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Japan

1 This deity is seldom called by his full name, which has been shortened by common usage from Susano-o-no-mikoto.

2 A kichinyado is an inn at which the traveller is charged only the price of the wood used for fuel in cooking his rice.

3 The thick fine straw mats, fitted upon the floor of every Japanese room, are always six feet long by three feet broad. The largest room in the ordinary middle-class house is a room of eight mats. A room of one hundred mats is something worth seeing.

1 Yama-no-mono ('mountain-folk,' - so called from their settlement on the hills above Tokoji), - a pariah-class whose special calling is the washing of the dead and the making of graves. 2 Joro: a courtesan. 3 Illicium religiosum 4 Literally: 'without shadow' or 'shadowless.' 5 Umi-yama-no-on. 6 Kusaba-no-kage 7 Or 'him.' This is a free rendering. The word 'nushi' simply refers to the owner of the house.

It was bound to come, and we knew it; it was only a question of time. But then we had braved the law so far so well, we had almost come to believe that we should escape altogether. I mean the fatal detection by the police that we were violating my passport. That document had already outrun the statute of limitations, and left me no better than an outlaw. For practical purposes my character was gone, and being thus self-convicted I might be arrested at any moment!

The first object to catch my eye, when the shoji were pushed apart, the next morning, was a string of the ubiquitous paper fish, dangling limp in the motionless May air from a pole in a neighboring yard; highly suggestive of having just been caught for breakfast. The sight would have been painfully prophetic but for the food we had brought with us; for, of all meals, a Japanese breakfast is the most cold, the most watery, and the most generally fishy in the world. As it was, breakfast consisted of pathetic copies of consecrated originals.

We had made arrangements overnight for a boat, not without difficulty, and in the morning we started in kuruma for the point of embarkation. We were eager to be off upon our voyage, else we should have strolled afoot down the long meadow slope, such invitation lay in it, the dew sparkling on the grass blades, the freshly tilled earth scenting the air, and the larks rising like rockets up into the sky and bursting into song as they went. It seemed the essence of spring, and we had a mile or more of it all before we reached the brink of the canon.

We were now come more than half-way from sea to sea, and we were still in the thick of Europeanization. So far we had traveled in the track of the comic. For if Japan seems odd for what it is, it seems odder for what it is no longer.

It was a ten minutes' walk, the next morning, from the inn down to the boat: an everwinding path along a succession of terraces studded with trees just breaking into leaf, and dotted with cottages, whose folk gave us good-day as we passed. The site of the village sloped to the south, its cheek full turned to the sunshine that stole down and kissed it as it lay. On this lovely May morning, amid the slumbering air, it made as amorous a bit of springtide as the heart could wish. In front of us, in vignette, stretched the stream, half a mile of it to where it turned the corner.

My quest still carrying me westward along the line of the new railway, I took the train again, and in the compartment of the carriage I found two other travelers. They were a typical Japanese couple in middle life, and in something above middle circumstances. He affected European clothes in part, while she still clung to the costume of her ancestors. Both were smoking, - she her little pipe, and he the fashionable cigarette. Their mutual relations were those of substance to shadow. She followed him inevitably, and he trod on her feelings regardless of them.

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