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Title: A Journal from Japan: A Daily Record of Life as Seen by a Scientist

Author: Marie Carmichael Stopes

Release date: December 20, 2013 [eBook #44475]
Most recently updated: March 27, 2019

Language: English



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portrait of Marie C. Stopes





D.Sc., Ph.D., F.L.S.









Land that mused while the world was striving!
Land that dreamed while the nations fought!
Truth with thy dreamers had forgathered,
Peace, in thine isles enclosed, had taught
Her secret laws of Beauty to thy sons.
Then men spent hours beneath the cherry trees,
Or watched the pointed Iris pierce the ground.
They cultivated Wisdom on their knees
And regulated life in ways profound.
Then thy fair daughters ministered to men,
Subduing and subdued their graceful form.
Dreamland of Beauty, girt by glowing seas!
Thou didst appear unfitted for the storm
That broke upon thee from the lowering West.
Yet thou hast risen and conquered.
Thou dost stand, armed as a modern People
In the front rank—and yet I say, alas!
Who could have wished, in waking thou shouldst spurn
The wondrous rightness of thy sheltered past?
To be as others are thou seem’st to yearn,
And for mere useful ugliness dost cast
For ever from thee beauties unsurpassed.
True, thou hast beaten them on their own ground,
The Goths and Vandals whom as foes were found,
Yet I would rather see thee still apart
Than soiling thy traditions in the mart.
Wouldst thou not weep if thy sweet cherry tree
Dropped its light blooms to bear the hard rice grains?
O cherry flower of lands! I weep to see
Thy falling blooms. The whole World’s loss, thy “gains.”




This daily journal was written primarily because I well knew that time would force the swiftly passing incidents and impressions to blur each other in my memory. Then want of leisure tempted me to send the journal home to friends in place of letters, and the two or three for whom I originally intended it widened the circle by handing it on to many others, until it has, in a way, become public property. Several of those who have read it have asked me to publish it in book form, and although I vowed that I would not add to the already excessive number of books written on Japan, I have decided to publish this just because it was not written with a view to publication. It is this which gives it any claim to attention, and guarantees its veracity. To preserve its character I have stayed my hand where it has often been tempted to change or revise statements which may sometimes seem too hard in the softening light of distance.

Days about which there is no entry were filled with work on my fossils at the University. Many evenings were spent with friends at dinners or dances. Reference to these things has been deleted, for neither[viii] the solid work nor the social gaiety is likely to interest any one now.

Personalities (alas, not always irrelevant!) have been eliminated of necessity, but I have not attempted to give the text any literary form which it did not originally possess. The words are exactly those jotted down at the time and place that they profess to be, and therefore mirror, as no rewritten phrases could, the direct impression that that time and place made on me. Japan is changing swiftly, and I saw things from a point of view that differs somewhat from any recorded, so that perhaps these daily impressions may have an interest for those who cannot visit Japan, and in the future for those who prefer facts to fair sounding generalisations and beautifully elaborated theories.

Hampstead, July 1909.



Portrait of the AuthorFrontispiece
Cooking the Breakfast Fish round the Camp Fire17
My Policeman in his Private Dress18
The Shallows of the River, showing the Rounded Nodules which contain the Fossils I was seeking 21
The Pine Tree tied up for the Winter83
A Large and Interested Audience of School Children watched our Proceedings at Mera 122
The Coast Road along which we walked round Boshu 128
The Curious Bent Cycad in the Temple Grounds 170
The Quaintest Bow-Legged Dwarf Carried My Luggagg, and Trotted on Ahead Like a Bear 196
The Botanical Gardens in Winter Dress. A Group of Cycads protected against the Snow 255




A purely scientific interest in coal mines and the fossils they often contain led me to desire to go to Japan, for purely scientific purposes. My naturally roving instincts warmly supported the scheme, and my love of the East gave the prospect the warmth and colour which only personal delight can lend to any place. The generous interest and help of the Royal Society in my scientific projects made this long and expensive journey possible. The influence of this learned body with our Government and with that of Japan secured me every help and courtesy during my stay in the country, without which no result would have been obtainable. The scientific results, which most fortunately seem to be justifying the expedition, are being published in suitable places; there is no technical science in this journal. It is a record of some of the human experiences through which a scientist goes in search of facts lying beyond everyday human experience.

After the first month in the country, during which it was impossible to travel, as I did, in the wilds without an interpreter, I made it my business to learn enough of the spoken language to go about alone. I also tried to come as close as possible to the Japanese people, although when I look back on my attempts I see how often my impatience with[xii] what seemed needless delay, with an unknown code of honour, and with trifling inconveniences in non-essentials, must have acted as a hindrance to free communication with a people so profoundly patient. Yet in many ways I had wonderful opportunities of touching the living reality in the Japanese; opportunities so exceptional that it is to my lasting shame that my stock of patience and sympathy was not always equal to them. It is hard when one is young, and chances to be hungry and tired, to realise that it is not of one’s momentary comforts one has to think, but of the vastly greater and deeper purpose that accidentally brought weariness in its train. It is true that from an ordinary standpoint there are many things in Japan which are exasperating to a Westerner, but that was no excuse for me. Let me quote in illustration a small incident that I have ever since regretted. On page 43 you will find the account of my involuntary visit to the courteous principal of a College when I was really bound for a coal mine. This gentleman asked me to give a lecture to his young men, and I refused. It is true that I was really anxious to go directly to that mine, that it would upset my plans if I were to be at all delayed, and that at the moment the disturbance of those plans seemed a serious matter. But, nevertheless, I was the first European woman that many of the people there had seen, and the first scientific woman that any of them had seen or heard of. Their curiosity and interest about me was as natural as my curiosity and interest about their coal mine, but I gratified my own curiosity and not theirs. They may well be led to conclude from the only example in their experience that European scientists are in a hurry, and are selfish and lacking in personal[xiii] sympathy. It would be practically impossible for them to realise how many other claims had been made on that hasty young scientist who visited them, they would only feel that in place of the human interest and understanding which might have been shown, there was a blank wall of refusal. I tried to explain that Science is a hard taskmaster, but what good are explanations?

In my deep desire to understand, and come in close touch with the Japanese, I was handicapped, as every European must be, by our national traditions. In England we read that clever book Bushido, and feel that the old codes of honour among the Japanese are not so far from our own but that they can be bridged by a little sympathy. Before living in Japan one cannot realise that that book, like other volumes written by Japanese with a knowledge of our traditions, is a translation of their traditions in the terms of ours. The most faithful translation can never catch quite the spirit of the original. Hence in Japan I had to unlearn what I thought I knew before, as well as to try to learn the truth. To help me in this I had the real friendship of several noble Japanese. My work, too, gave me many opportunities, for it brought me into touch with a large number of people of many different types, from the peasants in the wilds to the higher officials in Tokio. Added to these was the fact that I was a woman. Therefore I saw the Japanese at their best, and with the men of science there was possible an unadulterated, delightful friendship for which no European man coming to Japan could get quite the counterpart; for there are no Japanese women scientists. And although many literary and other people hold scientists up to scorn in their relation to daily life, it is in truth only from[xiv] them that one can get an all-satisfying comradeship and comprehension. There is further a quality in a pure and intellectual friendship which comes to it only when the friends are man and woman, a quality not necessarily better than, but different from other friendships, and one which reveals much of the individual character and the national character of those who form the tie. The man and woman who are true friends give each other of their very best. As the first woman scientist from the West to work in the University with the Japanese men of science, I should have been wanting indeed if there did not come to me much that in the end seemed to reveal some of the very life-secrets of the nation.

With generalisations, with conclusions, however, this journal does not have to do. It merely pictures something of the people and the country of Japan, registering the impressions immediately, before the distance of even a week distorted them with atmospheric effects, and in this way it seems to hold the balance of impartiality by recording the pros and the cons as they predominated from day to day. This probably gives a truer account of Japan than could be obtained by segregating out the data and cementing them together with words not written on the spot.

Japan makes one love her and hate her from day to day, from hour to hour. She is like April weather with its sun and rain, like her own ever-changing mountain. No account of her could be true that kept for many pages together the same feeling towards her.



Note.—Initials in italics refer to Japanese people, and in ordinary capitals to Westerners.

August 6, 1907.—We lost a good deal of the wonderful Inland Sea at night, and there is no moon, but all this morning we have seen fairy-like islands. I was up at five, and saw the morning sun lighting the mists. Scattered all over the sea are green islands and little cliffs, sometimes with a single tree on them, perched in just the most effectively pretty attitude. These beautiful lands must have been made on the seventh day, when God was resting and dreaming of Paradise.

August 10.—I am much surprised to find how like Venice Tokio is, with its numerous waterways. This hotel is on a very tiny island with six bridges, which connect it with the numerous other islands which seem to compose a large part of Tokio—there are waterways, lakes, docks, or rivers everywhere. It takes more than half an hour’s rickshaw drive to get to the Embassy, where I called this morning. At first I was a little disappointed in the streets, pretty and quaint though they were, but when we came to the broad roads outside the moats of the[2] Imperial Palace, I found far more of beauty and wonder than I had expected. Roads, grey sloping walls, green banks running up from the green water which shadowed the great trunks of fantastic trees—the heart of the city, and no sign of its life. In the grey sloping walls was a silent strength and majesty, in the beautiful trees a fantastic charm; the whole being one of the most impressive views I have ever seen in a city—a sight that brought tears to one’s eyes.

Then just as I was passing, a few regiments of soldiers crossed from one great gate into another—regiments with none of the new smartness of ours. All their clothes were travel-stained and dusty, the reserve boots packed on their backs were patched, their swords clean, but not with the cleanness of the new metal. The two leaders of each company had instruments like wide bugles, and one by one they answered each other with a few notes up and down the line—only one sounding at once, and apparently at haphazard, but together giving a weird chant as the sun-scorched men went forward. Again that pull at the heart-strings that Japan knows so well how to give.

The Embassy lies quite near the palace enclosure. I found Mr. L—— (representative of the Ambassador) away, of course, as in August no one remains here who can go. His subordinate, however, got a series of blue letters out referring to my case, and put me on my way. Apparently they have taken a lot of trouble, and I shall find things very smooth sailing in one way, but already I find the under-currents are swift and difficult to steer through.


In the afternoon I went to the Botanical Gardens and Institute, of which I cannot speak fully yet. The first impression, however, must be recorded. The gardens are beautiful. The part with the little lakes and streams, distant views and wistaria arbours, more beautiful than anything of the kind I have yet seen. Some of the Gymnosperm trees are also very fine indeed. Parts of the garden are allowed to run wild, and there is a want of gardeners—the old story. The low, wooden-built, picturesque Institute, with palms growing almost into its windows, can show London and Manchester a good deal. A wonderful lot of special apparatus and conveniences are there. At first I was most struck by this “primitive” place possessing a large aetherising apparatus for hastening germination in seeds, two chambers with double blackened doors, etc., for the breeding of fungi, a special oven-room with a variety of furnaces and ovens—in fact, several pieces of apparatus the usual Botanical Department lacks.

When returning in the rickshaw at night (it is an hour’s drive to the hotel) the pretty Japanese lanterns decorated the dark streets. Our festival arrangements are here the daily custom. Alas, that there are now several red and white brick abominations of buildings in this low-built, grey wooden town. These brick buildings are quite new; but some of the older Europeanised buildings are beautiful, for example, the Japan Bank is dignified and graceful, of grey stone, set in brilliant green gardens.

August 11.—I had an exciting time going about[4] Tokio; of course I could (and did until to-day) go in a rickshaw, but then one is simply a parcel of goods to be delivered. To-day I sallied forth to a place three miles away, and to get there had to take three different tram-cars and walk a mile through little twisting streets. I took a map and got there without losing myself once until within a hundred yards of the place; then my guardian angel (in the shape of Professor F——) turned up and rescued me, though as I had planned this expedition without his knowledge, and spoken of it to no one, it was nothing short of a miracle. Tokio is enormous, for its two millions or so live in single-storied houses, and there are many parks and gardens, so that it is very easy to get thoroughly lost, and no one of the common people can speak English. In the afternoon I got one of my desires, and saw a real Japanese house. It was perfectly exquisite in snowy white, soft straw colour, and grey—I took the shoes from off my feet. It belonged to the widow of an officer killed in the war and her daughter; and as a most exceptional favour I am to be allowed to take part of the house and live with them as a kind of lodger. I could sing for joy. My rooms, of course, are small, but exquisite as a sea-shell; I shall live as nearly as possible in true Japanese style. The house is on rising ground, fifteen minutes from the Botanical Gardens, in a part that is almost country, near a great Buddhist Temple; the air fresh and inspiring after that on the flats down here in Tsukiji.

August 12.—Glorious weather. I conveyed my[5] luggage to my house and found that boxes look detestably out of place in such a dwelling, and appear more unutterably hideous than ever.

In the afternoon I had tea in the big summer-house in the Botanical Gardens. The room is really a good-sized lecture hall, only flat and open after Japanese style; the three side walls had their screens taken out, and so we looked on to the lakes and streams of the landscape garden. At tea there was quite a party. Professor M—— most kind and jolly—also several of the younger botanists, and the Director of the Geological Survey, representing both himself and the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, within whose jurisdiction I come.

The Stimmung is strange and fascinating, and quite indescribable. Professor M—— is in Japanese dress; real Japanese tea (totally unlike our tea) and real Japanese cakes, also as unlike cakes as possible. One is a kind of jelly, made of seaweed, and is very nice. I had my first lesson in eating with chop-sticks, and have “graduated.”

I had dinner with Dr. M—— and Professor F——, and then returned for my first night in a true Japanese house. It is a myth that the daughter of the house can speak English, and so I have to speak Japanese! They all kneel on the matting and touch the floor with their hands and foreheads, and I do a half-hearted imitation of the courtesy. It crushes my frocks, but otherwise does me no harm to be polite. The matting on the floor is delightful, so springy to walk on as well as pleasing to the eye.


My futons (soft, thick quilt-like mats) are beauties—silk and velvet—and I feel ashamed to lie on them. The mosquito curtains are nearly as big as the room, and make a high, four-square tent when erected, but everything is put away in the day, and no sign of sleeping remains; hence everything gets aired and there is no possibility of dust collecting under beds. In many of the household arrangements we are far behind the Japanese. They have reduced simplicity to a fine art. The bath, where one sits upright instead of lying down, is most comfortable; but of course mine was too hot after a short time in it, as the fire is inside it, and I had to rush out and get help—in Japanese!

At night the stillness was absolute, but the strangeness of the day kept sleep away.

August 13.—If things go on at this rate, my Journal must cease to record anything but bald facts. I visited the Imperial University, a series of buildings scattered among landscape gardens and little patches of wood, covering many acres. I saw the specimens of all kinds in the Geological Museum from Hokkaido preparatory to going there, and after that I was taken to lunch in another open house in the midst of the University grounds, looking down on a lake called the Goten. Afterwards I was allowed to examine further specimens, and then went to a tea-party at Professor F——’s house—a gem of a house, with three little distinct gardens. We had the most wonderful dishes of quaintly decorated rice and seaweed, fish, and cakes. I am glad to say chop-sticks[7] are now mastered. This afternoon’s visit deserves a chapter instead of a paragraph. I dined alone in the same restaurant as with the party last night, the food European, but all else Japanese. On my way home I bargained in the shops for some trifles and succeeded in buying them. As I passed the great temple near my house and looked across the grove of trees toward it, I saw the wonderful Fujii mountain standing out against a sky of crimson and gold, with a crescent moon riding near—a view never to be forgotten.

One of the events of the day was a long newspaper interview, and when I returned at 8 o’clock there was another reporter most politely waiting for another interview—a nice, polite, pretty boy, who sat on the floor and bowed and wrote down my honourable views on Japanese houses, people, and customs, and on other things in general. It appears, that though I have not been aware of it, the papers have published endless “facts” about me—perhaps it is as well they are in Japanese characters and therefore a sealed book to me. I have protested my little best against the erection of hideous red brick buildings in this sweet city, a desecration which I see beginning, and I hope they will take it to heart, and forbid their erection.

August 14.—Some of the Professors kindly took me to visit the Principal of the University in solemn state; he was most gracious, and (through an interpreter) said most ridiculously flattering things. According to him only one “specialist” lady has visited Japan before, and she was elderly. Therefore[8] they all marvel at me, as though I were some curious kind of butterfly! We then visited the Director of the Imperial Geological Survey. The Director is most kind, as is also the chief Inspector of Mines, and they put every facility in my way. The Director gave me all the information he could and the largest geological map of the district, which is very small, only about one-hundredth part of the scale I am accustomed to do geological work with, so that things will be difficult. The Government here has kindly written to the Governor of Hokkaido and to the owners of the Mines, so that I should fare as well as possible. The Director of the Survey gave me an enormous, delightfully cooked, but curious lunch—beginning with cold roast beef and salad, going to hot fish, and then three kinds of meats, and ice-cream! They showed me the Survey Museum; the specimens are just being shifted to a fine new building, but some were arranged, and a few cases had been specially laid out for me. I feel quite ashamed that they take so much trouble for me.

Tea at Professor M——’s private house, which is even more fascinating than Professor F——’s, with a beautiful green garden all round it. He has brought several pictures and many things back from England, and speaks as though he had enjoyed his visit very much. Both Japanese and English tea were served, one after the other, as well as cakes and fruit, which a daintily-dressed maid knelt beside us to prepare.

August 15.—I spent the day at Enoshima, an island about two hours’ journey from Tokio. It is perfectly[9] exquisite. The island is connected with the mainland by a very long narrow bridge of rickety planks, over the mile of sand which may be covered by the tide, or may be dry, according as the sand drifts year by year. The little island is very steeply hilly and well-wooded, and is laid out in long flights of stone steps up and down the hills, leading to the numerous temples and shrines. It is a sacred island, sacred to the goddess of Luck (and a few others), and except for bazaars, where wonderful shells are sold, and the houses for the pilgrims to rest in, there is almost nothing but temples and shrines on the island. At every turn of the pathway something quaint or pretty meets the eye, while the views out to sea, across to the mainland and other islands, are magnificent. Going across the bridge homeward the wind was so strong that we were nearly blown off it several times, but the waves were grand, and a heavy rainstorm added to the effect.

August 16.—A day of many final preparations for what is going to be an arduous time in Hokkaido.

August 17.—Before starting for the northern wilds I received the last pieces of advice and information at the station from the Director of the Survey, Professor M——, Professor F——, Dr. Ye——, and others, who all saw me off, and I am now alone and really started.

The life in this train is different from anything I have yet seen in trains, yet very comfortable, with dining-car where they cook beside you what you order. Near me was sitting a smart man, cultured-looking, and extremely well-dressed in perfect English style.[10] Thus he remained for an hour; then, the heat being great, he took off his coat, then his waistcoat, and finally came to his shirt alone! Then he pulled over him a loose kimono and removed every stitch but that, finally winding a soft silk sash round his waist and sitting down, all without removing his gold-rimmed glasses or turning a hair! The transformation was extraordinary, and during the whole ridiculous scene, acted within two feet of me, he was so utterly unconscious and dignified, and so many others in the long car did the same, that I began to wonder if we aren’t a little super-prudish in England. During the night that man was most thoughtful and kind to me, insisting on my using his rug, and finally doing an act of service that called for such unselfishness that I am sure we underrate the innate courtesy of Japanese men to women; and he was, of course, a perfect stranger.

The scenery nearly all the way is simply glorious. These hackneyed words are totally unfit for use in describing this fairy-like land; one would choose to pick words freshly coined, beaten out of pure gold of love by an artist, words as fresh as the greenness of this earth’s garment, and as dainty as its feathery decorations of bamboos. Words, in fact, which do not exist are the only ones fit to use about the country of Japan.

The bamboo is so different from what I had imagined it, and is, in fact, more like a graceful and unusually symmetrical birch tree than anything else! These pretty trees (for one must look on each sprout[11] as a tree) grow in groves, but many of them stand singly, or scattered in small numbers among the pines, with which they make a contrast similar to that we sometimes see in England where birch and pine grow together. Among the low wood, and through the hedges, stand numbers of our tall white “Madonna lilies,” with even larger flowers than our best ones, and a few red tiger-lilies; while in the ponds, though it is late, are still blooming the huge white flowers of the lotus. The white lilies are particularly wonderful—I have seen thousands to-day.

August 18.—I arrived at Aomori early this morning, and lost much temper because I had to lose much time in getting on to the ship. The language, of course, was partly the difficulty, but the natives are excruciatingly slow to move. After three hours of talking and arguing and going over things again and again, at last I reached the steamer—a very good little ship with nice state-rooms and saloons; of course very small. The state-rooms have three berths, and I find my two companions are men. It was a shock at first, but they seemed so surprised at my being surprised, that I thought again that we have too much of the trail of the serpent about our customs. I slept in the train with men near me, why not in the steamer? It is only for one night.

August 19.—At Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, I was met by Professor My—— and Professor Y——; both very kind. They brought me to Mrs. B——, an English missionary lady, who is kindly putting me up. Her husband is away; he is the renowned[12] authority on the Aino race, and they have adopted an Aino girl as their daughter. Professors My—— and Y—— are kindly making inquiries about my trip inland, and we are to call on the Governor to-morrow.

The most striking thing about Japanese travelling is the care they take of the railway carriages. Every two hours the floors were washed down. At night the guard came along and put every one’s boots and shoes or sandals perfectly tidy and symmetrical in front of them as they slept. My boots, with their long legs, caused him much trouble, as they would not remain in a tidy position, the legs flopping first on one side and then on the other as he tried to make them stand up.

There are now torrents of rain, so that I have seen little of Sapporo yet, beyond the fact that its pretty green streets melt into the country whilst still being in the town, and that their vista is closed by green wooded hills. If this fearful rain continues my start must be delayed.

August 20.—It is still raining; as they have not had any for weeks, I fear it may last some time, and as I have to work in the rivers any way, it will be rather serious. Otherwise I am very content to remain here for a while. This morning we went to call on the Governor in state. He is old, and not at all like a typical Japanese, for he is large and stout, and looks very German. He had studied in Germany in the ’seventies and still spoke some German. All his Cabinet came in, one after the other, and were introduced, and the process was very solemn and awe-[13]inspiring. They insisted on giving me two whole sets of maps of Hokkaido, though I only needed the sheets of quite a small district. Also the Governor insists that as well as Professor Y—— (who is to be interpreter), as well as an official from the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, as well as several coolies, I must have a policeman to escort me to the mountains. I besought him not to force him on me, but it is an honour they delight to give me, and I had to submit. Too much zeal and too much kindness are as difficult to contend with as too little. We then called on the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and there were more formalities and more talk—when I shall get to the actual hammering of rocks I can’t imagine. They showed me the College of Agriculture in the afternoon, a huge campus with well-fitted departments scattered over it. It is to be converted into a University on the 11th of next month.

With the help of Professor Y—— this evening I made a variety of purchases, among them the cloth leggings and curious tabi or stiff socks, with a special place for the big toe, which we shall use with straw sandals in the mountains.

August 21.—We started very early this morning and reached Yubari (headquarters of a coal mine) about 3 P.M., the scenery by the way being beautiful but not very striking. The valleys show how recently they had been cleared of forest, by the numerous stumps still left standing through the cultivated fields. The hills all clad with untouched, impenetrable[14] virgin forest. Yubari is a “big” town, almost entirely consisting of the 4000 to 5000 workers in the coal mines. We put up at the Club-house of the coal mine. I have one room, which serves also as dining- and drawing-room; my party, including the policeman (mercifully in plain clothes), has the other. There were visits from the Head of the coal mine and others, and more talk, and we got some information which will be valuable if it proves to be reliable. Geology is peculiarly difficult here, however, as the ground is so covered with forest and thick undergrowth that uncertainty is inevitable about many things.

August 22.—We began the day at 5, and the regular escort is now raised to 10, with temporary additions between every stage! I have given up protesting that so many people require quantities of food, which will have to be carried, and would now look on 100 without a murmur. Life in the Club-house last night was not without its interest. I couldn’t get to bed for constant visits and interviews from officials; the last gentleman came after I had prepared for bed, and I conversed with him in my night-gown (which, mercifully, was long and rather like a tea-gown), but he never turned a hair—coming in on me before I could put on a dressing-gown. The maids are all excessively sweet and polite, but they slide open the partitions noiselessly, with no warning, and catch me unawares.

We went a short distance farther by rail and then changed into very small coal-trucks, which run on a[15] small track to the coal mine of Ōyubari, which has been recently opened. The vegetation of the clearing through which the track was laid was very striking. The dominant plant was Sasa, a species something like a bamboo, which reaches 3 feet to 6 feet in height, and grows over everything, and forms a dense undergrowth all through the forests also. Sub-dominant plants were Vitis, a very luxuriant specimen with huge tendrils, and an extremely prickly shrub that caught one round the feet. A noticeable plant was a very large Viburnum, which has a liane-like habit and clambers up high trees. At the end of the track lies a group of houses for the people who are beginning to work the mine, the little wooden dwellings surrounded by the limitless, untouched forest, and standing on its very visible remains in the clearing. More bowing, kindness, and talk, the Manager giving me for my absolute use and sole habitation his very own house, where things are surprisingly pretty and comfortable. As I am the first foreigner many of the work-people have seen, a certain amount of staring was done, though they are by no means so rude as some travellers would have us believe.

We went through the forest and up the river prospecting, and found scrambling along the steep banks of friable shale by no means easy; but the escort assists me greatly, and one of them carries me on his back on the frequent occasions when it is necessary to cross the river. The only use the policeman has been so far, was to lend his sword to[16] cut chop-sticks, which had been forgotten, and of course we had no knives and forks with us at all, for I have learnt to get on very comfortably without.

August 23.—A long day going up-stream collecting nodules, which are very big and very hard to break. The scenery up the rivers, with the magnificent forests, is very fine. It is a curious sensation to be in the midst of this boundless forest and see peak after peak densely clad by trees which no man has touched. Trouble with the coolies—a traveller hasn’t all his time to gaze at Nature.

August 24.—Really it is hard work to carry tents and everything along these rivers. Often I alone find it difficult to go, and I have nothing to carry—except my fan and my hammer, both of which are in constant use. Sometimes it would be impossible to go where we have been with boots, the straw sandals give such a clinging grasp that we are able to get a foothold on a steep rock which in boots it would be mad to attempt.

Fortunately the river into which one would be precipitated is seldom deep enough to be dangerous. The day’s scientific results are solid, but not thrilling. Tents are a luxury, but I would rather sleep out under the stars. With all these coolies and people I am not allowed to do my own cooking, but I most fervently wish I might. The food is rendered needlessly trying by their attempts at European cooking—but they mean so well! They even carried a chicken for my consumption, but will only cook it[17] for ten minutes, so it is as hard as the stones we are hunting for.

August 25.—This morning the whole party got up very early and went off fishing in the river. Line fishing being slow, they used dynamite, which is against the law of the land. However, it was suggested by our policeman that the method should be used, and he provided the dynamite! As he was the only representative of the law within miles, our consciences were clear. They chose a deep still part of the river, the dynamite exploded with foam, and many dead fish floated up, which the coolies plunged into the water to obtain. Our breakfast trout were very fresh, and tasted delicious after being roasted on sticks over the camp-fire. The camp is on a tiny island mid-stream, and with the white tent, and the shelter of boughs for the coolies, is extremely picturesque. On the bank opposite, luxuriant trees and ferns hang over the clear water; if I were only here unofficially I should be perfectly happy. It is a curious feeling being the leader of an expedition and being fussed after so much, and determining whether a dozen men shall go up-stream or down, sleep here or walk on farther. We are returning to the little coal mine settlement of Ōyubari to-night, after collecting a good many specimens.


August 26.—We went into the Ōyubari mine. One of its seams is 22 feet thick. There are quite simple workings, and no fossils. We then returned along the track in trucks to meet the train for Yubari, where I examined the rubbish tip of the mines,[18] without much success. The policeman never leaves me, and scrambles up and down the stones after me with an extremely amused smile. The whole expedition causes him considerable trouble, but also it is a source of many future jokes and stories, for him as well as for me. To-day he was dressed in the dignified flowing robes of grey and black silk worn by Japanese gentlemen (policemen are of a much higher class here than with us), and he looked far too beautiful to mess about the coal. (He is pictured in the photograph which faces p. 12.)


August 27.—Mining and river work.

August 28.—We came to Poronai, which is often called Horonai, as no Japanese name begins with P, and the word being Aino it is softened in this way. The distance traversed was really very small, but mountains and other things interfered, so that it took a long time to get here. I went down the coal mine, which is very interesting. I proved to be a source of intense excitement to the natives, who crowded round in tiers, and formed a sea of faces with round staring eyes. The policemen frequently drove them off in a friendly way.

August 29.—Rather a sad day. Mr. Y——, my trusty and well-beloved friend, was called away by telegram to Hakodate, where a fearful fire has practically swept the town away, destroying more than fourteen thousand buildings, and among them all the property of his parents and other relatives. To look at the outer man, with his long arms and legs sticking out beyond a white suit, 6 inches too[19] small in every direction, with several patches on his knees, and his hideous tie sticking straight out in front of him as he walks through the streets of the capital of Hokkaido, no one could imagine him to be a Professor. After a glance at his quaint eyes, twinkling in his comical face above his spectacles, one might suspect him of having a character, but after travelling with him as I have done for these two weeks, under very unusual circumstances, it is easy to recognise and admire his exceptional character. He is one of the small dozen of men whom I really like and respect. Now he is gone, and I must wrestle with an escort which cannot speak as much English as I can Japanese, which latter is next to nothing. The complexities of life are bad enough when one travels with a policeman, a land-surveyor, a special courier and correspondent, an interpreter, a local guide, and half a dozen coolies, all in one’s private train! But when the interpreter is the one to be snatched away, they are rather worse. Without him we went a stiff journey to-day, over a track 6 inches wide, through the mountains. The sasa grows solidly over the whole land, usually shoulder high, but often over my head, and the path is only on the ground, and is usually quite invisible—one’s feet feel it, but one’s eyes cannot see it. A hatefully prickly shrub and thick tangles of vine complicate matters further. And an English botanist before my start said that Japanese vegetation was like English! This endless sasa and forest goes on for miles, broken only by the streams. Down some of the[20] streams we walked, where blue hydrangeas and passion-flowers bend over the water, and where little crayfish live in thousands. It poured with rain after mid-day, and we were glad to discover a seam of coal cropping out in the stream, and make a huge roasting fire. Coming back through the sasa in that rain was like walking in a river up to one’s neck.

August 30.—We all came on the few miles to Ikushimbets. As regards food the tide has turned indeed, and I am literally stuffed with good things, till I feel ashamed that I have not an infinite capacity for containing them; yet this is the tiniest hamlet, existing only because of the coal mine. We entered the mine in the afternoon; it has very unusual workings, as the beds are practically vertical, and is most interesting. How true was Lady Cicely Wainflete’s estimate of an escort! One of my “protectors” took fright in the mine, and had to be gently led by the hand and soothed with soft words, while I was left to come alone down the slope while the sensation lasted.

August 31.—Another wet day. We worked up the river collecting. It is rougher than Yubari river. The coolies manage to make roaring fires even in the pouring rain. One of the escort is splendid, and does nearly everything, including carrying me across the deep parts of the river, which is really a coolie’s work. It is only a pity he can’t speak English.

In the rain the coolies wear very effective coats made of straw, which make them look like the most veritable hairy Ainos; for the straw stands out[21] all round for about 2 feet, and sheds the rain splendidly.

September 1.—This morning was by far the most difficult time we have had. The recent heavy rains have swollen the rivers, and as we depend entirely on the river bed for our track, it is serious. The water is also muddy instead of clear, and there are very deep pools into which it is easy to slip, so that every crossing is rather risky, and we have to cross innumerable times. This river is much worse than Yubari, being deeper, and often at the deep parts, where it is impossible to go in the water, the rocks are steep or overhanging on either side. Mercifully, even the apparently crumbling shale is not treacherous. At last the escort made me realise its value; without a couple of them to put their feet to make steps, or to give a hand round corners, I could not have got along at all. Also in crossing a river we were so many and all kept hands, and so there was no real danger. How the loaded coolies could manage I cannot imagine. It was only the feeling that as I was the leader I daren’t show fright, that kept me going over some of those places. However, we were well rewarded, for the fossils I got that afternoon were the best obtained so far, and after several hours’ brilliant sunshine the water perceptibly lessened. (The photograph opposite shows the round nodules which I was collecting in the river.)


September 2.—We came on to Itashinai—a distance which should have taken one hour, but really took four and a half. In the lower part of the valleys[22] where cultivation has begun there are many little houses scattered—houses made entirely of straw! Rice straw is put to all imaginable uses: sandals, ropes, walls, roofs, cushions, coats, bags, and many other things are made of it. Of these things the walls are the least effective, and afford but a miserable shelter for the people in the straw houses. In the fields where countless tree-stumps still stand up through the crops, millet, beans, and maize are principally grown. There are also small patches of leeks, carrots, potatoes, “egg plants,” and herbs. There are no formal gardens, and flowers are few, except for a large-flowered convolvulus and red tiger-lilies. The forest and sasa come right down to the edge of the cultivated patches, and in it one could be lost in five minutes.

I spent the afternoon and evening trying to obtain information, and the difficulties, not only of language, are immense. Every question must be asked in at least half a dozen different ways, and an average conclusion drawn; it requires more than the patience of Job.

September 3.—Coal-mining from early morning; the engineer of the mines is very intelligent and speaks English, and I found some good specimens, so the day was successful. With some of the other people I have been driven to despair. The land-surveyor distracted me the other day. After we had been walking for about four hours steadily up-stream, I wished to find the exact spot where we were on the map, and, among other data, asked him how far he thought[23] we had come (a matter of 6 or 7 miles). “Oh,” he said, with pride, “nearly 500 feet!” I always ask for all distances several times, in miles and Japanese ri which I can make out; but they like to show off by telling me in feet, and nothing is so difficult to obtain as the answer to the question asked.

September 4.—Sapporo once more. A day of official calls, bowing, compliments and formalities. They asked me to lecture to the women’s Aikoku-fujin-kai: the request of the Governor can hardly be refused after all he has done, so it had to be. The lecture was held in the large hall of the Government House, the body of the hall filled with women, the galleries with men; the Governor acting as chairman and giving an immensely lengthy introductory speech, of which I could only guess the drift from words here and there,—Professor My—— following on with another. It is easy to speak in an interpreted address, because there is so much time to think between the paragraphs; but I am sure it has not the same effect on an audience as the direct address. Some, of course, understood my English. Before the lecture there was a reception, and I was regaled with tea and cakes and left to the tender mercies of the ladies, and men who can only speak Japanese; later, however, the Governor’s German was available, and so it was all right, and we were quite cheerful till the interpreter arrived with a solemn face and a black suit.

The Japanese audience does not clap or make any[24] sound,[1] but bows low at the beginning and end of the speeches, and when I began, “Your Excellency,” the Governor got up out of his chair and bowed. All the ladies were in native costume, I was glad to see (how I detest the semi-European clothes of the streets!), and some were in beautiful taste, but, curiously enough, of all the 300 I alone had embroidery on my dress, in the land where we imagine embroidery is rife! I have already found that the “Jap” things we see so much of in England are in small relation to the real Japanese things, but are chiefly “export articles,” which is a Japanese term of reproach.

After reaching home, in about an hour, a courteous secretary followed, bringing with him all the cakes which I had not eaten at the reception. Alas, that etiquette demanded that I should return the pretty red lacquer trays they came in!

September 5.—I spent the morning seeing the Museum (pathetic) and the Botanical Gardens (most interesting) of Sapporo. Mr. B—— took me out in the afternoon, and we had a long and delightful talk—even though he is a missionary! I received a most valuable and magnificent present from the people to whom I lectured last night. Apparently the lecture pleased them—for of course no well-bred Japanese will tell one to one’s face that he is pleased or otherwise with anything one does. Mr. Y—— came to supper and we were all very merry.


September 6.—Another present! The Inspector of Mines “fears I shall not be able to get good food when I leave Sapporo” and brings me a dozen tins of the best meats! chicken, beef, and all kinds of things. I often wonder why people say that the Japanese are not sincere in their kindness.

I saw a most interesting method of laying a foundation of a native building—two dozen women pulling on a fan of ropes, and singing in a weird way, half drawing and twisting between each pull. A couple of men directed the heavy pounder which they raised in this way, and let it fall with a crash to stamp down the earth.

In the afternoon I paid two official and one delightful call, and saw the beginning of the “Opening of the University” decorations. The College attains the dignity of a University on September 11. They are still actively building new departments and have unlimited ground for more; the whole temple of learning is most pleasing, extensive, and picturesque.

September 7.—I left early for Shiroi, a small village which is largely pure Aino. A contingent saw me off at Sapporo, and I was extremely sorry to say farewell to some of them; but to be alone once more is a real pleasure. At Shiroi I saw all there was to be seen; the little straw homes and boats (it is a fishing village) of the Aino are very different from those of the Japanese.

Some of the Aino are extremely picturesque and dignified-looking, their long, thick, black hair standing out all round their patriarchal heads. They are[26] not all small; most of the men I have seen are taller than I am, and very thick-set. The women are terribly disfigured by green tattoo marks on their faces, the most essential of which is the one across the lips, which has the appearance of a moustache. One or two of the young women who have not been tattooed are very handsome. They are a fundamentally different race from the Japanese, and there is very good evidence that they are actually descended from the stone-tool using people, who once covered all the Japanese islands.

I came on to Noboribetsu to spend the night. It is about ten miles from the station, and to it runs the first road I have yet seen outside a village. Such a road! It is a marvel to me how we ever got out of its swamps and ruts, and how the wheels could all be at such extremely various and varying angles without coming off. Half-way there it got dark, and the rest of the journey we went tearing down little slopes or crashing and jolting over the ruts, when there was only a margin of about a foot between us and a ravine. Yet nothing happened.

September 8.—I spent last night in the crater of a semi-active volcano! Yet it was not so thrilling as it sounds. The crater is nearly a mile across, and much of it is just like a deep-wooded circular valley, in which are a little hotel and one or two houses. Only a couple of hundred yards or so away from the hotel the active part remains, however, and there are vents and small cones, bubbling streams of boiling water, and piles of sulphur in any quantity. Some of the[27] boiling basins are black and solid-looking, and some frisky with little geysers—most of them tame enough for close acquaintance, but a few dangerous and impossible to approach. As I look out on the hotel garden the steam rises in thick clouds from the boiling stream bubbling through it, which is utilised for baths. The Guide-book naively says: “The only drawback to a visit to the springs of Noboribetsu is the chance of meeting naked bathers.” I would say “certainty of meeting.” But I got off quite alone and went up through the woods, following a track of course—it would be mad to leave it here—and saw three snakes in an hour, one nearly 4 feet long hardly moved from the path. I met an Aino, tattooing and all, and we exchanged a few courtesies in bad Japanese. Aino itself is a curiously hard language, nearly all k’s.

September 9.—A wet drizzling day, which blurs all the landscape, so that trees, sky, rain and sulphurous clouds all merge into one another. The air is heavy, and full of the odour of rotten eggs. I am the only European here, and am living absolutely à la Japonaise. The place is entirely untouched by our civilisation, and my room is a gem of native art: the delicate wooden trellis-work and bands of black lacquer on the paper doors and windows, the beautiful heavy metal fire-pot and embossed kettle are real Japanese of good quality. I sincerely wish I could bring such a room to London, it would delight those followers of the art nouveau who have retained some of their original conceptions of the beauty of[28] simplicity. I was rather glad to leave the hot choking fumes, however, and reach Mororan at night. It is a pretty little port, in a beautiful bay forming a splendid natural harbour. I went on board at 9 o’clock at night.

September 10.—We should have arrived at 10 or 11 o’clock this morning at Aomori (on the main island), but there was a storm, the tail of one of the typhoons which are abounding this year, and we did not get in until after 4 in the afternoon. While waiting three hours to catch the train I saw a little of the town, and spent some time soothing a distracted missionary and his wife, recently from America, and not yet accustomed to waiting, and trusting large sums of money to Japanese porters with no guarantee that they would get the tickets they wanted. Japan takes some learning, and a highly-strung American accustomed to New York bustle must find it a peculiarly hard lesson.

September 11.—I arrived at Matsushima station at 5 o’clock this morning and took a kuruma[2] to the place itself, on the way stopping to climb a small hill which overlooks the wonderful archipelago—one of the three greatest sights of Japan. As I sat there the sun rose, and lit up the gleaming water and the thousand pine-decked islands, whose shapes are so fantastic that one can only imagine them to be the work of the drollest of trolls, who with his drollery[29] had a soul that was rare enough to combine nobility of beauty with fantastic form.

The hamlet of Matsushima is built among similar rocks on the dry land, which has certainly risen from the sea. This little place, utterly unspoiled by European influence (I did not even see a European hat), is the Japan I have dreamed of, and had begun to fear I should not find. I cannot describe it here; if anything can move me to write literature some day, it may be that place as I saw it at sunrise.

I sailed among the fairy islands in a dreamland boat—which went so slowly and so smoothly that I thought it did not move—to Shiogama, in which I saw no romance, and took a kuruma for 5 miles off the line of beaten roads, and the railway to a tiny hamlet by the sea. Here I put up in an inn built on a little rocky peninsula, which is just big enough to hold it and a few pine trees. When the tide is in we cannot get into the front door! The room which I have opens on two sides to the sea, the front is shut off only by folding-doors from another with three sides open to the sea, so that at will I could have my three walls removed and the sea view all round. A more ideally beautiful situation it would be quite impossible to find: on either side stretch blue bays with sandy shores, and rocky islets with twisted pines growing on them in all manner of ways, and beyond lie line after line of blue hills, which in the distance merge into the blue sky.

September 12.—To-day was spent in finding out paths to tiny fishing hamlets along the coast, and[30] seeing ever new and delightful rocks—one is pierced by a big hole, 30 feet or so above sea-level.

At night there was a great sensation in the bay, as many big fishing-boats came in. On the shore they lit huge blazing fires, the men and women singing all the time, and every now and then one of them seizing a burning brand and rushing into the water with it up to their necks, and even swimming out with it to the boats. The new moon rose clear and sparkling above the bay. It seemed wicked to go to bed. I am the only visitor of any kind staying in this hotel.

September 13.—My hours are primitive: rising with the sun about 6, and breakfasting; eating again at 12 and 6, and going to bed after seeing the sunset shadows deepen into night and the stars rise over the sea—i.e. about 7 o’clock.

I walked into Shiogama for some shopping, but was much noticed by the country people, for I wore a white blouse, a skirt, and hat. Here the women all wear long blue trousers and short tunic-like kimonos, and I found they took no notice of me at all when I wore what I wore in the mountains, namely, short close knickers and coat to match.

September 15.—Alas, it is the last day of my short holiday. The weather has been perfect these four days.

September 16.—A long and tedious day travelling, beginning at 5 in the morning. I did not reach my Tokio home till 11 at night, and then found that they had given me up and all gone to bed. On the[31] way I had to change and wait two hours at Sendai, which I therefore explored a little. It is noted for ornaments and trays made of fossil wood so-called, which is found in quantity in a mountain near by. It seems to be gymnospermic, however, and to correspond more to our “bog-oak” than to an actual fossil, so I lost scientific interest in it, but liked it well enough as a curiosity to buy some specimens.

September 17.—After a month’s absence my correspondence has accumulated, and to-day has been spent largely in reading and writing letters. Also, this is just the last day or so for the swimming out of the spermatozoids of Ginkgo, and I spent a few delightful hours in the Laboratory watching their infusorian-like movements and the quick vibrations of their spiral crowns of cilia. Fancy cutting up dozens of juicy Ginkgo seeds! I lunched in the Institute with the botanical staff, who have a wonderfully detailed knowledge of all my doings, likes and dislikes—from the newspaper! Apparently one or other of my retinue has acted as special correspondent for the papers. Mercifully, it is all published in Japanese characters, so that the European residents can’t read it, or I should not dare to present my introductions.

September 18.—A quiet day at the Institute, trying to overtake my writing arrears. The last forty-eight hours it has rained incessantly, and the roads are an interesting study. They may be divided into three main classes, viz. those which are well made, and which have been washed spotlessly clean by the rain—these are very few and far between; those which[32] have retained the water, and mixed it with their own soil until there is a swamp of thick, boggy, squashy mud from 2 to 10 inches deep—these predominate; and those on which water alone is to be seen, varying from 2 inches to 3 feet in depth. Through a quarter of a mile of the latter I had to come, in a kuruma of course, but the man was up to his hips in water, and I was glad indeed that my house is on the top of a hill as I saw the floods rushing through the houses.

September 22.—The roads of Tokio are a never-ending source of delight when their muddiness does not force itself home. A hundred times in a walk, even in the heart of the city, one comes upon a bend of the road where groves of bamboo or pine trees are seen, as though one were far away in the country; or a rivulet will cross the lane (so many of the city roads are like nothing but our country lanes), and its mossy banks hanging with ferns are luxuriant, as only our Lake District streams are luxuriant, in their glorious greenery of delicate fronds. Or perhaps a bend of the road will take one away from a little village of shops into a narrow avenue of straight-growing cryptomerias, leading to a tiny shrine or temple with its garden and moss-grown stepping-stones. Along the line of the electric city railway we all walk freely, and to-day I found corners of woodland and scraps of meadow along its course—little forgotten scraps of land where small bamboos and feathery grasses, and sweet white and blue flowers grow in brilliant, fresh, dustless perfection. A hundred times a day I ask[33] myself, “Can this be a city?” While the main streets are “streety” enough, the charming spots are always only a few yards away from them.

I cannot understand how it is that land and rents are so outrageously dear, dearer even than in the parts of London just outside the city. Here so much seems to be left to run wild, or to form a garden or field round a tiny house—wasted commercially—but what a rich delight to those who live in this sweet garden city!

Early this morning I had a real Japanese experience. I was wakened at about 5 o’clock by a tremendous sensation among my walls and floor, as though they were all striving to part company. I at once thought of a typhoon, and as my floor was swaying like the ocean waves, I started to rush downstairs, my room being the only one on the second story. Then I rushed back, thinking of all the awful tales of robberies I had heard, and seeing a figure approaching me, I accosted it angrily and demanded it to give an account of itself and be off! It was some time before I recognised myself in the glass! All the time the floor was swaying violently in what I fancied was a fearful wind—when it suddenly stopped, and I lay down feeling very sea-sick. Then, and then only, did I remember that I was in a land of earthquakes, and had just experienced my first. I heard later in the day that it had been a moderately bad one.

September 23.—A rather broken day with papers at the Institute. I have not yet worked off my Hokkaido debt of letters and presents.


There was a local festival in the temple near my house, and the houses were gay with scarlet and white lanterns, and branches of scarlet and white paper flowers.

September 24.—A universal holiday, and the Institute is shut. The day was filled with sight-seeing, temples and gardens. Of the several I saw, two in the heart of the city were in such striking contrast as to be worth an attempt at description.

To the one, the approach was lined by rows of little open shops, whose trivial gaudy wares were pressed upon the throngs of passers-by. In the open court of the temple were many stalls and small tea-houses, and hundreds of pigeons fluttering about to be fed. One could buy one sen’s worth (about a farthing’s worth) of peas and rice from the numerous little stalls kept by ancient women. The birds did not appreciate my offering properly, as it was a festival, and they were already overfed, and so contented themselves with pruning their feathers perched on the great eaves of the temple, or on the nose or curly tail of some of the many great dragons. In the vestibule of the temple (this is hardly the right word, but I know no other to express it) hundreds of people clattered in their wooden clogs, and chattered loudly, gazing through the wire-netting into the inner portion, where the priests and readers in gorgeous array and pomp were carrying on a service. The whole effect was not unlike that of a good Roman Catholic Church, but more glittering and richer. As I was watching, a large part of the ceremony seemed[35] to consist in turning over the folds of manuscript very rapidly, giving the effect of endless streams of writing. Into a money-box, as large as a small swimming bath, the devotees threw their small coins, often over the heads of the groups in front of them. Glitter, bustle, noise, and crowds characterise this temple. The other I found by chance in one of the dear little side roads I love. It stood grey and solemn in the midst of its green garden, its great bell in a little house beside it, and its old stone figures and great lotus of copper. Twisted pines and moss-grown paths around it, and behind a silent grove of pine and bamboo. Complete silence in the heart of the city, and though I remained in the garden some time no person came to disturb its peace. Greyness and greenness—and one brilliant golden butterfly dancing above the great green copper lotus, one shrub with scarlet flowers flung against a grey sky—and in the heart of it all the silence of Buddha, whose heart does not seem to beat as he contemplates the universe.

September 25.—A tiring day, but little to show for it. Tokio certainly makes one very sleepy, and also demands the expenditure of much time to get a small result.

September 26.—Official visit to the Director of the Survey—time spent getting there and back, three hours—length of visit, ten minutes. The rest of the day at the Institute.

September 27.—An amusing day spent at the sale by auction of all the household effects of the Spanish consul. It appears that these sales are recognised[36] social functions, and all the good Society was represented, from the Embassy and some Baronesses downwards. I managed to get two feather pillows for twice what they cost in England, but half what they cost here in the shops; and so hope to rest more peacefully at night now. There is such a frightful duty on all foreign goods that every one here buys what they can at these sales; as they are all the goods of friends, which have sometimes been the round of several distinguished families, there is no feeling against obtaining them. It only wanted tea and a little music to be like an “At Home.”

September 28.—A quiet day at the Institute. The gardens surrounding it are largely situated on elevated ground, so that one looks down on tree tops and out over an expanse of clear blue sky and lovely light clouds. Now the temperature is like our best days in June, and the actual sunshine still hotter and brighter.

September 29.—Sunday—so we went to visit temples. This time to a tiny lonely one in the country to the north of the town. Though it was less than 10 miles out of Tokio, everything was fresh and beautiful, and quite untainted with the horrible suburban effect of our environs—it was real country, though not at all solitary. Between the green fields, where the crops looked as fresh and vigorously sprouting and green as with us in the late spring, were quiet lanes and narrow roads overhung by the swaying feathery shafts of the tall bamboos. Every quarter of a mile or so in all[37] directions were little woods of bamboo and pine or cryptomeria, in the midst of which generally one or two small houses nestled, their thick thatches overgrown by the blue-flowered relative of tradescantia, which is here so pretty and so plentiful. Surrounded by its little grove of cryptomerias the wooden temple stands apart from all houses—a small closed building, hung with gaudy pictures from the devotees whose prayers have been answered. Leading to it is an imposing flight of well-kept stone steps, but as there is no gate, and a dozen paths through the wood lead to the temple by easier grades, they are more for show than use. A big stone trough stands filled with water for the worshippers to wash their hands before folding them in prayer—but I saw no worshippers, and I stayed there in the quiet for a number of hours.

A fraction of a mile away was the small ill-kept cemetery, with little grey headstones and forlorn wooden laths with the names of the dead, but no visible graves.

The tall tsuzuki reed, with its clusters of feathery fruits standing out against the sky at evening, and the stars twinkling through the beautiful bamboo and the trees of sweet chestnuts, all seemed far too fresh and unsullied to be so near a city. The Japanese can certainly populate a place without defacing it. The absence of all railings and notice boards is also very soothing.

September 30.—A cut-up day at the Institute. Dr. Y——, one of the geologists from the Survey, visited me and we spent some time discussing the[38] beds of Hokkaido. This country is an extremely difficult one for us all, so little is yet quite reliably finished, as exposures are so scarce.

October 1.—A long morning down at the Survey Offices with the Director and Dr. Y——, chiefly planning for the next venture, which is to be in the directly opposite direction from the last, and promises difficulties not a few. This time I will not go with a huge escort like the last.

On the way back to the Institute I looked into the biggest drapers while the sale of the year was on—all Japanese of course, and very amusing.

October 6.—A miserable, wet day, spent with small profit at the Institute preparing for another long expedition. The least heavy rain seems to give rise to floods at some place or other, and again the roads were quite impassable except for the coolies, who drew my kuruma through.

October 8.—I arrived at last at Okayama at about 3 in the afternoon, very dirty after the night in the train, and tired for want of food—to be met by a party of Japanese, most kind and welcoming, who took me to a charming hotel and kept me sitting and talking for two hours without a chance of even washing! They also took me to see the renowned Koraku-en garden, and it was half-past six before I could get a bath, and while I was still dressing the kuruma came to take me off to a meeting of Naturalists, which took the form of a dinner in my honour.

The gardens of Koraku-en were certainly very[39] pretty, but less so than one would expect from the descriptions of them one reads. They were once the private property of the owner of the castle at the foot of which they lie. In them are vistas and views cleverly constructed, and many pretty little rocky islands and bridges. There are also some sacred cranes which live in separate apartments in a house of their own, and which take the air and sun themselves in the best part of the day. What pleased me far more than these much-praised gardens were the little courts and gardens of the hotel in which I was staying. From my room I could look down from the verandah on to two little gardens, with dwarf trees and green paths and grey stepping-stones leading to imaginary distances.

On my way out, for the house was large and rambling, with several ways, I could pass a square garden but 10 feet or so big, in which was a little temple, with lanterns and lions and gateway all complete. Here every evening the lanterns were lit, and incense sticks glowed, sending a sweet scent along the corridors. It was the smallest temple I have seen, and also one of the prettiest additions to a house.

The dinner with the Naturalists was a somewhat trying affair. There was but one lady and she was obviously asked for my sake, and was put next me at the table. The President and I sat opposite to each other in the middle of the long table, and kept something of a conversation going, though I had to furnish all the subjects, which was a little difficult[40] after more than twenty-four hours’ travelling and no rest after my arrival. The others were mute, except when I turned to ask a definite question, or said something which the President repeated to them, and suggested discussion. All could speak English nominally. The dinner was in foreign style and included four meat courses, and I found few of those present knew which things to eat with which table implement, so I was repaid in kind for the entertainment I must have afforded while learning to use chop-sticks. Fortunately it was possible to leave very early, and I welcomed a good night in my charming Japanese room.

October 9.—I was up at 6 to start to the real place for work and was seen off by a deputation, and shaken for some time in the train of a local branch line. After that came the truly awful business of the day—four hours in a kuruma!

The kuruma is a kind of mail-cart on two wheels (country specimens have no springs), and is drawn by a man over stony roads. The works of the thing jolt, jingle, and clang till one’s head splits and one’s bones feel sore.

The road lay along a very beautiful valley, however, cut out of the steep rocky sides running along the broad and beautiful river of Takahashi. I entirely escaped the Guide-book—not so easy a job either, as it is written by Chamberlain, who knows the country better than most Japanese, and who has numerous collaborators who seem to inform him of minute details, even of very out-of-the-way places.[41] At the end of the journey I found a much better inn than I expected under the circumstances.

Then the excitement began—and I had to explain at the Prefecture that I had come to see coal, and to find out where it was. The maps are so small (Geol. Survey though they be) that one is extremely dependent on local information. To do all this in Japanese with people who did not understand a syllable of English, was no joke! It is the first time I have been so absolutely cut off from English; they could not even read Japanese names in Romaji print, in which my maps and all scientific things are now done. It was interesting—and I hammered away till I got my end, and found the Triassic coal I sought, but, alas, there was nothing in it of value to me. The trouble I had to get it began in Tokio, where they told me first it didn’t exist, second, that it was finished and the mines stopped down. In Okayama also they said no coal in this district existed—instinct kept me at it, however, and though the people even here said there was none, I insisted there was—and lo! after a while they took me to it. It was the very smallest and most primitive coal mine I ever saw, it is true—but it was coal. To-morrow I am going to another place: it is sad to find no fossils just here, they would have been such a triumph!

My dinner consisted of rice, green peas, and boiled chestnuts, with a little fish as well. One learns to value green peas, even though they be cold and floating in the water in which they were boiled, and eaten one by one with chop-sticks!


No three consecutive minutes of peace were allowed to me. I was desperately tired, and though I sat with my eyes shut for quite long periods and hardly spoke to them at all, my visitors sat on and on till I was frantic. I have a fellow-feeling now for animals at the Zoo.

October 10.—While still in bed, visitors began again this morning, and I had to shout to prevent an official visitor from coming in while I was taking off my night-gown. On starting two of them came with me, and their number more than doubled before the day was out. More terrible hours of kuruma riding—but the little village of Jito was worth a visit. Early in the morning heavy downy mists hung round the hills, and swirled up from the trees as the sun caught them. All the thousands of cobwebs were like fairy banners on the trees, and the rocky sides of the mountains rose from the rivers to be lost in the alluring distances. It was a sight well worth the shivering and the jolting, and directly the sun shone on one it gave a comforting heat. The nights are extremely cold, almost wintry, but the days are as hot as midsummer, hence the thick mists.

We entered the mine, which, unfortunately, though Triassic, is of no interest to me. A kind of dinner was given at the hotel at 2 o’clock, and I saw many rather crude native customs.

The man who had led me in the mine, whom I took to be a coolie, and to whom I gave sixpence, turned up at dinner. In the mine his entire costume had consisted of a striped flannelette shirt, very short,[43] and a stand-up white collar!! Literally no more, and that was donned of course in my honour. Trousers with a red stripe down each leg, and socks, were added for the dinner.

Everything in this country seems to be the reverse of what it is with us, and here the dinner starts with much drinking of saké and very frequent exchange of the small cups; then no more is drunk and the food begins and finishes the feast.

After the coal mine business was finished, I was taken to a big school where there were festive sports going on, very similar in the main to our school sports, and obviously in imitation of them. Many of the boys and girls (the schools are mixed) were pretty and bright, though the Japanese child has not yet appealed to me as it does to those who gush over it.

October 11.—Things began at 6 this morning, when all the world was shivering in its thick white mantle of mist. After riding for a couple of hours the sun drove it all away, and by 10 o’clock I was streaming with perspiration from every pore as I went up the hills toward the little coal mine I had come out to see.

I thought I had fully impressed on the Japanese man who acted as local guide that I was desperately pressed for time and must return to the railroad town to-night—but after a couple of hours I found myself inside the big “middle school,” bowing to an English-speaking head, who soon asked me to give a lecture! Of course I refused, and said I was going[44] at once to the coal mine, and would then return to Tatai, but he accompanied me to the mine, leaving his rightful duties with not the smallest compunction, and on the way requested me to stop and have my photograph taken. The Japanese are perfectly infuriating to one with a definite object and precious time. I cannot here retail the multitudinous instances of senseless delay I have had to suffer from, nor the irrelevant things I have had to examine. If I were to go at their rate I should be still looking at coal mines in Japan ten years hence. But I must not forget that I am seeing the country if I am not getting directly to my goal, and that I am in myself a certain amount of entertainment for them, a kind of creature they have not heard of before.

After a rather fruitless couple of hours in the mine (results locally interesting, as the Imperial Survey has mapped the district as solid granite) I had six hours in a kuruma returning to Tatai. The kuruma was just as uncomfortable as country ones always are, and as I was packed in with my fossils so that I could not change my position, and the roads were in places very bad, I was hardly in the mood at the end of the journey to be put into a train, merely to wait stock-still at the first local stopping-place for three-quarters of an hour. I am becoming far more patient than Job ever was, but at times my stock of patience runs out.

Apart from the mere weariness of one’s bones, the kuruma ride was very delightful. Every time I see the little groves of feathery bamboo in their grace and sweetness I rejoice anew. The valleys along[45] which the road wound were very steep, and the great granite hills majestic and beautiful. The plants, too, are often charming, and one frequently sees a single trail of ampelopsis flung across the grey boulders. One great wall of granite was covered with blood-red ampelopsis and capped with the native pine, which is so rich in curious curves, and so green against the sapphire sky.

Although the country is quite wild and unspoiled, all along the flatter part of the valleys were very many houses—clusters of houses or hamlets lying at intervals of about one-eighth of a mile. It seems curious how the little rice fields, which are tucked into every available damp corner, can support so many people. Straw plaiting is also a source of income, and in almost every house some one was twisting the short lengths of gleaming white straw into braids.

The greatest charm of Japan is the way the natives have of inhabiting, even thickly populating, a district without in the least spoiling it—except of course where there is a railway, a few yards on either side are necessarily spoiled a little.

The single line of telegraph wire puzzled me not a little to-day. I could not imagine why, when it was raised in the usual way on posts 20 feet or more, it should be made of barbed wire, when I discovered that the effect was caused by millions of dragon-flies, perched singly on it at intervals of about 6 inches from each other! I never saw two closer than that, or more than 18 inches apart, for[46] about 10 miles! Now and then one would fly off, or another settle, but most of them sat quite motionless on the wire. So the only “barbed wire” I have seen in Japan was made voluntarily by blue dragon-flies who sat there to sun themselves.

October 12.—The hour for rising gets earlier every day. This morning it was 5 o’clock, with the prospect of 12–14 hours in a wretched slow train. I am writing in the train now, at the stoppings, which are never less than five minutes, and often ten or fifteen minutes long, at every station. The whole distance in all these hours of travel will be less than 200 miles. The people in the train are, of course, a little interesting, but far more saddening. Where the train with its Western atmosphere has penetrated, the beautiful and dignified robes, the silken skirts and kimonos of both men and women, though principally of the men, are giving place to a hybrid mixture of all the vulgar and hideous garments of “civilisation.” Only a few of the most cultured Japanese know how to dress in good taste in our things, the others are unspeakable.

Just now the train is skirting a part of the coast of the famous “Inland Sea,” and small islands lie thickly scattered in it, with their pines clinging by great twisting roots on to their rocks. The persimmon trees, with their great golden fruits, look very beautiful beside the pines, and are richly laden with their delicious fruit, so that they are noticeable from quite a distance.

After arriving at Tokuyama in the evening I went[47] at once to the Naval Briquette factory of the Government, who own the coal mine farther on which I wish to see. A most courteous and charming Director, who had been in both France and England, put me on my way.

October 13.—I started early by train for Omine, where the mine lies on a little railway built on purpose for it during the last war. The coal is one of the very few smokeless ones in Japan, and therefore very important. Omine is a tiny hamlet, practically composed of miners and mine officials,—where the inn is poor but every one only too anxious to please.

The mines are interesting scientifically, of Rhaetic age. As they belong to the Navy, the surgeon attached to the mines wears the uniform of a Naval Officer, little sword and all, and is very smart. The coal is carried for a long distance by iron baskets on wires across valleys—stretches of wire 200 yards, with no support. It is so strange to find the mixture of modern engineering and science with such primitive native ways.

The weather is lovely, still scorching midsummer sunshine floods the hills, on which a tree here and there shows a flare of crimson autumn colouring.

October 14.—The Chief Engineer here is most helpful, and offered to come with me to Habu, a very small mine 20 kilometres or so distant, where we had to travel by kuruma. At first I refused, but afterwards I was very glad his importunity had prevented my coming alone. The kuruma left us[48] to walk the last 3–4 kilometres. There was no definite road, and an old woman volunteered to guide us across little tracks through rice fields and along the sandy seashore, and through rice fields again. The maps of course show none of these footpaths, and without Japanese help it would have been impossible to find the place. The mine, when we got there, was the most primitive I have ever seen, smaller than at Nariwa. On the way our old woman leader took us up from the shore to a big house standing by itself, telling us that here the manager of the mine lived. As we had despaired of ever finding the mine, this encouraged us, but we found the house was only in the process of building, and was of course not inhabited. It was a beautiful house, with a great temple-like porch gate, an inner courtyard, and quite a number of out-houses and servants’ dwellings. Then, when we came to the mine, we found the owner to be a common working man, and we saw his wife going into the mine to work like the rest of the peasant women! The whole situation seemed so ridiculously incongruous. A case of nouveau riche retaining their old habits while their palace was being built.

In the mines I have often come across women, naked to the waist and up to the knee, working underground with the men. To-day I saw such a pretty girl, and her beautiful rounded body was far too sweet to be smeared with coal.

To-night we went on to Shimonoseki, and my Omine companion kindly took me to his father’s[49] house there. A delightful house, with a great flight of rough granite steps leading up to it like those to a temple. Here I inhabited three big rooms, opening out of each other, as well as a dressing-room. They were extremely kind, and only spoiled things by refusing to believe that I could prefer not to have chairs, etc. brought into their rooms for my use. I pleaded with them, and was allowed to sit on cushions on the floor, but could not escape a European dinner instead of the true Japanese meal. However, it was very good, and I made up for several past meals of poor quality. I was given the seat of honour, and my host and I ate alone—his father, mother, aunt, and sister visiting us for short intervals, and bringing various things, but never sitting with us. They are certainly wealthy people, and not very cultured, yet there was not the slightest attempt at display. All that the rooms contained were a single vase of beautiful flowers in the corner by the kakemono (long picture), a couple of quaint ornaments, cushions, and in one of the rooms a beautiful polished table 6 inches high, on which was a carved tray with hand-painted tea-cups, and the hibachi (charcoal brazier) with an ornamental kettle boiling on it.

October 15.—I got up about 5.30, and crossed over to Kiushiu—my host coming to see me off and giving all possible help. I did not arrive at the mine—Namazuta—till 12.30. The mine is a large one, and though of Tertiary age, contains very many interesting stones.


After examining the mine I returned very late at night to Fukuoka, having escaped proper meals all day. The chief of the coal mine kindly gave me fish and rice and a few real Japanese things at 4.30. At Fukuoka the inn very noisy, but otherwise all right.

October 16.—Noise kept me awake till after 12, and I had to get up about 6.30. I visited the head office, where officials are arranging for my introduction to several small mines in Amakusa, which is an island off the island of Kiushiu—and on which no human being speaks a word of English, and all the natives speak such a curious dialect that even the Japanese themselves cannot understand it. I guess I shall have a gay time. On this whole expedition the amount of hours of travelling per hour in a coal mine is very great, and I seem to be going night and day to see a mine here and there. (Things have got wrong here somehow. I have forgotten to mention the Miike mine.)

Some of the scenery is very beautiful, and though, of course, I am missing all the regulation sights, I see glimpses of beauty here and there.

The train arrived very late at Misumi, a little port, from which I shall go to Amakusa. The moon was shining over the calm sea, stretching into many inlets and set with many islands, and the effect was most beautiful and romantic. Though I thought the train had landed me in Misumi, it turned out that I had to take a kuruma to the hotel, and it went right out into the country, over a hill where not a human being or habitation was to be seen, and I began to[51] think the kuruma man had designs on my life and purse. After half an hour he landed me on the other side of the peninsula, where the village proper lies, and where there is a moderately good hotel. On the ride we passed many mud-walled thatched cottages, without a sign of life in them. The Japanese live in open houses by day, but at night they put boarded shutters up before every window, so that no one (at least no Japanese, I insist on mine being opened) in Japan sleeps with fresh air round him, which, I believe, is the reason there is so much consumption. They cannot see the silliness of doing this, and are constantly bragging that they live in the open air, when all their eight to nine hours of sleep are spent in these very stuffy rooms, with a lamp and generally a charcoal fire burning beside them.

October 17.—The boat was supposed to start at 9 A.M. this day, but 1 P.M. saw it still gaily coaling. It is the very smallest steamer I have ever been in, not really as good as a ferry-boat, but the prospective journey is to last twelve hours. While waiting about the landing-place I saw many strange fish which were being brought in. One big fishing-boat had a load of huge creatures, bigger than men, of two kinds. One kind like lovely dragons, with long snouts and great wing-like fins, the other fish the most curious I have ever seen, and apparently, though I don’t know at all, some kind of shark. They were about 8 feet long and thick as a man’s body, and their heads were quite flat and square-ended.

I could not have imagined such strange creatures,[52] a drawing gives none of the extraordinary effect they made lying there in numbers, their great flat bodies heavier than a man could lift unaided. They are to be eaten, but seem to me to be terribly coarse.

There is no first class on this steamer, and I am the only second class passenger, but as my portion should be in a minute cabin with stuffy curtains and tightly fixed port-holes, I am squatting on deck with the third class people, who are as thick as flies round a honey-pot. There are mats spread on the deck, and most of the people are lying on them wedged against each other. I am sitting on my bags, leaning fairly comfortably against the rail and next to the only man who is a real cute traveller. He has spread his blanket (Japanese always travel with blankets, generally white ones!) its full size, and is lying in the middle, with a clear 2 feet of spare space all round him, and it is characteristic of Japanese travellers that though the others are terribly crowded no one sits on his blanket or asks him to curtail its extent. The scenery is lovely, and the sea without a ripple. On every side are hills with range after range of jagged peaks, and in the sea countless pine-decked islands; land lies all round, and it is difficult to believe one is at sea. 2 P.M.—I am certainly seeing life: we have just had tea in picnic fashion, squatting here together—and indeed most picnics are made to far less beautiful places than this island-dotted sea. One of the women had brought a tray of small cakes, all looking excellent, but most of them made with the sweet bean paste I have not yet learned to like,[53] though there were delicious sponge-cakes as well, five of which I got for 1¼d.—and I paid three farthings for my tea, which was three times what any one else did. They would have given it to the foreigner for nothing—but one must support the honour of one’s country in a far land, and I have learned that though the Japanese give very freely and refuse a dozen times to take payment, they are not really at all averse to receiving it.[3]

We are twisting in and out of the inlets and coming very close to the islands, and if the landscape were not so much softer and greener and more rounded, I could well imagine we were in the Fjords of Norway. The rocks are in places very white, and here and there near villages are groups of lime-kilns of primitive type. There are fleets of fishing-boats everywhere—and I believe (by this time I have seen a good deal of the country) that there are no consecutive 2 miles along the whole coast of Japan without a fishing village! It is not on the coast, but in the mountains that the really solitary places are to be found.

I arrived almost in the middle of the night, to be welcomed on the ship by various folk, from the inn-keeper upwards and downwards—there was a regular lantern procession of people. They all stopped round or in my room to talk or stare, according to their social stations; the landlord coming midway, he[54] sat just outside the limit of the room—which was, of course, widely opened on three sides—and held converse with all of us within, or hurled abuse at all the maids and boys and small children who collected without. Fortunately the chief official of the mines left soon, intimating that it was late, so I got to bed earlier than I expected and slept well, though, as my window-walls were wide open, it was so light that I had to put up my umbrella. It is getting quite usual for me to sleep under my open umbrella, and as the mats they spread on the floor are never more than 3 or 4 inches thick, it feels very like sleeping on the seashore, and I quite enjoy it, though at first I used to wake up and wonder where I could be.

October 18.—Early this morning I started to look at mines—with five people in my official train. This island is one of the least civilised of Japan, and there are practically no roads on it, though tracks here and there, and some surprisingly big coal mines. We went from place to place on foot and in small fishing-boats across the bays, which would have caused very long detours to walk round; and these were numerous, for these islands are very much cut up, and the sea surprises one everywhere one goes, generally on two or three sides at once.

Some of the bigger fishing-boats we passed were most interesting, and looked, on a small scale, exactly like my imagination of what an old Egyptian boat must have been. The six oars (one can hardly call them oars in our sense of the word, for they are thick, and much the same shape from end to end, and with[55] a little twist in them) were manned each by three naked men, all standing clad in their skins (which the scorching hot sun had burnt a lovely brown gold colour), and with the minutest white-and-blue waist cloth. Round their heads they had a white or white-and-blue towel tied fillet fashion, with a bow on one side. As they bent and rose over the oars they shouted all the time and very hoarsely a sort of meaningless refrain—but it was very good for keeping time and could be heard a long way off. Of the three oars on each side of the ships, two were pulled one way and one the other, and as the pullers kept forgetting which was which, I could not understand how the boats ever progressed, but they did, and at a pretty good speed, but far out at sea they put up sails. My little boat tried a sail for a short time. It was nearly square, with a bamboo to keep it out at each end, but the peg which held it down gave out when a puff of wind came and the boat tipped over gaily. The mast was tied in a very primitive fashion, and I wondered how the fishermen ever dared to go out to sea in such a craft. It landed us safely, however. One coal mine we went to was high up, 700 feet straight up from the sea, and amid pretty scenery. At one mine, where the people were most kind, they had gone to the extent of carrying a tea-cup with a handle for me, because they said I could not use their kind without a handle (as though I never drank out of glasses), but the owner of the mine took off all his English clothes, down to the shortest shirt I have ever seen, which was open up the back, and did not think[56] I might find that a little more difficult to put up with than a cup without a handle. It is a good thing that I had all the up-to-date ideas of hygiene before I came!

October 19.—To-day was spent in returning to the main island of Kiushiu, for the little ship took nine to ten hours about it. The start to-day was made in good time, so that three separate sets of people were late, and the steamer stopped to take them on one by one. A skiff came along propelled by three boards pulled up from the bottom of the boat, and left us two passengers. In order to get to the north of this small island of Amakusa, though only 25 miles or so from the south of the island, I must go back to the main island, to Mogi, and take another steamer back to the northern port of Amakusa!—multiplying the distance a hundred-fold, but there seems nothing else to do, it is impossible (they assert) to go on foot, and very dangerous to go in a small boat round the coast, and no steamer runs. The chief manager of the mines, who has some in the north and some in the south, has to go this ridiculous round every time he goes between them.

As the northern mines are the same formation and contain identical specimens with those I have collected in sufficient quantity in the south, I shall not return, it is too ridiculous and too expensive of time.

October 20.—I reached Nagasaki and found Mr. G—— (the half Japanese son of a Scotchman and an important person here) most kind. He arranged for a delightful steam-launch all to myself to take me[57] to Takashima, a small island which exists for, and is entirely populated by, the coal-mining people, to whom it belongs.

The mine was the first opened in Japan, and was for some time owned by Mr. G——’s father; it is the most completely arranged I have yet seen, probably owing to its age, but is rather dangerous to work, as it goes miles under the sea, and there is a large quantity of gas. Last year 300 men were killed in it—I was on the very spot where the chief engineer was found dead.

There is another little island very near to it, with a coast-line of only 4000 feet and a population of 2500! It also has a mine which is entirely under the sea. If the little islands had not stuck up out of the sea to show where the coal lay hid below it, Japan would have been much the poorer. As well as working huge quantities, the quality of this coal is the best they have. They must use salt water, of course, so they combine their engine work with salt making, and thus make a lot of money, as well as provide their thousands of people with distilled water for domestic purposes. It was very funny to go only a couple of yards from the black coal sacks to the great room filled with snowy salt.

In the evening I went to dinner with the G——s, and then they took me to a kind of semi-amateur theatrical performance at the theatre. About 3000 people were in the theatre, very crowded, and nearly all sitting on the floor in the little divisions corresponding to boxes, but which fill practically all the space of[58] a Japanese theatre. The only amusing thing—except the spectators themselves—was a huge dragon made to move and wriggle by a dozen men, and which darted in and out after a golden ball—it depends on some legend or other which I have not yet learned.

October 21.—Mrs. G—— saw me off at the station and brought butter and fruit, and the largest pear I have ever seen in my life, which is most delicious. A prospect of two nights and three days before reaching Tokio.

October 22.—As this train only stops about every fifty miles or so, and we have to pay extra for its being an express, there are relatively few passengers, and none of them at all amusing except one old man, whom I take to be a Chinaman. He is tall and dressed in widest garments, the trousers being of such flowing description that he hitches them up behind when he walks, as a lady does her skirts. He has an amber-coloured silk jacket, slashed up the front, and into this and the front of his lower garments he has stuffed so many things that he looks very rotund, which he isn’t by nature. His long hair is done on the top of his head inside a little fine gauze hat, with a band under his chin, and he wears enormous brown horn spectacles attached to the hat.

He smokes a pipe a yard long, and sits all day, with his swathed feet crossed Buddha fashion, on a brilliant cerise-pink blanket. He cannot speak a word of Japanese, but can of course write Chinese, so that when any one wants his ticket or anything from him it must be written down, or else his three attendants[59] sent for. The attendants are travelling third class, two in a costume like his, but simpler, the third in a European knicker-suit combined with a similar gauze hat! Here we see Chinese writing acting as a medium of communication between these people, who cannot understand a word of the other’s spoken language.

October 23.—I am surprised how well I sleep in these rackety trains—but the East is very soporific. Much of the scenery is pretty, particularly the hilly distances. Indeed, most of Japan seems to be beautiful. I am spending the day reading through the dictionary, a word here and there sticks and is useful sometimes. It is awful to be so entirely without literature—nothing is obtainable but character Japanese, of which, of course, I cannot read a word, and I have had nothing to read for weeks on these tedious journeyings. This express train is quite good, and there is an excellent luncheon car attached.

October 24.—A day spent at the Institute seeing after letters, etc., which of course have all been awaiting my return. I also received congratulatory and other visits from several people. They seem to think it some wonderful thing that I go into the mines! At Nagasaki, the trouble I had to escape interviewers! Two telephoned up for permission to see me, two came to the hotel, and I refused to see them, and one followed me to the station, and though I used some insulting Japanese to him, he bought a ticket and followed me to the train. I wouldn’t speak a[60] word to him, so I guess very unfavourable comments appeared.

October 25.—A very full day, which I began by calling on the Vice-Minister of Education, to whom an official call has long been due. Once more I had to grieve over the poverty and bad taste of the European furniture with which so many official Japanese are replacing their own simple and dignified arrangements.

I then went to a Faculty lunch at the University—to-day being the day when all the professors of the Science College meet and lunch together. Through the week the other colleges and faculties have their day. I met many friendly people, Professor S—— being particularly charming. The dining-hall is in Japanese style, but tables and food European. The floor mats being Japanese, we must take off our boots and patter about in slippers, which are all made of one size and belong to the University. I can’t keep them on, and people are always fetching me new ones when I quietly discard an importunate pair.

The Minister of Education has this year started a sort of Academy of Pictures, and gave me an invitation for the private view. There were three sections, Japanese paintings proper, oils after the manner of foreigners, and sculpture. The latter very bad; the two former sections, though containing only about a couple of hundred exhibits, yet had a larger number of beautiful things than our Academy ever shows. The selection had been very careful, eight out of[61] every ten rejected, and each hung with at least 1 foot of wall space all round it, and nothing skied!

October 26.—A party from the Botanical Institute went on a botanical excursion to Nikko, a very renowned and lovely district about 2000 feet above the sea. The temples there are marvellous, and the whole region one of the “three places” of Japan, and so well known and often described that I shall not attempt to give any account of its technical glories. A few things struck me specially, but the glorious carving and gilding and rich beauty of the temples I am not qualified to describe. In the temple I specially liked the Sacred Horse. Dear beast (he is alive, of course), he had been at the war and come through safely, but his rider, a prince of the Imperial house, who had been a High Priest up to the dis-establishment of the priesthood, was killed. The horse now lives in his beautiful dwelling in the temple, and is fed by the faithful on beans, which are sold at a farthing a dish. It seems so cruel to give him such small helpings at a time that I gave him half a dozen simultaneously, and so the keeper-priest gave me a picture of this animal in all his sacred trappings.

One of the principal glories of the temples is the magnificent avenue of giant cryptomeria trees,—an avenue more than 20 miles long, all planted 300 years ago by a single Daimio. Along the turbulent stony river a quiet paved path runs beneath tall trees, and beside it are many little shrines and temples. On the hill above, with a great flight of stone steps[62] leading to it, is the tomb of the first great Shogun, a man in his time mightier than the Mikado. The stones used in the building of the steps and foundations are enormous, and one wonders how it was possible to engineer them 300 years ago. Now it would be almost an impossibility to build in such a grand style. Close to the temples is the small Alpine garden belonging to the University, and really a branch of the Tokio Botanical Garden. It is small, but charming, with many little streams and rocky pinnacles on which the alpine plants are growing, and from it is a splendid view of the fine hills beyond. Every tourist goes to Nikko, and every book on Japan describes it, so I need say nothing.

October 27.—We continued on foot up the hills to Chuzenji, a large lake about 4500 feet up—the steep valleys up which we went were quite indescribably glorious, with the autumnal colourings of the maples and other trees.

Crimson and scarlet, chrome, ochre, vermilion and orange, gold and copper coloured trees, covering the grey rocks and massed against a sapphire sky. Such magnificence of colouring was beyond all imagination—and was indeed a “botanical lesson.” We passed several notable waterfalls, one of which had a particularly interesting geological structure.

October 28.—We returned down to Nikko and took the train to Tokio. Though it is sad to leave their beauty we are glad to get back to warmth, for the lovely heights were very cold.

October 29.—The day was spent at the Institute[63] and paying official calls. The fossil cutting-machine is going on splendidly. Professor F—— is showing engineering genius in getting its house built.

October 30.—I was at work at the Institute all day, chiefly writing letters to try to catch up the arrears. Late in the afternoon I called at the Embassy, and found that the Ambassador is a very genial man, who professes to be interested in fossils and asks permission to come and see them. Will he, I wonder?

November 1.—A glorious sunny day, which lured me out from my room in the Institute, and made me take my book to the little grove of pine trees by the Laboratory, where I lay in the sun, as solitary as in the middle of a forest—the blue sky above as brilliant as one can imagine it.

November 2.—All to-day was spent in moving to my new rooms, which are both upstairs, and open out of each other in the convenient Japanese fashion, and as I am planning to sleep on the true Japanese quilts (which are put away during the day), I shall have two reception rooms, or one big drawing-room, at will. Along the rooms is a broad verandah, so that, as the partitions can be moved between it and the rooms, I have quite a lot of space if I like to give a party.

November 3.—I am increasingly charmed with my rooms. The hostess is so friendly and nice, and the five dogs keep us so safe from robbers that I can have all my walls and windows open at night if I like.

I looked out on to my little Japanese garden this morning and saw my host with a watering-can, but[64] the hasty conclusion which an Englishman would come to, that he was watering the plants, was wide of the mark—he was watering the stones, which are carefully chosen to lie in an irregular fashion, and so simulate the rocky bed of a little stream. There is also a pond in this garden, and a forest and a shrine, and the whole thing is not more than 30 feet square.

Dr. H—— took me to a performance. These are extremely interesting old plays, some of them written about 300 years ago, and they are still acted in the same way as they were originally. The intonation (which is most peculiar), dresses, steps, even the movements of the hands, are all according to prescribed rules, and all so highly specialised and conventionalised that it is hard even for most Japanese to understand them. The arrangements of stage, actors, chairs, musicians, etc. remind one partly of the old Greek plays and partly of the original Shakespearean style of acting. There is no scenery, but one pine tree and a few necessary implements; the music-makers and chorus sit on the stage at the back and side, and chant in unison with the “dancing” (which by the way is a series of slow and very stiff poses, not dancing at all in our sense of the word). The stage is square, and projects out so that the audience sit on three sides of it.

The performance began at 9 in the morning, but I was there soon after half-past eight to see the audience come in. There was no artificial light, and as it poured with rain it was at times rather dark, and the rain came in in places. I left at 3.30 and it was still going[65] on—not being over till 4.30. This was not all one piece, but a series of about six short plays, each representing only one incident or situation, and quite disconnected. As the Japanese themselves do not fully understand it without years of study, I could not expect to, but was most interested nevertheless. Mr. Poel would have enjoyed it vastly, for, as he considers should be the case with great literature, nearly all scenery and such things are left to the imagination, and the whole interest of the audience centres in the principal actor’s words. It is impossible to describe this fully, the is totally different from the Japanese theatre proper, and is only visited by refined or highly-cultured people, who study it deeply. Dr. Mk——, who was to interpret for me, went to sleep! Dr. H—— has studied the pieces for years and knows them well, but can explain very little to me about them. All the pieces are contained in half a dozen volumes, and therefore the study is a possible one, just as the study of Shakespeare is possible, but may take a lifetime. None of the pieces are less than 150 years old.

To-day was the Mikado’s birthday, and pouring wet!

November 4–8.—An uneventful week in Tokio, doing little, but spending a lot of time and energy thereon. On the 8th (Friday) I lunched once more with the Science Faculty at the Goten, and was treated most kindly. There are, naturally, no other women there, but I sit between the President and the Dean, and have quite a good time.


November 9.—The King’s Birthday and gloriously fine! I had luncheon with the P——s, and went with them to the Ambassador’s garden party, where we sat on the lawn and ate ices and strolled about. Numerous ambassadors, princes, and ministers, and other big-wigs were on show, some wearing massive decorations. The ball-room was open, and at about 4.30 we began to dance. Several Japanese in European costume danced, but the prettiest Japanese ladies were those who wore their own lovely ceremonial dress, which is far more dignified than ours.

I had dinner out, and then went to a dance in the evening, where the belle of the ball was a girl whose father was English and mother was Japanese. She had such lovely shoulders that I longed to be a man and marry her.

November 10.—I stopped all night with the P——s. Poor Professor P—— had to go off somewhere at 6 in the morning. As one can hear a whisper from one room in the next, of course it woke me up, but I was glad, because the sunrise was one of magically lovely clear tints, that I have never seen out of Japan, and it shed a fairy radiance on glowing crimson maple and golden Ginkgo trees.

In the afternoon we had tea with Professor M—— and Professor F——. The latter took me to the famous popular shows of chrysanthemums, where the chief feature is the life-size models of actors and theatre scenes, all made of millions of minute flowering chrysanthemums still growing, the red skirt, white sleeves or golden shield all being masses of self-[67]coloured flowers. The effect is, of course, simply curious, and an evidence of gardener’s skill—not pretty. Some of the other exhibits were huge plants, with a “thousand” blooms (really 300–400) all simultaneously open, and other plants with every imaginable kind of chrysanthemum growing from one main stem, a triumph of grafting, but not of beauty.

November 15.—A quiet day’s work, and in the late afternoon tea at the British Embassy. In the evening an invitation “by order of the Emperor” arrived for the Imperial garden party at Akasaka Palace. It was amusing to see the awe with which my landlady viewed it—the Imperial Crest being almost sacred in this country. She took it in her hands as a good Catholic might a piece of the true cross, and raised it three times to her forehead, and asked leave to take it to show her husband. I shine from the reflected glory.

November 16.—The morning was spent at the Institute, and then the afternoon at the lovely house and garden of Professor S——. It is a very large and beautifully unspoiled Japanese garden of the old style. The maple trees were red and the pines green—and here and there among them were bushes bearing the loveliest fresh pink and crimson roses. October and November are called by some “the little Spring,” and these rose bushes might well be those of June with us. The scent of the roses is not so sweet as with us, but the texture of the petals more delicate, so that they have a wonderful semi-transparency, which ours seldom attain.


November 19.—The Emperor’s garden party took place to-day, and was attended by numerous Princes and Princesses, Ambassadors, Ministers and the “élite of Tokio Society.” Americans flock by the hundred, as their Ambassador asks invitations for them, and as they have no court and “all men are equal,” some very queer ones come. The other nations resent it, and the English Ambassador is particularly strict, so that very few English can come—unless they hold some official position with the Japanese Government. My scientific mission secured me the much-coveted invitation, and I am right glad I went, for the palace gardens were extremely lovely. They are in the best style of landscape gardening, and are most extensive. The glowing crimson of the Japanese maple, and the golden of the Ginkgo showed up brilliantly against the many green pines; small waterfalls and lakes abound, and I think we must have walked nearly half a mile before reaching the point where the show of chrysanthemums and the meeting of the guests took place. The chrysanthemums were very much like those at the popular shows, but of course rather finer, and were spoiled by being tied to straight sticks and arranged symmetrically. Some had enormous numbers of flowers, 800 or so from a single plant and all flowering simultaneously. The flowers were arranged like the jets of a huge candelabra, and in one way were most effective, but the people were by far the most interesting part of the entertainment. The Empress was a little indisposed, so we had to be content with the Crown Prince and[69] Princess and a train of minor Princes and Princesses. The Empress has, unfortunately, made European dress compulsory at all Court functions, so that most Japanese ladies do not come, and those who do are got up in garments which they do not thoroughly understand and therefore cannot wear with grace. Also they go hopelessly wrong in choosing the colours. And as to hats! But this cannot be an article on millinery. The quaintest lady there was in early Victorian costume—a hat like a Cambridge pork pie and a skirt of rusty brown, that was hooped and looped up like those our mothers wore when they were young.

Her husband was equally pathetic. She was a great contrast to the rest of them, who were in ultra fashionable and befeathered robes, of a style unknown to our “élite.”

The quaintest gentleman there was in a top hat of prehistoric date, a frock-coat which showed every seam, and sand-shoes! And he was a high official, who doubtless in his beautiful native dress looked dignified and inspired respectful admiration.

When it came to feeding I was surprised to find that the Imperial allowance was but one plate each, and on this the guests put ham, tongue, and chicken, jelly, rolls, and ice-cream, sweets and cakes, and ate them indiscriminately; even my English knights did not hesitate to bring me jelly, ice-cream, sandwiches and cakes on one plate. There was champagne galore, and beautiful cut-glass glasses, which one appreciates in this land where glass is so expensive and bad, and[70] where most glass articles of everyday use at home are not obtainable. (This reminds me that I have spent a fortnight hunting for a little glass jug and cannot get one.) Admiral Togo was the most impressive figure there, shorter than most of the Japanese, thick-set and upright, and conversing with very few people. Baron Kikuchi remembered me, which, as he saw me for only half an hour five months ago, speaks much for his social gifts. As he came up smiling, and waited for me to speak, I remembered him, for he is quite unlike any other Japanese I have ever seen.

After the party the catching of one’s kuruma was an exciting game; there was no system of getting at them, and the several hundreds of guests and several hundreds of coolies simply wandered about in the maze of kurumas shouting and looking for each other. When the police were directly applied to they were helpful for a foreigner, as there were few of us, and of course we are more easily spotted than the natives.

I forgot to note that the only Princess with whom I chatted had a strong American accent; it sounded very strange. She had found a lot of fossils in her garden where they are sinking a well, and seemed a little interested in them.

November 22.—Professor S—— took me to visit Count Okuma in the morning; he is reported to be the second greatest statesman in Japan, and has a lovely house and grounds, which he was gracious enough to show me. Every ordinary day he has about thirty or forty visitors, and is one of the busiest men in the country. He has an old face, with almost[71] no hair, and is tall for a Japanese, and dignified in his silken robes, and distinctly pleasing. He could speak no English, so that conversation was rather limited, as he spoke more than usually indistinctly, but he was amused with Professor S——’s account of me, and very gracious. The rooms are nearly all provided with European chairs and tables, rich and handsome, the drawing-room in which he received me upholstered in gold brocaded silk, which harmonised well with the handsome old gold and painted screens from ancient Japan which stood round the room. I begged to see the Japanese wing of the house, which he showed me. His Japanese guest chambers were, to my taste, far more beautiful, though perforce less able to display his wealth. He is the Chamberlain of Japan in one sense, and has the finest orchid houses in the country. They were very beautiful, but not on the same scale as with us. The Japanese landscape garden is the chief glory of his place. He has also a fine collection of dwarf trees, and I watched one of his gardeners pruning a mighty forest of pines three inches high, growing on a headland jutting out to sea in a porcelain dish.

In the evening the Biologists gave a dinner in honour of Professor M——’s safe return from Java, and my advent. About forty or so were there (all men, of course), and it was a very jolly dinner indeed, commencing at 5.30, and as I was a foreigner and used to late hours (!), continuing till 9. Nearly every one had been abroad, and between them they knew almost all my European and American scientific[72] friends—so I did not feel at all as though I was in a strange land. They all stood up to drink the health of the guests, so I had to make a little after-dinner speech,—a thing I hate, and am not able to do very well.

November 23.—This morning I got up while it was dark, and only arrived here after dark—here being a district where beautiful fossil Angiosperms are reported. There was a four-hours’ ride in a kuruma, along one of the straightest roads I ever saw, for the first half of the time. After that the mountains were lovely, clad with pine and maple, a few of which were still crimson, with the clear water rushing over the green rocks. Though they told me it would be frightfully cold up in the mountains so late, I am very comfortable in this inn, where the hot water for the baths runs perpetually from a boiling natural spring. The baths are delightful, and if cyanophyceae make them slippery, what matter?

November 24.—This morning early I started off on foot in glorious hot sunshine to get the fossils, and succeeded in getting more than my coolie could carry. I am almost the only visitor in the place, and every one is very kind and very interested. My colloquial Japanese comes a cropper now and then—but I get what I want, which is the main thing. The rocky valleys and woods are very lovely, and I appreciate the loneliness after these Tokio weeks. I should like always to live in complete solitude two days in seven.

The rocks in the neighbourhood are volcanic and[73] are of a lovely green, so that the water rushing over them is particularly beautiful. The woody valleys are quite deserted, but are still warm in the sun, and gay with crimson leaves and berries, and some brilliant purple berries of a colour I never saw in Nature before—it is just like one of my detested aniline dyes, but looks quite beautiful when painting the skin of a berry!

November 25.—Hours and hours of kuruma riding, and then five hours in the train, which in that time managed to do less than 100 miles, though it was on the main line and there was no change anywhere.

During the kuruma ride I saw the first flock of sheep I have seen in Japan, about a dozen good-sized, clean, and healthy-looking animals.

I also learned that monkeys are wild in the woods, but did not see any.

November 26.—I spent the day at the Institute with the new fossils and minor matters. At two o’clock I went to see the Marquis and Marchioness N——, who have a fine house and garden in the centre of the town near the palace. They were very kind, and showed me over the houses and garden, the former in European style, rich, but not quite aesthetic, the latter in Japanese style, with dwarf trees and quaint cut bushes, placed with an eye to effect, and where the outlook is over the tops of the town (where, I grieve to say, smoky chimneys of factories are rising up to curse and kill the beauty of the town) to the bay, with its ships on the blue water. Tea was served twice in two different drawing-rooms, and[74] I found I had to risk insulting my hostess by speaking my low-class Japanese. I had expected her to speak English, as the invitation had been in excellent English, but I was forced to speak to a Court lady in the language of the vulgar. In Japan there are more grades of language, and even more varieties of vocabulary, than one can imagine, e.g. I already know for the word is the following:—

is Gosarimasu (arranged according to the politeness).

And of course there must be heaps and heaps of other forms I don’t know yet.

November 27.—The morning was spent at the Institute; at 12.30 Baron and Baroness K—— had invited me to lunch with several of the Japanese professors. Everything was in the best European style, with excellent food and ten courses for lunch! After that the Baroness kindly took me to the Japanese part of the house, where the dolls were being aired. This, I think, must be explained. Dolls in Japan are very important things, and have a feast and ceremony once a year, in March; and these dolls are very valuable—wonderfully dressed figures of ancient kings and their attendants, court ladies and ministers, with houses and exquisite lacquered furniture, chariots[75] and sedan-chairs, boxes and swords and fans—the dolls from 4 to 10 inches high, and the furniture in rough proportion, exquisitely lacquered and finished—little gems, some of the things, and, of course, never given to the children to play with.

I sleep just now with a sword by my hand, in case of robbers, who, by the way, visited us every day last week but one. The dogs bark when they come, and after ten minutes or so of furious noise my house Herr gets up, armed with a mild wrath and a sword, and the robbers beat a retreat. Now one day it chanced that Professor M—— had given me a huge quince, hard as a stone. The quince had been given to me because I had pined for quince jam, in the making of which I pride myself. Well, I had made my jam one evening, and its fine smell rejoiced my heart (and perhaps attracted the robbers), but the core of the quince remained, weighing about half a pound, and as hard as a brick. At night the robbers came, the dogs barked in vain for my house Herr to arise. At last I looked out of my window, aimed the core of the stony quince with all my might, and presumably hit the robber, for he decamped suddenly, and with much more noise than he made coming. Hence I gather that housewifely instincts in women may have uses hitherto undreamed of.

November 28.—A day at the Institute spent in soaking the fossils in gelatine—a tedious but necessary job which I must do myself. Oh, Tokio in the rain, what a place it is! In London we grumble if by accident we step into a “mud pie” left by the street[76] cleaners at some corner of the road, but in Tokio in the wet one must walk through one continuous soft mud pie, along roads where there is no footpath. Of course, take a kuruma, is the native reply, but kurumas, though cheap, will easily run up into three or four shillings a day at that rate, and they jolt one’s spine to a jelly. The Japanese who walk do so on wooden clogs of a curious kind, with two high stilt-like parts of quite thin wood, so that it is difficult to balance. I fall off even the low kind, and could not walk in them any distance, even if I didn’t fall, as one must take such short steps.

November 29.—Still pouring wet. I went to lunch at the Faculty lunch; however, the Dean was most charming, and the President of the University did his best to be, but speaks very little English, so that we say much the same kind of things to each other every day. How ridiculous are the people who imagine “all Japanese are alike”; as I look along the table I see every possible type (except the brutally coarse or sensual one), which may be seen in the English nation, so beyond the fact that all are rather darkly brown or slightly yellow, what need to describe them?

In one way, how much more important the University professors are to their country than is a similar body of Englishmen to England! They represent practically all the science in the country, and the Emperor receives them at Court thrice a year, when they wear beautiful uniforms covered with gold lace, and in their hands lies largely the honour of the[77] country, the old spirit of nobility, as distinct from commercialism and apart from mere militarism, both of which are now getting so rampant here.

November 30 to December 6.—No time to write this up, though I have been doing a lot of things.

December 7.—There was an interesting meeting at the University to-day, when Professor S—— was fêted, because it is the 25th anniversary of his professorship, as well as his silver wedding. The meeting was held in the hall in the Botanical Gardens, where the room opens out Japanese fashion on to the garden, just where it is prettiest, with its ponds and landscape trees. About 200 were there, I should imagine, and I was the only foreigner—his wife and daughters the only other ladies. The speeches, of course, were in Japanese, so I understood very little, but things were explained to me. They have collected about £300, and will devote it to a prize for research in chemistry. They have also got a nice likeness of him, which goes to his family. Baron Kikuchi made the chief speech; he had met him first in England, when they were university students together.

As I cannot understand enough to follow the sense of the speeches, my attention is concentrated on the eloquence or otherwise of the speakers and the musical qualities of the language. Judged from the individual words one would expect it to be a very flowing and beautiful speech, as every syllable ends in a vowel, but alas, it loses so much from the abrupt breaks they make in the middle of the sentences, e.g.[78] “Ano-né—anata nó—kiodai wa—uchi ní—mairimasho ká.” It is impossible to give the rather staccato effect with pauses between the words. Also, even the good speakers are very apt to hesitate for exactly the right word, even more than our speakers do. This is not to be wondered at, for, as well as their own language, they have incorporated the entire Chinese language and classics (with a special pronunciation of their own), as well as a good many words from other tongues. I know a man who has studied steadily for forty years and is making a dictionary which surpasses any that the Japanese themselves have produced, and yet every day he learns some new fact about a word, or some new word.

December 8.—To-day was wet and cold, so I stopped at home (it was Sunday) and had visitors in the afternoon. We have had some frightfully cold weather these last few days, and my furs are very useful. One curious thing that I have noticed here, the gravel of the path to the Institute is lifted several inches up in the air by little delicate ice pillars, and these support the pebbles and sheets of mud so that the path looks quite as usual until one treads on it, when, of course, down one goes. The pillars are of clear ice, 1 or 2 inches high, and less than a pencil stem in thickness, growing in a forest like moss together. They even raise very heavy slabs of solid stone 20 or 30 pounds in weight, but they only come when the night is clear and still.

December 11.—A beautiful, warm, sunny day, the sky as blue as midsummer and the air sweet. At[79] the Institute doing nothing worth recording in the day-time. In the evening I had been asked to give a short address to some of the students of the Law Department of the Imperial University. I spent more than an hour getting there, for “No. 3” Y—— Street represents at least thirty houses, as is so often the case in Tokio, so that one must go from door to door asking the householder’s name. Indeed, this is a “Land of Approximate Time.”

The club was small and very jolly, and I quite enjoyed the evening. There was only one Japanese lady there, the mother of one of the students, who was herself half German. She was very charming and much more intelligent-looking than the pure Japanese women. There was a small earthquake this evening.

December 12.—Another earthquake this morning! but quite small, and still a third at midday, also too small to be any fun. We are having lovely, hot, sunny weather, and for the first time there were a number of house flies in my room.

December 13.—A bright sunny day with a clear blue sky and ice pillars on the ground—such heavenly weather that I hated to remain in the Institute. Dinner with the G——s at the Embassy in the evening.

December 17.—The machinery for the fossils is now installed and very fine it is. It is far and away more compact, more ingeniously contrived, and grander than our English outfit. I have been endlessly astonished at the resource displayed by Professor F—— in the whole business.


December 18.—A day at the Institute testing the cutting-machine. As to-day the machinery goes for the first time, all the workmen have to be treated to Soba (a kind of macaroni made of buckwheat), and we had the chief engineer from the factory to tea. The machinery goes almost noiselessly, and the ingenious shield round the wheel makes it very clean. At present, however, it cuts rather slowly, probably because the wheels are new and have not got thoroughly penetrated by the carborundum. In the evening I went to a nice dance.

December 19.—A quiet day at the Institute. The Japanese fossils are harder than the English ones, and take a lot of cutting.

In the evening the Geologists of Tokio gave me a dinner—European style, of course; they cannot understand that I would much prefer Japanese style. There were no other ladies, and no foreigners, and the dinner was very enjoyable; as nearly all of them could speak English or German, conversation did not flag. I am beginning not to be so afraid of after-dinner speeches, though I make them very short.

Afterwards we sat round and talked music the whole evening, some examples of all their kinds being given by a dear old fat professor, whose name I have forgotten, and who looked very German. It seemed rude to refuse to let them hear English and other European music, so I sang a Norwegian, a Scotch, an English, and a German song; the two latter they did not like—the two former pleased them, as I knew they would. Their music is so fundamentally[81] different that they cannot like our music without training, particularly soprano singing; the minor key Scotch things appeal to them much more directly. I rather like their music, which is somewhat unusual for a foreigner—but the strained sound in it which they cultivate (a question largely of breathing) spoils it for me. On the other hand, our clear notes, with no sound of the breath, do not please them!

But, as they are always telling me, a foreigner cannot understand their tastes.

Two of the party saw me home at the modest hour of half-past nine, but as the dinner began at five, my entertaining powers were pretty well exhausted.

December 20.—A day at the Institute cutting slices of the fossils.

December 21.—I spent the morning at the Institute and the afternoon shopping for Christmas, and the latter was most entertaining. The shops are delightful, but the kankobas are much nicer. They are a kind of bazaar or arcade, where all manner of things are sold, and one walks as through a maze between the stalls in little winding alleys. They are filled with lower and middle-class Japanese, all buying their year-end presents. Gifts are given from the 25th to the 30th of the month, and every one has to give every one something. Also every one has to pay every farthing he owes by the New Year, so that it is a great time of settling up, and those who cannot make two ends meet, though honest for the rest of the year, are very apt to turn burglar for the few days before the 1st. Householders have to be very careful just now.


December 22.—The fascination of Tokio streets is upon me. How often does one come out into a lonely country lane, or turn into a gem of a little temple garden so near a busy street!

Coming home down a steep hill at sunset I saw the great Fuji Mountain standing out in all its calm magnificence, black and grey against a crimson sky. The huge single cone, with sweeping curves, was like a silhouette, and below rolled a tumbled wave of smaller hills, while high above the one clear evening star shone over the great peak.

Every evening on my way home I see the clear evening star, that seems larger and more brilliant in this land than anywhere else I have been. The days and nights are heavenly now.

December 23.—All to-day I worked at the Institute—the cutting-machine is now getting finally smartened up. The Hokkaido fossils are unfortunately harder, and therefore slower to cut, than the English ones were at home, as we have been testing to-day.

December 24.—More presents, and further work on the cutting-machine.

December 25.—A brilliant sunny Christmas. I was taken to church by the P——s. Then went to midday dinner with Mrs. W——.

After that I went for tea (though after the dinner it was quite impossible to eat anything) to the English Sh——s. Then in the evening had dinner at the P——s, where I spent the night. We had a very jolly time, and I won the prize (a silver spoon) at the Geography Game, of all things!


December 26.—In the morning we all spent the time skipping in the garden to work off yesterday’s feeds, and as the afternoon was my day at home, I went home: several nice people called, among them Professor S——, who brought gifts, one of which was a huge and beautifully executed enlargement of the group at the University the day of his silver professorship celebrations.

December 27 and 28.—The fossils fill all my time, so I cannot have Christmas holidays. I worked at the Institute; nothing special arose.

December 29.—Round my house the garden is now ready for the onslaught of winter. All the delicate shrubs done up in straw, and decorated with little top-knots, they look quaint. Then the bare ground is covered with straw, and very neatly edged with rope to look pretty. Some of the pine trees which have rather brittle branches have a kind of tent of string over them, which is to prevent the weight of the snow breaking them, so that everything looks neat and well prepared for the cold.


The Camellia tree has still opening flowers, out in this neatly packed-up little garden, and they look gay among its glossy leaves.

It is only at nights that it is so cold, and then often there is more than an inch of ice on our little pond, all to be melted in the sun of midday.

December 30.—The University is shut for the New Year holiday, so I cannot work there now, and played tennis in the morning and spent the rest of[84] the day “domestically.” The climate rots one’s clothes so, that there is plenty to do. I also made up some writing.

January 1, 1908.—This is the greatest day of the year in Japan. Until long past midnight the people in my house were up preparing for it. Outside the door of every house is a pair of leafy bamboos and pines, and over every front door a line of pointed straws. Most also have a wreath with fern leaves, sea-weed, fish, and a large kind of bitter orange—each of these symbolic of some special aspect of good luck. In the house are found the mochi cakes, a kind of round cake made with much-pounded rice-paste, a horrid glutinous sticky mass, but very essential for the future welfare of the household! These are put two together in little piles; and there is a pair of big ones, 10 inches or so across, and a number of little ones all round it. The little ones are distributed on white papers in various nooks and crannies of the house, and are said to be for the rats, though those I have watched have not appealed as yet to those ubiquitous creatures. At the end of the year there is a rampage of present-giving, in which, of course, I had to join. The gift from my house lord overwhelmed me with its splendour: he presented a beautiful ancient sword, with pearl-inlaid sheath, a handle richly set, and ornamented with gold flowers. I had given very small things, only cotton dresses to the maids, and a silk bag to the lady. The sword is a gem, and I love it very much—but perhaps it is only lent me for the year I am here: I don’t quite[85] know, but gathered from their flow of words that I was to take it to England.

On the first day of the year every one wears their very grandest silk robes, and instead of my usual breakfast I was requested to partake of the prescribed New Year dishes. The two maids and the mistress, all in their best (and in their best the Japanese women are truly butterfly-like and fascinating), brought a tray, and on the tray a stand of old valuable lacquer with three lacquer drinking-cups, out of all of which I should have drunk, and exchanged with her, the special sweet saké that is a vital element in the proceedings. To pacify my hostess I sipped from one, and handed it to her. She raised the cup to her forehead and drank also a sip. Then I had to eat the three foods. A kind of paste, or rather “shape,” of finely-pounded fish, a kind of rolled omelette, and a mash of sweet stuff made principally of chestnuts, and, of course, mochi. The three subsidiary dishes I did not eat, one of which looked too queer, a kind of foundation of small brown beans with brilliantly coloured pickles. The dishes were covered with beautifully embroidered silk crape, representing a gold tortoise or turtle (old age luck), storks (ditto), pine, plum blossom, and other New Year symbolic plants and animals.

I had a present from one of the men at the Institute of a dear little dwarf plum tree, with sweet-smelling pink blossoms, which scented the room. There is not a sign of a leaf on the little tree, which is now covered with blossom.


The streets of Tokio are simply enchanting, the pine and bamboo at every door, and wherever there are shops, strings of gay red and white lanterns. At night it is a fairy-land. All the girls, and a good many of the boys, all in their very best, are out in the streets playing battledore and shuttlecock with gaily decorated bats and light feathered cocks—such bright, pretty groups.

In the afternoon I went to the reception at the British Embassy, held after the Court, with nearly every one in Court dress and uniforms—some too magnificent. There was quite a crush of Pomp and Circumstance, and the brilliance can only be imagined by those who have been to Court, and they need no description of it. Yes, clothes make the man, and ’tis well that gold lace is so dear, or we would all be Personages.

January 2.—This morning I started to the seaside, Kamakura, with the P——s. This little village is only thirty miles or so from Tokio, and one can run down in a couple of hours (quick for Japanese railways), and get a nice sandy beach and wild hills.

At the hotel, which is quite European, there was a number of other English, and we joined forces, and went picnics and had games and dances together in high feather.

The principal sight of the place is the great Dai Butsu, or gigantic metal statue of a seated Buddha. Most Japanese Buddhas are travesties of nature and abominations of art—but this one compels reverence and attracts devotion. Its stillness (a stillness far[87] greater than that of a house, a statue, or any ordinary inanimate thing), its great size and the wonderful calm on the face, the beautiful human lips and broad-based nose, all make one dream and presently drop a tear or two if no one is looking. Several of us went together by day to see it—but in the evening I slipped off alone to its little grove and saw it in the starlight. Unfortunately there was no moon that night. For technical descriptions of its size, etc. you can see the guide-books or hear any traveller’s gossip. It is one of the sights of Japan.

January 3.—We all went for a picnic all day on the hills, looking out over the sea on three sides: and we had a sleep on the hill-top at noon, and came back as it grew cold at 4 o’clock for tea.

January 4.—Also a lovely day, only I wandered off alone and got lost in the long bamboo grass, 10 feet high, and got no lunch. I came back for tea at 4 all right, however. It is a curious sensation coming down a steep hill-side with no path through this high stuff. I don’t want to repeat it.

January 6.—The day was spent at the Institute: the floor of the fossil laboratory is being concreted, so it is locked up for a bit. All my time was taken up with the welcome letters which I found awaiting me, having accumulated for a number of days, during which there was an exceptional lot of mails.

January 7.—All day at the Institute, picking up dropped stitches. The term has not yet begun for the students.

January 8.—I was at the Institute in the morning,[88] and at Professor F——’s for tea in the afternoon, where some New Year customs and flowers were shown, the New Year plants being the pine, the plum, and the bamboo.

January 9.—The New Year decorations are beginning to be pulled down from the streets, but a little tuft of pine is left in the place of each, and sometimes surrounded with a garland of rope.

As I was at home this afternoon, I had long talks with my landlady, to whom I seem to afford a great amount of interest. The clothes of a Japanese woman are really very cold and draughty for winter, because of the way the skimpy skirt opens in front (there is no front seam, it is only folded and confined by the broad obi or belt), though they may have as many as half a dozen padded garments on at once. She sees me, of course, in all stages of dress and undress, and greatly admires my warm spun knickers and stockings!

January 10.—I have been in this house now nearly two and a half months—except, of course, when I have been away—and every night I have had identically the same things for dinner. Dreadful! Not at all—I have come to the conclusion that it is a most excellent plan. How many men and women are worried and bored by the never-ending question, “What can we have for dinner?” If you always have the same things this most troublesome of all domestic problems disappears. No one wants anything but water to bathe in, unless they be fairy princesses or Queens of Scots, and yet the delight of[89] a bath never palls: in these months I have had the same things to eat daily and relished them hugely. Consciously or unconsciously, we are so much the creatures of habit that if we are led to expect variety in our dinners, the same menu repeated twice becomes tiring and three times insufferable. We even remember what we had last week—but if we have daily food always the same, we judge only its quality, and if it is well cooked, relish it. Of course the menu must be wide and well chosen. I, for example, have the same five kinds of vegetables always served with my small piece of steak, and the frying of the fish is superb. From this peace I am now driven out by my landlady, who has at last realised that some variety would be, to say the least of it, usual. She consulted me about it, and has bought a cookery book of “sea food,” as foreign cookery is called, so I gave her a lesson in soups for a beginning, that being the part of the menu she managed least well. Oh me!—those dear peaceful dinners—I recommend every one to try the plan; it is philosophically sound and practically excellent.

I went to lunch at the Faculty and found many, but not all, the Professors there. Term has only theoretically begun. The day has been gloriously brilliant, so that one could shout for joy, though after sunset it was frightfully cold. At half-past five the stars came out, brilliant points of diamond light through the trees.

January 11.—I spent all the morning testing copper disks and the gas-engine, etc., though it was[90] Saturday. Late in the afternoon I called on a Mrs. K—— with a card of introduction. Unfortunately, I have been far too busy to present half my introductions, but I wanted to know some more Japanese ladies, so called on this one. What a contrast she was to the others I have met! Running downstairs to meet me and chattering all kinds of greetings, expostulating against my removing my shoes (a thing, by the way, which is absolutely essential in all true Japanese houses, because of their beautiful floors), commenting on the weather, and thanking me for coming till my breath was quite taken away. Soon I discovered the reason for all these unusual things—she had been eleven years in America, and had studied at one of the Universities. Her husband had been eight years in America. She was exceedingly nice, but so unlike a Japanese! with her thickly scattered adjectives of “dear,” “sweet,” and “lovely,” though she was dressed in Japanese style.

We were comparing the marriage customs of the different nations. In Japan a man asks, “Whom does my father and mother wish for me,” if he does ask anything at all. In New York the man asks, “How much money has she?”—in Boston, “In which College did she study?”—in Philadelphia, “Who were her ancestors?”—and in England, “Does she love me?” Mrs. K——’s marriage seems to have been made in Boston: her subject was zoology and her husband’s medicine—all very unusual in a Japanese. She informed me that Japanese clothes are so much more difficult to make than foreign,[91] which astonished me, for there are only straight lines in a Japanese dress. But it has to be evenly padded and lined, which makes the trouble. She also informed me that all the English and Americans married to Japanese are so “sweet and dear”—the different customs making their characters patient and charming.

It is true that in their eyes the average Westerner is childishly quick-tempered and troublesome.

January 12.—New Year calls on Professor and Mrs. S——, and a dinner-party at Professor F——’s, where every one but I was Japanese. Though the food was all European, we sat on the floor all the time and ate off a table a foot high. After dinner numerous reproductions of famous pictures were brought out, and I amused myself (and them also, I expect) by making them give their real opinions on the beauty or otherwise of the people in them. Most of our beautiful women would be wasted in Japan. Blue eyes are hard and unloving! Burne-Jones’ chins are laughable; Botticelli’s Madonna has no beauty and the saints are ugly. But Burne-Jones’ women’s hands are lovely, and the reflection in the water of one of his attendants of Venus very lovely too. Turner’s pictures are too crowded with detail!! Kaulbach was much admired.

January 13–15.—These three days have been very cold, and I have been at the Institute practically all the time cutting fossils; the machine going at normal speed, giving finally very good results. But who would have imagined that on the amount of[92] water dropping on the revolving wheel depends the rate at which you cut through your stone—or that carborundum put on at 1 inch or 2 inches from the cutting point makes all the difference in the world? These and a thousand little details like them have to be learnt by series of experiments. The weather has been lovely, and even wonderful. One day there was snow, and it covers these little Japanese houses so picturesquely, picking out the detail and making them more like picture-book-land than ever. The sky is brilliantly blue, and the hot sun melts the snow on the little pine trees, so that they are like fountains of glittering drops, while from the grassy banks beneath them soft wreathing clouds of white steam curl up and are lost in the blue, and I long to be a poet. But the next day! The roads were quite unspeakable, and for many days following.

January 17.—At the Institute all day again. At 2 o’clock Sir Claude Macdonald (the Ambassador) and Mr. Clive (the Secretary) came to see me and the stones. The former is huge, and with his glorious fur-lined coat and pale-green suède-edged waistcoat, looked sadly out of place in my work-room, which is nearly filled with packing-cases and lumps of coal, but they stayed ever so long. The people are much honoured that the representative of his Britannic Majesty should have visited their Institute.

January 18.—I worked at fossils all day, and this evening, commencing at 5, was the Biologists’ supper. Every biologist in Tokio comes, from head professors to first-year students, about 130 in all, and I[93] was the only lady, of course. This time we ate from high tables, sitting on European chairs, but we ate Japanese food with chop-sticks! The most thrilling things were sagittaria and ginkgo seeds! cooked quite soft in a dish which is a kind of cross between a soup and a custard (a gay thing to eat with chop-sticks any way!), and by carefully biting the tiniest piece off the top of the seed one can see the embryo and suspensors; the endosperm alone, of course, is the only part eaten. Just as we have chocolates or almonds on the table through the meal, they had tins of tiny dried fish, about half an inch or so big and quite crisp, like roasted pea-nuts. It was a very frivolous meeting; there was story-telling with much laughter, and comic pictures of various professors and students under amusing circumstances; and a drawing by lot for gifts of all sorts of things, from an old newspaper or a turnip to books or ornaments.

January 24.—Canada Balsam is causing much trouble in the fossil work-shop, and I spent most of the day over its little fads and vagaries. The young man who is to learn how to cut the fossils (after we have learnt ourselves and can teach him) is very quaint in his personal appearance, and reminds me constantly of the Golliwog, his hair grows so far down his neck and the back of his head is so flat. I fear some day I shall give vent to the amusement he causes me. But he is undoubtedly quick in some ways and very tidy in his methods.

January 25.—I had to mess round over the gas-engine all the morning, and in the afternoon (Saturday)[94] went to watch some of the mad foreigners playing, or trying to play, I should say, Hockey. They were only six a side, but I really wouldn’t join in spite of their entreaties, for they were not playing on grass, but on bare earth! The dust was awful, and I should think very unhealthy. It is simply impossible to get any grass in Tokio, it is only to be seen in small quantities in a few sacred places, and even then dies down all through the winter, so that it is quite unusable. Moss and liverworts grow here so well that it is very curious that grass is so impossible to cultivate. Professor M—— is trying experiments with English grass seed at the gardens, but it isn’t very successful, though better than the native product.

January 26.—I called on Mrs. G—— at the Embassy. I heard a true story of certain small children in Yokohama, a girl and a boy: the former caused her mother much sorrow because of her habit of fibbing. Her brother fell out of the window and was helpless in bed for some time, and she was left to amuse him one Sunday afternoon. When the mother returned she found pencil scribbling all over her white dimities, and said, “Who did this?” (a form of question she usually avoided, using subtler means). “Brother,” promptly answered the maiden. When asked why she told that lie, said, “Because I forgot Brother couldn’t get out of bed to do it!”

January 27.—A day spent on work of various sorts on the fossils. A terrible wind suddenly arose in the afternoon, and going home along the streets it blew first on one side and then on the other, and the dust[95] it raised hung like a fog all over the city, while the sun, usually a fiery brilliance at which one dare not blink, hung like a disk of pale gold in the fawn-coloured sky. Along the road, as one walked, fancying peace, suddenly a snake-like form would rise, its cobra head would expand till it formed a huge surging wave, that spit and stung and blinded; or a little whirlpool would start at one’s feet, shake itself and open in a second into a great torrent, that showered upwards instead of downwards. I never saw such dust, but they say it will be worse in February.

January 30.—A national holiday, so no work was allowed at the Institute. I gave a tea-party, only to about twenty people, of whom the merriest and jolliest was Baron K——! When I have seen him hitherto it has been in solemn manners. The intense agitation this caused in my house all day cannot be imagined by you English people who give tea-parties every little while! The entire household for the entire day was quivering with excitement; and I must add to their credit that they produced several treasures of art, kakemonos and gold screens, from the go-down (or safe), where they are kept.

January 31.—I was fossil-cutting all day, a nice new stem and leaf turned up to cheer us on. The following cutting may be amusing; it was in the Japan Gazette a few days ago:—

An amusing incident occurred at an “At home” in Tokyo this week. A matron, talking to a slender young woman in a pretty art gown of blue velvet, said, “Oh, I hear Dr. Stopes is here. I[96] want to meet the delightful old party. I understand he is strong on fossils.” Later on she said to her hostess, “Who is that girl I’ve been talking to, in the blue dress? seems a nice girl.” “That is Dr. Stopes, the learned geologist,” said the hostess, and the Yokohama matron collapsed.

February 1.—I was fossil-cutting all morning. Aluminium, of all metals, seems to be forging ahead as the prize saw-maker.

February 2.—A dull day, so I didn’t go out exploring as I had intended, but snuggled into bed all the morning to counteract the cutting-machine, which is really rather wearing.

February 3.—At work all day on the fossils. Dinner at the P——s, after which I had to give the long-promised lecture on fossils to the Literary Society of Tokio. Naturally, to an audience in which missionaries played an important part, but little science was desirable. However, they seemed pleased to hear about the various adventures connected with fossil collecting.

February 4.—At work in the Institute over fossils all day. In the course of my walk to the Institute, which takes about forty minutes, I pass quiet streets which are little frequented by the foreigner. In all these months I have never yet met a single foreigner between my house and the Institute, though in other parts of the town they are common enough.

Every day I see something or other I long to record, and forget when it comes to writing this journal what it was.

The shops are now full of oranges. Small ones, like our “Tangerines,” but native grown, and[97] seedless. They are sent to the shops in little boxes, universally the same size. How sensible the Japanese are about such things—in spots! But oranges are a little tedious, and there is really almost nothing else to be had but tasteless and expensive apples. This country is still in that primitive state when we can only get the fruits and flowers that are locally in season. Even well-off people, who at home could command strawberries in March and roses in December, must here eat the things at the time Nature intended. It has a certain charm but—I am a Londoner.

Another striking thing about this country’s products is the extraordinary richness and variety of the vegetation,—palms and pines, bamboos and magnolias, chestnuts and orange trees, rice and roses; the number of plant species in the little country of Japan alone exceeds that in all Europe. Also the number of species of birds and insects is extraordinarily great, and their brilliance and beauty quite unusual. Yet it has been said by one who knows the country, “The flowers have no scent, the fruit no flavour, and the birds no song!”

To this, I myself would add, “and the people no souls.” And in the whole saying there is truth enough to justify its existence, probably as much truth as there is in any saying, for in all our sheaves of words there are but a few ears bearing the grains of truth. Now I hasten to add that a spray of plum blossom in January scents a whole room with its fragrance; that the native-grown figs are the most[98] luscious and sweet I ever tasted, and the nightingales’ thrilling melody to be heard even in the cities; while I have met men and women who are as the plum, the fig, and the nightingale. And yet on the whole, that hard saying is true.

February 5.—At the fossil workshop all day. Nearly every day in this clear weather I see the great Fujisan, its whiteness high up in the clouds on the horizon. The pearl of mountains, that, alas, I have not seen yet except from this great distance. From her superb height she looks down on this grey-roofed city, and I wonder if she sees in it all the things I see! The dirt, for instance, and the horrors of disease. I have praised so much in Tokio that I think you can bear to hear something of the other side, of the sights that sicken and appal. Of these, the ones that struck me first were the numerous children (only very young ones) with frightful eczema; the one that now haunts me is the sight of lepers. They are not allowed to live in the city, when in an advanced state of disease, but they are allowed to come in and beg. One may easily touch one by accident! To-day I was within a foot of one before I noticed it. They hold out their hands, with the fingers eaten away, gruesome sights, and mumble prayers for alms. Once one died, or nearly died, on the road, a crowd formed round, with a policeman on guard, but no one would touch it to give assistance.

On the whole, the Japanese do not fear leprosy nearly so much as we do, they say we over-rate its[99] contagion; but how can they pretend to civilisation with such sights in their streets?

One hears on all sides, from themselves and from others, that the Japanese are pre-eminently a clean people. In their houses that is true, but just outside! Even to-day in all the smaller streets of Tokio a little gutter or ditch runs along on either side and carries away, or is blocked by, as the case may be, all the refuse and drainage of the houses near by. No wonder that even Ambassadresses get typhoid. I am thankful there are chickens kept by so many poor people, that roam the streets and pick at the dainties, but I wonder if it is wise to take a raw egg beaten into milk.

February 6.—There are more stars in Japan than in (or over, should I say?) England. After the glowing sun sinks from the cloudless blue sky, the stars spring out at once, and by 6 o’clock the heavens are crowded. In the milky way one sees not a haze of white, but a glittering stream of bright minute gems. Sometimes too the stars have haloes, quite big ones, such as we only see round our moon, and when they shine out of the clear sky they almost dazzle.

February 7.—I was at the fossil laboratory all day, cutting away at my stones. Dinner with the P——s, and after that the Tokio Bachelors’ Ball—a truly delightful function. I left at 2 A.M. and walked the 3 odd miles home with two nice men. It was really too cold to ride in these open kurumas, even with two rugs and an eiderdown. The walk through the[100] quiet streets under these ever enchanting stars was delightful. One of the men was a military attaché here, and has been to camp with Japanese regiments. I find every one who knows only military men thinks less highly of the Japanese character than do those who mix with the University men. It is not unnatural that the army is rather suffering from “swelled head”—and then, who would give a German Professor for half a dozen or more of the German officers!

February 8.—Though Saturday, and though I did not get to bed till 4, I went to the fossils from 10 till 4, and then to tea with Professor F——, where we discussed dancing, which does not seem to find favour in his eyes, or in those of most Japanese.

February 9.—A nice quiet morning in bed; after lunch I went with Miss C—— and J—— to see the temple of Kwannon at Akasaka. People who habitually drive in carriages see less of the truly Japanese streets than do the kuruma riders. Most of the old roads are so narrow that a carriage cannot pass, and they must perforce go through the newer or widened streets, where they encounter electric trams and maybe glass-windowed stores for “Foreign Goods.” Not that these latter do not afford amusement—one may see a Store that carries on the “Import and Manufacture of Grocers”—another that sells “Unnecessary Provisions.” Of which latter I may add there are many in Tokio, to wit, the beaded mittens, crochet atrocities, Paisley shawls, etc., ad infinitum, that are destroying the beauty and harmony[101] of the national costume, and are making the people ludicrous in their hybrid garb. An irritating little habit the coachman and Betto[4] have, is to cry in hoarse duet to every child or old woman (of which not less than several thousand seem to be encountered in a drive) to warn them off the road. It becomes inexpressibly irritating to the unfortunates in the carriage.

I think I have already spoken of the temple, the most popular one in Japan, where incessant crowds are praying or clattering through, or come with aches and pains to lay their hands on the wooden figure that will heal. It is a case of physician heal thyself, for the poor god has all its features rubbed flat by the hands of a sick humanity. The temple is so popular and so certainly described in every book of travel, that I shall not stop to do so. It is situated in the Whitechapel of Tokio, and the stalls and entertainments in the neighbouring grounds are reminiscent in some degree of a Bank Holiday—though noisy behaviour is lacking.

February 11.—A national holiday, so that schools, etc. are closed. To-day the Emperor ceremoniously worships his ancestors, attended by practically all the Government head officials, including Professor M——, who wears a uniform smothered with gold lace. I went to lunch with Mr. Mj—— in his house in Azabu, which is surrounded by a lovely garden, with pines and a pond and regular scenery. The party was composed of foreigners, and we sat at a table 1 foot[102] high, and had a sumptuous Japanese luncheon. His two little girls—aged six and eight, in brilliant true Japanese kimonos—were very gay in entertaining us, pouring out the saké and singing many little songs (“God save the King” among them), and bringing their dolls to table. Not at all shy, and not at all like Japanese children in this, and yet not forward, they were pretty, bright little things.

February 13.—Fossil-cutting all morning. We are getting on finely now; it is nice to see the actual structure at last, leaves, stems, and roots are turning up with all their cells very well preserved in the stone.

February 15.—Fossil-cutting all the day. The engine has a curious way of giving little explosions when it is not quite clean at the burner—they make the boy jump to such an extent that I fear he is a coward. Also, when I put the molten pans of metal into water and they fizzle, he won’t go on working near me till I have assured him that it is perfectly safe. I sometimes wonder if the Japanese are really brave except when worked up to it en masse. Several people who have been here some time tell me they think they are not.

February 16.—I spent the day out of Tokio in a country place, about an hour-and-a-half’s walk from Akabane. The country was slightly hilly, the sunshine brilliantly hot, and the jagged snow-covered hills in the distance very lovely. The fields were cultivated with wheat and green stuff, and here and there patches filled with the round tea bushes. The[103] houses were all set amid trees, tall and red-brown trees, though “evergreens.” The same leaves, now looking so dead, revive their chlorophyll, and become green in the spring. The plum trees, pink and white, were in bloom, but they were the only flowers we saw. In the plain were rice fields, all dead and brown, but here and there along the little irrigating canals green grass roots flourished. Japanese grass all goes brown in the winter, but I am beginning to suspect that it is the dryness that does it, for here and there in damper, very shady places, I find brilliant green roots. By the broad river, with only one house near it, and that set some way back in clumps of bamboo, was a plain of tall coarse reed-like plants, partly cut down for mat-making. Here we are promised masses of pink primroses in the spring. Some young bamboos were green, and amid these we lay and listened to the absolute silence, undisturbed all the day. There was not even a bird’s song or an insect’s buzz, and one might have imagined it the top of some snowy peak for the stillness of it all.

In the evening I went to dinner at the G——s, and enjoyed it very much; there were some entertaining people there.

February 17.—On my way to the College I pass a small factory, whose owner keeps his coal piled up in a great heap on the road against the wall. It doesn’t seriously interfere with the traffic, as the road is quite wide enough for a good-sized cart to pass even with it there, and I have never seen two trying to pass. The coal has been there many weeks now, but no one[104] seems even to think of stealing it, though the houses around are extremely poor. I thought it wonderful honesty till I remembered that the Japanese think coal horrid, smoky, dirty stuff, quite unfit for use in rooms, but even so, in their bath-tubs they burn wood, and it might well tempt them to go after dark and help themselves. The streets, of course, are totally devoid of “street lamps.”

February 19.—I often wonder why I have not mentioned before the most extraordinary furs worn by the Japanese men. Though the fox is a kind of evil witch, a devil in popular imagination, yet practically every man wears a great fox skin round his neck. No pretence about making up into “boas” or anything: it is simply the whole skin, unlined, and doubled, fur outwards, along the middle of the back. The tail is then put through a hole in the animal’s head or neck, and both hang down in front of the wearer. A really rich man has so fine a skin that the bushy, brilliant red-yellow tail hangs down to his waist, waving around when he walks. Japanese ladies almost never wear furs, except when in foreign costume.

February 20.—Quietly busy over the fossils. There is no need to relate the innumerable details that require attention or exasperate one—the sections are yielding good results, all things considered, and I quite enjoy the cutting.

February 21.—Though the sun is so hot through the day that I sit in it with almost nothing on but a thin slip, night and morning are so cold that one[105] shivers, and the ice is thick on the little pond in my garden. Yet a stark-naked youth comes to the well in the next garden, and a trim little maid works the rope and brings up buckets of cold water, which he pours over himself, and then proceeds to dry himself with a towel which he first carefully soaks in water (in the true Japanese way). This corner of the garden is the meeting-place of three gardens, and the well is common to the three households, so that sometimes a second maid may assist in his morning amusement. Behind the trees I can see the painted wood walls of the Mission church, where people go in European clothes to sing hymns.

February 22.—I had been really bullied into playing Hockey to represent the world against Japanese-born British. They were, of course, far stronger than we, as nearly all live together in Yokohama and practice twice a week, while none of us had played together before. We got 2 goals to their 4, however, and patted ourselves on the back.

Returning by train (Yokohama to Tokio, of course, is the chief line of rail in the country, so that the incident should not be compared with doings in some far-off highland place in Scotland), the train suddenly drew up with a jerk, far from one station and about the same distance from the next. The passengers were surprised, some slightly alarmed, and the train calmly waited for some time and then started racing back to the station from which we had come. We all resigned ourselves to a broken bridge, overturned carriages on the track, or something of the sort, and[106] finally drew up at the station we had just left—much commotion on the platform, and we learned that from the luggage van some parcels had not been delivered! They were delivered over to the proper person and the train started off once more, to reach Tokio not a little late.

February 24.—There have been signs of the coming Dolls’ Festival, to take place on the 3rd day of the 3rd month. I have mentioned them already (see p. 74). The shops are now full of them, and most fascinating they are, but too expensive to indulge in as I should like. The figures are all in little boxes, and sit solemnly, with their stiff robes spread out, as though they were really the nobles that they represent, and every one is interested in buying them, or at least gazing at them in their temporary homes. Several shops have sprung up this week filled with these boxes of dolls, and selling nothing else.

February 25.—At work all day at fossils, the record so far, for with the boy I cut and finished eleven sections in one day, some very nice. A ball at the British Embassy in the evening, very pleasant. Many interesting and amusing things happened, but unless given in great detail would not appeal to any one outside local gossip. Captain von L—— introduced me to the loveliest woman there—an American (sad to hear their awful accent coming out of such patrician lips!), the one who at a previous dance had so entranced me and my young partner that we spent our sitting-out time following her around to see her eat ices and laugh; her manner was perfection—[107]calm, still, and gracious, honey-sweet looks in eyes that never smiled while one was speaking to her, and that just broke into little curls of smiles as she answered—a suggestion of humility while waiting to hear another’s banalities, yet with it a commanding dignity that forbade any one else to interrupt the person who was speaking to her. Her name is Mrs. D——, and I am going to see her, as she very graciously invited me to do. I wonder if she includes thought-reading among her other charms and read my admiration? Her high-heeled pink satin slippers twinkled gaily in the dance; she did not hesitate to lift the Worth frock very high—with such ankles I wouldn’t! On her white soft neck were the loveliest little blue veins, I never saw anything so suggestive of living marble. She was like white marble, with an underflush of rose and violet. The little wrinkles at the corners of her eyes added to her charm rather than detracted from it. She is the only woman in Tokio who has bewitched me.

There was a very striking-looking girl, daughter of a French mother and a Japanese father, her hair done cavalier fashion, with a side bunch of ringlets under a big white bow; her very French frock and tiny waist became her well, and she strode through the Lancers with such a devil-may-care manner that we could not but remark her—favourably too in spite of it all.

Tokio is a fine soil for gossip, very good-natured and amusing. I love it, it’s such a relaxation after gas-engines and fossils.


February 27.—Sunshine wonderful again—just the remains of the recent snow left here and there. I regret to find that the people in my house have been lying to me for long about a point on which I laid some stress—a whole complex of lies as well as the actual disobedience.

February 28.—I visited the Charmer to-day, and stayed an unconscionably long time. No one has bewitched me in this way since my school-days. She had a lovely gown of blue-and-white chiffon. Several people were there—Baron and Baroness S——, Count C——, and the wife of the Swiss Minister. I had about half an hour of the Charmer to myself—her husband is the Naval Attaché. She was simply alluring, and her house is far the prettiest I have yet seen in Tokio. She was telling me how all the Corps Diplomatique agree that there is no capital in the world where the social life is so delightful, and where there is so much gaiety and friendliness among the Corps as a whole, as in Tokio. Also there is really no other capital where other people can enter the charmed circle; that, of course, is the result of the small number of Westerners in the place, and their social position; as I have remarked before, there are almost no commercial people in Tokio.

At lunch at the Faculty to-day. Dr. Y—— brought me a paper on fossils to correct the English, he is soon starting for Europe. I have mentioned him before as being a rising paleontologist, such a shy, young-looking creature, utterly lacking in all social gifts; I wonder how he will fare in Europe, perhaps[109] some of you who read this may meet him. He is predestined to be professor in a new University about four years hence.

February 29.—I worked at the fossils till 12, and then set out for Baron H——’s long arranged luncheon party.

We were received in rooms with tables and chairs, and an oil-painting! There were the “lace” curtains found in every “foreign style” Japanese house, alas! The Baroness was very gracious and sweet, and acceded to my request to play on the Koto, playing a very charming piece.

As we sat on the cushions I could just see out of the small panes of glass put into the paper soji, and I delighted in the garden, with its trees of pink and white plum just bursting into blossom. After some time the men came in and Baron H—— showed us his collection of sword rings and knives, etc., all good, and some very beautiful.

March 1.—It was terribly wet all night and this morning; I went to lunch with Miss B—— (before mentioned as a very amusing lady, despite the fact that she is a missionary). I think no one would be better qualified to write memoirs than she. I was hearing something about the inner life of the Court at Korea. She is a friend of the English lady doctor who attended the royal ladies, and it was all extremely amusing, but it is not my place to tell her anecdotes.

I returned early to do some writing, but was greeted by my landlady with the announcement that to-day, to-morrow, and the next day are the Festival of the[110] Dolls. I must, therefore, drink some special sweet thick saké and eat various sweets, some nice little ones like fried caterpillars being very tasty. I was also asked to come and see the pictures and screens brought up from the store-house, two of them 200 years old, and one, a really magnificent one, 500 years,—gold with plum blossom and birds. I am constantly seeing new treasures they have in hiding.

They gave me a lovely granite hill with clustering rosy flowers growing round its base—all 6 inches square—and we admired together the wet pine leaves in the garden.

March 2.—Fossil-cutting all day; a very nice dance in the evening after dinner with the P——s, where I spent the night.

March 3.—The Dolls’ Festival. Mr. Mj—— and his three little girls have a very gorgeous collection; the dolls, however, are far too exalted for any child to play with them. The Mj——s must literally have hundreds of these expensive little miniatures of the Emperor and Empress in the old-style garments, of historical and mythological figures, of musicians and actors from the —all of whose dress is a wonder of design and execution. Then there were all the household utensils in tiny lacquered form, and on the little trays and dishes was real food arranged, as well as large models of fish in sugar. There was even a little temple, with most of the appointments correct. A large room was given over to them, and looked like a bazaar, but the arrangement was not merely chosen to display the detail, it was all according to prescribed rule—[111]the Emperor and Empress on the top shelf, with their jingling elaborate head-dresses and long silk tassels on their many robes; below them the musicians; on the lowest shelf the tray of food, the little houses, screens and fans in inexhaustible variety. The children are provided with special sweet food which they themselves eat, the crisp sweet “puffed” rice, sweet blocks of jelly and sugar concoctions of many kinds. The guests were also provided with these dainties, and some of them were delicious, but I could not drink the sauce-like saké.

In the evening there was our inaugural dinner of the London University Union in Japan. I found there was quite a number of old U.C.L. students in Japan, and so started the idea, which was very keenly taken up by Professor S——; others joined in, Baron K——, Professor S——, Professor F——, Professors L——, S——, etc. etc., up to the number of twenty-one, are members, and the first dinner was quite a success. Professor S——, Baron K—— and I form the Committee elected then, and I hope the Union will live. Cambridge and Harvard, etc. all have their Unions, why should London be less honoured and remembered by her children?

March 4.—A long day at fossils.

March 5.—Fossils till 4—then I went to tea with Mrs. D——. She had invited the American Ambassadress and her niece to meet me, and I liked them both. The former is very like a slightly slimmer and handsomer Miss S—— of Wintersdorf! Mrs. D—— had another lovely frock, and was a[112] dream of sweetness and beauty. Why do I always fall in love with women!

March 7.—Fossils all day till 4.30, then to tea with Dr. H—— and his wife, recently married and very cordial; they live in a really tiny Japanese house, no room more than six mats, but so spick and span, with a dear little garden. Though I have done my best to teach that man how to treat a wife—and he always seemed to be drinking it in quite properly—she herself brought the tea for us two, taking none herself (I know she has a maid), and sitting in the corner away from us, and not even taking a cushion to sit on, when he had been shamed into giving her one by my remarking that she had none. However, they seem happy, and she looks quite well, and she has not a soul quivering with every touch of the material things of life. She says he loves her very much, and has loved no other woman.

March 8.—To-day I visited the sick. Poor Mrs. G—— was riding in a kuruma a week ago and the Embassy carriage ran into her, knocked the kuruma to pieces, and the horse fell on Mrs. G—— and rolled over! How she escaped fearful injuries no one knows, but a muscle is severed and she can’t walk just now. She looked very pretty in bed, and was holding quite a court. Horses in Japan are really dangerous and constantly run away.

I called my duty call on Baroness H—— after the luncheon party, and the conversation did not flag, though what she thought of my Japanese (the horrors of which I am daily realising more acutely) I don’t[113] know, as she held it under with her fine native politeness.

I have read two interesting books this week—Lieutenant Sakurai’s Human Bullets and As the Hague Ordains, the supposed journal of the wife of a Russian prisoner who comes to him in Japan, and is gradually converted to love the Japanese. The first book was rather a shock to all one’s preconceived notions about the unflinching bravery and repression of feelings among the Japanese soldiers! They were either weeping or embracing each other or writing sentimental letters—on every other page. I was quite sick of all their tears and self-adulation, though the writer gave a vivid picture of the ghastly carnage of the siege of Port Arthur. Yet people praise the book and don’t seem to notice the sentimentality as much as I do. I wonder if those who praise it have read it.

I heard from an old resident (thirty years here) that the Japanese are the most sentimental people under the sun. Oh, ye who stop at home and dream your dreams about Japan! Stay there.

March 9.—The following happened a few days ago, and I should have put it in then, but I forgot. The day was miserable, wet, cold, and windy, with snow blustering about, and instead of quietly having lunch in the warm Institute I was told we were to go to the big state-rooms at the other side of the gardens. There I found that all the Biology students and the Botanical and garden staff were lunching in Japanese style. There was a special kind of pink rice, with small beans boiled with it, and the various more or less savoury[114] pieces of fish, vegetables, and a kind of pancake that go to make up a bento. Afterwards we all had packets of highly ornamental sticky cakes, chiefly made of the stodgy bean-paste I cannot eat, but some were good. This was the feast of the God Inari (the God of Rice), who is very appropriately worshipped by the botanists. After the feast we cowered under our umbrellas and went a pilgrimage through the gardens to his shrine, where we found the hundred-year-old blue cotton banner put up outside. Within the shrine was incense, lit by the Botanical Laboratory attendant, and a great tray of cakes, the same as we had been eating. Led by the Staff, we all rang the bell to call Inari’s attention to our visit, and clapping our hands in prayer we gave him a few sens each, throwing the copper coins in among the cakes. Then we ploughed our way through the bog-like paths to the Institute.

March 10.—So seedy that I did not get up at all. It is the very first day in my life that I have ever spent in bed (except for the measles, when I was too ill to notice anything much), and I feel it a solemn and important event. The first half of the day sped on magic wings, and I wondered how one could be so bête as to find bed a wearisome place when one is surrounded by the lovely golden lights on bare wood. How we spoil wood by staining and painting it! The range of delicate colour in the woodwork of my room is a perfect delight. Then I had also a little tree, shaped like a weeping-willow, but one mass of rosy pink plum blossom, some flowers wide open, with recurved petals and a flare of silver stamens,[115] others in perfectly round crimson buds, alluring as only roundness can be.

Till 3 o’clock in the afternoon that tree and the wood made me blissfully happy, but the hours between 3 and 5 seemed terribly long, and by night I was sated with the delights of bed. The next day seemed very far off.

March 13.—I went to the Institute in the morning and cut some fossils. It has simply been an influenza cold, but it has rather played havoc; after lunch at the Faculty and a long and varied talk with the Dean, I wasn’t fit to do any more, so I called on the B——s and went to tea with the Charmer on my way home to bed. I went to bed before 6 o’clock, and was so worn out that I howled for an hour, but dinner revived me, and I am now as cheerful as if I hadn’t contemplated suicide two hours ago. Tokio is a terrible place for ups and downs. To-day it is fearfully cold, even my bath towel frozen; and a week ago it was like summer for two days—one day a miserable snowstorm, the next glowing blue skies.

March 14.—In the afternoon a party had been arranged to visit a noted plum garden at Omori, and have tea in a tea-house. As the H——s had asked me to go home with them to dinner and sleep, I went, though by the end of the day I was far too tired out. We carried cakes, trusting the tea-house for cups and hot water. The plum garden was indescribably beautiful, and a typical “Japanese” scene. The garden sloped in the double hollow of a shell-shaped valley, and the rich white bloom on the trees surged[116] up it as the thick drifting mists surge up a mountain pass. Standing out from the cloud-sea of blossoms, like peaks from out the mists, were two or three tea-houses, white papered and inhabited by gaily-decked maidens, and men who admired the plums, in grey silk. The sky was clear sapphire, and the sea beyond lay like a blue gauze veil along the horizon. While the others went on into the midst of the trees, I left the garden and sat in the sun on the steps of a little temple, which was a perfect harmony of curves, and behind lay a bamboo grove.

Tea was amusing, for Captain S—— would not take off his boots, and therefore had to walk with his feet in the air; which he did on his knees or hands. The tea-house was perched on the side of a hill, and looked down on rice fields and woody patches on little elevations. After tea we explored the temple and its pretty groves, and had a lovely merry-go-round ride on the old revolving library, a huge thing, but so perfectly poised that we could all sit on it and go round without its even creaking.

March 16.—Called on Mrs. P—— on my way to the Institute in the morning. She captured me, and then and there my clothes were taken off and I was put to bed—and was secretly thankful to be there. She is quite exceptionally kind to take me in in this way.

March 25.—At work all day over fossils—then dressed in my green-and-gold Venetian dress and called on Mrs. G—— on the way to the Embassy dinner. She and her children were having a pre[117]liminary view of some of the gowns—she is, alas, still in bed. The party was splendid—several Japanese were there in magnificent old court dresses and simply marvellous arrangements for their hair. Baroness S—— also wore Japanese court dress. Perhaps I had better shortly describe it. The lower part consists of scarlet trousers with extremely wide stiff legs, and the garment is much like our “divided skirt” of some years ago, but the cloth is much stiffer. Over it is a gorgeously embroidered kimono, with sweeping train. Some of the hair ornaments are extremely bizarre, others (according to the period) rather simple, the hair falling down the back and tied in three places.

line drawing of a Japanese woman

One, something like the sketch, was very effective, the funny little brush of hair coming straight out at either side being its speciality. Several of the Englishmen came as Japanese pirates, etc., with great wigs of long hair, rich gold-embroidered robes and swords; the girls were not remarkable. After dinner we all went along to the German Embassy, and met there the parties from all the other Embassies. The scene in the reception-rooms and in the beautiful white ball-room was vivid and gorgeous beyond my power to describe. Whom to describe, when nearly all were beautiful or striking, and nearly all of the[118] important folk in Tokio were present? Count H—— (the foreign minister) was in old daimio dress, with two swords and rich brocade—and one could not imagine how he ever came to wear anything else! The evening was one to remember, with its brilliance and beauty and courtliness.

March 26.—Yesterday morning at breakfast I had imagined I would remain in my present house as long as I was in Japan. This morning by ten o’clock I had taken a house and garden of my own and engaged a maid!

Apparently, one can do things quickly sometimes in Japan, though it is usually a terrible business to get a house. Of course, I haven’t yet moved in, and “there is many a slip,” etc.

The house is tiny, but is said to have five rooms—the paper walls between these can be taken out at will to make two, or even one room. There are lots of cupboards, for in this, as in all true Japanese houses, the solid walls are all lined with great cupboards, a yard deep and reaching from floor to ceiling. The rent of the house with its garden is about 7s. a week! Less than I have been paying for my two rooms.

The joy of these houses is that one needs almost no furniture, they are provided with the soft, thick straw mats (tatami), and these serve as carpets if one likes. I infinitely prefer their delicate straw colour and black borders, which harmonise with the cream walls and unpainted woodwork, to the clashing carpets most people have. Then fireplaces being[119] absent, overmantels, fenders, coal-scuttles and fire-irons are all represented by a little china bowl of ashes, manipulated with metal chop-sticks. Beds, though introduced by many foreigners into such houses, I dispense with, and use the native mattresses on the mats, so that they are folded away in the big cupboards by day and the room is used for what one will. Wardrobes are also needless incumbrances, the wall cupboards serving excellently—wash-stands are but eyesores, as the little bath-rooms are so arranged that one can splash at will and the water all runs away from the sloping floor. So I am a householder, and prepared to lead the simple life.

Providence must have arranged it all, for the cook next door (that is at Mrs. P——’s, I forgot to state) has a protégée who wants an easy place in a foreigner’s house, and doesn’t care so much for money, as she is timid and wants experience before going to a big house—but she can bake bread and Scotch scones and cakes! I pay her 18s. a month and give her no food at all! She even brings her own saucepans and mattresses! Well, it all looks too good to be true, and until I have moved in I had better say no more about my own little house.

I went back to my present abode, for it was my At Home day, and I entertained some Japanese, who were charmed with Arthur Rackham’s illustrations of Rip Van Winkle, and thought they showed something of the spirit of Japanese art, which I think is true.

I flew down to the station for Yokohama, and[120] dined there with Mrs. L——, and dressed in a fancy dress costume and set out with her and her daughter to a mi-carême ball. I enjoyed the dance hugely.

March 27.—Rushed up to Tokio in the morning; to the University for lunch, where I had a long talk with the Dean. The Mitsui family (the Japanese Rothschilds) gave the money for the fossil laboratory and part of the apparatus, and the Dean proposes (now that everything is practically finished in the making of the arrangements) to give a tea-party in the Botanic Gardens to show the building apparatus and slides (I have cut 221 so far), as well as the new herbarium buildings. As I have often remarked, he is very English in his tastes and culture, and he planned to give what would be usual in England—tea and coffee and cakes. But when I saw him yesterday, how he had fallen! Nothing less than meats and wines and jellies would satisfy him. It was not his own wish, but he had been driven into it by the strength of the custom in Japan, which demands that if you have guests at all (even at 3 or 4 in the afternoon) you must give them a meat feed, and that they must eat like greedy schoolboys. Whence comes it? This mad ostentatious display, and the guzzling, which is so foreign to their real culture. A mutation derived from crossing such distinct cultures as those of Japan and Europe, not even a hybrid with the characters of one of the parents. Well, I laughed at Professor S——, for he said he hated the custom and had hoped to set the fashion for simplicity in this party of his, but that he was really[121] afraid to do so; he would be the laughing-stock of the Japanese if he only gave tea, coffee, and chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and sandwiches from 3 to 6 o’clock! I asked him where the spirit of his Samurai ancestors lay sleeping—asked him who could set the fashion for reasonable entertainments if not himself, in his exalted position of Dean of the University—and got him to swear to me that he would be a pioneer, that he would be brave and face the ordeal of being the laughing-stock of the Japanese. I wonder how it will go.

This unwritten law, which demands such a lavish hospitality if any is given, is, I see, one of the chief causes that there is so little social life, in our sense of the thing, among the Japanese. It is a real strain on their purse and their time, and they naturally ask guests seldom when they give so much trouble.

To ask a guest to come to your house and give him only tea and cake, or a dinner of no greater magnificence than the one you eat yourself every night, is almost impossibly rude.

After cutting fossils till 5, I went home to entertain a Japanese to the same food that I eat every day. Am I a laughing-stock among them? Doubtless, and for more things than one.

March 28.—Fossil-cutting all morning. Late in the afternoon I called on Mr. and Mrs. B——, who have come up to Tokio for a couple of weeks from Sapporo, where the snow is in parts 28 feet deep—the worst they have had for more than twenty years. They have brought up their adopted daughter—the[122] Aino girl I described from Sapporo—this time we were able to talk in Japanese, which of course she generally speaks.

March 31.—I am making the experiment of going on a walking tour for a few days with friends, and we have chosen Boshu peninsula, as it is little frequented and beautiful. We were up at 5 o’clock this morning. Very late too, as we should have got up at 4.30. However, we managed to catch the boat which is to take us to Boshu Province, the scene of our tour. The sail past Tokio down the bay was very calm and lovely; we had perfect weather and were allowed, as a special privilege, to go on the top front part of the deck, where we had a good view. Fuji gleamed white over clouds and pine tree foregrounds, and the sky was blue. The journey lasted seven hours, and we saw many small bays and islands down the coast, of perfect loveliness.

Landing at Hojo in Boshu about 1 o’clock, we walked across a point of the peninsula to Mera. Here the inn we expected to find was demolished, but we found another and got put up. It was next door to a big school, however, and we had a very large and very interested audience of about a hundred children in constant attendance. C—— had never been to a Japanese inn before, and we were a very merry party indeed. The scenery here was in no way striking, that I hope is to come.


April 1–5.—We have been walking all day all these days, and there was no time to write in this journal, for though we have walked and slept very little we[123] have eaten and talked and laughed so much that we had time for nothing else.

The first day’s walk was disappointing, flat, not very near the sea, and with villages every half-mile or so, but we reached a pretty place by 5 o’clock, and slept at Chikura in greater comfort than we did at Mera.

Between Chikura and Wada, our next day’s walk, the coast was prettier, but the weather dull, raining, in fact, and we did not get the sea-bathing we had hoped. At luncheon-time it was very wet, and we sat in a row under the porch of a Buddhist temple (it is like a country lich-gate) and ate our cold rations. An old woman stopped to gaze at us, and M—— (who speaks excellent Japanese, having been here since she was two years old) asked her if she thought we were funny to sit there. “No,” she said, “you came to play and you are playing. This child” (pointing to a baby of nine months on her back) “also plays.” Parts of the road were fascinating, through bits of pine wood and past many a little temple. I particularly noticed the great hedges, walls really, of podocarpus, and the numerous lovely blooming camellias, peach and cherry trees. Between Wada and Kominato the road was still prettier, with rocky bays and pines. We attracted a good deal of attention, because C—— and M—— had red hair and J—— yellow. I alone escaped most of it. The evenings were really very funny. We all dropped into Japanese ways soon enough. We had many jokes, but none of them would interest folk eleven thousand miles away.[124] Wada to Kominato was our longest day, and half the walking party got driven! What with our pack-horse laden with luggage and the two kurumas, M—— and I were highly amused at the walking tour. We were able to get milk nearly everywhere, which is noteworthy in Japan, where it is usually a great difficulty to find it outside the cities. The Boshu people drink it themselves, and excellent it was.

Kominato to Katsuura was a short walk, but a very wet one, and we became more Japanese than ever. I discarded boots and walked with my skirts up to my knees, bare legs and Japanese tabi, as did J—— and C——. We bought the great round bamboo hats the coolies wear, and were altogether very picturesque. I came to no harm, but the others were not so well wrapped up in woollen under-things, and C—— in particular suffered. It was funny, when she broke down, to see her gobble up three hard-boiled eggs faster than M—— could peel them for her! It became one of the jokes of the party. My saucepan (the little one I have carried in all my walking and many other tours, and that I bought in beloved München and made jam in) has also become proverbial. I told every one to bring one, but they all laughed the advice to scorn, and now grudgingly acknowledge the service mine does, though it runs itself off its legs to provide them with cocoa, and to turn hard uneatable meat into soup.

The hotels we have stopped at have been fairly good, but Japanese cooking does not always coincide with our tastes.


At Katsuura we turned in, wet to the skin, and very hungry, to the inn recommended to us, but found it rather more of a pot-house than any we had been in, so M—— and I went out in the torrents and sought another and found it—one with three stories (the first I have seen outside the city), the top one consisting of two lovely rooms, with verandah, which we took, and the beauty of the wooden trellis-work in the soji, the reverential politeness of the men and maids, and the luxury of silk to lie on and to cover us, was well worth the 5s. a day it cost! Hotels in Boshu are very cheap, and for the first time I have been astonished by the smallness of our bills—of course it is out of the way of Tokio and Yokohama people (seven hours in a small steamer, with sudden and frequent storms, keeps off a crowd), and there are no mines or special industries to bring commercial people. It seems to be a little scrap of Japan of thirty years ago, where the people were all simple-minded and polite, and content with little money. The beauty is not superlative, but is really very charming, and unspoiled, and with the lovely shore and blue sea, the place is well worth the visit.

On Sunday (5th) it was simply pelting with rain, and the roads were unspeakably awful with the heavy recent rains, so that we were quite gloomy. The third miserable day in succession, and we had such brilliant weather in Tokio for weeks! Ōhara is about 10 miles off, and we had reckoned to walk in there in time to catch the 3 train to Tokio, but it was impossible, and we chartered a basha (a kind of[126] carriage), reputed to hold eight, but we four found it a tight fit. I went with the others in it, instead of walking, though I felt like a shorn Samson, because I wanted to see them off at Ōhara, and really walking was an impossibility. After seeing them to the train, I was going on farther by myself. They had to return, because they teach in a school, and the holidays were to be over on Monday—but I am free a little longer.

Well, that basha, it was quite worth going into! No windows, but sides of beaten brass that would let down at our pleasure. The only drawback to brass as a window is that it necessitates patience. Unless we opened the windows we couldn’t see out, if we shut them they crashed and clattered like drums and cymbals. If we shut them we were stuffy, and if we opened them we were frozen and drowned by driving rain. We managed with forbearance and care to fit our knees into the space between the seats, but thought with wonder how a single other knee could get in, and the space was legally that for four more! The road was as indescribably rutty and muddy as a country road can be in any country of the world, and it had further a dash of a Swiss mountain road as it came along some of the cliffs by the sea. We were frightfully cold, and stopped at a tea-house to fill “Tommy,” the hot-water bottle, who had hitherto been a useless burden to the party, but was at a premium to-day. At this tea-house we also bought three bright red lobsters for 1¼d. each, and they helped to amuse us. Not long after we found that the wheel[127] was only held together by its rim, and it had to be knocked into shape every few minutes; fortunately it was the off-side one from the cliff. When I said farewell at the train we were loath to part—but as I tucked up my skirts, slung on my knapsack and put on my mountaineering cloak, I was consoled by the thought I was really off walking and alone, and once more had the open road before me and my fancy as my guide.

As the roads were so terrible, and it was late and wet, I decided to stop off for the night near by—and went about a mile and a half to the coast and found a perfectly ideal inn. It was in a tiny bay, all by itself, or rather on the cliff above a tiny bay, on the peninsular point of which was a miniature temple. No human foot-print but mine was on the sand of the shore, and none but the maids of the house within call. I took a small room upstairs, facing the sea, where the breakers dashed on to the cliffs, and found that though inside the house, on one side it was open, because a big piece of cliff stuck right into the building. This gave a charming view of moss-grown rocks, and a hollow stone with a lake in it, all lying between me and the next-door room.

The bath-room was downstairs, and to reach it one went along a long corridor hewn out of solid rock. The bath-room itself was also built in the solid rock, and was a great vault-like place. How J—— and M—— would have revelled in it!

The food was such that my saucepan worked wonders with it, and converted stony chicken, hard[128] rice, and half-cooked green pickle into a very tasty stew. The beds were excellent, though not of silk, and I slept splendidly. Last night we had talked till one o’clock, so to-night I turned in at 8.30 and slept till 8.15. Alternations of solitude and company are refreshing, and though I enjoyed those girls immensely, and laughed as I haven’t done since I left England, it is delicious to be alone with the grey sea in a hotel half hewn out of solid rock.

April 6. After pouring all night the clouds broke about 9 o’clock, and I set forth in sight of gleams of blue between the grey; the hotel people were all very polite, though all they got out of me was 2s. 8d. It is a hotel I shall note and hope to return to, I wish I could bring some of my friends there from home. In the next little bay, where the cliffs are also very steep right down to the sea, so that there is no beach at high tide, the fishermen beach their boats on a series of piles and trestles, and very picturesque and quaint they look.

The cliffs here are all limestony and sandy, and seem rather recent and unfossiliferous.


I walked partly by road, partly along the shore about 14 miles, a short distance, but the way was very heavy and the day hot. About half-way were some lovely pine woods with mossy floor and May-flowers, and I lay there for lunch. Violets of many kinds had been the chief, almost I might say the only, wild flower we had noted hitherto, but here were several others. Daisies, like our home ones, only bigger and purple; a lovely intense blue sedum, and a small[129] shrub, with crimson flowers, the Japonica, were the most striking and beautiful of those I noticed.

The last 4 or 5 miles lay along a curious shore. A greater contrast to that of my last night’s lodging could not be imagined. The whole coast was flat for several miles inland, and the beach was a great stretch of dark grey sand with the small beginnings of dunes here and there, and must have been more than a mile in width. Along its desolate extent were dotted little houses, grey as the sand, and built with their roofs touching the ground on two sides!—these sides presumably being those of the prevailing winds. They looked as though the full tide should sweep over them, the beach behind them appeared so unreclaimed, but they seem to have stood there for long, some were almost buried under the piled-up sand. I can give no idea of the vastness and the desolation of this view. The houses seemed mere hummocks in the wilderness, for under the eaves a man can hardly stand upright, and the boats look almost as big as the houses. There is absolutely no vegetation near them, only, at the edge of the dunes, a few small pine trees venture farther out than anything, but the little ones run grave risks of being buried. I had intended to spend the night at Jehinomiya, but found it lies a mile from the coast, so when I found groves of pine trees, a broad river, with a tiny village and a lot of country houses of the summer-house type, I put up at the inn, which is not bad. The hamlet is called Sendocre, and the inn looks out over a broad river and into deep groves of pine. The frogs are all making as[130] much noise as they can with their watchman’s rattle-like voices, but otherwise there is perfect peace; everything is in complete contrast to last night’s cliff-perched, spray-splashed, storm-tossed house.

April 7.—What a day of sights and impressions! I cannot tell a quarter of them, or to-day’s experiences would fill this volume.

The mile to Jehinomiya lay along the river by a narrow foot-path, with pine plantations near at hand. From thence to the next town (Mobara) was 10 miles of road, at first between villages and large farm-houses. The rice fields lying on each side of the road were the scene of the country people’s labours, men and women working together up to their knees in the soft black squelchy mud. They were dressed quite alike, with dark-blue cotton clothes, very tight-fitting trousers down to the ankle, and long tunics with a blue-and-white towel tied over their heads. Some of them burrowed in the mud for roots of weeds, some used a heavy fork to bring the soil into ridges, and in one field I saw a wooden plough dragged by a dejected-looking horse. The chickens, everywhere abundant, seem a particularly large and healthy type, and they too worked in the rice fields, hopping from ridge to ridge after the workers had turned it over and revealed small grains and worms, which they captured. As in Boshu, so in this province, cows are remarkably plentiful and good-looking. The clusters of cottages with their grey thatched roofs made a series of lovely pictures, beside each was one or more glowing bush of apricot or peach, and[131] the white feathery branches of cherry flower, soft, rich, and with a feeling like whipped-cream when you kissed them, floated over the rest like white clouds. For 3 or 4 miles the road lay through pine woods, real pine woods, with a soft mossy floor and violets, not the high, coarse bamboo usual in Japan, that makes it impossible to pass. At the edge of the road were many low shrubs with thick masses of the terra-cotta-coloured flowers, like Japonica, so that a line glowed on either side of the sandy track. There were also purple pansies and pale violets, and the world seemed a very fair place.

At Mobara I passed a school just coming out, and very few of the little boys even troubled to follow me; none called out any remarks. My knapsack is carried in somewhat the native fashion for slinging bundles, and even though I wear skirts, they think I am a man—their men wear skirts too, and a plain panama sun hat very like mine. Thank heaven my hair isn’t red. A few discover I am a woman, but the fact excites little interest.

A less beautiful 5 miles took me to Chōnan, and from there 2½ more to the place where I branched off across the rice fields to see a famous temple of great age. The last mile of the road was splendidly hilly and well wooded, and on the banks were huge blue forget-me-nots. The road passed under one of the hills by a bent tunnel, pitch dark, and very weirdly echoing. I could not see where my feet were going, and wondered if any local bandits made it their headquarters; they could not have[132] found a more excellent place. Slightly disappointing, was it not, that I went through that cavernous tunnel alone and without any incident? To reach the temple I had then to follow narrow paths across the rice fields, and was not surprised to learn from the people at a tea-house at the foot of the temple hill that they had never seen a foreign lady before. The hill on which the Buddhist temple of Kasamori is built is magnificently wooded; on the summit stands a high isolated pyramid of rock, and on the top of this the temple is built. This main building dates from 1028, extremely old for Japan, where the original buildings of the oldest temples have usually been destroyed by fire and rebuilt again and again.

The view from the temple itself was superb. One stood on a level with the topmost branches of the giant trees, and looking through them saw all round stretch after stretch of green valleys, and crest after crest of darkly wooded hills. The trunks of the trees near by were covered with epiphytes and creepers, and in the valleys grew ferns and violets.

In a little tea-house I made myself some cocoa in my saucepan, and the people wanted to taste it, and seemed highly amused with me, particularly with my folding knife and spoon, and the metal cup that fitted on so neatly. Thus fortified I retraced my steps to Chōnan, and towards Mobara. I expected to find an inn on the way, but none appeared, and I had to walk right back to Mobara. Then troubles began, and after walking these 27 miles I was tossed from inn to inn, no room anywhere! Not that there were so[133] many inns, for it is a small town, and at last, in despair, I decided to go to the station and take a train to Chiba, the provincial capital, where there would surely be room, but I was tired and hungry, and had two hours to wait for the train. In Japanese inns it is very different from ours; if you have no room you cannot get a meal, as there is no such thing as a dining-room.

However, I found a charming little tea-house, where I got a rest and a meal, and they arranged with a hotel by the station to put me up, or shall I say “take me in”? for certainly I would not have gone to the place under other conditions.

April 8.—Came back by the 8.15 train and reached Tokio early in the afternoon. After calling on Miss B—— I went to the P——s to dinner and to make the finishing touches to the arrangements about my removal, which is planned for two days hence. The blow that awaited me should not have been unexpected in this land, where no one seems to consider a promise more binding than a compliment is true. Well! though I had taken it before I went to Boshu on certain understandings, I found my house sold to some one else when I returned! As I had arranged with my present people to leave directly on my return from Boshu, I was not a little vexed, particularly as the house suited me so perfectly in every way.

The new owner was willing to let it at a rent of 40% higher than I had taken it for, and he further refused to do any of the necessary papering and[134] plastering that I had had guaranteed me, so that instead of ordering the removal carts, I have to sit down and argue with the landlord, and it may take three weeks to settle. I really grieve that it is so utterly impossible to trust the Japanese; I had loved them so before I had suffered so much of this sort of thing.

April 9.—The cherry flowers yesterday were like great clouds touched rosy by the setting sun, and to-morrow is the garden party of Professor S——’s ambitions, and to-day! nearly a foot of snow on my window ledge—everything buried and broken, as none have seen them before. There is more snow to-day than there was through all the winter put together, and the pink cherry flowers are cloaked so as to conceal their very existence; they do not lend the snow even a flush of pink.

There was no way of getting to the Botanical Institute but by walking, and I am very glad indeed that I did choose to venture out, instead of listening to the counsels of the Japanese and remaining at home. The streets were almost deserted, and I trod unspoiled snow, which sometimes reached half-way to my knees. It still snowed heavily, and the weight of the umbrella became a burden, as well as being a useless encumbrance, as I was always putting it to one side or the other to gaze at some new delight, while the gusts whirled in and under it from every side. Devastation and ruin lay on every side; great boughs were blown off the cherry trees and lay across the road. The magnolias which yesterday sent up glittering white[135] chalices to heaven, to-day hung limp yellow rags beneath the snow-laden boughs; even the glow of the flaring crimson plum was quenched. In front of a temple I daily pass, a great cryptomeria was shattered across the road, its main shaft broken into three pieces, so that the whole tree shut down like a concertina.

Every telegraph and telephone wire was broken, the ends lying like traps curled under the snow ready for one’s legs, and the rest looped from pole to pole in festoons of white rope, for the snow stuck to the wires till they were as thick as my arm. On the tram lines a few snowed-up and deserted trams stood helpless, and not even a kuruma passed to jeer at them.

It continued snowing all day, and as the roads were so unspeakably and unusually bad, I decided to go calling and see the town thoroughly when I was about it. So I walked to the Embassy, about 2½ miles or so, and saw the streets, one after the other, in the same condition of ruin. The traffic was still almost nil, but some people had been up and down the big main street by the Kudan, and a certain amount of snow had melted. That Kudan hill was a bog on the surface and a river below, and as there were no footpaths, I was through it nearly to my knees. After paying several calls in the neighbourhood, I decided to go and see what Azabu looked like, and walked over there; the P——s would not let me away again, the roads were too terrible, and so I stopped the night there.

Obviously the garden party is postponed.

April 10.—The snow is still lying thickly everywhere,[136] but on the road the foot tracks are nearly knee-deep in slush. The papers are full of accounts of yesterday’s storm. It appears that all the railways, as well as trams and telegraphs, were cut off. There was no possibility of getting to Yokohama even, and the Kobe express was snowed up for the day 10 miles from Tokio. A few trams are running this morning—they are repairing wires as quickly as possible. By the end of the day nearly all the cars were in working order; I think they have been quite remarkably quick over them, but the telegraph wires are still hanging in festoons or tripping one up.

It is quite a good thing the snow put the party off, for it is the funeral day of the young Prince Arusigawa, and also we were not nearly ready with the cutting-machine—the automatic carborundum apparatus is still far from complete.

April 11.—I removed from Yakuojimaimachi to my own little house. After there was the bother of them having sold it while I was away, there was so much talk and bother about rent, cleaning, papering, and everything, that I got cross and said I would move on the 11th, as I originally said I would, and when I was in the house I would discuss all these points! That soon settled matters; my goods were put on two man-carts with great care by the entire family, and plants and all were safely brought to my little Azabu house. I began to pack this morning at 8.30, and was ready for the carts at 10.30! That is the outcome of the Japanese feruské (a square ornamental cloth in which goods are tied), it is so easy to tie up[137] quilts, cushions, and looking-glasses all together in one huge coloured pocket-handkerchief. The placing of my few goods on the little carts took till 12.30, but they were in Azabu, unpacked and paid, by 2.30. Some things are cheap in Japan. Fortunately it was a lovely bright day, so nothing got wet.

I found the house being cleaned by my bright little maid, whose name is O Fuji-san, and who seems to like to have me for a mistress and to live next to the P——s, whose cook is her great friend, and trained her. She is rather a better-class girl than most servants, and was early left an orphan, and her guardian is glad for her to be with people who will look after her. She is quite pretty, and unusually bright and intelligent-looking. I expect it will seem to you a preposterous thing to do, to take a house and go in for “furnishing” and all the worries and expense of a household. But in Japan it is very different from in England—the houses need practically no furniture, the huge cupboards in every room hold all one’s goods, and so wardrobes, etc. etc. are superfluous (and, besides, they utterly ruin the look of a Japanese room), while the soft tatami (special thick mats in every house) serve as carpets, bedstead, and mattress, and all one needs is a thick quilt to lie on, another to cover one, with a couple of sheets and a pillow. I have the few chairs and the table and cabinet I had for the last house, and with a lovely brilliant blue cloisonné vase on an ebony stand, a dwarf pine tree, and a bunch of white cherry flowers in the tokonomo, my room looks an aesthetic dream,[138] with its cream walls, cream floors, and wooden trellis-work with white paper windows. If I could but carry it as it is to London! Yet here people prefer Brussels carpets and rooms packed with knick-knacks. They are living in the realisation of the dream of our aesthetes and “simple livers,” and they prefer the things we are trying to escape. I speak of the foreigners, but even the richer Japanese are casting aside the exquisite refinement, the studied and cultured beauty of simplicity, to add a mêlée of “foreign” additions and “luxuries” to their rooms. The soothing harmonies of form and tone are broken, and there is a strife of shrieking colour, of glaring inharmonies.

April 12.—I gave my little maid carte blanche to buy the essentials for her kitchen. One stove, costing 5s., I had already arranged for, the rest she had to buy. At the end of the day she came with all the items written down in a bill 3 yards long. I went in fear and trembling to inspect it and the purchases, and was greatly relieved to find the sum total under ten shillings. Many of the items were deliciously amusing; for instance, 1 sen 5 rin (a sum equal to a farthing plus half a farthing) attracted my attention. It was a fan to fan the charcoal when it refused to burn. For one farthing she got a splendid lamp cleaner, for 8d. a lamp with white glass shade, while ¾d. more provided the chain to hang it up by. The second stove cost 5½d. and burns splendidly; it is made of red earthenware, and has a little door that opens and shuts. These items will make you think[139] that I am either making game of you or of myself, but seriously, I set no limit to the girl’s purchases, and she has got the usual things an unsophisticated Japanese uses in her kitchen. Of course, I have a few things, and bought some expensive items like enamel saucepans and frying-pans—but I think this little house has not cost me £3 to fit up, and, as I said before, to fit up comfortably, and with a distinct beauty. I only hope the housekeeping will run as smoothly as it promises to do, and the house prove as convenient to live in as it is pretty to look at.

April 13.—The way that maid manages a four-course dinner, with three saucepans and half a dozen bits of charcoal in the fivepenny stove, is nothing short of miraculous—everything was very well cooked too. I wasted about an hour over the house this morning, but got off to the Institute after that. It is rather farther to go now, and takes some time even with the tram, but one can’t get everything one wants, and were I near the Institute, I should be so far from all the foreigners as to be quite isolated, and that, I find, in this climate, is not very healthy.

April 14.—The cherry trees are now wonderfully beautiful; contrary to the croakings of the pessimists, the snow has not ruined them, and the trees are covered with bloom. They say they are bleached, and certainly the pink is so delicate as to be entirely elusive when one looks at an individual bloom. I went to the renowned Oyeno Park, where groves of trees are laden with bloom. It was a little late, and some of the petals were falling, so that there seemed[140] to be a whirling snowstorm of flakes that gleamed pearly white in the sunshine. The ground was covered, and all the pools of water left by the recent snows were thickly fringed with white. Tokio is everywhere a fairy-land of beauty, for cherry trees by the hundred are blooming in it. One has the impression of being in the midst of clouds that float between the branches of the pine trees, and rest over grey roofed cottages. The strip of soil in front of the Embassy is covered with a treble avenue of flowering trees, and the paths are petal-strewn between the brilliant green grass patches. The difference in the grass in the last two weeks is very noticeable—from a brown patchy covering over bare earth it has become a thick emerald cloak.

April 15.—My little maid’s guardian came to see me and to thank me for taking care of her. As a matter of fact it is she who is taking care of me; I couldn’t have imagined a house run more smoothly. The guardian is a nice man, good-looking, though middle-aged, and able to speak German, so we got on all right. He brought me some pots of pretty flowers, and some pansies with scent which are treasures, as the lovely pansies here are scentless. It is a very curious point, how well English flowers grow here, getting lovely large blooms, but one and all losing their scent. It makes one quite sad when great luscious roses, pansies, and even mignonette, are scentless—they seem to have lost their souls.

April 19.—I spent the morning gardening; in my little garden nothing much is growing yet, the last[141] people were very careless. I have dug and planted, the chief thing I planted being stones. I have learnt their value in a garden, and I also go out with a watering-can and water my poor little stones. Alas, all the really beautiful ones were too expensive to buy. I went in to lunch with the P——s, because they were having ice-cream, and afterwards went to tea with old Mr. G—— (father of the Mr. G—— I mentioned at the Takashima coal mines, near Nagasaki). His house is surrounded by an extremely lovely garden, with masses of flowers, and a view right across to Fujis. While we were standing on the lawn a lady visitor turned down her glove and rubbed some bites on her arm. Mr. G—— bent over her, and with an air of courteous solicitude, said, “That is not one of my fleas, I hope.” No one seemed to think the remark in any way curious till I said I wished I had a snapshot of that to send to Punch.

April 22.—Cutting fossils till 3.30, and then I went to Professor M——, and then on to the S——s to pay my party call. Professor S—— was out, but Mrs. S—— at home, and as nice and talkative as could be expected in Japanese, when the concrete bounds the realm of my speech. When I got home I found Professor S—— had just been to see me! and we had each travelled 6 miles to visit each other, and crossed. I was very sorry. He had brought some butter, made by the agricultural students, hoping I should like it. I had once mentioned how difficult it was to get butter fit to eat in Tokio.

To-day I saw the first bewitchingly pretty child I[142] have seen in this country—with great round black eyes, with a look of heaven in them. She was dressed in a scarlet flowered kimono that showed the outlines of her little limbs, and her hair was tied with scarlet ribbon in a little tuft at either side. She was dancing along with a parasol held high over her head, but she would not even smile at me, and I would gladly have taken her in my arms and kissed her, she looked so perfectly in tune with the dancing cherry clusters and the blue heavens.

April 23.—I feel that I can never go into a tram again. The horror of my last ride! A leper came and sat down beside me, almost on top of me, and the cars are so crowded I could not get away. He was not in the worst stages, of course, but some of his finger-tips were eaten away and one eye was blinded—there is none of the “white as snow” business about lepers, it is an eating away of the digits, and finally the limbs. I was only near him for five minutes, till the first stopping-place—but——. I have said before, I think, that the Japanese don’t think it really contagious; there was perhaps not the least danger, but we are accustomed to think mere contact with a leper fatal.

The single cherries are now over, and the long double ones beginning. They are rose pink and really as big as small rambler roses, each head hanging down on its long stalk. The rich clusters on the branches are quite unimaginably beautiful; could one suppose the kisses of tiny children materialised and hung by fairies against the blue sky, one[143] might well believe the cherry flowers to be the kisses of all the golden-haired pink-cheeked babies.

April 24.—Friday again—how fast and furious fly the weeks, and there are only four in a month, four and a few days ōmaki. When they give you a one-sen present after a five-dollar purchase, they call it ōmaki here, and many a sen have I received that way. I wish Nature would give me a few years ōmaki here and now, I want to stay here longer. I went to lunch at the Faculty, the first of the term. Professor S—— very nice; afterwards I went to inquire how Professor F—— was, but he was too ill to see me.

April 25.—Saturday. Fossil-cutting all morning. The double cherries are now beginning and are showing masses of colour between the trees of single cherry, which are quite green. Pansies are everywhere in the little shops, and so are gold-fish. Many small shops have suddenly added glass globes of gold-fish to their wares; the white glass sparkles in the sun, and the fish are very bright and pretty. They are very clever at grafting gold-fish. One may get them with two or more tails so neatly grafted on that the creatures live very happily, and look quite as though they had been born so, and were rather proud of it than otherwise.

April 26.—A very beautiful sunny day. I dried my hair in my little garden—it will break my heart to leave this house and garden, there is no doubt about it. It isn’t more than 20 yards square, but it is full of features—two ponds, a river, stepping-stones, woodland glades, pansy beds, and tiny grass plots.[144] As I sit in it and look over the roof of my tiny house I see the blue sky through a group of tall cryptomerias, with a tall silver ash stem, a maple and chestnut clothed in vivid green to throw up their blackness in strong relief. I picked the dead flowers off the blooming plants, and then set out with sandwiches and some writing to the woods, which I was optimistic enough to expect to find in Tokio! And I found them! Within half an hour of my house I came upon a sudden steep track off the high road, and followed it into a wood on a hill, where I lay all day, with a vast panorama of green valleys below my feet, violets and wild wistaria around me, and pine trees over my head, and no human being near me all the time. Thank God for the quiet woods. It is the best source of strength and comfort I know, to lie on a hill alone all day.

This little wood is the first quite solitary comfortable place I have found in Tokio’s immediate neighbourhood—one could hardly have expected to get so sweet a place so near a big city. But I trust to my feet to lead me to woods wherever I am, even in London’s suburbs, and they generally do.

April 27.—A quiet day at work at the University; some new delight in the way of flowers appears every day and charms me. I put a new plant into my garden most evenings.

April 28.—After this week of glorious weather that to-day should be wet—cruel! The day when the Emperor and Empress had invited me (as well as a few hundred other people!) to the Imperial garden[145] party. All the morning it literally streamed with rain, but I hoped against hope, uselessly, of course, for the early morning decides whether the Emperor will be there or not. However, about half-past one my hope was rewarded, for the rain stopped, though it was not bright, and that meant we would be allowed to see the gardens, which, of course, is a thing in itself well worth doing. So I decided to set off, not, of course, in my best bib and tucker, and Mrs. P—— went with me, a little against her will. The others would not come, though J—— had bought a new frock and a four-guinea hat for the occasion, which is the event of the summer season. Right glad I was that I went—the gardens were lovely, and there were a lot of people in semi-garden-party state. We ate the chicken and ice-cream, fruit and champagne intended for the whole party, and had really a much more enjoyable, if less distinguished, time than if the official party had taken place and the Emperor been present. A number of the diplomats were there.

By far the most striking individual was an Indian prince, in a glorious pale-blue and gold uniform, with turban and a delicious gold pompon. He was extremely tall and thin, and held himself erect as a young pine.

The cherry petals were falling, and whitened the pines and floated on the lake in wind-blown drifts. The wistarias were covered with buds just clouded with a purple haze, and every one of the many pines and other gymnosperms gleamed brilliant green among trees, the young shoots’ vividness giving an[146] effect of bloom, where the maple leaves were crimson. The maple, which has crimson leaves in spring, does not get the brilliant colouring in the autumn, like the other species, but is equally highly prized for its spring beauty. The garden slopes down to the sea, which runs along one wall of stone, and in the trees were hundreds of sea-gulls. The benevolent despot has fenced off a part of the garden; here no one is allowed to enter, and here the wild-birds nest—the sea-gulls building and rearing their young on branches of trees covered with luxuriant epiphytes! Some of the trees are very old, and in one I found a big tufted bamboo growing as an epiphyte in the ancient stem of a flowering cherry tree. Something disturbed the nesting birds—was it the smell of champagne and cigars in the neighbourhood, or the clanking of spurs and swords?—and they rose in hundreds and wheeled in the sky, such a flight of them I have never seen. Some were pure white and gleamed like cherry petals in the grey sky, but most were grey, like the drifting clouds.

April 29.—A quiet day’s work, the weather was bright, lovely, out of sheer perversity. My maid gave me some fritters for dinner, of a kind I had not ordered, and when I asked her what they were, she said hassu, that is, the lotus. The sacred flower makes delicious fritters! I daresay if one could capture the rosy-tinted evening clouds they would make good ice-cream.

May 2.—I went to Professor Fw——’s: he was kindly taking me as his guest to an afternoon luncheon-[147]party at the Admiralty gardens. At his house I met an interesting Japanese who spoke excellent English, and who is said to be one of the greatest Japanese musicians. He invented an organ of some sort, and has had a special audience with the Kaiser Wilhelm. We drove to the Admiralty, passing safely the fierce bayoneted sentries, and across a yard hideous with brick buildings and smoky chimneys—through a gate in a high wall, and were—in a deep forest glade, under shade of palm trees and ferns, back in time three hundred years! The gardens were those of a very famous Daimio, and were laid out with the greatest care and at a boundless expense. In them are all the stages of the Tokkaido,—scenes from China, wild mountain views and iris gardens, falls of water and lakes. In fact a series of scenes of wonderful beauty, of peace and suggestion, of dreamland poetry—only the tallest of the cryptomerias and pines were standing as dead skeletons, killed by the smoky chimneys on the other side of the boundary wall. These great gardens are entirely closed, and it is very difficult even to get permission to see them, the authorities of the Admiralty are so afraid of spies.

The special party to-day was to welcome the married daughter of one of the earliest and most useful of the American missionaries, a Dr. Brown, who had had a school in Yokohama, and who had as pupils many men now very distinguished. Among other people I was introduced to a very charming, thoroughly Europeanised, and handsome man—and of course did not catch his name. He[148] walked with me a little while through the gardens, and we talked of the beauty of Tokio and the destruction of that beauty by “reformations” some years ago, before the Japanese had learned to appreciate native art as well as they do now (though much of the same sort goes on to-day), and I quoted one of the specially terrible places, the hideous red-brick Exhibition-like buildings (Government buildings) that ruin the view of the grey moat with green banks and trees and old white and grey buildings round the palace, one of the most lovely sights any city in the world can show. I exclaimed against the vandalism, the criminal folly of the architect, whom I surmised was some second-rate foreigner. “Yes,” my companion answered, “it is bad. I was the Chairman of the Building Committee at that time, but I suppose the architect was morally responsible.”

You may imagine my feelings. I knew, of course, by the look of the man he was some one of importance, but how could I guess who he was? I am not sorry, however, that he heard it.

A further surprise awaited me; he made the speech of the evening, and turns out to have been Dr. Brown’s youngest and most promising pupil, and to-day to be the world-known Ambassador Tsuzuki, representative at the last Hague Conference! He said good-bye very graciously—his laurels don’t rest on the beauty of those buildings, and I had not touched him on a vital point after all.

May 3.—I really had to make up my mind once for all to learn to get on a bicycle by myself without the[149] aid of a devoted male friend. Hitherto I have always ridden with people who put me on—here I am alone. I bought a bicycle from the missionaries, which had been discarded by one of their number. But after being at the bicycle shop for a little it seems in good order, for it was an excellent frame, and now I determined to ride, as Tokio’s distances waste so many hours a day that I can stand it no longer. After a few hours’ steady determination, I find I can get on very well without the male friend. But those of you who read this and have played that part, don’t think I could have got on without you at the time.

About midday I decided to go and see the renowned Azalea gardens at the village of Okabu, some few miles off, and so I took my maid as a treat for both of us (she never having seen the flowers), and shut up the house. There is no lock or key, and any thief had only to slide a paper screen and slip in, but we told the cook next door to keep a weather eye open, and set off gaily in the sunshine.

Along the main street of Okabu are a dozen nursery gardens, all filled with azaleas, and so laid open that you can walk round and see everything, and buy what you please, but not unless you please. Even when you want to buy it is rather difficult to find any one who will sell to you. When you do, he will just seize the flowering bush and pull it up, shake the mud off the roots, wrap them in paper and tie a big loop of string to it; you carry it home, stick it anywhere in your garden, and it goes on as though it had never moved an inch. The sunshine and rain make[150] things grow so easily here, it certainly doesn’t depend on any special “skill of the Japanese” in this case, for I myself stuffed the azaleas into my garden and saw the man pull them up like weeds.

In one garden there was an entry fee—of three farthings. Here the whole garden was filled with plants all one height (about 3 feet), and all flat on the top, and all covered with flowers—a crimson sea. Generally speaking, though, the flowers individually were far less beautiful in colour, and smaller in size than our azaleas, the interest and special charm lay in the masses of them, and the number of gardens one after the other that cultivated them.

There were crowds of people in their best clothes, and stalls on the road selling sweets, and the inevitable hair ribbons of brilliant colour; with here and there a gold-fish dealer or a seedsman.

We lunched in a little tea-house and came back laden with flowers—four beautiful glowing azaleas, a brilliant fern-like green shrub, and a budding yellow broom, for which I paid a sum total of exactly elevenpence.

The roots were all tied up neatly in paper—and then they wouldn’t let us on the car! Other people were carrying them tied up in feruskés just exactly as ours were in paper, so I was furious and asked a policeman why. “Had we no feruskés? Then we must cover them completely in paper, and the officials would not see them.” “But the roots were covered in paper,” I replied, “other people have them like that.” “Ah, they have roots in feruskés or hand[151]kerchiefs, then the officials cannot see that the roots are there, but they can see the roots through paper. If, however, you cover them completely, then they will not know they are flowers at all. Roots are not allowed on the tram.”

We went to a shop and got newspapers to cover them up, and the same officials who had barred my way smiled approval!

May 4.—A pouring day, the roads simply awful, as it came down in torrents all night. My little plans for getting to work early on my bicycle were all knocked on the head. I saw not a soul in the Institute all day, and was glad when Mrs. P—— came across to have a little chat. I am arranging about a Debate, Tokio doesn’t seem really to know what that is! But we meet at parties and talk endless gossip, so I am going to give a tea-party, have an amusing Debate (if possible), and found a society which, I hope, will live for ever, like Mother’s Norwood one. I forgot, because in a way it came in between two days, that the other night we went to the Greek Church Easter Service. It is held at midnight, and the Russian Greek Church is by far the most successful of the churches here. It is the only one with an imposing building, the only one with a great choir, and a sense of wealth and success in the appearance of the interior. The great domed building stands high on a hill, and can be seen from most parts of Tokio. We found a huge crowd of Japanese waiting to go into the gates, and as they entered each bought a candle and lit it, so that, as well as the regular[152] altar and other candles, the church was illuminated with hundreds of these tapers. The Bishop, in gorgeous white and gold, was seated in the centre of the church, and swung incense over the people, while a choir, quite unaccompanied, sang the whole service. This choir is splendid, though composed of Japanese, and is one of the wonders of the church. The congregation crowded into the church area, where there were no seats, but the floor was covered with carpet (which would certainly be a sea of candle grease in the morning), on which the people stood or sat. There were very many children present, some very tiny, and all in their best. A few of them were charmingly beautiful pictures. The service, sung by the choir, was followed by few of the congregation; they stood or sat reverently, seeing to their candles and sometimes crossing themselves, but they did not hesitate to go through their ceremonial bows if they met an acquaintance, some going down on the floor and touching it with their foreheads, to the peril of the tapers. The service was principally chanted, but sometimes the voices rose into a grand chorus, and all the time the Bishop and his clergy kept up a picturesque ceremonial. The altar was magnificent, vast, and gilded and lit with huge candles. We felt the whole ceremonial and its setting splendid, impressive, but almost weird. The power of the Bishop is clear, if one only knew that he got all those hundreds of Japanese out at midnight, while for social functions they find 9 o’clock too late.

We had to walk home, and came through the outer[153] palace gardens and under the ancient Japanese gates, lovely in the moonlight, and palpitating with the lives of the past.

May 5.—The weather cleared up nicely and I set off gaily on my bicycle, but a dozen things went wrong with it, and I left it at a shop, hoping they would steal it, and I should never see it again. I cut fossils all day without seeing a soul to speak a word to, and went back to the shop and found they had not stolen the bicycle, but had put it right, so that it went quite well. I set off on it to cross Tokio and call on Miss H——, who had a private view of some copper-plate etchings done by a friend of hers, and very charming they were. The roads of Tokio should be simply blood-curdling. There is no rule for the traffic, the electric cars are the only things that keep any kind of order, and foot-passengers and playing children simply swarm. Fortunately there are few carts or carriages, but those few dart about anyhow, and the horses often run away. One has simply to thread one’s way through this stream of things. The children are particularly trying, and take no notice of violent bells and shouts.

May 8. Professor M—— came to take me to the Faculty lunch. A serio-comic incident happened just before we started. He came for me to the fossil laboratory, and waited a minute while I was finishing a stone. As he stood there, a stone, which I was heating in molten zinc, exploded, and the zinc flew in drops all over the room, and settled on all of us, but fortunately only on our clothes. The bright[154] hard drops looked quite funny on his coat and hat, and some of them wouldn’t peel off. There must have been some internal moisture or gas in the stone; it is the first time such a thing has happened. After lunch Professor S—— took me and Professor Y—— to see his garden (he lives within easy walking distance of the University), and it was a delightful sight. I have described the house and garden before, and now it was gay with pink roses and many different coloured azaleas. His tiny daughter was running about with “bells on her shoes.” Little bells were fastened on the under-side of the wooden clog, “on the same principle,” the Professor said, “as the bell is round the neck of a kitten—it is convenient to know where it is.”

After an hour’s rest I returned to the fossils, and at 4 bicycled off to Baroness d’A——’s garden party,—bicycled in a white muslin frock, which, had the people not thrown buckets of water into the roads, would have come through scathless, but as it was, was heavily specked with mud all up the front, and I felt all the carriage folk staring at me. Otherwise I had a good time, and arranged some details about the forthcoming Debate.

May 9.—At work all day on fossils. Dr. M—— came to the laboratory about 2, and we had a long chat; he is one of the very few Japanese who know enough of my work to be really interested.

May 10.—On Sunday Professor S—— asked me to go to see the celebrated Buton flowers (paeonies), and I set off at 9 and met him and his wife at[155] Ryonokubashi at 10. We then drove to the gardens, which lie across the river, in quite a slummy part of the town. The south part of Tokio, across the river, corresponds in a way with the south of London, and is distinctly its working quarter.

The paeonies were under the shade of straw mats, which roofed them and the spectators in, and a lovely sight they were. Each flower was really huge, about a foot across, but, as a rule, there was but one on a plant. White, pink, crimson, and almost black, and all the shades so beautiful and artistic, they were infinitely more pleasing than the chrysanthemums.

In the same garden were also a number of dwarf trees—now I have bought several at various times, and was always astonished at the cheapness and prettiness, but here, a very (to me) inartistic one cost £4, and the only one I really liked was £9!

After lunch we took the train, and went out of Tokio for some distance to a place where there was a very renowned wistaria flower. The trunk of this enormous tree was twisted and gnarled with intertwining branches, and all together was about 12 feet in diameter. The branches were all trained on props over bamboo, and formed a great flat roof, over an appreciable part of an acre! The flower clusters hang so thickly and evenly as to give the appearance of a ceiling of long tassels. The tails seemed to be only a foot or so long, but when measured were found to be 2 or 3, some even 3 feet 6 inches long! The whole sight was very charming, and quite startling, but perhaps less romantically beautiful than[156] one had imagined it. The gardens had only this one tree on show, and under it the people sat and walked about and drank tea.

On returning we missed the connecting train and had an hour and a half to wait; it was cold and began to rain. I didn’t mind, for Professor S—— was very interesting, and we talked of nearly everything under heaven and earth—but the more I see of him the less I think he is a typical Japanese; he is an exceptional one. I was sorry for poor Mrs. S——, however, who could not follow our conversation very well, and who had no one else to talk to. We dined at a restaurant in Tokio, and I got back home after a thirteen-hours outing, practically tête à tête with a Japanese man—and bored I had not been for a moment, and people here say you can’t get any real companionship from the Japanese. I say it is those people’s own faults.

May 11.—Torrents of rain all day, so that I did nothing but work at the Institute—which was somewhat hampered by the absence of the boy who runs the engine. I got home in an awfully bad temper, after battling with everything all day—but the bright dripping green of the trees all round me, and the peace of my little house, soon soothed me up.

May 12.—Pouring rain all day again; it was so hateful ploughing through these streets, with no side-walks and mud 6 inches deep, that I decided not to go to-morrow, but stop at home. There was a dance at the K——’s, and I had a good time. A charming American was there, who smiled all the time and[157] made one happy just to look at him. There was also a young, fair-haired Mr. B——. His teachers must have been very proud of him; he had the bright smile and the “good” look of a favourite boy, and an ornament to the Y.M.C.A. I felt sure he must be a missionary, but he turned out to be an artist, just out, and to stay a year, painting all sorts of things, Japanese portraits among them. He seemed much astonished when he found I had travelled alone—I am sure his sisters never would,—and when I tried to soothe him by quoting my French and other tours (to show I thought it an everyday sort of thing to do), he seemed so very astonished that I drew in the rein and got him to talk of his own character, which causes him trouble and interest.

May 13.—The rain cleared off, but the roads are still bad, yet by the time I came home they were beginning to be dusty.

They dry here at a quite wonderful rate, and in the most terrible weather one has always the consolation of knowing that when it clears it will do so thoroughly and completely.

May 14.—After the day’s work I called round to see how Professor F—— was, as I had heard nothing of any kind for a fortnight. I saw him for a short time—his face was rather swollen, for they have been injecting strychnine, but otherwise he looked all right, only he could see so little. The cure seems to make almost no progress.

As I was near, I called on the S——s as a duty[158] (and pleasure) call, and came away with a lovely bunch of roses, the Professors, when caught unawares like this, are always in true Japanese dress—and look so nice in it.

In the evening was the last Cinderella—and a very nice dance it was.

May 16.—I stopped at home to-day—as the great Debate began at 3, and I had to borrow chairs from several neighbours. I hope to-day to found a Debating Society in Tokio (there is such a dearth of anything more than dances and gossip, you at home couldn’t believe!), and have been raking people out—I have got Miss C—— and Miss H—— to oppose each other on the subject, “Chaperons should be abolished.” Frivolous enough—but one must put the pill in jam here in Tokio, and I hope gradually to get sober and instructive. The Debate was really more of a success than I had dared to hope, and I got nearly every one to speak by the little device of drawing numbers by lot, even Baroness d’A—— and Mrs. P——, who swore they wouldn’t. I had thought, after founding it to-day, to leave it till the hot season passed, but people are keen to have one in June—so it is encouraging. The use of a Japanese house came out strikingly to-day—when I took out my sliding partitions and made nearly my whole house one big room. The weather and the garden behaved themselves—and mercifully everything went off well. Of course the motion was lost, only two people wishing to abolish chaperons.

May 18.—A nice bright day. I bicycled home by[159] the library and got some books of Hearn’s; I am thinking of getting up a Debate on Lafcadio Hearn next time, if I can; most people here knew him personally—and so few seem to realise that he was great, and almost all run him down! So I expect a very interesting time of it; there will be no difficulty in getting speakers to condemn, but who is going to stand up for him!

May 19.—I just called in on Miss B—— on my way home, and asked her to propose “That the picture of Japan presented in Lafcadio Hearn’s books is totally fallacious.” She consents—I anticipate some fun, and she is (I believe I have remarked before) quite the best conversationalist in Tokio, and a missionary (whom Hearn detested) to boot.

May 20.—Fossil cutting and examining all day. I have been arranging the fossil slides, the series got mixed, and it is no joke to keep them straight. Professor Y—— called in to see me (he is off to Europe very soon); and invited me to “tiffin at 5” in a few days. The wording is a little puzzling, isn’t it?

I called to inquire how Professor F—— is, and was glad to find him a little better, though very little, but with no prospect of perfect recovery.

Strawberries are beginning in the shops; it is such a treat after having had only apples and oranges for all these months. The temperature is delightful, like our July, and I enjoy it greatly, but the nights are still very cool, so that I have a hot-water bottle and the winter quilt. Things are beginning to bite me again, great horrid things of all kinds.[160] Spiders and centipedes come out at night, and all sorts of creatures I never saw before; already I am rendered unnecessarily hideous with bites, what it will be later on I don’t know. I saw the J——s to-day, who once lived here twenty years; they said that Japan is a country that “grows on one” till it is heart-breaking to leave it. I feel that already, it is a pity I have stopped so long. I don’t ever want to go now except to escape insects. The horrid “semi” have begun to sizzle to-night. They are the things that sit in the trees all night and make a sound as though you have a headache; only when they stop for a second or two, you realise you haven’t got one inside your head—but outside. Well, even in Eden there was the serpent, and I suppose sizzling semis aren’t as bad as serpents, at any rate their influence is less far-reaching.

May 21.—Fossilising all morning, and in the afternoon I was “at home”—blessed day! These two days in the month I look forward to hugely. A number of people came, among them Mrs. H——, a charming woman, young Mr. M——, son of the man who was Dean of the University before Professor S——, and Professor S—— himself. He came at an interval between Mrs. G——’s call and some others, and we started on Japanese poetry. It seems to be very subtle, so subtle, in fact, that even such a cultivated man can’t understand it right away. Though there is no rhyme and the form lies in the middle of syllables, there is great ingenuity shown in finding words with double meaning suggestive of[161] some poetical idea. The G——s, who called also, have been here thirty years, at least the Mrs. G—— has, and both she and her daughter like the Japanese greatly, and are much liked by them. I am going to get Miss G—— to oppose Miss B—— in the Debate on Hearn. I am glad to find some one who will stand up so sincerely and heartily for Lafcadio Hearn.

May 22.—After fossil-cutting walked along to the Faculty lunch with Professor M—— and talked nothing particular, as usual. At 5 I went over to Professor Y—— “for tiffin,” and was received in a foreign style room, and sad it was. Though so tiny a man, he has a large family, as all the Professors seem to have, unlike the corresponding men in our country. A Mrs. N—— was there, and a Miss X——, a teacher in a school. I resent very much the fact that all women school teachers (as well as girl pupils) have to wear a special kind of skirt (and very hideously ungraceful it is) over their kimonos, so that every one knows them to be teachers, just as we know hospital nurses. Perhaps it is the hideousness of the skimpy skirt, all open at both sides, that I resent, as much as the fact that it is a uniform marking these women out as apart from their fellows. Once, when I asked why it was all the teachers I saw were so plain featured, I was answered by a Japanese man, “well, if a girl is pretty, she can be married and does not need to go in for teaching.” And we hear so much of the “reverence of the Japanese for teachers.” It seems to me the Japan that we Europeans have at last learned to know, and whose characteristics we have[162] had drummed into our ears, is already a thing of the past, and as altmodisch as our early Victorian furniture, which the Japanese are picking up as “new styles.” But though our furniture may change so fast as to bewilder them, does our national character too change with a startling rapidity equal to the Japanese?

The streets to-day looked unusually upset, and the reason of it is that it is the time of universal spring cleaning,—a spring cleaning that does not originate from the domestic tyrant, but from the main Government, and that is inspected by the police before you have a little yellow tab of paper pasted on your door to say that you are clean. All the tatami must be taken up and beaten, all the boards in the kitchen floor, under which lie hidden oil cans and charcoal, shoes or saucepans, according to the pleasure of the maids, must be taken out and the glory holes cleaned and smothered in white disinfectant powder; the front step of your hall, which, of course, is also a box in disguise, is cleared of its winter geta and powdered white, while the props of your house (all Japanese houses are raised about 1½ feet above the ground) are smothered till one thinks it has snowed. When the policeman is satisfied that all this has been done, and then only, will he give you the yellow ticket. It seems to me an excellent plan—one which would be applied with advantage to some of our slums. The smaller streets to-day were perfect markets, as from the little houses every single thing is turned out on to the road, and the mats beaten there. It added not a little[163] to the thrills of bicycling, and was an instructive illustration of the simplicity of the smallest households.

May 23.—After working at fossils all morning, I cycled over to Miss B—— for lunch. She was as entertaining as usual. I often think she is one of the best talkers I have met. After lunch she took me to call on Mrs. M——, and I followed her kuruma on my bicycle. The M——s, of course, live in a splendid house, equally, of course, it was “foreign style,” with signs everywhere of wealth. The hall was like that of a hotel, and not a modern Waring furnished hotel either, and the drawing-room filled with chairs “upholstered” (there is no other word for it) in various brocades, with different heavy-patterned brocade curtains hung over every door and window in the stiff symmetrical style of last century’s low-water period. On the lovely verandah, looking out into a splendid garden, were round iron marble-topped tables, one was almost surprised there was no advertisement for whisky, or at least Cerebos salt match-holders. That was all I saw of the house to-day, except one little statue carved out of marble, so pure and transparent that the light shone through it as it stood in the window, among a tableful of various articles of cost. Its lovely curves were transfigured by the light behind it, so that they shone ethereal, and one could fancy it a fairy form coming in on a sunbeam—I had not realised fully before how transparent white marble is, and how suited to suggest unearthly beauty when carved in human form. I fixed my eyes on this and forgot the pink-and-green upholstered chairs.


The Women’s University owed much to this family at its foundation, and they asked me if I would like to see over it, which of course I would, so they are to take me on Friday. It will perhaps seem curious that I have made no previous effort to see this very important Institution, but I had my reasons, and the M——s are the best possible people to take me now; I am glad to go. I did not know before going there, but found out afterwards, that they gave the land on which it was built, and that Mrs. H—— (sister of Mrs. M——) was, with Marquis Ito, one of the first people to whom President N—— went with his plans fourteen years ago, and from whom he got much encouragement and practical help.

May 25.—I am getting quite an expert on my bicycle. The people in the street, too, seem to have got used to seeing me, and do not bump into me as often as they used to! Though there are some who are unspeakably idiotic; one to-day, for instance, walking toward me steadily for a long way, seeing me clearly, went suddenly at a right angle into the front wheel. The traffic here is exasperating, as the roads are very narrow; there is no foot-path and no rule of the road, and people dodge about like flies, while just this week Diabolo has arrived in Tokio apparently, and is played now in the middle of the road. It is quite startling, the suddenness of this universal appearance of Diabolo, and it is made in a form that the poorest children can buy for a few farthings. Yet with it all I think there is less danger of a real accident in Tokio than in any place in[165] England, because nothing goes fast, no motors or hansoms come on fleet-tyred wheels, and if one bicycles moderately it is really very safe. I have only knocked one baby over, but I shall never forget its eyes looking up at me through the spokes of the wheel, it looked so reproachful, but it was entirely its own fault, and it was not hurt a bit.

May 26.—Why do the Japanese lie so circumstantially, and then not even blush when they are found out? I had ordered some cards to be printed for the Debating Society and went round to see why they did not come. The man whom I asked went away and came back saying that the printer foreman had sent me three or four proofs, and having received no reply could not proceed with the work. I said I had returned a corrected proof some time ago, and sent him back to inquire again (knowing of old that determination generally produces the thing you want); he returned saying my proof had not come, but if I here corrected it the cards would be printed to-night; still I was not satisfied, and sent him back again, and lo, he brought the 300 cards all printed, and with the corrections in them I had added in the proof I returned.

And each succeeding story was uttered with such an amount of detail and an air of conviction!

May 28.—I got to the M——s, as arranged, at 9 o’clock, and there found Mrs. H——, who wished to come with us to the Women’s University. She was very unlike Mrs. M——, and dressed in European style, but her hair was very slightly streaked with[166] grey, and I thought her 45—she told me she was 60. President N—— told me she herself had opened a coal mine in Kyshyu twenty-five years ago, and she was the first woman who had ever done anything of the kind here. We drove over in their carriage, as it is a long way to the University, and I was very agreeably surprised. I had heard a good deal about it, particularly that it was more of a school than a College, and not a University at all—partly this is true, but it is already a College with the foundations of University teaching and equipment, and particularly in chemistry, for which there are four laboratories, strangely enough, the arrangements are excellent. The University buildings practically amount to a village, for there are 700 or more students in residence, and more than 1000 students altogether, and there are numerous different subjects taught, from chemistry to cooking, and from flower arrangement and tea-making to law and mathematics. Law, by the way, is compulsory in the Domestic faculty—not a bad idea, is it? There are two children’s classes and schools, and a kindergarten, all part of the University—the idea being that women should be brought up in touch with children. Another very good feature is, that by far the largest number of the women graduates go back to their homes and get married, so that nearly all the students are studying to get the culture, not working for exams., so as to be able to become teachers.

Mr. A——, the Dean, was with us nearly all the time, and was dressed in Japanese ceremonial robes[167] and a bowler hat. When he took off the bowler, one saw that he had a fine forehead, and that his face was altogether one of considerable beauty. His was undeniably a face with ideals. Mr. N——, the President, was rather a similar type of man, but perhaps less artistically fine. Both were very cordial, and we had an interesting talk, for they were all-round developed men, and one could talk to them as to an Englishman—not like so many of these Japanese scientists, who are (or try to be) that and nothing more.

The M——s then took me back to lunch, which was in European style; the food was excellent, but with all their wealth, they had no dainty silver on the table, whose large extent looked rather drear.

After lunch they showed me the garden, taking me to the Japanese part, which was splendid, hilly with green groves and streams, and a waterfall. I saw also their Japanese rooms, most beautiful, except that they had a blue plush carpet put over the mats; there was, however, nothing else in them but the proper appointments—and I delighted in their quiet harmonies.

I got back to the laboratory in time to get in an afternoon’s work.

May 30.—Fossils all morning—and preparing microscope, etc. for my Monday’s expedition, when I am going after cycads. Went along to tea with Professor F——, who is a little better now, and from whom I needed some information about the place I was going to.


June 1.—The household was up at 5 this morning, and I got off to the station a good deal too early for the train, which is a fault on the right side. After seven hours along the renowned old Tokkaido, where to-day a railway runs, I landed at Yejiri, and went in a kuruma about a couple of miles farther to a very noted cycad temple. I deposited my microscope and baggage on the temple steps, which I converted into a temporary laboratory, and scratched myself sadly on the cycas leaves while examining the coming fruits. The cycads are really wonderful—so tall, and curved and branched innumerably.

After pottering around for a while, I broached the subject of stopping all night at the temple, and soon got my way. The priest is extremely old and frail, and looks stupid, but I don’t think he is; there is also an old woman, whom I presume is his wife, who will do what little cooking I shall get.

It is a charmingly situated temple, and the gardens are very sweet, so decked with the beauties of age. It lies on the slope of a hill, just midway between the top and the flat rice fields below us, and is one of the most peaceful habitations it is possible to imagine. The priest seems to spend all his time, clad like one of the poorest peasants, working in the gardens, which are very well kept, and which, like all true old Japanese gardens, suggest that the little details had been planned to please a child. On tiny islands are perched minute lanterns, and across streams over which one could step are bridges or stepping-stones.


There are such hundreds of frogs just at present, as he walks one would think the priest was spilling his basket of plants into the water, there are so many splashes where he passes, but it is only the countless frogs hopping out of his way into their native element.

After a rather meagre supper of eggs and rice (it is quite surprising how tired one gets of eggs and rice, even in one meal) I wandered round the garden, tottering along with great circumspection, for I was mounted on geta (the wooden clog-like things I have previously mentioned). The stillness was complete, as the temple was closed to visitors and the old priest and his wife were in the house. Range after range of hills stood back from the sea towards Fuji mountain, whose position I knew, but who was hidden in the clouds. In the valley the ripe barley glowed golden, and between its little fields were the bare wet patches waiting for the rice to be planted out, and reflecting now the clouds that hung low in the sky. Brilliant emerald squares marked the nurseries of the tiny rice plants, growing in neat little oblongs by themselves, and still less than 6 inches high. Suddenly I felt an electric presence, and looked behind me at a cleft in the hill to see the slimmest silver curve of a new moon that I had ever seen. She rode in the sky so swiftly that, as I watched, I could fancy the waves of blue ether tossed from the prow of the little boat, and while I gazed she passed again behind the hill. So delicate a moon, a silver thread curved on a bow, but its fairy light was[170] more bewitching than many a great round moon’s brilliance.

In the night the priest woke, and gave a cry to his wife, and I looked out, but the night was black, the fleet moon had lured every star away.

June 2.—Early they rose, and though I took about an hour leisurely eating my breakfast, it was finished before half-past eight. I went to the cycad trees for a while and worked at them. How huge they are! The one on which I am now sitting, eight feet or so above the ground, spreads all round me like a grove of trees, but is only one much-branched individual. At my feet, in the main trunk of the tree, is a minute temple, but I think the gods have deserted it, for within is only one image half a foot high, from which the paint has worn away.


Opposite me is a funny old cycad, not branched at all but bent. It grows on a slope, and is propped up with legs here and there. In the morning I saw[171] Mount Fuji quite magnificently. She stands alone in the sky, three times higher in appearance (and more in fact) than any hill near, with a coronet of snow, and a cloak of clouds round her shoulders, which cut her off from the earth. Immensely more impressive than when seen from Tokio.

What a peaceful day! I stop in the midst of my examination of the cycads to fall into an aimless reverie, and am waked up by a frog croaking from a porcelain-green throat at my side. Big black butterflies come lumbering along, and one thinks they are stupid birds till they settle on a crimson azalea flower, and coming up from the rice fields is a low-toned rattling chorus of frogs and semi. Just before supper I went up the next little hill to see the temple of Kwannon on its top. There are 270 solid stone steps up to the temple, all neatly squared and nearly 8 feet wide—but the temple itself is built of mouldering wood. It commands a splendid view of the rice and barley fields, and then the sea, which lies but a mile away. Behind the temple is a hilly country with many trees and little cultivated patches here and there. There are lots of white Canterbury bells among the tall grasses, and the wild Fuji wistaria branches climb round many a trunk.

After supper the moon rode high in the pale grey sky—but it is so small even now, only what I would have thought was a first day moon in England. Perhaps the brilliantly clear air of Japan last night allowed me to see the crescent before it was really a moon at all, but was the soul of a moon before it was born.


June 3.—To get me to the station by 8.30 the good people started getting up at 5, and talked so that I could hear every word, repeating again and again the time that they must wake me. But once they had “waked” me, not a word did they say, and crept about like mice. The contrariness of the Japanese is incomprehensible. The kuruma came an hour before I ordered it—and I kept him waiting more than an hour by their clock, and then got to the station sixty-five minutes too soon for the train!

After a few stations, I was struck by a pretty beach, and hopped off the train, determined to have a bathe and go on by the next, whenever it might be, to-day or to-morrow. The station-master was very nice, and took charge of my luggage, from which I extracted a towel. The village—Kanbara by name—was very small, and there were a good many fishing-boats at intervals along the shore, but they were nearly deserted. The water was just delicious, so warm that one could not feel it at all, I never bathed in such a perfect temperature, but I expect our creeping cold water is more bracing. I sunned on the beach for a while, and found a train at midday that will take me a good deal quicker than the one I left, as it is a semi-express.

I had to wait about twenty minutes on the platform for it, and was of course gazed at solemnly by a number of small children who did not offer a remark, they were so young that very likely I was the first foreigner they had really seen at close quarters. There was a good deal of difference of opinion as to[173] my sex. My panama hat always bewilders them, as only men wear them here.

The station-master came up and had a little chat, and took me to his room, because there was a chair there, which was very nice of him; though the chair was no more comfortable really than the bench, the quiet and coolness of his room was pleasant.

When I got off the train I had not told him that it was my intention simply to get a bathe, but had diplomatically said I wished to see his neighbourhood, which had evidently pleased him. I told him about the bathe afterwards, which seemed also to please him, for I had enjoyed it very much. I got to Tokio quite uneventfully before night.

June 8.—Fossil-cutting all day. In the afternoon there was a quite terrific thunder-storm, one peal seemed to break inside the very house. Then hail! The largest known for forty years, and really the hailstones were as large as eggs, some were measured by Professor P——, and were 2½ inches in diameter!

By a really quaint coincidence it was the Festival of the God of Thunder, and the storm took place in the middle of the temple festival. There seems some justification for a folk-belief in mythology. When the worshippers prayed for mercy from the fearful hail, the sun soon shone.

June 9.—Professor F—— came to tea in my house, which he now saw for the first time—and when I think how he had to arrange everything with my landlady in the last one, I feel quite proud of my progress. He is still ill, though a little better,[174] and to-morrow goes away to some celebrated hot springs.

June 11.—Working at fossils all day: I developed some photos of cycads I took at Yejiri, but the weather is so hot the gelatine dissolves!

The air is now filled with mosquitoes and minute biting flies, and I would like to be a hedgehog. They sing so loudly outside the net that I can’t sleep, and though they don’t get inside the net much they are so vexed about it, and I am “so sweet to eat,” as my little maid says, they just howl on the top note of rage.

June 12.—A working day, in which the only attempt at excitement was the lunch at the Goten, but as Professor S—— was away it was a little like flat soda-water.

June 13.—I went to see the Agricultural University; it is at the end of the Aoyama tram, and quite away into the country. It possesses a very impressively beautiful stretch of ground, over which the different Institute Buildings are dotted. Dr. M—— met me and took me over. The botanical department is not very big, but those who do research there get every convenience. The only noteworthy thing was the curious arrangement of the paraffin oven, stuck right down in the ground like the hut of a cave-dweller, with steep steps into it and a metal entrance door. This is an old arrangement as a precaution against fire, for, of course, all the buildings are of wood. Of the other departments, I was principally interested in the silk-worm houses, where huge numbers of worms[175] were reared. A scientist was there doing experiments with hybrids, and working at Mendel’s laws and the commercial value of different crosses. More convenient creatures for such a purpose one could hardly imagine. They need no cages, for they can neither fly nor run! When the moths hatch out you can pick them up, pop them down beside any other one you like, and they stay where you put them and mate, and you get a new generation in about thirty days. They are kind enough to fasten their eggs themselves in series on numbered cards, and are, in fact, as well behaved as any scientifically constructed animal could ever be imagined to be.

It was very wet, so the picnic planned for the afternoon did not come off, and I stayed a long time. It was interesting to notice some native Indians studying here, and to find that they, and one or two others who could not speak Japanese, had special classes held in English and given by a Japanese teacher for the various subjects. Who needs to learn any “world language” but English?

June 15.—An uneventful working day, but in the evening there was the Debate. We are going to have alternately afternoon and evening meetings, so as to try to please all varieties of people.

Miss B——’s paper was very amusing, as we all expected it would be, but very superficial also, so that I felt she had been convinced on the side of Hearn, for she brought no real serious argument against him. Miss G—— opposed her well, and brought far more solid reasons in favour of Hearn’s[176] view of Japan; the two supporters were good, particularly “the Poetess,” who supported Hearn. Many of the audience spoke very well, but when it came to voting so many refrained that the votes were level, and I had to give the casting vote, of course in favour of Hearn.

June 19.—All yesterday the Institute had been undergoing extensive cleaning, and this morning was spent in expectation and preparation of exhibits—the great Dr. Koch, the world-famed German bacteriologist, was coming to see the Institute. Professor F—— was brought back from the mountain before his cure was finished to be on duty; my fossil slides were borrowed and put under microscope, and the spermatozoids of ginkgo were on show. He came, after the whole Institute and Baron H—— had waited in a flutter of excitement for nearly an hour; he is a big stout man, not very intellectual-looking. Though interested he had evidently been trotted round a great deal. He seemed to like the fossils, and asked me to show him a section of a leaf, as well as those I had under the microscope.

Then he was trotted off to a purely masculine dinner at the garden house. The newspapers have been full of his coming, his doings, and sayings. They say they are going to put a telephone up Mount Fuji, so as to be able to interview him from the top!

June 22 and 23.—Uneventful working days, with a little reading of Matthew Arnold’s Essays in Criticism in the evening. I am reading aloud to Mrs. St——, who lives next door but one, and who[177] must not use her eyes at present. We are doing Arnold pretty thoroughly, life, poems, and essays, and patted ourselves on the back when we found in an essay on his work that he “appeals exclusively to the cultured section of the educated classes!”

June 24.—At work all day; in the evening I gave a farewell party for the P——s (who leave on Friday), and invited about 30 people, of whom 26 or so accepted. It would have been preposterously ambitious in England, but here my little house, with the rooms thrown into one, and the garden lit with Chinese lanterns, made it a pleasure to play at entertaining. The room lit with lanterns looked very pretty; chairs and lemonade glasses I borrowed from next door, and all went merry as a marriage bell. Though it was the rainy season, the night was gloriously fine. The Dean and one or two Professors of the University, two clergymen and some minor folk from the Embassy disported themselves like children. Even the Poetess came, and entered into the games. We had a collection of 20 sen toys for Professor P——, and some of the things people brought were charming. By 11.30 all but a select few departed, but it was after 12 before these went. What a simple happy thing life in a Japanese house can be!

June 25.—Fossil-cutting all day. Miss M——, Mrs. H——, and President N—— came to see the fossil cutting-machine at work, and also some of the slides under the microscope. They were interested, but of course did not fully realise their significance, for fossils are principally for specialists.


June 26.—At 6.30 this afternoon Professor and Mrs. P—— left. What a crowd there was to see them off! By the same train the wife and daughter of the Austrian Ambassador were leaving, and that brought all the Legations’ representatives. Really the platform was so packed we could hardly move—and if there had been tea going round it would have seemed like a garden party. The train looked comfortable, with wagons-lit—and every one was entertained by the huge “send-off,” so that few tears were shed—but I am deeply sorry to lose the friends that train carries away.

June 30.—A good day’s work. In the evening there was a dinner where met all the botanists of Tokio. One or two could not come, but there were 18 men there. Seemingly foreign food is greatly appreciated—certainly there were more courses than the laws of health allow. It was amusing to note knives slipped furtively down after they had touched asparagus when their owners noted me holding a spike aloft in bare fingers—but otherwise the company behaved and looked much as a similar set of people would look anywhere. The sky, seen out of the windows, was the most astonishingly blue I have ever seen. The soft velvety depth of it suggested the impossibility of stars gleaming on its surface (as they usually do at night), they would have been drowned. The brilliant blueness like that of a cornflower or a solid mass of cornflowers that had flung off their colour into the surrounding air, till every particle for miles, each separate and distinct, was[179] blue. Usually the sky seems a flat or a dome-shaped sheet of colour over us, to-night it was a solid vapoury mass of quivering blue particles—indescribable, but thrilling as an electric shock, and as unforgettable. After we had dined we talked, until I suggested Dr. H—— should give us a piece of recitation; he studies its peculiar singing-like declamation and renders it well. Then others sang, and I was convulsed by “Home, Sweet Home,” sung by one of the young lecturers, “to prevent me feeling home-sick.” His rendering of it was intensely funny, but his voice was pretty good. Afterwards he sang a long Japanese battle song. We left at 9.45, and some of us, I fear, will be ill after that dinner.

July 1.—An uneventful and solitary day’s work. Professor F—— too ill to come. I only suffered spasmodic anger from an outraged digestive mechanism, and continued my usual occupations, and dined with the Sh——s in the evening. The little Japanese girl I have mentioned as staying with her is pretty nice. Alas, to-morrow she is going to be put into foreign dress! She is going to marry Prince S——, however, who is very pro-English, and as she will be much about the court, is compelled to wear it by that sad decree of the Empress.

I heard one good story of a little English girl who went home after having spent all her early years in Japan. In the train between Southampton and London she was much interested with the outlook, the sheep particularly fascinating her, and she called on her mother to admire them: “Look, what a lot!”[180] “Why, here is another!” “There, mother, look, look!” she kept exclaiming, when a benevolent old gentleman said, “Why are the sheep so interesting, little girl? Haven’t you seen a sheep before?”

“Of course I have,” she answered, drawing herself up; “of course—we have two in the Zoo in Tokio.”

July 2.—Fossil-cutting all morning—I seem to be followed by misfortune, for the boy who works the engine has been away all this week, and my scientific colleague here only one afternoon! However, I keep at it, and slides are slowly accumulating, with a few nice things in them.

July 3.—Fossils in the morning and lunch at the Goten; Professor S—— jolly and talkative, and a great pleasure to meet. Professor F—— came in the afternoon, and we did a lot of looking through slides. There are a number of pretty little things among the fossils that puzzle us completely.

July 5.—There was a luncheon party with some nice neighbours to-day, and while we were there some strolling Japanese singers came to the door, and we gave them a few sen and watched them. There were an old woman and a young woman, both good-looking, and with the quaint huge round hats of their class, the young man wore a battered European-style hat—a jarring note, that was repeated in the little girl’s hat, red stockings, and European shoes. It is always the men and the children who wear the horrors of civilisation.

The child danced, clumsily and heavily with her feet, but moving her little body in all kinds of ways[181] with wonderful grace and agility, and a strength in holding difficult curves; her hands too, so prettily shaped, were carefully posed and moved, now rigid, almost bending back, and now swiftly fluttering; she had an old gilt fan, which she opened and manœuvred, but her round pretty face was absolutely set. There was a haunting suggestion of bedraggled beauty in it all, beauty that had once adorned a noble’s palace and had been cast into the streets, and from soft white tabi and silk robes had taken to tight cotton gowns and old red stockings, with a hole showing above the down-trodden heel of a shoe.

Yesterday the Ministry resigned—and the commercial people are on the verge of revolt against the fearful expenditure on army and navy, while the country is so poverty-stricken. I could weep with Hearn over this country, and the hats they wear are enough to start me off!

I have read every word of the cross-examination and trial of Bethell over the Korean matters; you have probably heard of it at home; in many ways I feel that the Japanese use their catch phrases, “love of country”—“love of Emperor,” as cloaks for unscrupulous behaviour public and private, just as our county councillors seem to lose private honesty in dealing with public affairs. The Japanese have 20,000 troops active in Korea, and cannot keep order—my only surprise is that any Koreans submit at all without decent open warfare; they were not conquered, but tricked and coerced into having their Government absolutely controlled by the Japanese Government.[182] Were I a Korean I should at least demand to be properly conquered. Yet, of course, from the point of view of world politics Japan must control Korea, only—God pity the Koreans who have themselves a spark of “love of country” or “love of Emperor.”

July 6.—A solitary day’s work—on the way home I called to inquire after Mrs. M——, who has been in bed for about a month, and I noticed that the ceiling of their big drawing-room is all of satin, embroidered with huge flowers and life-size peacocks and other birds. One can only think of the cost of it, and deplore that it was not put as hangings where one could admire the work.

I had to go by tram to-day, as the bicycle is in hospital, and noticed such a quaint sign over a shop. Most of the very funny ones have been gradually weeded out by thoughtless people informing the owners of their eccentricity, so that the streets are not nearly so entertaining as they were years ago.

This I saw, however:—

“Au Klnds wool are sell in her.”

I also noticed “Fruit’s Shops.”

How lazy a bicycle makes one, it feels a serious imposition to have to walk 2 miles of city road, though the Tokio streets do not seem to get any less entertaining because I am accustomed to them.

July 7.—We had a fine afternoon, so I did a little tidying up in my garden. During these many days of heavy rain the leaves have grown luxuriantly, but the flowers have quite ceased to come out in a world where they are only drenched with unkind torrents[183] instead of being kissed by the warm sun they will get if they wait a few weeks longer. My four little lawns, altogether no bigger than a billiard table, are now like a jungle, and I planted them so few weeks ago. It is very pretty to watch the little side paths, where the moss and lichens and liverworts seem to grow every day; the small paths where O Fuji-san (my maid) does not walk are now quite green—more aged-looking than paths a hundred years old with us. The little stone lantern I bought the day of the paeony flowers, is also green, with a faint haze of centuries over it! It is the lovely greenness of Tokio that marks it out from every city I have seen before. To-day, bicycling along the road above the moat, I could well have believed myself far in the country, with the high green grass on the steep banks of the moat and the grey-green pines growing above and shading it. The green and the grey and the blue that lies in and over this city, blue in the sky and blue in the gowns of every one; grey on the tree trunks, the moats, and the houses; green everywhere there is foot-hold for a moss plant, are a harmony that thrills one’s very soul.

July 9.—Work till 5.30, and then dinner at 6, with Professor S——. This was arranged to suit Professor B——, from New Zealand, who goes to bed at 8.30 or so. Professor O——, the seismologist, and Professor T——, the anthropologist, were also there. It was, of course, a “foreign style” dinner, and was done with great magnificence. Professor B—— talked with almost no comments from any one, but the conversation was never dull.


Professor S——’s garden was more of a dream than ever,—lit with stone lanterns and with a few red roses among the green, the moon being in a watery mist, and we turned the light down, and listened to the bell-like tones of a little “Bell insect,” hanging in a 2-inch cage in the garden. The note was slightly muffled, but musical, penetrating, and sad—one of those notes that act as an “Open Sesame” to the gate of emotions—that is, I should say, to some people’s emotions. Professor B—— had the insect under a “scientific scrutiny” for a whole minute, and then produced his note-book, and the light was turned up while he wrote down his observation that the noise is made by the rubbing of the wings where they slightly overlap.

July 10.—The last day’s lunch at the Goten, and a lot of work of one sort and another got out of hand. Collecting plant-material, etc., takes more time than one would think. The fossil lab.-boy is ill again, and fossils are hanging fire a little, for I can’t do more than three things at once.

July 12.—Writing all morning; the weather is glorious, and the rainy season seems to be pretty well over, and has been a record one. The rain came at the right time, lasted the right length of time, and was cool instead of “steamy hot,” as it often is—we cannot be too thankful for these mercies. Even as it is, the inside of my writing case and the whole of my shoes and straps are covered with blue mould.

I paid several calls in the afternoon—my neighbours are off to the mountains first thing to-morrow[185] morning—lucky people! How I wish I could feel free to do the same, instead of grinding over these old fossils. Soon Tokio will be empty of all the sane people who inhabit it in the winter.

As I am writing I hear the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” set to Japanese and sung lustily. It is one of the favourite foreign tunes among the Japanese, and many sing it without knowing it isn’t Japanese, I believe.

July 13.—I was in the garden with Professor F—— for the first time this year. We were getting some gymnosperm material, and found a brilliant green frog sitting in the sunshine on a brilliant green leaf. He told me he would be brown on a barky branch, so I picked the frog up and put him on the curve of a broad brown branch, and, sure enough, the webs of his feet went quite brown in a minute, and his back went a much darker, duller green, but we couldn’t wait to see him all turn brown, it took too long.

July 14.—Absolutely alone all day. The engine and fossil boy and Professor F—— are all ill again, and the other people not visible. I felt more than a little ill myself, and my bicycle was so bad it had to go into hospital. A very grey day—and in the evening torrents of rain fell from the heavens, and I began to feel inclined to weep also, when Mrs. F——’s little daughter came round to ask me to go in to dinner, as the weather was so depressing. Eastern life has its share of compensations.

July 15.—At 11 I started my work, and took some micro-photos, and I am also seeing about chemical[186] analysis of nodules, covering glasses of great size for fossil slides, printing of photos, artificial cultivation of ginkgo prothallia (and the wretches insist on going mouldy, like my boots), collecting of gymnosperm material, and half a hundred other things that are pulling me in as many directions as the points of a compass for a universe of six dimensions. Why I was such an ass as to undertake both fossil and recent work, I can’t imagine—one must go to the wall.

Coming home late to-day (Professor F—— turned up about 3.30), I passed through the road to a temple where there was a children’s festival, along whose sides were rows of gay little stalls with all manner of bright things to tempt the children, who throng in holiday attire. I never saw more children and fewer elders, and all the children were so bright, and, excepting for the crude, almost savage decorations in their hair, so prettily dressed. The various toys and eatables are indescribable, all brilliant and all ridiculously cheap, from half of a farthing up to a penny or so being the normal prices. Among the eatables were little brown germinating beans, with long white rootlets sticking out, then there was a special stall for a kind of clear seaweed jelly, which was squeezed into a glass cup through a bamboo squirt.

Very decorative little stalls were arranged with brilliant seaweed and shells, and one man did quite a lively trade cutting up small wriggling living fish. That is one thing about eating raw fish, it should be alive to be really good. As you may imagine, I have not yet tested it. Then there is the man that “pops”[187] sugary beans over a charcoal fire, and makes a delicious noise with his shaking grid-like box. The dealer of live red crabs attracts a crowd, and the crabs crawl up the sides of his cage as he pours water down on their backs. Though why any one should buy the crabs, I don’t know, for they are less than 2 inches from toe to toe. One boy I met had a lovely toy—a great dragon-fly, 6 inches across the wings, eagerly flying attached to a red thread—but alas! I soon saw it was real.

All the sentimental nonsense that is written about Japanese love of animals is simply not worth the paper it is written on, and as for their treatment of horses! In England I would go up and beat a man myself that I only pass quickly here, with a prayer for his horse.

There was inevitably among the stalls one for second-hand odds and ends. These I examined carefully, for it is just at such times one can get lovely curios very cheaply. This time I got a tiny double figure, most delicately carved, and an old carved horn comb.

July 16.—My “At Home” day—and therefore, of course, pouring in torrents. When I get to the level ground below the Botanical Gardens I found the road under 2 feet of water. Fortunately there were kurumas waiting to ferry one across, and I got in one, and had a man to carry my bicycle on his shoulders. It was serio-comic to see the houses with 2 and 3 feet of water in them, and clothes hung up out of reach of the dirty flood. The channels between the houses are[188] deep, and I saw several people waist high, with a pole, feeling their way. To think that less than six hours’ rain made that flood, and that it is in the city of Tokio, and that it happens every few weeks in the summer, fills one with surprise. How can they put up with it? It only means the deepening of the channel of the little stream which drains the district—but men and women tuck up their skirts and wade a quarter of a mile up to their knees, and those whose houses the water invades place what they can of their goods out of its way—and probably the last thing any one of them would do would be to grumble at the City Council.

I bought some peaches coming back, they are now in season, and in Tokio more than in any place I know it is a case of “gather ye roses while ye may.” They were very big, soft, and glowing crimson, and cost one halfpenny each. When we cut them the stones separated perfectly, and the rich blood-red flesh stained one’s lips and fingers with its juice. In buying fruit and vegetables the only Chinese character I know is of great use, it is that for “Mountain,” and is used for piles of cucumbers or trios of peaches, and I can read “one mountain cost 10 sen,” or whatever it may be that a cucumber mountain costs.

By the way, it may interest you at home to know that a pile of four cucumbers costs 3 sen, which is exactly 3 farthings the lot. Are you surprised that I eat boiled cucumbers with white sauce? It is at home a vegetable we could not often indulge in, with cucumbers 1s. each, but here, where all things are[189] ridiculous prices, being either too dear or too cheap, I have the power to indulge in this delicate dish.

Eggs are funny things here; they get dear in the summer, just when the man in Punch finds his hens begin to lay. Here the extreme heat enervates the hens for a couple of months in the summer.

July 17.—A long solitary day’s work till the late afternoon, when Professor F—— came, and we did a little “joint work”—it is beginning to be almost farcical; however, without him I should never have got on at first, so it is all right.

July 18.—Work till 2, when a party of provincial botanists came to the laboratory, and I met once more the Mr. O—— who was kind to me at Okoyama in my second tour, as funny and as amusing as ever, with his twinkling black eyes and mobile eyebrows, that so incongruously reminded me of “the silk-worm moth eyebrows of a woman.” At 3 I left the party, who had, of course, to see all the sights of the Institute, among which was the “Fossil Lab.”

July 19.—At 6.30 I got up to go and see the “Morning Glories,” huge brilliant convolvulus flowers, which are specially cultivated in a number of gardens in a part of the town near Oyeno Park. We went to about a dozen gardens, and saw many of the flowers, though it is still a little early in the season. The flowers are trained in pots to grow round light bamboo frames, and are specially cultivated to be very large. Each morning at ten o’clock all the flowers that have bloomed that day are picked off, so as to[190] ensure the next day’s blooms shall not be deprived of any nourishment. The bells are very large and extremely brilliant, blue, purple, magenta, all the possible intense shades of each. The flowers are almost a little crude, some verging on vulgarity in their flaring tones. Many of them are delightful, and some so large they are said to reach 8 inches or so across a single bloom; such huge ones I did not see, but what I saw made it possible to believe in the bigger ones.

In some of the gardens there are many other beautiful things to be seen, one in particular was almost like a museum of precious things. There were open rooms in it, with the flowers arranged according to the best artistic styles, with valuable dwarf trees and curios placed beside them; there were three old kakemonos I should have loved to possess. In this garden also was a wonderful collection of landscape stones, arranged as islands on flat porcelain trays filled with water. It was indeed a case of bringing the mountain to Mahomet—perfect rocky scenes, with gleaming waterfalls made by streaks of white quartz. The innumerable lovely stones—from an inch to a foot high—represented perfectly, enchantingly, all types of grand, beautiful, natural scenery. The one I liked best was (even in Japanese things my fancy usually hits on the most expensive) just a thousand yen in price!

An old man, apparently master of the garden, came up and talked to us, he was curious to see a foreigner so interested in stones, and wished to hear which I[191] liked best, and so on. I wished I could speak fluently with him, he was just the type of character that seems to be dying out, and that is so rich in interest and quaint wisdom and remote culture. His deep wrinkles and keen light eyes were so attractive. I wished I had gold to spend in that garden, he and I would enjoy the good old Japanese way of spending several days over selecting the treasures. He had a pretty little piece of carved white jade among his flowers, six inches long and an inch high—a foil for a dark foliage arrangement, £20 it cost, he said, and he didn’t lie as to its worth.

This is the first nursery garden I have been in that seems to be the creation of an old artistic Japanese, it was indeed charming.

Afterwards we lunched in Oyeno Park, and then I went a round of calls on my bicycle, then home to have two friends to tea, and a view of copies of old Japanese prints: half a chapter I forced myself to write in the evening sent me to sleep.

July 20–24.—An uneventful week of work, all the Institute seems asleep, and Professor F—— only came an hour or two for some of the days till Friday, when we worked very hard.

July 25.—The cycads in Tokio won’t flower, and it is a long way to go to the places they are reported to grow, so that when I heard they were to be found in Yokohama, I went off at once by an early train to visit the various gardens where they are said to be found. There were two female trees and a male, but they were not very healthy; still, as the Tokio ones[192] refuse to bloom, and as I need them, they will be visited by my pilgrimages.

What a hideous influence is the “foreign” style at Yokohama, where red brick warehouses and treeless streets covered with a pall of smoke remind one of the “advance” made by modern Japan. Fortunately the plague spots are not very extensive, one needs to go but a very little way to find beauty again, but I shudder for the future when moss-grown walls and green hedges shall have been ousted from the cities, as they are from ours.

July 26.—I got up at 6 to go to Boshu after more cycads, as the temple, Awajinja, is reported to have fine ones. The sail down the coast in the little steamer was very pleasant. It took seven and a half hours, but we passed very pretty scenery, and for some time seemed out of sight of land in a sea dotted with innumerable white-sailed fishing-boats. In the middle of the day many of the fishers were taking a siesta, the square sail lowered so as to lie along the boat and form an awning, under whose shade they slept.

When we neared the coast, it required but the smallest imagination to picture myself in a savage country, for over the rocks ran and scrambled dark brown men, stark naked, not even the proverbial string of beads to adorn them. They had long bamboo poles in their hands, which they waved like savage spears, and gave them a truly wild aspect.

After landing I bicycled about 8 miles to the temple, and found splendid male flowers on the[193] cycads, but no female. Last year there were lots of female. It is too bad, this year seems to be so unfavourable for the seeds.

I put up at a little hotel near the sea, and after six went down for a bathe. The coast was perfect, shelving rocks sloping out to sea, with little bathing coves and sheltering rocks, and, as I imagined, perfect solitude. But, of course, in this out of the way place I had been noticed, and before I was in the water a minute a crowd of women and children had collected. Nothing I could do or say would drive them away, and so I had to get out and dress under the fire of their eyes and criticisms. In their long-drawn country tones they kept up a running commentary, “Ooā—how white she is!” “Is she married?” “Why does she wear a dress in the sea?” “How old can she be?” “Perhaps twenty years.” There was no escape from nearly fifty people forming a cordon but 3 feet away from me; if I had fled they would have followed; so I dressed as leisurely and as unconcernedly as if I were at home, and gravely buttoned the little buttons of my bodice and put on my stockings while I returned the compliment and made a searching examination of them.

The boy children were naked, with smooth glowing copper limbs like sun-burned clay—as indeed they were. The girl children had usually some floating robe of a dressing-gown nature, open to show the whole body, or caught at the waist and turned down to leave the upper part free. Bright-eyed they were and muddy-cheeked, but neither pretty nor attractive.[194] The women were naked to below the waist, the kimono being turned down over the girdle to form a kind of double skirt. No one wore any ornament of any kind, save a few coloured beads to tie their hair, but few of them had even that. The men wore 3 inches of cloth round their waists and sometimes a band round their heads made of a small Japanese towel. All were perfectly quiet, and the remarks were made one at a time by the older women; the children stood open-mouthed. I know that the blue of the sea-water makes one gleam like white ivory, and as all my clothes were white, I suppose the effect must have seemed novel to them. The deep colour of the Japanese is chiefly due to sunburn, but as they are exposed to it from their earliest days it gets so ingrained that they may not realise it is an attempt at clothing on the part of a body otherwise so unprotected.

July 27.—I rode back again to the starting-point of the steamer, and got there twenty minutes too soon, and so went along the shore and had a bathe. The steamer was very crowded and hot—I wonder who it was that started the fiction that a Japanese crowd does not possess an odour? Why, the detestable smell of the rancid oil in the women’s hair is enough for one alone, without any of the other items, which include a peculiarly virulent pickle, daikon, and an odour of decayed fish that hangs over a good many in a poor crowd.

The heat is now upon us, and as I returned on my cycle through the Tokio streets I met gentlemen with[195] fans, schoolboys with fans, errand-boys with big baskets and fans, kuruma men with fans, even the men dragging heavy carts fanned themselves as they struggled along. Yet very few women had fans, only the ladies riding in kurumas.

July 28.—I had to go up to the University and to several places and get ready for my start to-morrow. Fearfully hot.

July 29.—Started for Hakone. After the railway journey there was a tram ride for several miles along the old Tokkaido road; a beautiful avenue of Cryptomerias shaded it most of the way, and on one side gleams of the blue sea shone between the tree trunks. After reaching the foot of the hills there was a four-hours’ walk up the pass, by a steep and very rough path, with beautiful views of a clear river rushing over big rocks, and blue hills rising peak by peak behind the trees.

My luggage was carried by the quaintest human being to whom I have ever spoken—a dwarf. He hardly reached up to my elbow, and had bent legs and long arms, yet he was very strong and very genial, though so hideous. His back view was like this sketch, and his short stick, about 18 inches long, was very thick and used as a walking-stick or a support to prop up the saddle-like luggage-holder when he rested.

Going with him quite alone through the narrow paths in the woods I felt as though I had been transported into the Middle Ages, where damsels were served by strange dwarfs who led them to witches’[196] haunts and fairies’ palaces. I walked slowly in this dreamland, and he pattered along, half in a run, for his legs were so short that my slow pace was haste for him. But I need not have felt that his burden was too heavy, I met several charcoal-burners carrying six and seven times more than his load. It is wonderful what the natives can carry here.

We passed a mountain hamlet, a double row of houses built along a path. There was a runnel of clear water rushing down the middle of the road, and a tributary stream brought between each of the houses to join it. In its building the village must be very old, and is not so “Japanese” looking as the buildings of the plain. There seemed to be no gardens, but in the space between the houses grew banks of blue hydrangeas, crimson phlox, and great white lilies.


After a long and rather weary pull up the hills, where the road was bad and very stony, we crested them, and looked down on the lake of Hakone, girt with Cryptomerias.

In the evening I was housed in an old dwelling[197] where daimios used to sleep when they travelled along the Tokkaido—by the lake whose farther shore was cut off by driving clouds. One could imagine it an ocean, and cool fresh breezes made me forget the stifling heat of Tokio.

July 30.—We are living in the clouds; below, above, and around us they swirl and writhe in the wind, sometimes breaking a little to show us the edge of the lake, but then directly driving together again and shutting us out from all but our own garden. Below us in the plain the sun will be shining and the people sweltering, but we are cool—and damp.

July 31.—Still the mist and clouds dance past and wreathe round the trees in such enchanting wise that they make poems and pictures and mysteries of the swift visions they are allowed to reveal.

Sad that I am ill—terrible pain in the night, so that I had to rouse the house; and all day I have done nothing—but grin sometimes when it returned.

August 1.—Clouds still there; and I am a little better though not well. The household in which I am staying is unconsciously amusing. It is to join J—— that I came; the other inmates are missionaries of uncertain age,—very high church, with prayers night and morning, grace before and after meat, with devout crossings and bows, till I long to tell them they are popish idolaters, but refrain, for J——’s sake. The first night I felt too crushed to venture a remark at meals; the book I brought (a clever light thing by Barry Pain) was said to be “such weak rubbish it[198] seemed a pity to read it” by the lady who told us all one evening that she “had read a very great deal—and among it no rubbish!”

J—— begs me not to catch her eye at meals, and I refrain. The Pan-Anglican Congress and the Bishops attending it are the staple articles of interest at present.

While we are not supposed to be seen in a kimono “because the Japanese think us ridiculous in them” (with which I quite agree in one way), the Japanese servants are brought into prayers, and I wonder whether prayers said in Japanese by an English woman escape the ridiculous!

The village street was illuminated last night and to-night with square paper lanterns, for to-day is a great festival at the temple by the lake; and there will be a week’s matsuri, during which time the carpenter cannot mend the boat because he wishes to play with his children. Sunshine came for a couple of hours and we went in a boat to the temple. The boat was beached at the end of a little path, leading straight up from the water to the temple, by a flight of grey stone steps, moss-grown and decked with ferns. On either side were great Cryptomerias and bamboo, a cool deep wood in which the greyness and the greenness were set off by huge white lilies and their visitors, black butterflies with blue-tipped wings. Our path was solitary, but by another meeting it trooped gaily dressed villagers, brilliant in blue, red, and pink—sometimes whole families, father, mother, sons, and daughters in blue kimonos all alike.


The temple service was already well begun before we got there, but we came in time to see the presentation of the first-fruits. In the outer part of the temple the congregation sat on the floor,—the front rows all occupied by elderly gentlemen clad in their black haori with white mons, behind them sat the small boys, and at the back the young girls. By accident, or for some reason I do not understand, there were no women at all in the temple, though a few old ones with babies stood outside. They made no difficulty about us entering, so perhaps it was the preparations for the feasts to follow which kept (as it so often does at home) the women from worship. While the solemnity of presentation went on a man with a ridiculously flat face, dressed in semi-foreign style, played a harmonium, like the ones missionaries use on the seashore in the summer holidays. It was only given the chance of droning half a dozen notes with no tune audible to Western ears, but it was solemn enough, and had a certain fitness for the occasion. Three priests officiated, one in white and one in yellow over-dress with baggy trousers, just like a Turkish lady’s, beneath, and one in a lovely peach-coloured satin dress, an exquisite “Liberty” colour, and a great contrast to the harsh yellow one. The other brought the lacquer trays of offerings to him, with many slow reverences, and he walked up the altar steps and presented them. The walking up the steps was quite a feat—he turned his body sideways, at right angles to the steps, and brought both his feet together on each step. I noticed that his toes were[200] moved up and down in the way prescribed in the ceremonial walk of the .

One of the missionary ladies amused me as we were coming away. She dropped behind with another missionary and said in a tragical stage whisper, “Did you see that English lady in a red-striped dress? She was buying charms and mementoes of the priest! Oh, I hope she is not one of them! It is so horrible to think of——” This dear lady takes all things very seriously, and is as devoid of humour as any one I have met. I marked the lady in a red-striped dress, and discovered that she was carrying a quite new scarlet Kelly & Walsh (a little phrase-book used by all tourists). We all buy little odds and ends when we are touristing.

August 2.—I feel still ill. I expect it was the relative cold and the constant wet, for all the time the clouds were driving through us. So I walked down the pass and went back to Tokio—a long hot journey. Last summer I described all the varieties of undress one can study in the railway carriage, and as the Kobe express cars are as big as big Pullmans and crowded, you can imagine I did not lack entertainment.

August 3.—I went up to the University and the Bank in the morning, and in the afternoon Professor B—— came to tea. He is as talkative as ever, but is now thoroughly disgusted with the Japanese. Their “futility,” their “absurd waste of time,” their “indirectness” irritate him, as they must irritate any one; and he sees no deeper to the things one[201] loves, and which in some degree compensate. He proclaims, infuriated, that all the mysticism that was ever in Japan was brought there by Lafcadio Hearn himself.

August 4.—I set off with my bicycle, carrying all my luggage, for a fossil-insect hunt in Shiobara. The train takes five hours, according to the time-table, to go to the nearest station, and after that I had about 16 miles to ride to the haunt of the fossil insects. Fossil insects are shy and scarce, and I am the first to stalk them here, so I came with a double lot of patience; and I believe I remarked half a year ago, I have been so battered and worn in this country, where my impetuous spirit tugs at Oriental passivity in vain, that I have now normally the patience of two Jobs.

The train journey was remarkable only for the small quantity of clothing the passengers in the cushioned second class (pauper as I am, I only once travelled third) considered essential. Then the bicycle began, and as I spun past the jolting kurumas the other travellers engaged, my heart rejoiced, for not only was I safe from their horrors, but I should reach the hotel first and get the pick of what rooms there might be; for it is a hot-spring place, and much frequented in August.

The first half of the journey was nearly flat, and I have described it before, when I came to this place hunting plants; and then the hills began, but the road was splendidly graded, and I rode up all but one with great ease. The road followed the winding valley, and sometimes seemed to hang over the[202] roaring flood of the river beneath, so precipitous was the slope. At each curve of the road a broiling sun shone on me, and at each convex bend there was a waterfall, which seemed to emanate the coolness of hidden ice, and as the road curved and wound in and out like a Chinese dragon’s tail, I did not lack sensations. The beauty of the solitude of a million trees whispering together, of the silvery blue water and the grey rocks, shone with a clearness and brilliance that is so rare in England, and that is one of the chief charms of this country.

When I arrived and settled into my rooms, I had a bath. It was a big hotel, built for the hot springs which ran directly into the baths, and I was ushered into a bath-room where a man and woman were disporting themselves after the manner of Adam and Eve before the Fall. I felt like the serpent; but refused, with more tact than he showed, to form a third. This surprised the bath-attendant, who, however, allowed me to wait, and then stood outside the door all the time I was bathing to keep others out, and only peeped through the broken glass in the door now and then just to see whether I was ready to come out. After the bath he escorted me across the road (I had to sleep in the annexe), holding the umbrella over me, as I trotted along in a kimono and a pair of stilt-like gheta. In the luxury of idleness after supper I watched a woman in the house opposite. She was clad in a brilliant blue kimono, just the right old china blue—open at the throat, and her face and neck were the colour of warm sun-tanned unstained wood.[203] “Olive,” I suppose people call the complexion, but it was warmer, and more beautiful than that, while her hair was smooth and black as polished ebony, arranged with a series of rich curves in it. The old abused word “chaste” expressed her more exactly than any other I know. The tawdry fluffiness of most of our women’s dress and hair seemed like flannelette beside rich satin as compared with her. Yet a curl may bewitch one and entangle one’s soul, I know—a curl, but not the frippery and broken lines that are so rife in Europe. I wonder till I verge on lunacy how it is that the West has not yet discovered the glory that lies in smooth curves and gleaming surfaces, and in lines of cloth, unbroken by frilling and tucking and ruching and pleating.

August 5.—I hunted fossil insects morning and afternoon, and got a haul, better than I might have expected, if not so good as I had hoped. I left the bicycle at a primitive little saw-mill, turned by the river one has to cross to get the fossil quarry. The people are all greatly interested in it, never having seen a woman’s bicycle before. The hotel is about a couple of miles from the fossil place, so I go on it as far as I can get, for it is hot to walk, and stones are heavy to carry.

August 6.—Another quiet day. I took a walk over the stream up a branch valley. How gloriously limpid and clear the water is. The solitude is complete, and yet there are footpaths where one can wander without battling with sasa. It is a particularly charming place.


August 7.—I got very wet while getting fossils, indeed, it was like fishing rather than anything else. After I got back there was a terrible storm, really a small typhoon; one realised then why the houses are built with such greatly projecting roofs. The rain washed over them in a torrent, a white cascade, and streamed off the sides and swirled up into the air like a great waterfall. I have never seen anything like it; the whole building was like a giant fountain of dashing white water, and the wind blew till I feared for our roof.

August 8.—I had great luck cycling back to the station in excellent weather, but found the train was two hours late, owing to the destruction of last night’s storm; and before we got back to Tokio it was three hours late, so that instead of getting home just in time for dinner, I arrived, famished, at nearly 10. A kind Japanese lady gave me some biscuits in the train, for which I was grateful indeed; they were Huntley and Palmers’ “Osborne,” and M’Vitie and Price’s Shortbread! The joy of meeting these dear old friends in such an unexpected place was even greater than the relief my internal economy felt. They must have been wealthy people to have such biscuits, as, indeed, I had previously suspected, for the girls’ blue and white kimonos, that would naturally have been of cotton, were made of silk—poor children! for it is really much hotter than the plebeian cotton.

August 9.—A quiet day of rest. It is very hot, and I expect I am the only foreigner fool enough to be in Tokio.


August 10–12.—I spent a short time at the Institute and the rest at home, writing in my garden, and battling with mosquitoes and mould, but really having a restful time, for I ran away (thinking it the better part of valour) from the former, and write inside a mosquito net.

August 13.—I set off with my bicycle to Yejiri to see the cycads again. As it is 7½ hours’ journey by slow train, I went to the farther station of Shizuoka, at which the express stops, and got there in five hours, to bicycle 7 miles back to the temple. The wicked old sinner of a priest had written to me, in answer to my requests, to say that there were no cones this year, and I had believed him till I heard by chance it was false. And I found quantities of cones—twenty-six huge things, a foot and a half long, on one tree!

The smell of these cones is very strong, like pineapple and cake fermented together; it is a very thick smell, and in a room one of the cones was very persistent and penetrating, though it did not seem to attract any insects at all.

I had difficulty with the females, for the trees are awfully tall and shaky, but by tying two ladders together I got at them, and clung for my life to the sturdy leaves. The temple is as sweet as ever, but the evening was wet. As I sat over my supper in the house, which is all opened up so as to look very big, the priest unconcernedly took off his only garment and had his bath without closing the bath-room partition, while his wife went about all the time with about a yard of cotton round her hips.


Clothes, you will say, fill a large part of this journal, but Japan is one great exhibition in the art, mistakes, or want of clothes. Everything from perfection to nothingness is to be seen nearly every day. Everything from a soul-thrilling beauty and dignity to a side-aching farce of incongruity.

August 14.—I set off at half-past six to get back to Shizuoka, as I expected Professor B—— to tea in the afternoon in Tokio. Well, first they put me on the sea road, which at the start seems more direct than the one I came by, but actually follows the bays and hills, and adds several up and down miles to the journey. Then, even when I started, it was steadily pouring with rain. Then both my tyres went flat with punctures, quite unmendable in those wilds. Then the road was bad and narrow, and made of stones the size of marbles up to the size of a doubled fist. Then the streams flooded, and I had to go through thirty or forty of them which had decided to go over instead of under or beside the road. Then the roar of a landslip added a fillip of excitement. Then the growl of thunder and the brilliance of lightning, which I fancied might be attracted by my spokes. Then, not torrents of rain, but cataracts, waterspouts, Niagara falls!

I said naughty things ever so many times, but stuck on my bicycle and wouldn’t get off for the stony-bedded little torrents that impertinently crossed the roads, and just went through them. What matter if I couldn’t see the bottom upon my bicycle, I couldn’t see it any better if I waded them. I folded up the[207] sheets (I always travel with sheets for sleeping), put them in a pad under my cloak to try and keep my back dry, but soon they were saturated and merely added to the general weight of water. I never felt more depressed and more weary; what with the road as it was, the floods, and the punctures, I couldn’t go much more than 5 miles an hour, and that with jolting like an Irish cart, and at an expense of effort that would have taken me 20 miles an hour the day before. All the time I ploughed along I remembered the part I was to act by 4 o’clock in Tokio, clad in white samite (I mean muslin), gracefully dispensing tea and small talk to a distinguished visitor.

There was nothing to do to counterbalance the leg-aching pedalling or to lend a little warmth to the clammy, dripping mass that I was. I got to the station and missed the train! There was two hours’ interval to the next, and I was so drowned I couldn’t go to a hotel, for the abominable sun had come out as I got to the station and the sky was blue and innocent-looking, and every one was dry, and supercilious to a creature who left pools at every step. A little sweet-shop provided hot water and peppermint, and things drained off a little as I rode slowly back, and then walked round and round and round the waiting-room reading Thackeray’s Pendennis, as the crowd entertained itself with speechless staring, and the porters volubly sympathised as I took a towel out of my bag, which was less saturated than the rest of me, and dried my hair a little.

When the next train came it was mercifully the[208] Nagasaki express, with a dining-car attached, so I left my car and went along and had coffee. The waiters were so sympathetic, that as I was the only customer, one offered to lend me a nice dry kimono of his own while I took everything off, and they dried them over the train fire. As every other passenger was in a kimono I felt less shy than the situation warranted, till I saw the stuck-up nose of an English lady tourist at the far end of the passenger car as I returned in my Japanese rig-out.

However, it was better than sitting five hours in a super-saturated condition. They dried my things very quickly, for fortunately they had nothing else to do (the weather was now glorious), and except that all the colours from belts, books, and cases had got on to the garments I was normal again, and got back to Tokio in time to have just changed my dress, when the cheery voice of Professor B—— hailed me in the garden.

August 17.—What a thunder-storm! I never could have imagined anything like it. One peal lasted eleven minutes, and another began again after a couple of seconds’ interval, and so they kept it up for an hour and a half, rolling round and round the heavens, as though the gods played nine-pins with Mount Fuji. The lightning was almost continuous, too, and filled the heavens with broad sheets of flame. Yet with all the terrific massiveness and grandeur of the storm, it lacked the point of sharp concentration that would have added terror. I always enjoy a storm, unless it is centred and concentrated just above[209] me. And this stupendous storm was the finest display I have ever imagined, let alone experienced, and I did not grudge the hours of sleep of which it robbed me.

The morning dawned clear and still, but the garden was full of wrecked things.

August 19.—Are the gods never going to have mercy and stop their cruel play of battering Professor F——, and through him me and our fossil work? Instead of coming early in the morning, as we arranged, he came very late, with the horrible news that he had just heard that the people who lived in his house before him (he moved last year) had a leper in the family! Consequently he and his household have stood grave danger of getting this ghastly disease, and may actually have it now, the latent period is so uncertain and often so long that the doctor cannot tell for some time to come. It sometimes lies dormant for years. Of course, he must move at once, and in the meantime take every possible precaution. A nice waste of time, even if there were not the horror hanging over it all!

How this country can possibly pretend to be a first-class Power, how it can build warships and drill armies to the blare of trumpets, how it can have a “World’s Fair” in a few years, and invite all the nations to join in its Exhibition, and all the time have hundreds and thousands of lepers scattered about the country, and marrying—how they can do this simply passes my comprehension.

In this land of islands why don’t they take one,[210] fenced round by the sea, and isolate the fearful disease? In a generation Norway cleared the country of lepers—but here one may touch one any day. On my way back I saw several beggars, ghastly creatures, kneeling by the wayside, with fingerless hands, all purple blotched. True, it is not so contagious as we imagine it to be, being chiefly hereditary, but that makes it all the easier to stamp out if they will do it.

I am not really afraid (not terrified, at least) for Professor F—— (and through him, for myself), but I fear the removal will still further hinder the progress of the fossil work.

August 21.—I worked all day at fossils, and was much vexed to find that the powerful heat has brought bubbles in the Canada Balsam of nearly every slide! Botanists alone will understand the tragic significance of this, and they will sympathise and be merciful when I bring the bubbly preparations home!

You at home can hardly understand how hot the sun is, really burning hot, and many of my trays were so placed that the sun has been falling on them all the time I was away, resulting in thousands of bubbles. I discovered it by chance to-day, when I had mounted and examined some, and then left them for an hour where the sun got at them, and I found a thousand minute bubbles in each of the scorching slides. Alack!

August 27.—This morning at breakfast, thinking over cones, a question arose in my mind about those of Cryptomeria which I could not settle without a specimen, and which checked my line of thought, so[211] I gave it up and glanced out of the window beside which I was sitting in search of lighter amusement (for there is a nice vine there whose tendrils curl round and round in a very pretty way), and by my hand, growing on the little hedge I had never noticed very specially before, was a Cryptomeria cone! Having associated the Cryptomeria always with the stately giants that surround the temples, I had never associated these green hedges, three feet high, with them, nor did I realise that they could bear cones while so young. It still remains a problem whether perhaps a fairy, listening to my thoughts, had not touched with her magic wand the branch nearest me, so that it produced the cone, for not another was to be found anywhere around.

I gathered it, cut it open, and settling the point I wanted, was able to pick up all the dropped stitches of the argument and carry it on. Fairies are most useful creatures to scientists!

August 28.—As my bicycle was once more having a puncture mended, I had to go in the tram, as it is far too hot to walk all the way. In this boiling weather the tram was as full as ever, 50 people where but 20 should be, standing so thickly all down the middle that they were pressed against each other on all sides, and every window and every ventilator and the door all closed! I slammed down two windows, but could not reach the ventilators, as they are so high up; directly I got the chance, I opened a window on the opposite side, but no one else followed the example, though the Japanese seem to feel the heat much more[212] than I do, when not in a foreign style vehicle or house.

Taking this in conjunction with the remarks Japanese have often made to me about the foreigners’ dislike of fresh air, and in conjunction also with numerous other observations of a similar nature, I am forced to conclude that the Japanese, as a nation, are not at all sensitive to bad air. Their houses, built according to the ancient plan, force them, by their construction, to live in ideally fresh rooms, but put them in a foreign house, and everything is hermetically sealed.

August 29.—I went into one of the Laboratories to-day, and found four men, three gas burners, and a stove at work, without an inch of window open—it nearly stifled me. I have noticed this Laboratory before, and never, all through this scorching summer, have I seen the windows unclasped. It is a foreign style building, of course.

August 30.—I got up very early and set off on my bicycle to see the sacred lotus flowers on the great pond near Oyeno Park, but I did not get there in time to see them burst open, for that takes place at sunrise, but the flowers were fresh and fair, still unfaded by the heat of the day when I got to the edge of the water. There must have been several acres of them, with their great leaves overtopped by huge rosy flowers. The purity and radiance of their opaque yet lustrous petals is something I have never seen surpassed in any other flowers, and as they stand up in a rich succession of curves to form a 9-inch[213] bowl, their cumulative effect is magnificent, while in them glows a golden radiance of captured sun-rays. Glorious flowers!

A little island lies in the pond, which is reached by a bridge, and on it is a temple, with shrines standing on it. There those who come to see the lotus worship in their simple way, pulling the temple bell and clapping their hands to ensure that the gods hear the short muttered prayer and put to their credit the half-farthings they bestow. One is always hearing of the lack of religion among the Japanese, but there never was a land with so many shrines and temples. On my way back I passed a shrine under a tree trunk on a crowded thoroughfare. It was only a toy building a couple of feet high, but a workman was busy arranging his offering of dangling white papers. Religion and daily life are mingled here.

September 2.—I set off for Hayama, a little seaside place not far from Tokio, hoping to escape this dreadful heat. Though really a very trifling journey, it takes several hours, as the trains are so slow. It lies beyond the well-known Kamakura, and is much more beautiful and open, as it is round the point of the bay, and is mercifully free from most of the crowd that overwhelms Kamakura in summer.

The little hotel I went to stands on a hill among the woods, looking down on the sea; it was beautifully quiet, but it was “foreign style,” and the beds were miserable. I made a most interesting observation very shortly after my arrival: some ants had built the most extraordinary galleries all up the branches of[214] a tree, and they had taken the leaves and rolled them up, and built houses inside them.

Then in some cases they had covered the whole twig over with their sandy houses, and just left little bits of leaves sticking out here and there.[5] I was ever so much interested, and found several plants of the same kind (a species of smooth-leaved holly) with the same thing happening. I fancy it is new to science, and I wish now I had brought down some instruments and reagents to examine it properly, but I brought nothing as I decided I would have one week’s real holiday.

It was amusing to find how difficult it was to get anything to fix the specimens and bring them back home. There was only one shop that sold foreign biscuits and so had tins, but they wouldn’t sell or give a tin for love or money. No, they said, they had no tins; of course I did not believe them, and roamed round the shop opening every tin to see what was in it, and I found one that was empty. But they refused absolutely to sell it. They were returning to Tokio, it was the end of the season, and they needed it for packing their own things, and they would not sell it—no, not for a yen. But I grew desperate in the thought of my specimens, probably new to the scientific world, and whose preservation depended on that tin; the man who owned it sat and smiled on his Japanese mats, his geta (sandals) were not in sight, and I knew I could run fast enough to get a start[215] any way. So I took the tin under my arm (a huge square biscuit one it was too) and smiling, explained that I must and would have that tin, and put down 30 sen on his table and said I was just going to take it, and off I went. He didn’t chase me; I suppose he thought it hopeless, and besides, I had paid a very good price, for the tin was ancient and bent.

Then came the search for spirit to preserve it in, for I wanted to have the ants and all in situ; but one could not expect to find spirit in such a village, and it was no shock to find there was none. Then I bethought me of saké, the poet-famed drink, the wine of the marriage cups and the friendly festival, and I sent a maid for a jorum of saké; the wine is reported to be very highly alcoholic, I know two spoonfuls sent me to sleep after weeks of sleeplessness, and in the saké I plunged my specimens and hoped for the best.

September 3.—I moved to a Japanese hotel down on the shore, far more comfortable for bathing—and with much cosier sleeping arrangements. It is curious, but I am miserable in a bed now unless it is soft and safe feeling. If it is hard and rises up in the middle I dream of precipices all night, for all this year I have slept on the floor, which seems so nice and safe, and really the obvious thing to do when you have tatami floors.

This hotel has a garden with pine trees, and a swing and cross bars, so I can exercise myself to my heart’s content, while it is quite isolated, the last house in the village and far from its neighbours. A[216] delightful spot, to which I shall hope to return. The maid, O Sayo San, is the politest I ever met; and of all wonderful things, they refused Chadai money the first night when I offered it in an envelope in the ultra best Japanese way on my arrival.

September 4.—It is rather too bad, but the weather has turned miserably cold, both here and in Tokio, and I should have been at work in comfort, while bathing is not the pleasure it would have been the week before in the broiling sun. But there are several nice people down here, Tokio friends.

September 5.—I got the loan of the “Bromide” book from Mrs. C——, how good it is. Have all you who read this read the little book called “Are you a Bromide?” If not, do so; for I fear if you haven’t, much of the humour of life is a sealed book to you. It has added greatly to my enjoyment, and it can be read in half an hour.

Coming home I looked into the grove of the village temple, a pretty little place on a small hill, and was at first much puzzled by an apparition.

You know (or more probably don’t know) that the most usual form of decoration in a temple is torn strips of white paper, which hang down. Real paper usually—only very grand temples have gold as a symbol of torn paper! Such hanging strips are put in the mouths of the sacred animals very often, and you may see a pair of foxes sitting, carved in stone, with these paper spouts streaming from their mouths or floating on the breeze as they sit immovable. These foxes are often more dog-like than fox-like,[217] and sometimes cleverly painted, but no one could confuse them with a real dog. But in this temple grove was a wonderful creature—a single one, not a pair as is usual—and instead of sitting on either side of the path to the shrine, he sat absolutely in the middle of the path—upright, pointed nose straight ahead, ears erect, and from his mouth the long fluttering streamer of sacred paper; so he sat, immovable, and before him I stood immovable but astonished, so marvellously was he wrought and coloured; could he but move, one would swear he was alive, but his gleaming eyes fixed glassy and unwinking on the distance to infinity in front of him, and only the paper fluttered in the breeze. I walked to either side and gazed—there was something impellingly arresting about this silent image—and for ten minutes I must have lingered near it, perhaps hypnotised by the fluttering white paper and the gleaming eyes; and then the creature rose, still holding the sacred paper in its mouth, and without a sound or a movement except the inevitable placing of its feet, walked down the centre of the path into the shadows of the shrine.

A dog?—a spirit? A wonderful dog then, and surely a spirit such as one only meets in the haunts of medieval religions.

September 7.—A simple day—bathing and walking and emptying my mind of thought as much as possible. Fuji mountain, alas, I cannot see, as the rain clouds cloak her, but on the horizon lies, dimly, Oshima, the burning island, and round the points of[218] the rocky shore are countless islets crowned with a twisted pine or girt with white-fringed waves. From the hills one looks down on a long series of bays with brilliant blue horizon and solid white line at the shore—the Japanese artists are much truer to nature than we think.

September 9.—I went early to the Institute, where there is grand excitement over Ginkgo; the sperms are just swimming out, and they only do it for a day or two each year. It is no such easy business to catch them, in 100 seeds you can only get five with sperms at the best of times, and may get one and be thankful. I spent pretty well the whole day over them, and got three, and several in the pollen tube, not yet quite ripe. It is most entertaining to watch them swimming, their spiral of cilia wave energetically.

September 10 and 11.—Hunting Ginkgo sperms nearly all the time; but about 3 on Friday I began to feel so queer and feverish that I went home and took my temperature; it was 103°, so I went to bed.

September 12.—Still so feverish and queer feeling that I stopped in bed, though the temperature is down a little; but this is usually the case with fever, and I have been almost delirious in the night with the most absurd ideas.

All this long quiet day I lay and enjoyed the beauty of my room. I had the quilts which make a Japanese bed laid in the drawing-room, as several people came to see me, and for my own pleasure; it is nicer in the room with one’s favourite vase and kakemono. How funny this mixture of bedroom and[219] drawing-room will sound in England! But there is nothing “bedroomy” in a Japanese house.

People who have seen my rooms may wonder where the beauty was that could keep me occupied a whole day in its contemplation, because most people seem to judge rooms by the number of beautiful things massed into them, and to think that twenty beautiful vases massed together on a stand counteract the clashing effects of three discordant antimacassars (this word is so old-fashioned, I never learnt how to spell it!)

As I lay I faced a wall of pale, warm, creamy distemper, with a band of cream unpainted wood about two feet from the unpainted beams of the ceiling, which show so beautifully their graining and the curving designs of their natural growth. In one side of the wall is a window, with wooden bars crossing and re-crossing till it looks like a diamond-paned window, only the glass is replaced by semi-transparent paper. This is taken down though, and I look out on to the smooth grey bark of a tree whose leaves are like the shining laurel leaves in a Burne-Jones design, and interlaid against the vivid blue of the sky. The window-ledge is inside the room (not outside in our mad Western way), and on it stands a low grey-green dish in which is growing a graceful spraying plant beside a gnarled grey stone that looks like a piece of a forest rock. Beside the window are short grey-green curtains, edged with a broad band of Chinese embroidery in which blue, pink, and coral run riot with half the other colours on the palette of a Watts.[220] The other half of the wall is occupied with a bamboo settee, covered with the same cloth as the curtains, above which is a square of Japanese embroidery—a great golden flower (a richer tone of the colour of the walls) on a grey-green ground, with butterflies hovering over it—framed in dark brocade with a thread of gold. Above the band of wood is a picture, yellow, brown, and grey, a river scene at dusk. At right angles to this wall I can see the Tokonoma recess—a yard deep and two yards long and nearly as high as the room. It is dark brown, with one long kakemono—a grey-brown bird on a withered, gnarled branch, the work of an old and valued Chinese artist (lent me by Professor S——); below it to one side a stand of ebony, with a brilliant blue cloisonné vase round the slender stem of which curls a fiery dragon, and its colour is living and gleams against the brown. Then on the other side grows a little bent and twisted tree, in a flat earthenware bowl, and in the corner stands my sword. The left side of the house as I lie is open to the garden; there is no wall, and I look out over my own little green plot, with its Thuya trees and glowing “morning glories,” to the tree tops of the land around. In the verandah hangs a square black lamp which I had lit as the swift night fell, and from whose opaque white sides shines a light so soft that it does not frighten the moon or the fire-flies. Then the floor of my room is covered with tatami—straw mats closely fitted and edged with black, and the sliding walls of the cupboard recesses that make the room solid are also[221] straw-coloured, with a narrow border of black. The wooden fretwork of the soji supports the white paper through which light shines so radiantly and softly; then there are a few straw-coloured chairs, a dark wood table and grey-green cushions—and that is all.

September 14.—As my temperature rose to 104° last night I felt I ought to have a doctor—the first doctor I have called in in my whole life! I felt it a serious and terrible event. But I am not seriously ill, an internal chill (probably the cold bathing at Hayama, one gets chills here so easily) and a temperature which runs up very soon in this country. He is taking the temperature down with drugs. I told him I must go to the Institute to-morrow, but he laughs.

September 22–24.—Quiet uneventful days at the Institute, working at fossils hard. What a lot of results you will expect! But to get one line of result often means days of labour over petty detail that does not show.

September 26.—At work all day till I went to the meeting of the Botanical Society where Professor M—— spoke of his visit to China during the vacation, but I couldn’t understand very much.

September 28.—At the Institute all day, at night how it rained! Like a typhoon rain, only lasting all night at high pitch; I couldn’t sleep for it.

September 29.—The results of that rain! It was fair in the morning so I bicycled, thinking that as the rain was so heavy it would have cleaned the roads. And so it had, cleaned them just as long[222] boiling cleans the bones of a chicken, and there was only left the stony skeleton of most of the roads; but in the high ground of Azabu, where the roads are pretty well made, they were passably good.

But then I got to Koishikawa, and about a mile from the Institute the entertainment began. Coming down a tram-line road I had been rather astonished to see straw piled up all round the telegraph posts, and several domestic articles such as pillows lying about the road, but where the tram stops I saw the reason, this road, a big main high road, was entirely under a rushing flood of water. I asked a policeman if there was any way of getting to the Botanical Gardens without going through it, but there was none.

I got a kuruma man to take me and my cycle on a kuruma, and by keeping in the central ridge of the road, he waded with me through this mile of water. But what devastation on either side! Men walking by their houses (placed a little lower than the road) up to their shoulders in water, though it had subsided a good deal already, all sorts of things floating about, and signs of ruin everywhere. The underground channel they had made for the river burst through in one place, and at the side of the road a regular roaring waterfall. As we went along floating tatami (heavy mats of straw, as much as one can lift and about 6 feet long and 2–3 inches thick) rushed on the kuruma, and my man had difficulty in getting round them, for he couldn’t drop the shafts to free his hands for that would have landed me in the water. We got there without mishap, but saw many tragi-comic[223] sights, for the loss and wreckage among the small one-storied shops is terrible.

Coming back the water had subsided a little, but there was still much to go through. It was funny to watch people wading through it; on the shore on either side men balanced themselves on one leg on their high stilt-like geta (no easy feat I can assure you) and drew off their trousers, but not always without a spill. Piles and piles of straw mats, washed into pulp, were all over the place. When I returned home I heard that in the low ground in my neighbourhood six children had been drowned.

September 30.—In the papers one reads of many deaths and terrible loss of property from the floods, which were almost universal in the low ground of the city. There are regular hills of straw and wreckage all along the main highway I passed yesterday in a kuruma and the smell is far from pleasing, but there is no other way into the gardens, as the other roads are still under water.

In the evening we had a Debate, “That lies may be justifiable”; an excellent meeting, nearly all of the people speaking, and very amusing. One missionary got up and said she was most strongly in favour of lying and that she told three or four every day! Shrieks of laughter, for she spoke immediately after a very sweet missionary who spoke in favour of truth. All the rest of us were about equally divided, and the truth only won by three votes on more than thirty.

October 4.—Went to Ōmori and walked on to the temple on the hill beyond. Its green groves and[224] quietness were very peaceful and lovely. It is almost woodland there, and there are few people. In the temple grove was a scarlet high pagoda, which gleamed between the stately trees. The spot is so peaceful and sweet and I was so tired of working that the day was very pleasant. We collected moss, and some little stones covered with it, and I had five Cryptomeria seedlings to make a forest, and with them I made a miniature landscape in a flat earthenware dish when I returned home—but it isn’t half as easy as it looks!

October 5.—At work on the fossils; at 2 o’clock I gave the first of my course of lectures at the University, the room was more than full, several standing all through the hour, and there were several Professors and the Dean there. I didn’t do so badly as I feared, after being so long out of practice, but the flying chalk made me hoarse. It was a little terrifying, and half of them didn’t understand very much owing to the language difficulty, but the others did. It is nice lecturing again, it is an excellent tonic.

October 12.—At work at fossils in the morning—my lecture at 2. I find as I have to speak so slowly to be clear, that there isn’t much time in an hour. There is a sort of demonstration with microscopics afterwards which helps.

It is now very cold at night and in the early morning, but still warm enough to wear cotton frocks in the middle of the day. The clear moon is wonderful.


October 13.—At work all day on fossils, cycled back in time to dress for a dance, to which I cycled, as it was a lovely night. It was a very jolly dance and not the least pleasure of the evening was cycling back with Mr. G—— instead of jolting and freezing and catching cold in a slow kuruma. Out of every 24 hours the cycle saves me one to two or more in this slow Tokio, so that I shouldn’t grumble at it.

October 16.—At work all the morning, lunch with the Faculty at the Goten, and then at work all the afternoon. The fossils proved so enticing that though I had worn a traily frock all day intending to go to the Belgian Legation garden party, when it came to the point the fossils won, and I didn’t go. In the evening I cycled down to dinner at our Embassy.

When once one makes up one’s mind to a cycle, one can even go out to dinner on it. I wondered, however, what the footman thought when he had to lift it into the Embassy hall in case of thieves getting it in the garden (I was told he has a brother who is an attaché at the French Embassy! The Japanese are very quaint that way—one Count or Baron or other is driven up to the door every day by his own brother as a coachman). Thanks to the unmoved countenance of flunkeydom, added to the immobility of the Japanese, I could sail into the dining-room, past the same man, trailing a pink silk skirt with apparent dignity.

October 21.—Fossils all day. I cycled round on my way home and paid my dance calls. The streets, particularly in the neighbourhood of the Ginza and the station, are now very gay and crowded for the[226] American Fleet, of which a really enormous fuss is being made. There are arches, and bands, and processions, and all manner of things all over the place. Bands of school children go about with flags, and—for the first time since I have been in Japan—I was insulted on my cycle by grown men, not once, but six times in the course of half an hour! Not badly, but in a coarse rude tone I was called out to, and one madman waved a lantern suddenly in my face on the cycle and nearly upset me. I suppose they are over-excited, for everywhere the echo rings with protestations of undying devotion to the Americans, for one of whom I would naturally be taken.

October 22.—A horribly wet morning, but by midday a lovely sun came out, and it felt almost like midsummer. When I got to the Embassy garden party (it was given to welcome Admiral Sperry) I found it had been postponed in the morning, but as the weather was now so lovely, it was put on again. That is to say, it was half on and would be repeated to-morrow. So we had one of the bands, and quite a lot of the American officers and other people turned up. The chief sight was seeing Admiral Sperry and Admiral Togo sitting side by side looking on at a kind of sword-dance. The dance itself was very dull, as all Japanese posture dances are unless you understand them intimately, but there were some sparks when the swords clashed, and one of the swords broke by accident, which was entertaining. It was rather wonderful the way the dancer to whom this happened kept his countenance, and put it in the sheath at the[227] appointed time as calmly as if it hadn’t been a mere stump.

The American officers were a sad disillusionment. One fancies good class Americans must be all like the soulful adoring youths at the feet of the Gibson girls, but they aren’t—at least those officers aren’t. In fact, though they would be mad to hear it, they were mostly not easy to distinguish from Japanese when both stood with their caps down over their eyes, as they always wear them, except that the Americans looked the less smart owing to the untidy appearance of their small squash caps. So many of them were short and insignificant. Admiral Sperry, though not imposing or impressive in any way, seemed pleasant and keen, and was tall.

October 23.—Lunch at the Goten, with quite a lot of foreign visitors,—two Russians, a geologist and a botanist, and two Germans interested in law or some such thing. I hear we are to have Sven Hedin, which will be really interesting. I hope I shall see him.

October 24.—The Fleet left to-day, and the following was put in the paper: “Gentlemen will not be allowed on the platform except in frock-coats and silk hats; ladies in corresponding dress.”

The passion of the Japanese for the silk hat is intense, fervid, one might almost say it has become a fetish. But we have hitherto been spared a corresponding dress!

Think of its parallel in England—no gentleman allowed into Euston Station without a silk hat.


After working at fossils all morning (as you can imagine, I didn’t go to the station) I went along to preside at a Debate at Baroness d’A——’s. This Debate was on marriage. I had asked a very cultured missionary lady, with silver hair, to take a literary debate. No, said she, she was not interested in that, but if she might propose that “The unmarried life is the happier, then she would take the Debate.” So we had quite an amusing Debate, fortunately rather superficial.

The people here are not in touch with all our modern types, and I did not need to speak against the ranting type, who rave against men and marriage and prove themselves deformed. No, there were no such “problem” people here, only young spinsters who didn’t dare to say they would like to be married, and wives who didn’t dare or wish to speak against marriage, and elderly spinsters who were clever enough to be amusing without touching a fundamental note. The ranting type seems mercifully to be confined to big communities; I suppose it is an inevitable result of city life, where some must sterilise, but it is a pity when they have the power to write books.

In the evening I had a few of the Japanese botanists to dinner, and they seemed pretty well amused, or were sufficiently polite to pretend to be so. Fortunately they are not accustomed to violent amusement, nor have they the jaded palate of the European city dweller, so they are less exacting, for which I am thankful, as it was the first dinner-party I have given.


October 25.—In the afternoon I went to tea with Professor F—— and met Professor R—— from Russia, and others. We taught Professor R—— to use chop-sticks, and we examined dwarf trees, of which Professor F—— has some beautiful specimens. In a room in which dwarf trees are displayed everything must be specially simple and dignified. If the tree is not in the tokonomo, for instance, the screen behind it must be white, pure white, not even flecked with gold-dust. And when one sees it arranged rightly, one realises the true rightness of it, and the beauty seems to stand out clearly, with the outline of the tree against the background of white. I love more and more the simple culture of the old style Japanese when in harmonious surroundings. Though they have quite lovely and valuable dwarf trees in Kew, they are lost in the greenhouse with all the other things; the rays and suggestions from the other plants around them intermingle and conflict, till they produce a grey haze of mist in which the spirit of beauty envelops herself and is invisible; but if you place but one of those trees in the right place, she steals out and is radiant before you.

October 28.—A long quiet day of work. While we were at lunch an envelope was brought to Professor F—— containing 75 sen, partly in copper coins. It was a present from the Emperor! When I had done laughing he explained to me the reason. It is soon the Emperor’s birthday, and therefore all Government officials are expected to go to the palace to pay their respects, when they would receive a cup of saké and[230] some light food. But to go one must have a grand gold-laced uniform, and many of the younger men don’t have it, also if every one went there would be an impossible crush, so that only the seniors go. The juniors now dispense with the formal letter stating that they are ill, but continue to receive the price of a cup of saké from the Emperor! Though the sum may seem ridiculous, it is an interesting survival, and as there are about ten thousand officials in the country, it is no joke for the Emperor!

October 30.—An uneventful day lunch at the Goten. I had been invited to go to the Peeresses School for their sports, as the Emperor was to be there, and I wished to see the school and the Royalty watching sports—but was prevented by the fossils.

October 31.—Frightfully cold and raining in torrents. I lit the lamp in my room in the Institute to try to warm me a little, but with lots of thick clothes as well, I shivered all day. In the evening I put on a fur-lined coat over my gown, and even then was too cold to write. There will be floods again if the rain continues so torrential.

November 1.—Gloriously sunny and clear. In a tussore silk frock I sat all day writing in my garden. One need never despair during rainy weather in Japan,—it doesn’t leave one in the clouds for long. Fresh green peas were brought in the pods for my approval, which they naturally got. There is a kind of second spring in November, and the roses are blooming in beauty. In the evening I went up the mound near me and looked down on the tree-covered[231] country below, where curled white mists between the black trunks. Straight opposite stood Fuji mountain, with a coronet of golden clouds and a cloak of crimson, while in the deep blue behind began to peep out tiny stars.

November 3.—A national holiday, so the laboratory was locked up, and I couldn’t get work done there.

In the afternoon I went to a tea-party with friends. Coming home we did a lot of shopping, and had quite a festive time, as there was a kind of fair on and the streets were gay with lanterns and a bright crowd, and the shops full of the most delightful trifles. This street near our hostess is one of the best for shopping, as it is little frequented by foreigners and is a well-known shopping place for the Japanese. We went into both the kankobas (a kind of open bazaar I have described before), and I only wished for a bottomless purse. Nevertheless one must not run away with the idea, so often suggested by tourists, that all the native Japanese things are artistic and beautiful. Many are, but by far the greater number are not, and even when prepared to buy I often have to wait long and examine many stalls before finding the thing I want.

November 4.—Fossils all day. On the way home I called at the American Embassy—had the good luck to find the O——s alone.

I often wish Mrs. O—— were not the Ambassadress, as she is so charming and beautiful, I should like to know her intimately, but as it is, of course she is always overrun with people.


November 7.—Work in the morning. In the afternoon I went to a garden party at a Japanese Professor’s. He has a pretty garden, with houses in it for the various scions of the family. He had a lottery and all the guests had presents, some very pretty Japanese things. There were a number of remarkably bright and attractive little Japanese girls in brilliant kimonos, and some pretty maids a little older. At 4 we sat down to a typical “first class party” tea—cold meats of a dozen kinds, savoury jellies, hot soup, cakes, sweets, fruit, beer, ginger-beer and tea (at the end) were served to every one. And yet if you ask a Japanese about the old customs of the country he will assure you that simplicity and frugality is the chief note in their entertainments, and so it is and was in the pure Japanese style, but when they touch anything “foreign” they must outdo the foreigners.

We were placed curiously at the tables, the Japanese ladies put indoors, where the room opens wide on the garden, the foreign ladies in the garden, and the gentlemen somewhere else in the garden, quite out of sight of the ladies! And the men were perhaps quite happy that way, for they could smoke in peace.

The weather is lovely, and one could not imagine it was really November, but for the swiftly waning light. The roads riding home are terribly dark, but fortunately fewer children play in them at night than by day.

November 8.—I rode over to Shingawa to lunch[233] with the D——s (he is Naval Attaché). They haven’t been in the house long, but they had brought out with them treasures given to their parents years ago, and so have many gems of Japanese carving and porcelain. The house is pretty within, and it was nice to meet some one who had recently come from home.

Afterwards I rode over to Hongo—an awful way across the country and city, to dinner with Professor S——, his wife and family. He had his lovely dream of a garden lit by a brilliant full moon, and the translucent stone lanterns among the trees. Roses grew on the trees, huge dainty ones, and sweet-scented rose-hearted buds. It was a vision of perfect beauty to be remembered. Afterwards he and his brother, who is an excellent singer, sang me some songs, and everything was so harmonious, so lovely, so simply dignified.

November 9.—At work on fossils all day after my lecture, which was the last. Professor S—— spoke and “made me blush,”—his English is simply wonderful, I know few Englishmen who speak better,—the substance of what he said for me was more than kind, though I must deduct something from him, as from all Japanese, for, whatever faults they may have, they really are polite to people they know.

November 11.—Fossils all day. In the evening the great event—my farewell dinner from the University, given at the famous Maple Club. A farewell dinner, and they all know quite well that I do not sail till January! The reason it is given now is partly to[234] thank me for the lectures and partly because of the weather! As the entertainment is to be true Japanese style, in a Japanese house, it is deemed necessary to have it before it becomes really cold.

I have looked forward very much to this party, for it is quite one of the treats of Tokio to be entertained at the Maple Club. My hosts were, of course, all Japanese, the University Professors, among them were a few Japanese ladies, one of whom I knew pretty well, the daughter of Baron H——. I was the only foreigner.

The rooms are splendidly large, about 100 mats when all opened out. It took me quite a long time to count up the mats, for I am rather stupid at it. In an ordinary room one can estimate immediately whether it is an 8 or 10 mat room, by the way they are placed, and without any counting. We were seated all round the edge of the end room, I in front of the tokonomo, as the chief guest. It left a large space in the middle to start with, but very soon the maids began to bring dishes of things to eat, and every guest had the same placed before him on the ground; as dish after dish was placed in front of us all, each in the same relative position before every guest, there grew up a symmetrical border pattern all round the room, which slowly encroached on the centre.

It made all moving about very difficult, really impossible for one with skirts, which most of us had, as a number of the men came in hakama (stiff silk divided skirts worn by men when dressed for[235] ceremony). Moving about would not have been at all out of place, as the feeding was very intermittent, and it was only towards the very end of the evening that they brought the rice. While we were eating, a kind of superior geisha danced; three girls dressed in ancient-time costumes performed an old well-known dance supposed to bring good luck. Afterwards they brought in a red-arched bridge and some flowers, and did the butterfly dance—two red-and-white and two white, in such lovely embroidered dresses with butterfly wings on their backs, which they opened and shut. The whole effect was charmingly pretty. They said they were the same girls who waited on us earlier, but I did not recognise them. All the rooms and dishes and lacquer were ornamented with maple leaves, and they brought sweet cakes in the form of coloured maple leaves, which we ate before dinner and through the evening.

Professor S—— made a speech which really made me blush. He, in the goodness of his heart, may have meant what he said, but I can’t believe it voiced the views of any of the others. Then they all banzaied, and drank my health. Of course, I had to make a reply speech—after one of the men who had come to the lectures thanked me,—and read a poem he had made about me—it is a thousand times harder to make an “after-dinner-return-thanks” speech than a long scientific lecture. I did it somehow. Later, I proposed the health of the future of Japan, amid hearty banzais—but always feel a miserable failure at such things.


Baron K—— sat next me—he had just returned to Tokio, because to-morrow the great Sven Hedin is going to arrive, and he is on the reception committee. The dinner began at 5.30 and I went at 9.30, though I could have enjoyed it still longer, for the border of dishes had begun to melt, and we could move about a little. There is a beautiful garden, too, with a view of the sea in day-time, the Club being situated on the crest of the hill above Shiba Park. The whole building and atmosphere of the place is very charming, and I enjoyed the evening greatly.

I was shopping in the Ginza—the so-called “Regent Street” of Tokio. I need hardly say that the name is given by the Japanese. Paper was one of the things I needed. It is curious, in this land where so much is made of paper, how very difficult it is to get anything like our strong brown paper for parcels, or our letter paper, or our manuscript paper. The native sheets are unglazed, and though tough in one way are useless for parcels unless one gets oil paper, and even then the sheets are very small and are pasted together.

November 16.—Sven Hedin lectured to-day at the University, and I had been asked to tea previously to meet him before it. He is rather short, but sturdy, and very bronzed and rosy. His face is narrow, his eyes close together, and looking still closer, as he is evidently short-sighted, and has an exceptionally deep vertical groove between them. He gave me the impression of being a genial, friendly, hardy, pushful, but not a great man. The only[237] other lady there was Madame G——, the mother of the French Ambassador, whom I think I have mentioned before. She was very gracious, as she always is, but cannot speak a word of anything but French. We all walked over to the Lecture Hall from the Goten—a slow and solemn procession. About the only people who spoke were Hedin and Madame G——, a few people said a sentence or two to me, but even the genial Dean seemed to be overpowered by the funereal solemnity of the march. I had my cycle, and the French Ambassador helped me to haul it up the steps! His only remark was, “Très moderne,” which was very moderate of him. In the lecture I was placed in the front row, between Madame G—— and Baron K——, and got into nice hot water! The poor lady couldn’t understand a word of the lecture, and Hedin often said things to make us laugh, and she could not join in, so now and then I translated a word or two for her. This upset Baron K——, who nudged me violently from the other side, so I had to stop, but then I hurt the lady, for I didn’t dare answer her further questions. After the lecture, when Hedin said he knew we were all interested, because no one spoke a word, and that was the sure test of interest, I felt worse and worse!

Hedin was received with tremendous applause, and spoke for two hours or more. His account was most interesting, though once or twice we felt he “drew the long bow.” His English was fluent, but amusing—“Here was I catched”—“There I did a beautiful discovery”—“We took camels laden with[238] ice” (pronounced “eyes”)—so that I wondered quite a while what on earth “eyes” were for, and I worked up a little theory that they were part of the devotional paraphernalia of the Lamas before he said that they melted the “eyes” to give water in the desert. There is no need to give an account of his lecture—it has already appeared in Harper’s, and he is writing a book. He is not at all shy about his work, and is very clever at “buttering” the Japanese, so will be popular here. The students were very quiet while he spoke, and seemed to follow all his jokes.

November 17.—After fossils all day, I went to Hedin’s second lecture at the University. Several of the American Legation people and some ladies came this time, and he lectured for more than two and a half hours! Yesterday he tried to draw a tadpole on the board, and failed miserably, showing complete ignorance of its shape and of how to draw, but to-day there were many excellent sketches of the country and people given as slides on a screen. I did not get home and begin dinner until 8.30, and the lecture began at 4.30. He was cheered splendidly after his lecture; the papers are full of him and his doings. I thought I would escape Baron K—— this time, and got in a filled row behind the American Ambassador, but some people moved along—in came Baron K—— and sat down by me! However, as I had no one to talk to to-day, I behaved quite like a model schoolgirl, and took off my hat when the views came on without being asked, so perhaps I have reinstated myself in his eyes.


November 23.—A national holiday, so the Institute was locked, and I had, perforce, to take a holiday. It blew a perfect hurricane all day, and I was thankful to be able to stay at home. The dead leaves whirled into the garden, but the sky was brilliant, and the crimson maple trees glowed in the sunshine. My little house was protected, and I sat all day on a wide-open verandah. The day passed very peacefully and swiftly and I did some sewing for my clothes, that, even with an ideal maid, requires one’s own attention. At 4.30 the sun left the house, and the cold descended on me.

November 24.—From an early hour preparations were made to have a Botanical Demonstration for Sven Hedin. Ginkgo and cycas spermatozoids were provided, yeast of the native wine, fossil slides under the microscope—all in working order. But the poor man is being rushed all over Tokio to such an extent that but a short time was available for each thing. He was cordial and nice, and professed to like the fossils, and seemed fairly intelligently interested, and made every one feel pleased with him.

He lunched in the festival rooms at the foot of the garden, and when he had gone Professor S—— sang a Te Deum, and Professor K—— came back and looked at the fossils again, and with Professor F—— we had a merry tea-party. After the day was done I called in at the Embassy on the Z——s, who returned recently, and found them at home with a few guests. It amuses me very much to note the conversations in the different Tokio sets. The continual cry among[240] the diplomats is, “There are no women in Tokio!” “So few women, we can’t give dinners,” etc. etc. Up the old cry came again to-day. But in the houses of the permanent residents, the clergy, missionaries, University professors, etc., the cry is, “There are so many, too many, girls, so difficult to get men for the dances.” Professedly the two sets mix, but practically they don’t to any real extent. But the tactless bad manners of the diplomats, who will announce to the ordinary people in Tokio that there are no women in Tokio, while those same ordinary people know that there are, and that the diplomats know that there are, is very amusing to one outside it all. One of my secret seldom-expressed ambitions, even as a girl at College, was to be an Ambassadress. Who would believe it? But now I am only too thankful that I know what a life it is, and will never need to fear that I drop into it dazzled and unawares. It is an endless round of calling and dining: they profess to complain of it themselves, but take little interest in anything else. Some one said to me, “The diplomats have no interest but themselves, and no subject of conversation but themselves,” and it really isn’t far from the truth.

November 25.—After working till it was dark, and worrying the laboratory attendants (for, nominally, we should all clear off at 4 now, but I can’t get out of the habit of working later, particularly now that there is so much to do), I called on Mrs. N——. She is the American wife of a Japanese journalist—a writer whose articles I have noticed. We started a corre[241]spondence, and she came to see me, but I was out. It was no easy job to find the house, for she had recently moved, so I went to the old house, but as it led to a little incident which illustrates the courtesy of the nice Japanese, I will relate it. I went to the house called No. 90, but, as I have remarked before, there may be twenty houses of the same number. Of course it was the wrong one, but they told me the N——s had left the house, and gone to Kamakura. The little lady of the house at which I inquired sent her maid to fetch the address, and asked me to sit down while she went. Then, with gentle voice, she asked all the polite questions—where I lived? how long I had been in the country? what was my native land? All capped by compliments on my Japanese. She fetched a book of picture post cards to entertain me, and when her maid returned, sent her again to make sure if Mrs. N—— was not living in the neighbourhood. When she found that she was, the lady herself came with me a little way to show me the road to follow, as if I had been an honoured guest.

As at last the gate was reached, a young lad came out in the dusk, and of him I inquired if it was really the house. He too had a soft voice and a courteous manner, and helped me to open the gate. After I had conversed with Mrs. N—— a little while, I learned that he was Lafcadio Hearn’s eldest son, the one he loved so, and wrote of so sweetly in many of his letters.

Mrs. N—— was dressed in grey: perhaps it was[242] the shadow of the lamplight, but I received the impression that her life was in grey shadows. Her little son, however, was a bright contrast—round eyes, rosy cheeks, with a woollen cap with a long point and a dangling tassel—he was like a pixy. He was only four years old, but acted as interpreter between his mother and the maid. There was also the merriest kitten I ever saw—round, soft, and tailless, with a scatter of claws and a jump like a grasshopper, as it dashed after the shadow of the tail it never had. The grey woman spoke with such a sad lifeless voice—slowly, as though it were rather troublesome to have to speak at all, but not in unfriendly fashion. I heard much of the Hearns, as Mr. N—— is a very intimate friend of the family, and Mrs. N—— has come close to the eldest lad, and teaches him.

I heard from her what I have heard from many people, that Mrs. Hearn can neither speak nor write a single word of English. That baby English at the end of the Life and Letters is either a translation or a concoction.

There are many letters of Hearn’s to his wife in childish Japanese, that, since the appearance of Gould’s atrocious book, Mrs. Hearn has placed in Mr. N——’s hands for publication, though before that she had not wished to make them public.

November 27.—After the morning’s work, I went to the Goten for the Faculty lunch. Professor T—— took me from there to see the Anthropological Department of the University. They have a very considerable space, and lots of specimens of all kinds, though[243] I did not see many European ones. The stone implements naturally interested me most. There are extraordinary numbers of arrowheads, and a good many celts of rough polished stone. It appears that there are no palaeoliths in the country; it is certainly true that none have been found, but that does not satisfy me that palaeolithic man did not live in Japan. Shell mounds of late Neolithic age seem to be the chief fundorts for the tools. In many cases earthenware, beads, and such like are found with them. The arrowheads are made of flint, rather more opaque and with a duller patina than English flint. But many of them are of obsidian, some of which are beautifully clear. There are also agate and chert ones, and one perfect gem of pure quartz. Their shapes are much like those common in Scotland, but a few were a little unusual with particularly fine edges, and some were very minute. The arrowheads rather preponderated, but I was more struck by the scrapers, which were particularly beautiful, and of a type I have not discovered anywhere before. There were many variations among the scrapers, the top edge being beautifully chipped; it was evident that a thong had kept them in a handle. Of the type composed of a straight single flake, so common at home, I saw very few.

Professor T—— has made the best arrangement for keeping the specimens I have ever seen—small tin boxes, with glass tops, and fastened by a tight ring clasp. The specimens, placed on cotton-wool in it, are immovable when the lid is shut, and the boxes can be placed in any position, but directly they are open they[244] are free, and can be handled, unlike those sewn on to the irritating museum cards.

December 5.—At the Institute all day. I don’t at all approve of this Saturday work, but am too busy to feel justified in taking a single day off, as I can only work in the Institute; even writing for this work I can’t do at home, because I need the specimens and books at my hand.

December 6.—Lovely brilliant sunshine, but a heavy wind, so I am spending the day lying on a futon on the engawa (open verandah all along the house), in perfect shelter, for the ∠ shape of the house keeps off all the wind and cuts off none of the sun, and I am lying in a pink cotton kimono with my hair down, and can fancy myself on an August beach! but I know directly the sun goes in, Jack Frost will pop out, and in my thickest padded clothes I shall shiver. The sunshine is everything here—no wonder they put the sun and nothing else on their flag. The sky is more blue than our August heaven—and although dead leaves are whirling, the cryptomerias are green and the maples blood-red, while my rose bush has flawless leaves, with crimson petioles. Would it were always November in Japan!

December 11.—I have been too busy to write all these days, and as it happened, there has really been nothing worth recording except my discontent with the artisans and trades-people, which had perhaps better be left untold. To-day I lunched at the Goten and met Baron M——, last year the Minister of Education. He was very friendly and “made con[245]versation” in quite a European and un-Japanese style, though I thought him stiff last year.

In the evening we had the second dinner of the University of London Union. Viscount I—— was there, the first Japanese to come to London to study, and a very entertaining brusque old man he is! Count H——, recently Ambassador to England, took me in, and there were sixteen of us altogether, seven foreigners and nine Japanese. It was quite a jolly dinner.

Count H—— proposed the toast “The University,” and later on Professor S—— proposed the toast “M. C. S.,” which they all stood and drank with banzai, so I have had my health drank by an Ambassador and a Viscount. But one has to pay for these delights—and the price is heavy—an after-dinner-return-thanks speech! Now I can lecture without feeling quite a fool, and I can speak at Debates, but when it comes to after-dinner speeches I am done for. I don’t know why I remain so stupid over it; this time in the return-thanks speech I entirely forgot the thanks! After dinner there was some business, and we elected Professor L—— to the Committee. Then various of us told stories or gave recitations, and we had a little laughter. I walked my bicycle back with Professor L—— to the broad road, and we discussed Dante, Milton, and other great ones on the way, and I am much relieved to find he doesn’t approve of the translation of Dante I have been reading. I began to fear I must be a monster, as I couldn’t feel the expected respect for Dante.


I then mounted my iron steed—which was champing its bit, a habit it has lately, and I can’t break it off with any amount of oil—and rode through the silent streets with an undertoned caroling. There is something very exhilarating about a ride under brilliant stars, through silent roads where silhouettes of pine trees cut the sky—after a good dinner and jolly company.

December 12.—Went over to Oyeno Park to see the Imperial Museum. It is really very fine indeed, a much more extensive and beautiful collection than I had expected, particularly of lacquer, kakemonos, and costumes of old Japan. Their Japanese collections were magnificent. But as I expect they are described by a thousand other pens, I won’t repeat. Suffice it to say that we had planned to go out to lunch at 1, though the usual University time is 12, and when we thought to look at a watch it was half-past two! and we were very cold as well as hungry. There are nice gardens round the Museum, which lie in the Park, and it was a very pleasant morning altogether.

December 13.—It has been a brilliant day with glowing sun, and at one Mrs. N—— and the Brownie son of hers came to lunch. The Brownie looked and acted splendidly, and was a pleasure, and his eyes twinkled a keen appreciation rare in men of four years old when, after warning him to be good and not to spill anything, I tipped the pheasant’s bread-crumbs into my own lap, and he got through the meal without a mishap of any sort. Almost immediately after lunch we went over to—Where do you think?—Lafcadio[247] Hearn’s house, to see his wife and family! A rare privilege, for the sanctum is unusually well guarded. But Mrs. N——’s friendship has won me the way in, for, as I said, the eldest boy learns English from her and is devoted to her.

The house is some way out of town, in pure Japanese style, with a Japanese name on the lamp, for you will remember Hearn became a Japanese and took a Japanese name, which is written in Chinese characters over his door. “Koizumi,” we pronounce it.

There is a nice garden, visible partly from the entrance, where was the children’s swing. As we entered we passed along an engawa (verandah) bounding a tiny internal square of garden on our way to the reception-room. This was in the purest Japanese style, well built, with pretty woodwork, a thing one learns to notice in this country. I immediately observed the kakemono, which was exceptionally beautiful, tall peaks of bare rock pillars standing up against a grey sky, where a moon half shone through a band of cloud. A picture that one could never forget and yet would ever wish to see instead of merely remembering. I remarked on it to Mrs. Hearn, who told me that “Lafcadio had very good taste in kakemonos,” and always bought only what pleased him exactly. Wise man! when he had the cash! There was also a bronze in the room, the bent stalk of a fading lotus leaf with the collapsed blade of the leaf, and though there sounds no beauty in that, the bronze throbbed with it. Mrs. Hearn was very friendly: less shy and quiet than most Japanese[248] women, she was yet distinctly Japanese in her shyness and quietness. Without beauty, she pleased.

She and the children were all in usual Japanese costume, and the only “foreign” things in the room were ourselves and the cakes and cups of tea she brought us. I inquired if she liked foreign food, and she told me that she did, very much, and that “Lafcadio” always ate it, for though he liked all the things to be pure Japanese, and would have nothing he could help that was not, Japanese food upset him, and he always had foreign food, but that now she never prepared it. We chatted about many things, and she spoke freely of Hearn, of whom I did not dare at first to ask any questions till she had spoken voluntarily so much, to show that she liked to speak of him.

After the tea and cakes we went to Hearn’s study, and got a sight of the real Japanese garden at the back of the house. The study was lined with low book-shelves filled with many charming volumes in French and English. There was a very high table made specially for him, for his extremely short sight, and the famous pipe box, with dozens of long tiny-bowled Japanese pipes.

The children were with us freely, and also a friend, a Mr. ——, who was the first student Hearn had in Japan, and who has remained faithful through everything, and now acts as adviser and friend of the family, and lives in part of the house. He was bright and intellectual-looking, beyond the average, and speaks excellent English.


Mrs. Hearn insisted on us staying to a meal, which we could not avoid doing without positive rudeness, though we had only expected afternoon tea. It was a “first-class” Japanese meal, with nearly all the things I like (sometimes the things are quite uneatable, as, for example, the “sea-cucumbers” in a raw salad, which are also first-class things), and I enjoyed it, but I got home at 8 instead of 5 as I expected.

The children were with us most of the evening, showing Brownie picture-books, of which they had a fine stock. Hearn evidently liked Andrew Lang’s fairy books, for they were nearly all there.

In his study, where we had supper, was the little family shrine, built rather like a miniature temple of plain wood; within was Hearn’s photo, and before it burnt a tiny lamp and stood dainty vases of small flowers. According to Japanese ideas, the spirit of the departed inhabits this dwelling and needs the love and attention of his kindred, and takes part in their life. Is Christianity more consoling to the bereaved than this? From the window by the shrine could be seen the grove of the tall bamboo Hearn loved, and in the room floated one or two of the mosquitoes with which he had such sympathy.

To see the eldest son, after having read that tender, wonderful letter of Hearn’s about his birth, was, I believe, a mistake. Hearn’s words had made me love the child—but he isn’t a child any longer, and is now a thin lanky youth, shy of manner and slow in English speech. But perhaps—for there is promise in his face—I shall like him well as a man in the years[250] to come. How Hearn wove words into an opalescent cobweb! I could imagine him feeling intoxicated with the beauty of words—nay, he must have been, for as a reader I am intoxicated by words of his, which must have affected him a thousand times more strongly.

December 16.—It has been blowing a perfect hurricane, and is blowing still, so that I panted on my cycle to the University, but enjoyed the ride back, for by a most unusual chance the wind didn’t turn and face me on my home way also, as it generally does, but stopped respectfully behind me and blew me gaily at full speed up hills which always make me dismount on usual days. The sky was brilliantly clear, and Mount Fuji shone blue-and-white in the morning, and purple-black in front of a copper-and-gold sky at night. Wonderful mountain! “The only thing in Japan that is not overrated,” as some one told me he felt it was.

December 20.—Writing all the early part of the day, but went along to tea with the D——’s and met Ambassador O——. We had a cosy time; in the course of conversation the Ambassador told me to listen,—and then said that it was not necessarily the cleverest people who made the most mark in the world, but the people who wrote what they knew, who gave to the world of their knowledge, instead of letting it die with them, as so many of the truly great have done. The D——’s house is peculiarly charming—it is not, of course, a “salon” in any sense of the word, but more there than anywhere I know people really converse and[251] sometimes say things that the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table might pop straight into his book. Though what they actually are I cannot record, the after effect is much the same as reading a chapter of a light, well-written book.

And the rooms too are so pretty, a charming mixture of Japanese and Western daintiness, like a black-eyed rosy-cheeked Eurasian, who sparkles with the beauty of both the parent countries.

December 21.—I worked hard all day. Professor F—— is back and we got quite a lot done. In the evening I went to some pretty tableau from Pride and Prejudice, arranged by a number of people I know, and at 10 went into the Opera House, where I met a party of friends. This Opera House merits a word of description. As in the newspaper it said—“For the first time we in Tokio can sit in a foreign theatre, listen to a foreign orchestra, and see a foreign play played by foreigners all at one time.” The theatre, or Opera House, built partly on the Vienna model, was opened only a few days ago, and is now playing Dorothy, by amateurs, but many of them have professional talent and training. The white-and-gilt interior, the brilliant lights without, and the real “home” effect of the piece were delightful after all these months without the possibility of anything of the sort. To permanent residents here it will be a very great boon, and is already patronised by all the Legations and many of the best Japanese. Outside were panting motors, and—I discovered that the smell of petrol is delightful in its reminder of home!


December 23.—I learn that last evening the D——’s house was burnt to the ground! That pretty house I liked so much! I am indeed grieved. The danger of the houses, which are all wood, is very great here. I have been in Japan about eighteen months, and in that time the Naval Attachés of both the British and American Embassies have been utterly burnt out. If a Japanese house goes, only one or two of the curios which are in use will be destroyed, the rest are safe in a “go-down,” but in a foreign house all the curios are about and in use, and a fire sweeps the whole away. How extravagant we foreigners are!

December 24.—I went up to the University intending to have a day’s quiet work—but at 9.30 Mrs. M—— (one of the family who gave the gas-engine) brought her sons to see the fossils being cut. Not much was done before lunch, when Dr. Mk—— was there. Soon after that the Dean came, and made a delightful stay, and we had just finished tea with him when the President, Baron H——, came and wanted to see some fossils, so we showed him some of the prettier ones under the microscope. I am glad he came and really saw the things. So that, after all, the Christmas eve I had expected to work through became a series of “parties” all the time, and I enjoyed it more than I had expected to, though I worked less.

December 26.—I got to the University at 9.30, though this same morn I crept into bed at 1 A.M. Work did not seem very exciting, but it was soon laid on one side, for the Dean came again. This time in an official capacity, bearing a huge box tied up[253] nicely. This he solemnly opened up, and we found another box inside tied with broad green silk cord, which when opened revealed cotton-wool and yellow wrappings, which when removed gave place to squares of heavy rich white silk brocade, which were wrapped round the most wonderful blue-grey silver cloisonné vases—not the ordinary, but the special, new, rare and precious kind, made with very few silver wires, so that the colours melt into each other, and it looks like Markazu or Copenhagen porcelain. Far more than half are marred in the manufacture, so that a perfect pair are gems. These two of mine (for now I am the proud owner of them) are as beautiful as can be, on little carved ebony stands. Only far too beautiful for me. They are an official present from the University, in “recognition of the stimulus I have been to botany in Japan!”

I went round to call on Baron H—— (the President) on my way back home, to say my few halting words of thanks—but what can one say on such occasions, when, moreover, the present should come from me, who have accepted their hospitality so long? But they, out of their goodness of heart or courtesy, reverse everything, and profess to be indebted to me! I cannot cope with it at all.

December 27.—Time is now so precious, and the College will be shut for the New Year very soon, so I went to the laboratory to-day and worked till nearly 4 o’clock. A miserable wet day, with the streets ankle deep in slush. The pines and bamboos of the New Year are beginning to appear before the doors,[254] and at the corners are stalls which sell the knotted rope festoons which every house will have over its gate. But the weather has a depressing effect to-day, and lanterns and gay street stalls are few and far between.

December 28.—A bright sunny day, but the roads are just unspeakable. My bicycle got quite blocked up a dozen times, so that the space between the mud-guard and the tyre was filled tight from top to bottom.

Hard at work at the Institute all day, for this is the last day before we are locked out for the New Year’s holiday.

December 29.—The Institute was quite locked up to-day, not even the attendant coming, but as we are so hard pressed I got permission to go and the garden porter unlocked the door for me, and let me into the cold echoing building. I was dripping wet and very cross at coming in the rain, no one who could possibly arrange otherwise would ever go out in the rain in Tokio. The old man brought me a little fire of charcoal, which started the stove, and then left me all alone in the place, where the only sound was the rain dripping and the scratching of an occasional rat, which made me think robbers had come to the place when the whole responsibility lay on me. After an hour I heard soft stealthy footsteps, and stood prepared to pounce on the unlawful intruder—when there was a knock at the door and in walked the Dean. He came nominally about the farewell party the University Union is getting up for me, but I expect it was also semi-official, as to have the place open was rather an anxiety, I[255] fear. His stealthiness was the result of the rain, for he came in rubbers!

Later on Professor F—— came, and we got on well with the work, because there were none of the usual disturbing demands of the other workers in the Institute. On the way home it was forced in upon me that life was not worth living in Tokio when it rained.


December 30.—At work again in the locked Institute, but the sun shone and we were consequently more cheerful.

December 31.—As it is the day before the New Year, Professor F—— is too busy to work, so I brought home my microscope and some fossils to do here, and had a nice quiet day at home. The days before the New Year are the busiest of the whole three hundred and sixty-five for every Japanese. In the evening Flora and I went down to the Ginza to see the big Matsuri and buy what took our fancy, provided our purses were large enough. This Ginza Matsuri is one of the features of Tokio this time of the year, and is particularly attractive on the last night of the year. The pavements on both sides of the streets are thronged with people, and lined with mats on the kerb, covered with curios and oddments and modern articles of all kinds. The pavement spaces are marked off and numbered, and let out by the police long before. As every one must pay all his debts by the end of the year, lots of curios go cheaper then than at any other time—though great bargains are not to be had in Tokio any more, too many foreigners have[256] visited it. It was entertaining to watch the crowds, and lots of the curios were very nice. Gold screens I should love—but their size would make them terrible to pack for the journey. Fortunately the rain held off to-night, else many a poor person would suffer for his debts!

January 1, 1909.—A bright sunny day for the New Year. This year I did not enter at all into the national customs, but went for a walk with Flora to see her school, the Convent of which, I think, I have spoken before. The new grounds they now have are very extensive and beautiful—how delicious the reality of country one can get in Tokio! It is possible in their garden to feel miles from any habitation and in the midst of woodland. When we returned I found I had missed an event—a visit from the Dean in his Court uniform, cocked-feathered hat, gold lace, sword and all. He had much impressed my maid,—alas, that I should have missed the great sight of a University Professor in the panoply of state! All the higher Government officials must go to the palace (unless ill) and pay their respects to the Emperor on the morning of the New Year, after which they make a tour of calls on each other. In the evening I dined with the F——s; we were a merry party and danced till late.

January 5.—A national holiday, so work was once more impossible; instead, we went down to see the sea at Enoshima. I had great hopes that the cone of Fuji mountain would show above the coast over the water. It is one of the loveliest views of Fuji, and I have never yet seen it. The day was fine, but not[257] clear enough for that, however. Enoshima island, reached by the long bridge from the sandy shore, has often been described, so there is no need to reiterate its beauties.

It was a solemnly lovely day—not a glowing one, and the line of black foreground on the opposite coast, overtopped by fainter and fainter jagged ridges of hills, had the beauty of an old Japanese master. Alas, that the jewel of it all, Mount Fuji, was not to be seen. In all the eighteen months here I have never yet seen the cone above the coast hills from the sea, which is the most lovely view of all, they say, and this is my last chance. After buying a few strings of shells from the countless stores on the little island, and watching a naked brown man dive into the deep waves and come up with a living fish in his hand, which he presented to me, and doing all the other things essential to be done in Enoshima, we returned to the mainland, and as we had half an hour to wait I insisted on going up an attractive-looking hill. It was a Temple hill, with beauty and solitude for its crown, and such a view as I shall never forget of rocky coast and grey villages, of the sea with its jewel islands, and of the wave-like crested hills, a grey and black and purple view, with a dull green foreground and an atmosphere of mystery. Tokio! most favoured city, to have such a coast so very near. What we miss in London!

January 6–8.—Working hard, morning, noon, and night, with packing of fossils and books, and household goods thrown in.


January 9.—At work all day at the Institute; in the late afternoon a call at the Embassy about the official thanks to the Japanese, then on to Miss C—— about the next Debate, and, finally, a scamper to dress for dinner at Mrs. W——’s. When dressed it was too late to do anything but cycle there, but half-way on my road it began to snow! We had a very jolly dinner, and I felt increasingly affectionate towards Tokio, the people were all so kind. The snow had stopped, so I cycled back, though it lay thick on the ground, and it came on again before I got home, but a chiffon scarf protects one wonderfully from snow, and it was so pretty riding through it, instead of being cooped up in a kuruma, with danger of the men falling and breaking one’s neck. Kurumas aren’t at all safe in snowy weather, and are bitterly cold.

January 10.—The snow must have fallen nearly all the night, for it lay deep this morning. Soon after 10 it became bright and clear, and I set off to see the temples in Shiba Park. Very few people were about, and in the park just a stray poet or two and a photographer. I climbed one of the hills in it, and before me lay the sea, beneath the snow-clad trees and temple roofs. I turned, and scarlet through the festoons of gleaming white glowed the fretwork of a pagoda. Up and down little hills I wandered, the great trees standing free as in a forest, and the ground, as in a forest, trellised with big roots. The snow hid the low bamboos and gave the whole hilly landscape such a look that one needed no imagination[259] to fancy oneself in a distant mountain forest, till the curved roof and crimson sides of a temple showed between the trees. In absolute solitude I walked, on untrodden snow, with no sight or sound of man—round me the musical clouds of snow that fell as the wind swayed the boughs of the tall cryptomerias above my head. And this is the heart of a capital city, Tokio, queen of cities. The long line of stone lanterns, the crimson bridge, the temples and trees, as well as the forest beauty, were rendered indescribably lovely by this snow. A friend was to have come with me to see the temples, and the snow prevented him—poor foolish man! But I am glad I was there alone.

January 11.—A brilliant, clear day. I was at work all the morning. In the afternoon was the party at the Nobles Club, given as a farewell for me by the London University Union. Quite a lot of people came, and I was transfixed in the middle of it all by a presentation from Baron K——, in the name of the Union, of three lovely gold lacquer boxes. Gold lacquer! A thing I have longed to possess, and a gift as well as a party from the dear Union, which I never dreamed would notice my departure.

It was not a little overwhelming, and I had to make a speech of thanks, and bungled it, of course.

Most of the fifty or so people who came to the party were my friends, guests of the Union, and one of them, as she said “Good-bye,” said to me also “Thank you.” I answered, of course, “Oh, you mustn’t thank me, I did not give the party.” “Well,[260] then,” she said hurriedly, “thank you for going away.” My raised eyebrows and appealing eyes perhaps made her add, as she did going out of the door, “so that we can have a party.” She was not a humorist, but one of those dear, solemn people who take life seriously.

This party and the beautiful gift has touched me deeply; all the members of the Union contributed, English and Japanese alike.

January 14.—The last lunch at the Goten, I expect, for next week will certainly be busy. These Faculty lunches have certainly been very pleasant, and I am sorry they are coming to an end, like many another thing in this country for me. More P.P.C. calls in the afternoon. As I returned in the dark I met more than one man running with tinkling bell, clad in only a white cotton kimono. I have noticed several such quaint folk lately, and Professor F—— told me that in the coldest season a number of people will do this. It is a kind of remnant of the old “hardening” processes of Bushido, when children were sent barefoot and hungry across the snow, or sent supper-less to bed. None of those I saw running looked very robust, and I wondered whether such spasmodic hardening as a run on a cold winter’s night, practically naked, might not defeat its own ends. It looks on the face of it as though daily hardening might be more effective, in which case these same youths could discard the thick woollen mufflers they wear over mouths and ears and noses as they go out in the sunny streets.


January 17.—At 1 o’clock I sallied forth with a long calling list. Fortunately, one can call early on Japanese ladies. Baron and Baroness H—— were both in, and very gracious. It is difficult to say “good-bye.”

There were several other short calls, and then my last visit to the S——s pretty house, from which I saw the beautiful garden for the last time.

Afterwards I went to see the grey lady, Mrs. N——. Four-year-old Brownie remembered me and welcomed me in, doing the honours of the house and showing me all his toys. The grey lady is revealing herself a little—I am sorry I must go, and so will not see her again; people who really interest one are not too many on this earth. She started life as a scientist, but found chemistry so easy that it was no mental discipline, so she took to history, where dates have no reasons and are therefore hard to remember, but here, too, she came out top of the classes. She lies behind the poetry of that Japanese poet who wrote in English, and was so praised by Rossetti, the N—— of American fame, if I am not much mistaken, though she does not tell one so consciously.

January 18.—A long day at the Institute working and packing, and then to the M——s to dinner. The house is being re-done up, and some of the rooms are now very charming. Mr. M——, Mrs. M——, Mrs. H——, and several others were there, and the dinner was pleasant, but afterwards the treat came. When we went into the drawing-room I noticed a tray with lots and lots of white vases and cups and plates, and[262] wondered what they were for. They told us almost at once. They had a great porcelain-maker there, and on the stone verandah were set up the furnaces and ovens and attendants, and we were to paint the porcelain, and it would be baked and glazed and finished before our eyes that evening! What it is to be a millionaire, and how much more to be one who could devise such charming pleasures. We all set to work gaily, the sons and little girl came in, and we had a very merry time. The quality of our painting doubtless left something to be desired, but we did not think of that till after, and really some of them were pretty, even the next day. The baking was the great excitement. The little furnaces were surrounded by glowing charcoal, fanned by the white-clad potters till a cloud of sparks rose over the fiery clay. We were half shut in in the verandah, but could see between the fires the snowy garden. The heat was so great that we rushed in and out of the drawing-room with no thought of cold, and multiplied our pots and vases rapidly. The time flew too swiftly, and I had to leave many still to be baked and to be seen to-morrow. This, too, was a farewell party for me, and the kindness and grace of my hostess made it a very pleasant one.

January 19.—Called at 9.30 at the M——s, just to see the exhibition of our last night’s pottery-making, and found a big show, only one piece having been broken in the baking, which seems very good for furnaces erected in a private house. I had to hurry away to the Institute, for every moment is now[263] urgently needed for my scientific work, and, fortunately, got on pretty well with it to-day.

January 22. A busy day—calls on the way home and a dinner at the P——s’, where I am now going to stop the two nights till I leave, as my house must get packed up and sold up. Professor S—— came to dinner, and the F——s. Professor P—— has only been back a few days from London by Siberia, and had home news. After the guests left at 11.30 I went over to my house, took off my evening frock, and prepared for a night’s work. There was no help for it—packing, letters, P.P.C. cards, and a hundred things had to be done, and still there was work at the Institute. The night flew by, with cocoa and cake at 3.30, and after breakfast I went to the Institute to finish up things there. A few calls had to be paid on the way back, so much kindness from so many friends necessitates calling. After dinner I was approaching insanity over the folly of the men who were padlocking my trunks.

January 24.—The P——s were very good, and let me wake them up at 6.30; then there were a few little things to do, a look round mine own little house, all empty and forlorn, and we set off for the station.

As I left at 8.20 on Sunday morning I never expected any one to see me off, except perhaps one or two special friends, but there was quite a big crowd of kindly folk, the M——s with lovely flowers from their greenhouse, and all with good wishes. Why I didn’t break down and howl on the platform I don’t know. Professor S——, Professor F——, Dr. M——,[264] Dr. H——, and my maid came to Yokohama to the boat with me, where they cheered me till it started by photographing the party in groups and writing picture post cards, and walking round the deck with me one at a time in friendly converse.

Then, just before we sailed, I saw a gleam of what looked like Fuji mountain. Was she going to forget her cruelty and coyness and show herself to me over the water at last, at the latest possible moment? But the clouds closed again, the tender took my last friends from me, the ladder was up, and we steamed away as the bell sounded for lunch. Then after it I went on deck, and before me lay a wonderful panorama, near rocky coast, pine-crested, then beyond a dark line of more distant woods and bays, and in the midst, perfect, peerless, cloudless, the cone of the snow-white Fuji mountain!

I gazed and gazed for an hour at the changing view of ever lovely coast and ever lovely mountain!

Round the mountain top light clouds collected and dispersed like flying veils; one rose from the crater and dissolved like a puff of smoke, some circled the base and shut off the crown from the black fringing trees below.

So, as I left Japan, her greatest beauty showed herself to me.



Innumerable times have I made believe to answer the question, “How do you like the Japanese?” or the even more impossible one, “What do you think of the Japanese?” Questions generally put by new acquaintances directly after introduction, in crowded drawing-rooms, where we were liable to be torn apart at any moment, and the qualifying clauses which would have followed a preliminary statement to be separated eternally from their principals, which cut but a poor figure without them. I soon found that in common justice I must avoid answering that query. Yet now, at the conclusion of this journal, when there is no escape, the question presents itself once more. A complete answer even here is impossible. Those who have read the foregoing pages will have already the key to much of the answer. But often they were smaller and more subtle things than could be recorded in this journal that built up the real impressions of the country.

Judging from the books on the subject, and the questions which I have been asked since my return, it seems fairly safe to say that nearly everything which is commonly held in England to be “Japanese,” and typical of that country, is not so. The number of[266] horrible “export articles” which have been shown to me as “real Japanese,” or are said to have been brought back from Japan by some relative who had visited it, show that there is not a very wide knowledge of the true domestic culture of that country here. There is a phrase which seems to hover over every conversation on Japan, which should be included in the Book of Bromidioms. It is, “Of course everything in Japan is so artistic!” It sometimes appears in the alternative form, “The Japanese are a nation of artists!” As a result, everything which is guaranteed as coming from Japan is accepted as artistic by most people, and one finds otherwise cultured ladies serving their tea in the most unutterable crockery, which was made in Japan according to the Japanese merchant’s idea of what European (barbaric) taste must be, in defiance of every law of beauty both in Japan and here.

The Japanese are no longer a nation of artists. They cannot afford to be. In the security of their long peace, and when they were shut out from competition with the rest of the world, they evolved for every detail of daily life, and not only for their churches and palaces, formulae by which every workman could construct intrinsically beautiful things. These formulae, where they are undisturbed to-day, still make of the common workman an artist, in so far that he creates a beautiful thing, even if it be only a farthing piece of pottery. But alas, Western influence has in many places disturbed or broken these old traditions, and the craftsman is then like a[267] mariner at sea without a compass. Apart from their own traditions, there is in the great majority of Japanese practically no artistic instinct. As a wise Japanese man once said to me, after deploring the lack of artistic feeling in his countrymen, perhaps it will reappear in another generation. The present one has had to use all its energies and thought for national defence. Commerce, Diplomacy, Education, Scientific Research, all, as well as war, he included in national defence. In these years of stress, Art, being of little account in the Western civilisation which they were trying to assimilate, had to stand aside. Where the progress in a new direction has not disturbed her courts, she is still served as she was served before the revolution, often best in the simple things of life, which in England have not yet been reached by an all-pervading genius, such as penetrated everywhere in the Japan of long ago.

Another of the myths common in this country about Japan is that her people are all brilliantly, almost diabolically, clever. This, I think, is very far from being even a semblance of the truth. With very few exceptions, individual men and women among the Japanese are capable of very much less mental activity in a day than a corresponding English man or woman. An educated Englishman has his hobby, often more or less intellectual, to come to when the day’s work is done. He reads, as a matter of course, a number of books and reviews on all sorts of subjects, and he spends a good many hours per week in social life of various kinds. Because he goes to the theatre[268] one evening or takes his wife to a concert, it does not mean that he requires to come two hours late to work the following day, or that he thinks it an excuse for absenting himself all morning from business. A dinner with a dozen friends in the evening may often precede several hours’ writing late at night, in the life of an English Professor. But the average Japanese intellectual man could not do this at all, or could not do it often. An individual Japanese may make as good a show in his profession as the Englishman, but he is generally economising every possible expenditure of brain force outside this profession, and will enjoy less social life in a month than the average working (not social) Englishman indulges in in a week. It seemed to me to be characteristic of the average Japanese to be only able to hold the reins of one set of thoughts at once. I shall never forget the astonishment with which I listened to a Professor who explained that the reason that he came two hours after the time he should have given his University lecture was that his child had been naughty that morning and required correction, and that it took thought and time to accomplish it. It is difficult to give concrete examples, but on many occasions I have watched one thought ousting another in a Japanese mind which in an Englishman’s would have developed together. This gives an impression of what often appears very like stupidity in a Japanese, outside the range of the one thing that he has in hand, and sometimes even within it. But this does not affect the general position of the nation as a whole when it sets itself to any task,[269] let us say the conquering of the Russians in a war. In Government Departments each man has his special duty, and can concentrate entirely on that. The man above him has to correlate that with the rest, and so on to the top of the service, where the places are generally filled (certainly in the University, a Government Department) by brilliant men, who have what I feel inclined to call the English capacity for controlling a number of things at once. Most of the men at the top have been in the West, and even without that additional training they form exceptions to the rule which the others seem to exemplify. The nation as a whole then, composed of individuals who are rather stupid, led by brilliant men, and worked with a splendid system of organisation, assisted by the old feudal spirit not yet dead, presents to the world as good or better a front than one in which the individuals are each more independently developed.

Even in merely manual labour, the Japanese in Japan do not seem to do so much as workmen do at home. A Japanese coal mine has in its pay nearly one-half as many workers again as an English mine with the same output. The climate has much to do with this, and the national customs. The climate, although beautiful and sunny nearly all the year round, has a subtle lethargic effect, so that even the Englishman in Japan does less than he could do in England. Generations of this insidious influence have undoubtedly affected the Japanese; the children playing so quietly with none of the obstreperousness of vigorous youth are an index of its power.


A question that few of my drawing-room acquaintances spare me is one on the religious condition of the Japanese. This is generally so worded that it is clear that the interrogator is already certain that they are devoid of religious feeling, but that he trusts the West is doing something for the stimulation of their souls. Again I must disagree with the popular impression in this country. There is no land in which I have been where there seemed to be a more universal religious feeling, none in which the religion formed more an integral part of daily life. The religious temperament is strongly developed in the majority of Japanese. But the religious temperament is not to be confounded with any particular religion. It is indeed often most strongly developed in those who appear to have no religion, perhaps because the very strength of their religious instincts debars them from being satisfied with the formulated religion of their time. In little-educated people too that instinct often finds expression in superstitions, or in the popular forms of religions which have a pantheon of gods or saints. Thus is it in Japan. Their feeling for religion is gratified constantly throughout every day, not kept apart for the Sabbath, as it is here. It is true that the religious ideas of the mass of the people are neither very clear nor very high, but they are a very real part of their daily life. In the country in England one may go many miles without seeing a church, and we do not have wayside shrines, but in Japan there is some shrine or temple at every turn, in nearly every house, even in most hotels. And[271] these shrines are not deserted, they are tended daily by the passers-by as well as by the dwellers in the immediate neighbourhood. In the main streets of Tokio, the streets where the West has penetrated, even there I have seen little shrines, perhaps like dolls’ houses, only a couple of feet high, reverently tended by passing labourers, or coolies who set down a long pole with its swinging burdens to present some little offering to the spirit of the shrine. It may be that all they have to offer are the worn sandals which they take off their feet, or a wisp of straw.

It is curious to notice how largely straw enters into the place of religious offerings. Straw ropes hang before the temple gates, or single straws depending from a line make a decorative fringe; old straw sandals, or new and monstrous sandals specially made for the purpose, are offered in piles to a small shrine. This offering of straw is symbolic in a land where so many things are made of it. The matting and nearly all the comforts of the house are made of straw, the sandals and rain coats, the labourer’s hats,—in the very poor places even the walls as well as the thatch of his house are all made of straw. Those who are too poor to give the ears of the rice except on special occasions, can yet afford a wisp of rice-straw for many a shrine, and rice is naturally symbolic of all their material welfare. It is not only in the peasant that this close daily touch of religion may be found. Driven back to the secret places of the house, and not spoken of to foreigners, is yet the shrine, kept with its daily ministration, in homes where one[272] would least expect to find it. I asked an “atheist” scientific professor once what he would do if the woman whom he loved should die. He told me that he would engrave her name on the tablet in his shrine, before which was a prayer made every day. The religious instinct is a far greater thing than any formulated religion, and though missionaries may continue to tell the world that the Japanese are naturally irreligious, that will not prevent the Japanese from being deeply religious—until they have assimilated the Western attitude to religion, as they are doing toward other things. Perhaps one reason that the missionary finds the Japanese irreligious is that they take religion so happily, and make of it so much a part of their daily life, laughing in the temples, playing round the temple grounds, lighting the light of their little shrines in their homes when their household lamps are lit. One of the commonest sights in Japan is a band of peasant pilgrims on their way to some shrine, and it is the ambition of innumerable poor folk, who could never afford ordinary travel and holidays, to visit every temple of importance in the country. How many English common folk since the days of the Canterbury Pilgrims would travel on foot for a hundred miles to lay a wisp of straw on a shrine? Because the Japanese are not (and I think never will be in our sense of the word) Christians there is no excuse for our concluding that they are not religious.

Only of one thing more will I now speak. Sometimes carelessly, sometimes sadly, it has often been[273] said that there can be no true understanding, no deep friendship between the East and the West. Even Lafcadio Hearn is quoted as an instance of the disappointment that must await the foreigner who tries to get to the heart of a Japanese. And Lafcadio Hearn, as is now being recognised, has shown us more truly and more beautifully than any other writer the inner life of Japan. He tells us, it is true, that in the end he found that it was only with the children that we could reach a real and close understanding and love, that as they grew up to men and women they receded farther and farther from one, till a great wall was built between them, and the lovable and loving child had become a friend who had lost the key of sympathy. This is perhaps true in most cases, but we must not forget that with his genius for suggestive and true description, and for poetical rendering of the things around him, Hearn seems to have had also a perfect genius for destroying individual friendships. Evidence of this is found cropping up in many places in Japan, where he shattered his friendships with English and Japanese alike; and it is already made clear in his Letters. One of the tests of friendship is time, and only at the end of a lifetime can one say just which men and women had been one’s real friends, but circumstance is almost as good a test as time, and that may give its stamp to a relationship very swiftly. Some Japanese—perhaps, nay certainly, they are exceptional natures—have a genius for friendship. There is in them a sweetness and delicacy, a sensitive comprehension[274] of moods, a depth of feeling and a beauty of feeling which only the exceptional Westerner could match. The almost inhuman coldness which is so often attributed to the Japanese is not at all truly characteristic of them. Their reserve appears to us to be reserve only because we do not know how to read the signs of their expression, and because many careless Europeans before us may have trampled on holy ground. The apparently immobile face is immobile only because we ourselves are not alive to its subtle changes. When you know a Japanese face it is as eloquent as that of a sensitive English girl. And the moods and feelings it mirrors are not alien to ours. Some of the thoughts and some of the conclusions from the same premises may be different from ours, but they are not the essentials in friendship. The coldness and the insincerity of the Japanese are qualities which we have largely invented for them to save us the trouble of learning their truths, and of cultivating the power to read their subtle expressions. Nor are they always difficult to read if we have the privilege of friendship. In the “changeless eyes” of the Japanese I have seen fire and mist, radiance and storm. I have seen men’s tears welling up from the sweetness beneath to veil the eyes that looked on sorrowful things, or things so beautiful as to be a pain—as is Mount Fuji in an opal morning. In the hearts of some Japanese I have found friendship, tested by circumstance, true, and generous, and sweet. Those from the West who cannot find it also need not lay all the blame on the Japanese.






[1] This does not hold for Westernised places like Tokio, as I afterwards discovered, where the European method of clapping is much in vogue.

[2] The native name for the mail-cart-like hand-carriage I called a rickshaw at first. It is only in Yokohama and such Europeanised places that the word rickshaw is understood.

[3] I now know that I ought to have given very much more than three times the price to the peasants had I been anywhere but in the most unsophisticated parts.

[4] Betto, name for native groom.

[5] An account of this has appeared in the Transactions of the Manchester Philosophical Society, 1909.



Transcriber's Note

Illustrations have been moved next to the text which they illustrate, and may not match the locations in the List of Illustrations. A duplicate "INDEX" heading has been removed from the text.

The following apparent typographical errors have been corrected:

The following possible errors have been left as printed:

The following are inconsistently used in the text: