2021-04-17 02:07:22

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ENGLISH For three or four hours the wind continued to increase, and the waters to assume the shapes we have seen. The barometer had fallen steadily, and everything indicated that the arrival of the steamer at Shanghai, or at any other port, was by no means a matter of certainty. The order was issued for the passengers to go below, and our friends descended to the cabin. Just as they did so the decks were swept by a mass of water that seemed to have been lifted bodily from the sea by a gust of wind. The order to go below was not issued a moment too soon.

"We went along the street, stopping now and then to look at something, and in a little while we came to a tea-house which stood in the middle of a pond of water. The house was rather pretty, and the balconies around it were nice, but you should have seen the water. It was covered with a green scum, such as you may see on a stagnant pool anywhere in the world, and the odor from it was anything but sweet. Fred said it was the same water that was let into the pool when they first made it. The guide says the house is a hundred years old, and I should think the water was quite as old as the house; or perhaps it is some second-hand water that they bought cheap, and if so it may be very ancient. We went into the house and sat down to take some tea. They gave us some tea-leaves, on which they poured hot water, and then covered the cup over for a minute or two. Each of us had his portion of tea separate from all the others. The tea was steeped in the cup, and when we wanted more we poured hot water on again. Then they brought little cakes and melon-seeds, with salt to eat with the seeds. Our guide took some of the seeds, and we ate one or two each to see how they tasted. I can't recommend them, and don't think there is any danger they will ever be introduced into the United States as a regular article of diet.

"Three or four cormorants and a raft are necessary in this way of fishing. The cormorants are stupid-looking birds about the size of geese, but are of a dark color, so that they cannot be readily seen by the fish. The raft is of bamboo logs bound together, and about three feet wide by twenty[Pg 347] in length. The fisherman is armed with a paddle for propelling his raft and a scoop-net for taking the fish after they have been caught by the cormorant, and he has a large basket for holding the fish after they have been safely secured. Each cormorant has a cord or ring around his neck to prevent him from swallowing the fish he has taken, and it is so tight that he cannot get down any but the smallest fish.Nara is about thirty miles from Osaka, and is famous for some ancient temples and fine groves of trees. The park containing the latter is quite extensive, and supports a considerable number of deer, so tame that they will feed from the hand of a stranger. As they are the stock sights of the place, there are plenty of opportunities to spend a few pennies for cakes to be given to the deer. The cakes are sold by some old women, who call the pets from the shelter of the trees, and bring them bounding to your side. The trees in the park are very old, and among the finest in Japan. There are few lovelier spots in the country than this; and as our friends reclined on the veranda of the little hotel to which John had led the way, and looked upon the smiling valley that spread before them, they pronounced the picture one of the prettiest they had ever seen.

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Another ramble on shore the following morning, and they left the soil[Pg 311] of Japan for the deck of the steamer. At noon they were slowly moving down the bay; they passed the island of Pappenberg, and, as they did so, Frank read from a book he had picked up in the ship's cabin the following paragraph:"Since the opening of Japan to foreigners, the missionaries have devoted much attention to the country as a field of labor. Compared with the result of missionary labors in India, the cause has prospered, and a great deal of good has been accomplished. The Japanese are not an unthinking people, and their faculties of analysis are very keen. They show more interest in the doctrines of Christianity than do the Chinese and some other Oriental people, and are quite willing to discuss them whenever they are properly presented."The green fields of youth we have passed;

"I must not fail to tell you of a remarkable temple that we have seen; not that any are unworthy of mention, but this one is certainly very curious. It is known as the Temple of Rengenhoin, and contains one thousand idols of large size; then each idol in this lot is surrounded by several smaller ones, and there is one idol larger than all the rest. The[Pg 297] whole number is said to be 33,333. We did not count them to make sure that the estimate was correct, but I should think that there must be thirty thousand at least, so that a few odd thousands, more or less, would make no difference. The whole of the inside of the temple is full of them, and each figure is said to have a particular fable connected with it. The temple is nearly four hundred feet long, and is certainly a very fine building; and there is an artificial pond in front of it, which is covered with aquatic flowers in the season for them. There is a veranda that was used in olden times for a shooting-gallery for archery purposes; it is more than two hundred feet long, and there are records of some famous matches that have been shot there. The best on the books took place more than six hundred years ago, when one man is said to have hit the bull's-eye of the target 8,000 times out of 10,000, and another is reported to have done the same thing 8,133 times in 13,053. That was certainly good shooting, and I don't believe that it would be easy to find a bowman to-day who could equal it.HORSESHOE OR OMEGA GRAVE. HORSESHOE OR OMEGA GRAVE.

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THE CASTLE OF OSAKA. THE CASTLE OF OSAKA.The Doctor took the glass and then handed it to Fred; the latter looked steadily for a minute or more before he had a satisfactory view, and then said:

"Just after the curtain was pulled away, they opened a door in the middle of the garden, and the actors who were to be in the play came in. They sat down on the stage and began a song, which they kept up for ten or fifteen minutes, each of them singing a part that was evidently prepared for himself alone. The music in the little boxes joined them, and it made me think of the negro minstrels in a concert hall at home, where they all come on together. After they finished this part of the performance, there was a pantomime by a woman, or rather by a man disguised as a woman, as all the acting is done by men. They get themselves up perfectly, as they have very little beards, and they can imitate the voice and movements of a woman, so that nobody can tell the difference. I couldn't tell what the pantomime was all about, and it was so long that I got tired of it before they were through, and wondered when they would come on with something else.A PAIR OF WRESTLERS AND THEIR MANAGER. A PAIR OF WRESTLERS AND THEIR MANAGER.

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Apr-17 02:07:22