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Geneve L.A. Shaffer.

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the Japanese, who only allowed their own race to buy, and all rents were
immediately raised.

It was said that instead of complaining about how little land Japan was
allowed in the United States, it would be fairer to give Americans in
Japan the same privileges that she enjoys in some of our states.

Americans in Yokohoma say that the Japanese law drafted to relieve this
situation and often proudly referred to by Japanese diplomats, has never
really been passed and therefore has no value. They add that if old
Marquis Okuma had more peace-craving followers and the lawmakers were
responsible to the people instead of the Emperor, for whom they are said
to act, differences between the United States and Japan could be more
quickly and completely settled.



Chapter V



To board a train after our long sea-trip was a delightful change. After
passing through quaint villages, rice fields, and interesting garden
patches we arrived at Tokyo in time for the ambassador's reception. The
moment one talks to Charles Warren, in charge of our American Embassy in
Japan, one feels that our Japanese problems are in very conservative and
capable hands.

Between receptions, we visited many quaint and beautiful temples. At one
we were so hospitably received, served with tea and dainty rice cakes
made with a special emblem upon them for the occasion that we forgot to
grumble about being made to remove our shoes. Only a few of the party
remembered the Japanese custom of removing the outer foot-gear, when
entering their temples, and came prepared with easily removed pumps.
They had a good laugh at the row of dignified, badge-bedecked
representatives, solemnly lacing up their shoes, while sitting on the
stoop about a foot from the ground, with the blazing sun upon them.

When we talked to some of the American residents in Japan, they all got
on the old familiar subject, the high cost of living, but they seem to
agree that it cost just twice as much to live in Japan as any other
place in the world. It seems that without considering the high rent, an
amah (a sort of maid who will do only certain duties), a house boy (who
is anywhere from twelve to sixty years old), and a cook (who gets a
commission on everything you buy) must be kept, even in the simplest of
homes. Those accustomed to one servant in America usually find it
necessary to have from three to six in Japan. Of course their wages are
less than in the United States, but food is very high. Rice, for
instance, was twenty percent higher than in America. Inferior coal was
twenty-two fifty a ton, and the high ceilinged, furnace less houses
require a great deal of coal and wood in winter. Very few Americans use
the jammed street cars. Automobiles are very expensive to maintain, not
only on account of the rough streets, but the licenses are very high.
One of our party hired a rick-shaw for twenty minutes and paid a yen
(about fifty cents), so residents usually find it more economical to
keep their own rick-shaws and coolies.

Certainly the Japanese are past masters in entertaining. No wonder it is
said that some of our former diplomats were so much influenced by their
lavish entertainment's that they lost their heads. The Chamber of
Commerce of Tokyo greeted our Chamber of Commerce representatives at an
elaborate theatre party. An especially staged Japanese drama, followed
by a comedy, with a sumptuous dinner between the acts, was only a part
of the entertainment. A. I. Esberg and Byron Mauzy answered the banzis,
of the oldest merchant in Japan, Baron Okura, with three rousing cheers
for the Japanese, after the formal addresses had been made.

Everywhere we were met with politeness and courtesy. To the casual
observer the military element is not noticeable in the home life of the
common people, as they are rapt in their work, very industrious and get
their pleasure talking to their ever present babies, or tending some
little plants, even if squalor surrounds them. But the word of the ones
higher up is absolute law to them. Discipline is supreme from the time
the small boy is taught the "Goose Step," preparatory to his military
training, until he obediently marries the girl his parents have selected
for him. He does what he is told without a murmur, as does his wife who
is his absolute slave.

One understands why some call Japan the Germany of the East, which
country, some of our delegates were told by foreign residents, Japan
greatly admires. It is said that her people were more than surprised and
disappointed when the armistice was signed; as the Japanese press was so
well censored it gave no indication that Germany could be defeated.

After a day of sight-seeing, and investigating various trade conditions,
our party found the rickshaw ride back to the hotel, at dusk, most
interesting and quite exciting, if one has not become accustomed to the
rule of turning to the left instead of the right, as we do at home.
Packed street cars, automobiles, carts piled high with incredible loads
pulled by coolies, a girder being dragged by a scrawny horse led by a
seemingly tireless, whip-equipped native, all apparently were about to
collide with our rick-shaw party. We seemed to be always in the way and
always on the wrong side of the street. We remembered with a shudder,
that the Japanese believe it noble to die, and seemingly, they were
going to drag us to destruction with them. We tried to get them to go
slower but could not think of the Japanese words, so we might just as
well have tried to stop the North wind, as to have changed the orders
given by our interpreter to the coolies.



Chapter VI



We did not know that when we boarded the special train chartered by the
Tokyo Chamber of Commerce to take the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
representatives to inspect the silk filatures, that a delightful
luncheon, or as it is called there, "Tiffin," was awaiting us under the
trees.

Although the heat was oppressive, it was surprising to see how
ceaselessly, and apparently without pain, little girls from twelve years
up, kept five cocoons unrolling at once, in boiling water, in order to
make a single thread of silk. We were told that these girls worked from
twelve to fourteen hours a day, for which they receive forty cents a day
and food, getting a bonus at the end of the year, which amounts to
approximately one months' salary. Sundays are not holidays in Japan, but
workers have two days off a month.

We saw the whole process, from the sorting of the yellow and white
cocoons to the huge bolts ready for the market, while one of our smiling
hosts significantly remarked, "The yellow and white blend very nicely
together."

We were interested in learning that the principal owner of this huge
plant has adopted his wife's family name in order to follow the custom
of not allowing a family name to die out, in case there are no sons and
none have been adopted.

As over one-third of Japan's trade is with the United States, and a
large portion of that is in silk, our clever hosts had printed on the
cover of the booklet presented to us, "Silk is the shining cord that
binds United States and Japan."

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce representatives had been given the
year book of Japan, all sorts of pamphlets containing figures and facts
concerning various enterprises, and so a day at Nikko, away from
statistics, was most welcome.

Nikko's sacred grove of Cryptomerie trees said to be over three hundred
years old, never looked more impressive than in the first rain we had
had while in Japan. One of the party who had traveled extensively in the
Orient previously, advised us to forget our trade commercial mission
long enough to see Nikko and then we could afford to overlook all the
other temples. Certainly nature and man's art achieved a double triumph
here, and this advice must have piqued the curiosity of most of the
stolid businessmen of the party; for yellow strips of rubber and paper
umbrellas were rented, and in spite of the downpour, the great stairs
were mounted. Even comfy shoes were parted with in order to tread upon
the cold marble floors of the ancient temples. We now know, shoes have
to be checked with umbrellas at the outer doors in Japan.

We were not the only ones seeing Nikko at eight A. M. in the storm.
Besides the groups of soldiers and the crowds of pilgrims from all over
Japan, there was the ceaseless click-click of the wooden shoes of
thousands of children on the stone steps.

When we left the cozy dining-room of the hotel with its charming outlook
upon a mossy bank, where quaint shrubs were flourishing, we felt quite
proud of ourselves for braving the weather, until we asked our guide why
so many children were there that day. He said, "You see, it is such a
fine day for an excursion, not too hot or cold, no one notices the
rain."

On the way to the train we saw a queer old pawn shop, filled with
wonderful antiques. Some of the party claim that the shop was bought
out, so some of our San Francisco relatives will get an inkling from
this where Santa Claus may have gotten some of their Christmas presents.

Most of us did not mind being scolded for over-paying our sweating
rick-shaw coolies, but we all felt rather uncomfortable when we were
told that we should never have paid the first price asked in any of the
shops, and that our prize purchases could probably have been bought for
half the price by a clever bargainer.

-

In a corner of the car, that was taking the San Francisco Chamber of
Commerce party to Kyoto, the heart of Japan, sat a little Japanese girl
in true Buddha style with her little toes crossed, filling her pipe from
her purse and taking the usual three puffs (that is about all these
pipes hold). She looked about fifteen, but must have been nineteen,
because, in Japan no one is allowed to smoke until that age has been
attained, and no native would think of breaking a rule.

We arrived in time for the Jidai Festival, which is held only once a
year. We saw a procession showing all the phantastic costumes worn by
the old-time tribal warriors, and it proved so interesting that we
decided not to mourn the fact that the cherry blossom celebration was
out of season. We felt much better, too, when we were reminded that all
the pilgrims, coming to feast their eyes, never get a taste of the
luscious fruit, the Japanese cherries being uneatable.

We were told that all prices were raised by the storekeepers when any
convention arrived in town. Some of us successfully resisted purchasing
cloissone, and satsuma ware, although we saw it being made and were
served with tea and coaxed to buy - "Justa leetle souvenir." But the
kimonos were too much for Mrs. Carrie Schwabacher and Louis Mooser, who,
in spite of the fact that Mrs. Rockefeller was in Kyoto bidding on some
of the same garments (which of course raised the prices even higher)
carried away the prettiest garments in the shops.

Our party could not help noticing, how much the Japanese people, even of
the lowest class, appreciate their temples and statues.

One of the party asked if anyone knew a person in San Francisco, with
the possible exception of some scholarly teacher, who could describe
even imperfectly the statues in Golden Gate Park. Here the Japanese
journey miles to see a statue. The old scholars always preached the
potency of something half concealed to stimulate the imagination, but it
took a Japanese sage to conceive the idea of building a fine statue of a
favorite war hero and then to bury it. And now thousands come to Kyoto
to the very spot where the statue is buried, imagining its proportions,
and praying for strength and success in their encounters.

We were told that the belief that the Emperor is a God-like being is
strengthened by the fact that he is never seen and therefore his
people's glorified imagery of him is never shattered. We were told that
the Emperor is seen only by a carefully selected group twice a year,
once at the Cherry Blossom season and once at the Chrysanthemum
Festival, and if it rains on these days the reception is put off for
another year.

Why, the mystery of the Orient was even found in our menus, and it did
not take long for the Pandoras of our party to find out that "Bubble and
Squeak" was good old ham and eggs and "Angels under Cover" were oysters
wrapped in bacon.

After official business was over for the day, the party "did" Theatre
Street, where our own movie queens reigned beside some poster depicting
a Japanese soldier fighting a dragon. Byron Mauzy told us that our jazz
music is often called for and that pianos with a specially made case to
withstand the dampness, were in demand.

Our party found out why someone said, "There is as much red-tape
necessary to go through a Japanese palace as there is to get married,"
for we faced the grim-armed soldiers at the outer gates, but were not
allowed to enter until our credentials had been carefully inspected.
Then we were permitted to go into a small outer room where we wrote our
names, addresses, etc., in a large book. After a scrutiny of this and a
long wait, giving them sufficient time to telephone and see if our
passes were authentic, we were formally escorted through beautifully
carved portals, past endless, handsomely decorated, empty rooms, over
the squeaky door sill (that is supposed to warn the inmates of someone's
approach) and finally to the canopied gold-mounted throne itself.

We began to feel a little easier, when we got out in the sun of the
garden, but even there we felt formal, for in these sacred gardens no
gay flower or dashing stream is permitted. Nature, too, must be subdued,
and even the little trickle of water circling the buildings, was there
for the sole purpose of suggesting purity, we were informed.

After the reception and investigation tour of Kobe, forty of the party
boarded a train for Peking, under the direction of Hoover's
representative, F. R. Eldridge.

We had enjoyed Fujiyama by moonlight, but did not know that we were also
to glide by the Inland Sea at sunset. Korea's roads, built of course, by
the Japanese soldiers, and the guarded stations of Manchuria, were of
much interest to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce investigators.

Every evening impromptu speeches on conditions were held in the dining
car. M. A. Gale, Henry S. Bridge, and Louis Mooser also vied with each
other telling funny stories, Carl Westerfeld contributing to the
entertainment by organizing a group of the party into "The South
Manchurian Quartet." Dave and Resse Lewellyn started to sing "Annie
Rooney" and "Mother McCree" whenever things were too quiet.

We stopped long enough at Seoul, Korea, to talk to representatives of
trade and commerce and to chat with the "Grand Old Man of Korea," before
arriving in Peking.



Chapter VII



Our stay in three-thousand year-old Peking was too short, for besides
investigating conditions, attending our Minister Shurman's reception,
visiting the country home of the former Prime Minister Hsuing Hsi-Ling,
we would have enjoyed spending more time seeing The Summer Palace, The
Jade Fountain and the Temple of Heaven to say nothing of studying
conditions.

About one-thirty, when the gay dance had ended at Hotel de Peking, which
by the way, would be a credit to London or New York, we took an hour's
rickshaw ride in the moonlight to the Forbidden City. The solemn
pom-pom-pom of the funeral dirge for the Mother of the heir to the
Chinese Throne, was indescribably impressive. About eighty men bore the
casket from the dwelling to its canopied hearse. One of the mourner's
told us that the fourteen-year-old heir to the throne, had not cared
much, when all his playthings were taken from him, or even when his
throne was taken, but that now he was inconsolable over the loss of his
mother.

After seeing this weird funeral procession of the last of the Ming
Dynasty in the gray of early dawn, seeing a Buddha with eyes of pure
gold, and also riding the Hodzu rapids, it took an aeroplane ride to
create any real excitement in our party.

Six of the Chamber of Commerce Representatives decided to see the Great
Wall of China and the Ming Tombs, regardless of the lack of time; so
Carl Westerfeld, Mrs. Bruce Foulkes, David and Reese Lewellyn, Miss Mary
Moynihan and M. Hazlett, Jr., chartered a Vickers Vimmy Biplane. The
air-riders felt much less perturbation after being informed that this
machine cost the Chinese government fifty thousand dollars, weighed over
five tons, and had comfortable wicker seats in a pretty little cabin for
nine people. They were so proud to accomplish in an hour and a half, a
trip which usually takes two days, that we will tell some of them that
they have not come down to earth yet, if they keep on telling us what we
missed by not going.

We had no sooner gotten accustomed to the Japanese money and were able
to say, "Ohio," (good-morning), and a few other Japanese words glibly,
when we had to learn "Pidgin English" and use the "Mex" dollar in China,
and next we were told to exchange our money from Peking notes to
Shanghai currency.

The approach to Shanghai, the Paris of the East, along its beautiful row
of buildings on the waterfront, and called The Bund, surprised even the
muchly thrilled Chamber of Commerce Party.

The American Consul, C. T. Cunningham, was very ill, but his wife gave
us a reception. A dinner by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and an
examination of trade exhibits followed.

The six physicians of the party received their biggest surprise at the
Chinese Theatre when, in the middle of the performance, a large towel
that had evidently been dipped in warm water, was passed around to the
audience so that the theatre-goers might wipe off the perspiration or
beads of excitement from their faces and hands. The towel was a rich
shade of brown by the time it reached our party. Germs? Why they never
thought of such a thing and seem to feel, "Where ignorance is bliss,
'tis folly to be wise."

If Shanghai thrilled us, Hongkong fascinated us, when we ascended in a
railroad something like our Tamalpais cars to the peak. To reach the
very top, cozy wicker chairs, mounted on bamboo poles, carried by two
coolies, are necessary. The movement of the chair while descending
reminds one of a ride on a rather old, single-gaited horse.

Our party will always associate Macao, China, with "Dante's Inferno." To
see the half-clothed Chinese bending over their open fires in the opium
factory, to see children soldering the covers of the little boxes their
brothers have just finished mixing and filling, will always be an awful,
vivid picture in our memories.

The cigar factory also seemed a fine sample of what some good people
wish us to believe awaits the wicked. Babies, not able to walk, are busy
working beside their mothers stripping the tobacco leaf from the stems.

If the cigar and opium factories shocked us, the firecracker factory
appalled us. A crowd of youngsters huddled in a tiny, filthy room filled
with powder, were working with wonderful dexterity, ceaselessly putting
fuses in firecrackers. No one seemed to notice or care if a visitor
might carelessly let a light fall from a cigar or drop a match. Many of
us decided that perhaps the proverb: "If you want to make a Chinese
happy, just buy him a coffin," is not so far off, because death to many
of them looks much more attractive than life. We were told that if a
Chinese falls off his sampan, his neighbor does not try to save him.
That would be a "Bad Joss" as they say and would incur the wrath of the
River God, who pulled him in. Then, too, the rescuer would have to
support him for the rest of his days.



The Homeward Trip
Chapter VIII



The Stop at Singapore



They say that anticipation is half of enjoyment, but the Chamber of
Commerce Party never could have imagined the pleasure we were to have in
Singapore, although the expected palms waved greetings from the shore as
an indication of the tropical scenes we were to see.

We had heard it said that, "He who tries to hurry the Orient shall come
to a speedy grave," and we thought there must be some truth in it, when
at the junction of two busy streets we saw a lazy native peacefully
reposing, on his cot bed, in the middle of two lines of traffic. Nice
quiet spot for a nap, while the sun was beating down with such force
that the men of the party drew their new helmets well down over their
heads. Stanley, exploring darkest Africa, could not have heard more
precautions and sunstroke warnings, than the men of this party. But the
guide-book authors do not seem to care whether the sun strikes the women
or not. Guess they believe that the women's hair will protect them, or,
perhaps, it is reasoned, that as the ships usually touch China first,
(one of the greatest hair markets of the world), the women cheated by
nature, are supposed to have gotten a goodly supply before they reach
Singapore.

But do not let this give our friends the idea that the women were
neglected in Singapore. They say there are only three unmarried white
girls left in that city and that these are taking their time about
deciding upon which of the army of males they will select. One fine
looking chap told a group of ladies of our party that it was two months
before he learned that in order to secure dances with the popular
matrons, it was necessary to phone the week before the dance to find out
whether he was to be favored with the sixth or seventh or ninth dance.

Now before any girl who chances to read the foregoing and packs her
trunks for this tropical spot, let me warn her that it is so hot that
the powder stays on about as well as water on a duck's back, and a
lizard is liable to drop in her lap at any time. At least that is what
happened to the smallest debutante of our party, Miss Sallie Glide, at
one of the dances given in honor of the San Francisco Delegates. And
while some of the young couples of our party were strolling through the
wonderful botanical gardens admiring the Travelers Palm, whose
fan-shaped branches are said to be the compass of the desert, as their
branches always point east and West, a family of wild monkeys (with the
baby monkeys clinging to the mothers' breasts) crossed the path. And a
little further on a snake charmer giving his cobras an airing, was
encountered. If the element of danger appeals to her, then this is the
place for her, for she may expect to see one of these big snakes
unaccompanied by its master at any time if she ventures in the thicket.
And just a short trip out of the city is the tiger in his native jungle.
Phil Lyon and Carl Westerfeld went on a hunt, but H. J. Judell came
nearest to killing one. He shot between the eyes, as the guide directed,
but missed the brute.

The variety and brilliancy of the clothing of the cosmopolitan
inhabitants rivals the scarlets and greens of the botanical gardens. The
natives, perhaps, try to make up in vivid coloring what they lack in
quantity. Others are entirely unadorned and most of the children are
also naked.

Alfred Esberg, C. B. Lastrete, Dwight Grady and J. Parker-Currier were
given a dinner at the executive mansion of the English governor, Sir
Laurence Guillemard. This was the first time that American travelers
were so honored.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce gave a beautiful reception to our party.
As we entered the banquet hall, the band played the "Star Spangled
Banner" and the moving picture machine recorded our activities. Speeches
were made and conditions discussed, while the champagne flowed freely.
The ladies were given orchids.

Someone remarked that the white people in Singapore seem bent on
checking the over-powering heat with internal irrigation. At eleven A.
M. all assemble at a special resort for the morning "eye-openers,"
between twelve and two, business stops in order to give the thirsty
inhabitants time for tiffin accompanied by a half dozen whiskeys and
sodas or "gin-rickeys"; after four all business ceases for tea, and, if
the tea cup appears it is usually accompanied by a substantial stick in
it, to rouse drooping spirits. Of course during dinner and the evening
Bacchus reigns. Now, I suppose some of you understand why there are so
many apparently contented men in Singapore, in spite of the climate.

All the lovers that were accustomed to haunt the top deck, called the
"Honey-moon Deck of the Empire State," took rides through the jungle.
The tropical moonlight reflecting the palms in the rippling water and
the trip through the Gap (a break in the hills disclosing the sea far
beyond, as one of the justly famous sunsets was in progress), are said


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Online LibraryGeneve L.A. ShafferThe Log of the Empire State → online text (page 2 of 4)