of the" scare-
crow in America. In addition to this mode of making a noise, the watch-
men had whistles and clappers, and sometimes they carried small bells
which they rang as they walked about. It was the duty of a watchman
to keep constantly on the alert, as the birds were full of mischief, and,
from being rarely shot at, their boldness and impudence were quite aston-
ishing to one freshly arrived from America, where the use of fire-arms is
While Doctor Bronson was explaining about the birds, Fred suddenly
gave an exclamation of delight.
"Look, look !" said he; " what are those beautiful white birds?"
HOW THEY USE MANURE.
T11K BOY TKAVKLLKKS.
MUUK OF rKOltCTlXG LAN1> FltOM BIltDS.
" Oli, I
know," answered Frank ; ' they are storks. I recognize them
from the pictures I have seen on
fans and screens. Fin sure they
The decision was appealed
to Doctor Bronson, who decided
that the birds in question were
storks, and nothing else. There
was no mistaking their beautiful
figures; whether standing in the
fields or flying in the air, the
stork is one of the handsomest
birds known to the ornithologist.
" You see," said Doctor Bron-
son, " that the stork justifies the
homage that is paid to him so far
as a graceful figure is concerned,
and the Japanese have shown an
eye for beauty when they 'se-
lected him for a prominent place
in their pictures. You see him
everywhere in Japanese art
STOHKiS IJKAWN BY A NATIVE AKTIST.
SKILL OF JAPANESE ARTISTS.
in bronzes, on costly paintings, embroidered on silk, printed on fans, and
on nearly every article of household use. lie has a sacred character, and
it would not be easy to find a Japanese who would willingly inflict an
injury upon one of these birds."
There are probably no other artists in the world who can equal the
Japanese in drawing the stork in all the ways and attitudes he assumes.
These are almost countless ; but, not satisfied with this, there are some of
the native artists who are accused of representing him in attitudes he was
never known to take. Admitting this to be the case, it cannot be disputed
that the Japanese are masters of their profession in delineating this bird,
and that one is never weary of looking at his portrait as they draw it.
They have nearly equal skill in drawing other birds, and a few strokes
of the brush or pencil will accomplish marvels in the way of pictorial
representation. A flock of geese, some on the ground and others in
flight, can be drawn in a few moments by a native designer, and the
most exacting critic will not find anything wanting.
FLOCK OF GEESE.
The train sped onward, and in an hour from the time of leaving the
station at Yokohama it was nearing Tokio. It passed in full view of the
forts of Shinagawa, which were made memorable during the days of Perry
and Lord Elgin, as the foreign ships were not allowed to pass them, and
THK BOY TRAVELLERS.
there was at one time a prospect that they would open fire upon the in-
truders. Xear one of the forts, a boat containing three fishermen was pull-
ing slowly along, one man handling the oar, while the other two were lift-
ing a net. Whether any fish were contained in it the boys did not ascertain,
as the train would not stop long enough to permit an investigation. The
fort rose from the water like a huge warehouse ; it might resist a Chinese