"The coins are stamped with the devices of the coiled dragons and the rising sun (both Japanese symbols), and not with the portrait of the Mikado. Japanese prejudice is opposed to the adoption of the picture of the imperial ruler on the coin of the country, but it will[Pg 283] probably be overcome in time. It is less severe than with the Moslems (among whom a true believer is forbidden to make a picture of anything that has life), and consequently will be more easy to do away with."They don't look as if they could stand rough weather," said Fred. "See; they are low and square at the stern, and high and sharp at the bow; and they sit very low in the water."
From Odiwara the roads were worse than they had found them thus far. They had come by jin-riki-shas from Yokohama, and had had no trouble; but from this place onward they were told that the roads were not everywhere practicable for wheeled carriages. The Japanese are improving their roads every year, and therefore a description for one season does not exactly indicate the character of another. Anybody who reads this story and then goes to Japan may find good routes where formerly there were only impassable gorges, and hotels and comfortable lodging-houses where, only a year before, there was nothing of the kind. In no country in the world at the present time, with the possible exception of the Western States of North America, are the changes so rapid as in the land of the Mikado. Wheeled carriages were practically unknown before Commodore Perry landed on Japanese soil, and the railway was an innovation undreamed of in the Japanese philosophy. Now wheeled vehicles are common, and the railway is a popular institution, that bids fair to extend its benefits in many directions. Progress, progress, progress, is the motto of the Japan of to-day."I readily understand you," Doctor Bronson answered, "as I had the same feeling myself, and every American has it when he first comes to the country. He has a great deal of sympathy for the men, and I have known some strangers to refuse to ride in a jin-riki-sha on that account. But if you will apply reason to the matter, you will soon get over the feeling. Remember that the man gets his living by pulling his little carriage, and that he regards it as a great favor when you patronize him. You do him a kindness when you employ him; and the more you employ him, the more will he regard you as his friend. He was born to toil, and expects to toil as long as he lives. He does not regard it as a hardship, but cheerfully accepts his lot; and the more work he obtains, the better is he satisfied. And when you pay him for his services, you will win his most heart-felt affection if you add a trifle by way of gratuity. If you give only the exact wages prescribed by law, he does not complain, and you have only to add a few cents to make his eyes glisten with gratitude. In my experience of laboring-men in all parts of the world, I have found that the Japanese coolie is the most patient, and has the warmest heart, the most thankful for honest pay for honest work, and the most appreciative of the trifles that his employer gives him in the way of presents.""What is that?"While they were discussing him, he returned suddenly and said:"Certainly you could do so," Fred responded, "or you might go next week or last summer."
- [Pg 79]
- Fred cared less for the models in green than he did for some dwarf trees that seemed to strike his fancy particularly. There were pines, oaks, and other trees familiar to our eyes, only an inch or two in height, but as perfectly formed as though they were of the natural size in which we see them in their native forests. Then there were bamboo, cactus, and a great many other plants that grow in Japan, but with which we are not familiar. There was such a quantity of them as to leave no doubt that the dwarfing of plants is thoroughly understood in Japan and has received much attention. Doctor Bronson told the boys that the profession of florist, like many other professions and trades, was hereditary, and that the knowledge descended from father to son. The dwarfing of plants, and their training into unnatural shapes and forms, have been practised for thousands of years, and the present state of the florist's art is the result of centuries of development.
- Mary had been seized with the prevailing mania for Japanese porcelain, and among the things in her list she had noted especially and underscored the words "some good things in Japanese cloisonné." Frank had seen a good many nice things in this kind of work, and he set about selecting, with the help of the Doctor and Fred, the articles he was to send home. He bought some in Yokohama, some in Tokio, and later on he[Pg 242] made some purchases in Kobe and Kioto. We will look at what he bought and see if his sister had reason to be pleased when the consignment reached her and was unpacked from its carefully arranged wrappings.
- A JOURNEY TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA.
- "Give it up; let's have it."
- For the next few days the proposed journey was the theme of conversation in the Bassett family. Mary examined all the books she could find about the countries her brother expected to visit; then she made a list of the things she desired, and the day before his departure she gave him a sealed envelope containing the paper. She explained that he was not to open it until he reached Japan, and that he would find two lists of what she wanted. 更多 CPK 推荐