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Alfred M. (Alfred Marshall) Hitchcock.

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OVER JAPAN WAY




Washday.



OVER JAPAN WAY



BY
ALFRED M. HITCHCOCK



I shan't be gone long; you come too.

ROBERT FROST




NEW YORK
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

1917



Copyright, 1917,

BY

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY



PUBLISHED NOVEMBER, 1917



HUB

urn:



PREFACE

WHILE poking about a bookstore, not long ago, I
chanced upon a Bibliography of Japan, a dust-
covered book containing five hundred pages or more.
So perhaps the volume you are now hesitating about
reading is not the right one. Still, you might glance
it through.

A. M. H.




CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. The Pacific 3

II. Breaking In 12

III. European Hotels and Japanese Inns 19

IV. Tokyo 32

V. Riding on the Train 47

VI. Nikko 59

VII. Chopsticks 75

VIII. After Apples 88

IX. A Made-in- America Town 96

X. The Gentle Ainu 104

XI. Bearding a Volcano 115

XII. From Kindergarten to University 127

XIII. Play-going 147

XIV. Sunday Morning in Asakusa Park 166

XV. Hakone Notes 182

XVI. From Kobe to Miyajima 196

XVII. The Sacred Island 209

XVIII. Dogo and Beppu 215

XIX. Kyoto and Osaka 226

XX. Shopping 241

XXI. Appraisals First and Second Hand 257



vii



ILLUSTRATIONS

Washday Frontispiece

PAGE

A junk is more picturesque than a steamship 4

When on shipboard, one longs for mountains. There are
plenty in Japan, but not all are so attractive as these

of the Hakone region 5

Half a century ago the feudal system prevailed in Japan.
The castle at Nagoya is perhaps the finest of the few

still standing 8

Harvest festival ceremony before a Shinto shrine 9

Of the three vehicles here represented, the rikisha alone
is common. A rikisha without a top is approximately

innocent 12

The commonest view in Japan is the rice field. In plant-
ing tune and harvest, everybody works, including

father 13

The Japanese believe in the open shop 18

Street peddlers are common, but few carry such an as-
sortment as this 18

A typical room, completely furnished. Be seated, please 19
The most attractive thing about many an inn is its gar-
den. This one is found at Nikko 26

An inn garden at Yamagata. Trees, rocks, pools, and
bridges play an important part in Japanese gardening.

Flowers are not conspicuous 26

Good-night 27

Along the river front in Tokyo 36

The castle moat in the heart of the city 36

be



x ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

Praying at one of Tokyo's many shrines. Note the size

of the contribution box 37

Entrance to a shrine in one of the poorer quarters 37

A Tokyo watch tower 44

A typical crowd of tourists before a temple in Shiba Park 45

A temple roof with graceful lines 45

There are rice fields everywhere 54

The irrigation wheel. Note the towel. With few ex-
ceptions the peasants are amazingly neat 55

Home of a peasant of the poorer class 58

Winnowing grain 58

The Sacred Bridge 59

A cryptomeria avenue at Nikko 59

A temple gate at Nikko 72

Lake Chuzenji 73

Tea pickers. They have been told to "look pleasant"

and find it easy to do so 78

Sorting cocoons t 79

Before entering the house, slip off your clogs, please. ... 88

Peasant woman of Northern Japan 89

The waterwheel is a familiar sight 94

The railway near Aomori 94

A tidal wave is nothing to a bronze Buddha. He sits

serene, though his temple home is swept away 95

Government buildings at Sapporo 100

The College campus 100

A fisherman's home of the poorer type 101

Ainu children? No. The idea! 114

Hotel at Noboribetsu Onsen 115

The moribund volcano. Steam and sulphur fumes make

photography difficult 115

Eruption of Mt. Aso 126

Going to school 127



ILLUSTRATIONS xi

PAGE

Field day at an elementary school . 134

A jiu-jitsu school. Of course the men are posing. The

school in Kyoto is as fine as a temple spacious, clean 135

Country school children 135

Theatre Street in Osaka 158

The Kabukiza 159

Stage of the Imperial Theatre 159

Approach to Temple of Kwannon 168

The Big Gate, from the Temple porch 168

Feeding the doves 169

The Temple porch 169

The God of Sickness 174

Altar of a Buddhist shrine 175

Fujiya hotel 184

Hakone hillsides '. . . . 185

Lake Hakone 190

Hakone village, with royal villa in the distance 190

The old Tokaido, near Hakone. Military roads are

fast supplanting such old thoroughfares 191

Fuji, the sublime 198

The Inland Sea 199

An Inland Sea junk 210

The familiar torii at Miyajima 211

One sees pilgrims everywhere in Japan 214

A holiday clammer 215

Not Italy, but southern Japan 226

Looking across the bay 226

Kyoto at twenty-five minutes to two 227

A bit of Silver Pavilion garden 232

Arashiyama 232

Osaka 233

The ubiquitous shoe store 244

The potter 245



xii ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

Some of the finest embroidery is done by men 245

Opening day at a modern silk store 256

The Mitsukoshi department store 256

The plowman homeward wends and takes his plow with

him 257

The " dogs " in front of Shinto shrines drive away demons 262

A Buddhist priest 263

A village street 268

This old pine with fantastically twisted trunk and bright

new foliage symbolizes Japan 269

This is all one tree, or as much of it as the lens could cover.

To Japanese eyes props are not unsightly. See what

you should, not all that you can 269



OVER JAPAN WAY



CHAPTER I
THE PACIFIC

IT is a cold thing and unruly. Early September
congeals into late November as the ship glides
through the Golden Gate; and before the coast
mountains are lost sight of, the waves have grown
much larger than seems at all reasonable. By night
time, the vessel is rolling uncomfortably, especially
for the inlander consigned to a narrow sofa-berth,
up and down which he makes frequent excursions,
round trips with no stopover privileges. As he slides
back and forth, and listens to the rising wind, he
thinks of "stout Cortez" no, it was Balboa who
discovered the Pacific and debates whether it
would not have been better after all had the ad-
venturer remained "speechless on a peak in Darien,"
or at least had gone quietly home and said never a
word about his awful discovery.

But first impressions are of no permanent worth.
Really the Pacific is not cold at all. That sudden
chill was merely the fog which sweeps the coast.
Forty-eight hours out from San Francisco, the shady
side of the deck becomes popular. September



4 OVER JAPAN WAY

degenerates into July. After its first rough greeting,
the Ocean is absurdly gentle. Waves for a time
continue to raid the deck cargo. A pile of planks
break their lashings and shoot madly about. Car-
boys of ammonia ranged in rows and tied neck to
neck are routed and get beautifully smashed. The
crew, coming to the rescue, are swept off their feet
in water thigh deep. But there is no real storm.
The captain says so. He is quite sure, and you note
with pleasure that his teeth are not chattering,
though possibly they are not the chatter kind, for
his uppers overhang, walrus style. It is just a little
blow, barely enough to drive passengers to state-
rooms and give the sailors opportunity to tidy up
decks that have lost their sweetness while hi port.
The boisterous Pacific we shall know no more, but
a lazy, sultry Ocean, much too large, acres upon
acres of blue, a great undulating disc circular to a
fault, the steamship its too exact center. There are
no strange craft to wonder about, no fish save a few
silvery fliers, not even seaweed enough to garnish a
dish. The last gull disappears the third day out.
There is merely the trail of black smoke to watch,
and the petty rage of waves thrust out by the pon-
derous hull. That is all, with one grand exception:
the sunset clouds they and the big September
moon. Even the salesman who electrifies the dinner
table by confiding that his house "turns out more
overalls than any other concern in the world" tarries




H hen on shipboard, one longs for mountains. Inhere are plenty

in Japan, but not all are so attractive as these of the

Hakone region.



THE PACIFIC 5

a moment on his way to the smoking-room and
admits that the moon is "darn pretty."

The overalls king is not the only commercial
spirit aboard; there are many sample-trunks below
deck. Russia is out of everything. With half the
world at war, now is the time to grab the market in
China. Japan is near neighbor, but providentially
she lacks raw materials. It's a national disgrace that
we have no more ships on the Pacific. After you've
sold your goods, you can't deliver 'em! There is
much of this talk nightly in the smoking-room. The
buyers, after teas, silks, furs, brushes, are a quieter
set, and so too are the big boned men returning to
business interests in the Philippines.

In contrast to the commercial group, though a wit
might discover unsuspected parallels, are the mis-
sionaries, scores of them. The Pacific has long been
preeminently ecclesiastic, though munition cargoes
bound for Vladivostok threaten her good name, of
late. A surprising number are young recruits, college
bred men, lively, athletic. Their obviously recent
brides are an attractive lot with stores of pretty
gowns exquisitely out of harmony with missionary
traditions. One young lady has brought along not a
portable church organ but a mandolin, croons
Southern melodies, and what! dances divinely.
Episcopalian, of course, and from Baltimore. Be-
tween the missionaries and the commercial ele-
ment may be found a thin, miscellaneous filling of



6 OVER JAPAN WAY

tourists and unclassified remnants moving picture
argonauts, a millionaire aviator, an Australian or
two, and the few who never unfold their wings.
They are very few, however, for getting acquainted
on board a small Pacific liner is almost inevitable.
The voyage by the southern route lasts sixteen or
seventeen days, which is at least thirteen more than
a normal being can hold his tongue. There are no
hermit retreats; to be alone, one must crawl into his
trunk.

The journey of 5545 miles has but one break.
After six days of monotonous blue, there appears on
the horizon a black line hardly distinguishable from
low-lying clouds. Slowly it grows into a moun-
tainous tract climbing up to mist hidden heights.
It is the first of the "loveliest fleet of islands that
lies anchored in any ocean." A new thrill is expe-
rienced when a fellow traveler points to the island
on which is the leper settlement known to all the
world through Stevenson's wrathful defence of
Father Damien. Meanwhile Oahu has been picked
up. It is late afternoon as we approach Diamond
Head, and the bold cliffs, half seen through the
gathering haze, are romantically beautiful. It is
but a brief vision of mountains rising abruptly out
of the sea, with here and there the suggestion of
gorge or ravine, or narrow fringe of sandy beach,
soon shut out. When at length the ship drops
anchor in Honolulu harbor, nothing is visible but



THE PACIFIC 7

thousands of lights, most of them near the water's
level, though a few sparks appear high up on the
mountain slopes which guard the city.

It is remarkable how much may be crowded into
twenty hours of shore-leave. When all come flocking
aboard, the following afternoon, each with at least a
pineapple, a wreath of flowers, and a supply of picture
postals by way of hastily snatched booty, and the
ship creeps away from the crowded dock where the
dusky Salvation Army band is playing, and a score
of boys, half fish, swim about, their cheeks bulging
with coins that have been thrown from the deck,
there is general agreement that it has been a Mara-
thon. Marvelous tales are told of Chinatown and
the Japanese quarters; of the most wonderful aqua-
rium in all the world; of drives through streets
beautiful with flowering trees, or up the winding
pass to the historic Pali with its fine view of cliffs
and ragged ridges at the foot of which lie terraced
farms, with the beautiful sea beyond; of dinner at
the big hotel from whose windows one watches
hundreds of natives skimming about in strange
shaped canoes or speeding shoreward on surf-boards.
Honors for doing the unusual are divided between
the party of young men who started at midnight on a
forty mile motor trip in inky darkness, going they
cared not where, and the stout gentleman who went
to a hotel and slept for twelve hours in a real bed that
did not rock.



8 OVER JAPAN WAY

For a time the ship follows the mountainous coast;
then night shuts in, and there will be no more land
till Japan, 3,445 miles to the northwest, lifts above
the horizon. The narrow round of deck activities
begins again, but with waning interest, the swimming
tank alone retaining popularity. It is very sultry.
Whatever of novelty the sea voyage once possessed
has worn away. As a last resort books are brought
forth from trunk bottoms, especially books about
Japan.

First we look at the map. A mere wisp of a realm,
Japan appears to be, festooned like so much seaweed
along the coast of Asia. Translated into statistics,
however, it makes a creditable showing. For exam-
ple, the festoons cover a range of about two thousand
miles, and include between three and four thousand
islands, beginning with the most northern of the
Kuriles a little south of Kamchatka and ending at
the southernmost tip of Formosa. Swing them over
to the eastern coast of America without change of
latitude and they would extend from Newfoundland
to the West Indies. May such a swing never be
made. Some of the islands, it is true, are mainly
seacoast; but between the Kurile group mere
dots on the map and the Loochoo group more
dots are four large islands constituting Japan
proper, and beyond the Loochoo archipelago lies
Formosa (14,000 sq. m.), besides which there is the
southern half of Saghalien (20,000 sq. m.) lying



THE PACIFIC 9

near the Siberian coast. Finally there is Korea
(85,000 sq. m.), and the territory acquired in the
present war, making in all about 250,000 square
miles, a total, by the way, seventy-five per cent,
greater than it was before the conflicts with China
and Russia. It is, then, a sizable realm, though none
too large for an estimated population of between
seventy and eighty millions, since it is about eighty-
five per cent, mountains. There are mountains
everywhere. Thirty or more peaks are over 8,000
feet high, thirteen over 10,000. Fuji is 12,387, and
Mt. Morrison in Formosa 13,020.

Thus far the statistics are in no way disquieting,
though they put an end to fond dreams of seeing all
Japan in three or four months. But as we read on,
Pandora's box comes to mind. Item: two hundred
volcanoes, fifty of which are more or less active, and
the rest, we fear, not to be trusted. It is slim con-
solation to learn that when one of the three volcanic
ranges is active, the others are likely to be quiet,
and that volcanoes are but safety valves anyway,
charms against earthquakes. Of earthquakes, 30,680
were recorded during the twenty-one years ending
1905, "not counting those minor vibrations which are
felt only by delicate instruments." Ninety is the
yearly average for Tokyo!

As if its purpose were to frighten away the boldest,
the Year Book proceeds to tell of disastrous tidal
waves, typhoons, and floods caused by swollen



io OVER JAPAN WAY

mountain streams; then soothes the reader with an
account of one thousand mineral springs, after
which comes "Flora and Fauna." A realm ex-
tending through so many degrees of latitude has
perforce, it is explained, a liberal assortment of
climates, almost Arctic at one extreme and tropical
at the other. Even Japan proper, which lies approx-
imately between the latitude of the mouth of the
Columbia river and that of the northernmost shore
of the Gulf of California, presents a wide range,
materially influenced by what corresponds to our
Gulf Stream, the Black Current which sweeps the
eastern coast, and by high mountain ranges. Hence
the wide variety in plant and animal life. There are
about four thousand species of plants (including
several thousand varieties of chrysanthemums), and
eighty species of mammals, thirty peculiar to Japan.
Among the latter is the Japanese horse. That it is
peculiar can be believed easily, we shall find later,
after once looking at it. Birds (400 species), reptiles,
amphibians, fish (1230 species), insects (20,003!)
dragon flies, ants, butterflies all have been care-
fully counted. To the lazy reader in a steamer
chair the figures seem reasonable enough, though
after living a few weeks in Japanese inns he will be
inclined to think that the varieties of fish have been
carelessly underestimated.

But at this point the sultry air and the cradle-like
motion of the ship prove too much for the lone



THE PACIFIC ii

tourist. The book slips from his hand and he dreams
that he is strolling about on the topmost roof of a
pagoda which wobbles with incipient earthquake,
feeding chrysanthemums and dragon-flies to 1230 fish
that swim gracefully about in the surrounding at-
mosphere. After all, what does it matter? To one
who travels solely for pleasure, a careful preliminary
study of guidebooks is not unlike slyly peeping at
packages a day or two before Christmas.

The passengers agree, as the voyage nears its end,
that the Pacific is not so bad after all. It was a good
day's work Balboa did down in Darien. Yet few will
deny that the ocean is much too wide and far from
entertaining. There might be, to good advantage,
several more Hawaiian groups scattered about, and
the intervening depths planted to whale and other ma-
rine novelties. Perhaps the man of overalls is right;
there should be many more ships plying between our
country and Asiatic ports. But the Pacific moon is
all right, and so are the sunset clouds: plumes fluffy
white; prehistoric monsters that lazily change into
still other monsters; sweet fern pastures, woodland
glades through which run molten streams; slopes of
heather beyond aery Loch Lomonds; broad bands
blood red, rare shades of yellow and green, with al-
ways at last the duller tints, smoke-gray fading into
black, and then the stars.



CHAPTER II
BREAKING IN

IT is raining. Into the rain are vanishing all ship-
board friends. I shall soon be alone on the crowded
wharf, nothing familiar to look at but my baggage.
The customs officials have glanced at it already and
decided it would be a waste of time to inspect before
giving each piece a chalk hieroglyphic. I am per-
fectly free to act at once on oft repeated advice not
to waste a minute in Yokohama but put for Tokyo.
I look about for a cab. But evidently Yokohama
is cabless; there is nothing hi sight save rain and
rikishas, plenty of each, the latter whirling away into
the former. A crowd of rikisha men surround me,
whereupon for the first time I begin to realize that
after being a native for many years, I am now a mere
foreigner, an ignorant immigrant. I really need a
destination placard. What the men are saying
sounds interesting but is unintelligible. My sole
vocabulary of Japanese is one word, ohaio or is it
dakota? At any rate, it means good morning or
possibly it is thank you; the word was under com-
plete control yesterday, but now that it is tune to



12



BREAKING IN 13

recite, memory becomes panicky. Neither good
morning nor thank you seems applicable in the
present crisis. I wish to say, " Gentlemen, I want to
go at once to the Tokyo tram, taking with me these
four pieces of luggage. How much will it cost?
Kindly state terms in United States currency. And
do not try to overcharge, sirs; the guidebooks say
that such is your wicked practice." To save time,
however, I compromise with "Tokyo tram," and
they seem to understand perfectly, each seizing a
piece of luggage and placing it in his vehicle. "No,
no, no," I protest, "not five rikishas, please; two will
suffice, one for baggage, one for me. This is not to be
a street parade but simply a transfer."

Getting into a rikisha for the first time, especially
if the top be up, is embarrassing. Should one back
in between the shafts as if slowly retreating before
some wild animal, and cautiously insert portions of
himself one at a time, or charge face forward and
head down, at the pyschological moment thinking
spiral staircases, and trust to instinct? A flank
attack seems unreasonable, and approach from the
rear would necessitate a stepladder. Once in, by
whatever method employed, you find yourself in a
precarious half-reclining posture, likely to lose all
that has been so heroically achieved, until the coolie
lifts the shafts and off the two-wheeled baby car-
riage moves, seemingly at the speed of a hook and
ladder brigade.



i 4 OVER JAPAN WAY

Through the little window in the front curtain
come visions of sudden death in rapid succession.
Pedestrians, rikishas, drays the street is alive with
traffic, and the bare-legged runner in dark blue
blouse and mushroom hat seems to go faster and
faster as the tangle becomes snarlier. You feel that
the end is near, you see it. The starboard wheel will
lock with yon dray's and at the same moment the
port wheel will knock down that youngster with the
close-cropped head. The runner will pitch head
forward; you will be catapulted beyond, suffer con-
cussion of the brain, and "come to" in a police
station where tearful parents are waiting to demand
thousands of yen for the loss of their only child, not
a mere girl, but a son, recently adopted. By the
time imagination has carried you thus far, dray,
child, and disaster are far astern, and you begin all
over again as a fresh catastrophe becomes immi-
nent. It is strange that the Japan Year Book,
which frankly records volcanoes, earthquakes, floods,
and typhoons, says not a word about transporta-
tion.

At the tram station at last, safe, but hair grown
grayer about the temples. I suspect that the rikisha
men have charged double the legal rate but am
spared the ignominy of knowing that this double
has been quadrupled through my inability to dis-
tinguish between five sen pieces and twenty. They
seem well satisfied and hasten away. A porter in



BREAKING IN 15

red cap and blue uniform, who understands a little
English though he will not speak it, appropriates the
luggage and assists in purchasing a ticket. Trunk
and suitcase are carefully weighed, and I am given
in exchange a slip of white tissue on which has been
inscribed in a dashing hand a laundry bill legend.
Stopping to secrete this, I look up just in time to see
the rest of my belongings disappear on the back of
the porter through a wicket gate. I hurry after, and,
scouting through the crowd, overtake it in the last
of four well-filled coaches. The porter waits cap in
hand. I assume that ten sen will be sufficient.
Apparently it is, for he bows and retires. The train
starts; I am off for Tokyo.

It is but an eighteen mile run, taking less than an
hour, through level seacoast country, much of it
given up to rice fields and market gardens, with
now and then a town of low-roofed houses. The
gathering darkness soon shuts out the view. Of the
little that has been seen, two things only will remain
indelibly impressed, the first a brown-skinned
laborer, naked save for loin cloth, wielding a heavy,
adz-shaped hoe. Apparently he is impervious to
weather and interested not a whit in the passing
train. The second is a fine big manufacturing plant
with black smoke rolling from its tall brick chimney.
The man with the hoe, I assume, typifies old Japan,
the factory typifies the new. Within the coach,
also, the new and the old are in strange contrast;



16 OVER JAPAN WAY

but before the confused passenger has collected his
wits sufficiently to make a sane inventory, the train
has entered the suburbs of the capital city.

At the central terminal the coaches empty quickly.
Following the example of others, I lift my bags
through an open window into the hands of an ex-
pectant porter and say, reluctantly, "Rikisha." He
understands, and by the time I have overtaken him
at the mam exit the dread thing is waiting. There
has been an embarrassing delay at the wicket; though
I think I remember perfectly the whereabouts of that
diminutive wad of tissue within a pocket or two,
that is I cannot immediately run down the railroad
ticket, which must be surrendered at the gate or one
remains on the platform for life. The tendency of
tickets to secrete themselves at critical moments is a
matter to which scientists have not given the atten-


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Online LibraryAlfred M. (Alfred Marshall) HitchcockOver Japan way → online text (page 1 of 16)