One is immediately struck, on landing at Kobe - and continually after - by the littleness of Japan. The little flimsy houses, the little flimsy shops, the small men, the toylike women, the tiny children, as numerous and like unto each other as the pebbles on the shore - these are everywhere. But although small of stature the Japanese men are often very powerfully built and many of them suggest great strength. They are taking to games, too. While I was in the country baseball was a craze, and boys were practising pitching and catching everywhere, even in the streets of the cities.

Littleness - with which is associated the most delicate detail and elaborate finish - is the mark also of modern Japanese art. In the curiosity shops whatever was massive or largely simple was Chinese. Even the royal palaces at Kyoto are small, the rooms, exquisite as they are, with perfect joinery and ancient paintings, being seldom more than a few feet square, with very low ceilings. I went over two of these palaces, falling into the hands, at each, of English-speaking officials whose ciceronage was touched with a kind of rapture. At the Nijo, especially, was my guide an enthusiast, becoming lyrical over the famous cartoons of the "Wet Heron" and the "Sleeping Sparrows."

In India I had grown accustomed to removing my shoes at the threshold of mosques. There it was out of deference to Allah, but in Japan the concession is demanded solely in the interests of floor polish, and you take your shoes off not only in palaces and houses but in some of the shops. It gave one an odd burglarious feeling to be creeping noiselessly from room to room of the Nijo; but there was nothing to steal. The place was empty, save for decoration.

There is a certain amplitude in some of the larger Kyoto temples, with their long galleries and massive gateways, but these only serve to accentuate the littleness elsewhere. In the principal Kyoto temple I had for guide a minute Japanese with the ecstatic passion for trifles that seems to mark his race. A picture representing the miracle of the "Fly- away Sparrows," as he called them, was the treasure on which he concentrated, and next to that he drew my attention to the boards of the gangway uniting two buildings, which, as one stepped on them, emitted a sound that the Japanese believe to resemble the song of Philomela. To me it brought no such memory, and the fact that this effect, common in Japan, is technically known as "a nightingale squeak," perhaps supports my insensitiveness.

If old Japan is to be found anywhere it is in Kyoto - in spite of its huge factory chimneys. In Tokio, complete European dress is common in the streets, but in Kyoto it is the exception. Tokio also wears boots, but Kyoto is noisy with pattens night and day. Not only are there countless shops in Kyoto given up to porcelain, carvings, screens, bronzes, old armour, and so forth, but no matter how trumpery the normal stock in trade of the other shops, a number of them have a little glass case - a shop within a shop, as it were - in which a few rare and ancient articles of beauty are kept. A great deal of Japan is expressed in this pretty custom.