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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 399MB


    Software instructions

      "'P'raps hunder tousand, p'raps million; nobody don't know.'

      The Inland Sea is entered soon after leaving Kobe, and it terminates at Simoneseki, where there is a narrow strait leading into the open waters. Our friends wanted to land at Simoneseki, where the steamer made a halt of a couple of hours; but they were informed that the port was not opened to foreigners, and, therefore, their only view of it was a distant one. However, they were consoled by the reflection that they could have plenty of time at Nagasaki, where the ship was to remain a day and a half before continuing her voyage. Nagasaki was the first place opened to foreigners, and there are many points of interest about the city.A more aristocratic vehicle of this kind is the norimon. The norimon is larger than the cango, and is completely closed in at the sides, so that it may be taken as a faint imitation of our covered carriages. The princes of Japan used to travel in norimons; and they are still employed in some parts of the empire, though becoming less and less common every year. The norimon has four bearers, instead of two, and, consequently, there is much more dignity attached to its use. The rate of progress is about the same as with the cango, and after several hours in one of them a foreigner feels very much as if he were a sardine and had been packed away in a can. It was always considered a high honor to be the bearer of a princely personage; and when the great man came out in state, with his army of retainers to keep the road properly cleared, the procession was an imposing one. The style and decorations of the norimon were made to correspond with the rank of the owner, and his coat-of-arms was painted on the outside, just as one may see the coats-of-arms on private carriages in London or Paris. When a prince or other great man expected a distinguished visitor, he used to send his private norimon out a short distance on the road to meet him.

      "Then there were jugglers spinning plates on sticks, and doing other things of a character more or less marvellous. One of their tricks is to spin the plate on two sticks held at right angles to each other, instead of on a single stick, as with us; but how they manage to do it I am unable to say. They make the plate whirl very fast, and can keep it up a long time without any apparent fatigue."By-and-by the Tartars did come in reality, and the signal was sent out again. But this time no army came, nor did a single general turn his face to Pekin. The city fell into the hands of the invaders, and they are there to-day. So much for what a woman did; but it sounds too much like the story of 'The Boy and the Wolf' to be true.

      "They had several matches of this kind with the two men standing up facing each other before they clinched; and then they tried another plan. One man took his place in the ring, and braced himself as though he were trying to stop a locomotive. When he was ready a signal was given, and another man came out full tilt against him. They butted their heads together like two rams, and tried to hit each other in the breast. In a short time they were covered with blood, and looked very badly; but the Doctor says they were not hurt so much as they seemed to be. They kept this up for nearly a quarter of an hour, and took turns at the businessone of them being bull for the other to play railway train against. It was as bad for one as for the other; and if I had my choice which character to play, I wouldn't play either.

      "The orchestra furnishes music by means of the guitar, or 'samisen.' It is played something like our guitar, except that a piece of ivory is used for striking the strings, and is always used in a concert that has any pretence to being properly arranged. There are two or three other instruments, one of them a small drum, which they play upon with the fingers; but it is not so common as the samisen, and I don't think it is so well liked. Then they have flutes, and some of them are very sweet, and harmonize well with the samisen; but the singers do not like them for an accompaniment[Pg 235] unless they have powerful voices. The samisen-players generally sing, and in the theatres the musicians form a part of the chorus. A good deal of the play is explained by the chorus; and if there are any obscure points, the audience is told what they are. I remember seeing the same thing almost exactly, or, at any rate, the same thing in principle, in the performance of "Henry V." at a theatre in New York several years ago, so that this idea of having the play explained by the chorus cannot be claimed as a Japanese invention.


      "The streets are almost of chess-board regularity, and generally so clean that you might go out to walk in satin slippers without much danger of soiling them. The people are finer-looking than those of Tokio, and you meet more stalwart men than in the eastern capital. Kioto prides itself on the beauty of its women, and some of the Japanese writers say that they cause the women of all other parts of the country to despair. They are very proud of their head-dresses, and they have a great many ornaments for the hair; in fact, there are so many of these things, and the trade is so extensive, that you find whole shops devoted to their manufacture and sale."10 rin make 1 sen, equal to 1 cent.


      Having finished their inspection of the mint, our friends thanked the polite director for his kindness and attention, and bade him good-day. ey returned to the hotel, where their lunch was waiting for them, and sat down on the balcony, where they had feasted and studied the river scenery the day before. Their morning's excursion naturally led them to talk about the money of Japan, and on this subject the Doctor was ready with his usual fund of information.


      [Pg 335]