Heavily plunged the breaking wave, 
    And foam flew up the lea, 
    Morning and evening the drifted snow 
    Fell into the dark grey sea.

Tuesday, January 30th. - When we awoke from our slumbers this morning, it was very cold and dark, and we heard noises of a strange kind. On going on deck to ascertain the cause of this state of things, we discovered that the sky-lights and portholes were all covered and blocked up with snow, and that the water froze as it came out of the hose, forming a sheet of ice on the deck. Masses of snow and ice were falling from the rigging, and everything betokened that our welcome to Japan would not be a warm one.

After breakfast we had many visitors, and received letters from Sir Harry and Lady Parkes, inviting us to go up to Yeddo to-morrow for a long day, to settle our future plans.

Having landed, we went with the Consul to the native town, to see the curio shops, which are a speciality of the place. The inhabitants are wonderfully clever at making all sorts of curiosities, and the manufactories of so-called 'antique bronzes' and 'old china' are two of the most wonderful sights in Yokohama. The way in which they scrape, crack, chip, mend, and colour the various articles, cover them with dust, partially clean them, and imitate the marks and signatures of celebrated makers, is more creditable to their ingenuity than to their honesty. Still, there are a good many genuine old relics from the temples, and from the large houses of the reduced Daimios, to be picked up, if you go the right way to work, though the supply is limited. Dealers are plentiful, and travellers, especially from America, are increasing in numbers. When we first made acquaintance with the shops we thought they seemed full of beautiful things, but even one day's shopping, in the company of experienced people, has educated our taste and taught us a great deal; though we have still much to learn. There are very respectable-looking lacquer cabinets ranging in price from 5_s. to 20_l. But they are only made for the foreign market. No such things exist in a Japanese home. A really good bit of old lacquer (the best is generally made into the form of a small box, a portable medicine-chest, or a chow-chow box) is worth from 20_l. to 200_l. We saw one box, about three inches square, which was valued at 45_l.; and a collection of really good lacquer would be costly and difficult to procure even here. The best specimens I have ever seen are at Lady Alcock's; but they are all either royal or princely presents, not to be bought with money. The tests of good lacquer are its exquisite finish, its satiny, oily feel, and the impossibility of making any impression on it with your thumb-nail. It is practically indestructible, and will wear for ever. All the poor as well as the rich people here use it, and have used it for centuries, instead of china and glass, for cups, saucers, dishes, bowls, which would need to be often washed in the hottest of water. It is said that the modern Japanese have lost the art of lacquer making; and as an illustration I was told that many beautiful articles of lacquer, old and new, had been sent from this country to the Vienna Exhibition in 1873, but the price put on them was so exorbitant that few were sold, and nearly all had to be sent back to Japan. Just as the ship with these things on board reached the Gulf of Yeddo, she struck on a rock and sank in shallow water. A month or two ago a successful attempt was made to raise her, and to recover the cargo, when it was found that the new lacquer had been reduced to a state of pulp, while the old was not in the least damaged. I tell you the tale as it was told to me.

After a long day's shopping, we went to dine, in real Japanese fashion, at a Japanese tea-house. The establishment was kept by a very pleasant woman, who received us at the door, and who herself removed our exceedingly dirty boots before allowing us to step on to her clean mats. This was all very well, as far as it went; but she might as well have supplied us with some substitute for the objectionable articles, for it was a bitterly cold night, and the highly polished wood passages and steep staircase felt very cold to our shoeless feet. The apartment we were shown into was so exact a type of a room in any Japanese house, that I may as well describe it once for all. The woodwork of the roof and the framework of the screens were all made of a handsome dark polished wood, not unlike walnut. The exterior walls under the verandah, as well as the partitions between the other rooms, were simply wooden lattice-work screens, covered with white paper, and sliding in grooves; so that you could walk in or out at any part of the wall you chose, and it was, in like manner, impossible to say whence the next comer would make his appearance. Doors and windows are, by this arrangement, rendered unnecessary, and do not exist. You open a little bit of your wall if you want to look out, and a bigger bit if you want to step out. The floor was covered with several thicknesses of very fine mats, each about six feet long by three broad, deliciously soft to walk upon. All mats in Japan are of the same size, and everything connected with house-building is measured by this standard. Once you have prepared your foundations and woodwork of the dimensions of so many mats, it is the easiest thing in the world to go to a shop and buy a house, ready made, which you can then set up and furnish in the scanty Japanese fashion in a couple of days.

On one side of the room was a slightly raised dais, about four inches from the floor. This was the seat of honour. On it had been placed a stool, a little bronze ornament, and a china vase, with a branch of cherry-blossom and a few flag-leaves gracefully arranged. On the wall behind hung pictures, which are changed every month, according to the season of the year. There was no other furniture of any sort in the room. Four nice-looking Japanese girls brought us thick cotton quilts to sit upon, and braziers full of burning charcoal, to warm ourselves by. In the centre of the group another brazier was placed, protected by a square wooden grating, and over the whole they laid a large silk eider-down quilt, to retain the heat. This is the way in which all the rooms, even bedrooms, are warmed in Japan, and the result is that fires are of very frequent occurrence. The brazier is kicked over by some restless or careless person, and in a moment the whole place is in a blaze.

Presently the eider down and brazier were removed, and our dinner was brought in. A little lacquer table, about six inches high, on which were arranged a pair of chop-sticks, a basin of soup, a bowl for rice, asaki cup, and a basin of hot water, was placed before each person, whilst the four Japanese maidens sat in our midst, with fires to keep the saki hot, and to light the tiny pipes with which they were provided, and from which they wished us to take a whiff after each dish. Saki is a sort of spirit, distilled from rice, always drunk hot, out of small cups. In this state it is not disagreeable, but we found it exceedingly nasty when cold.

Everything was well cooked and served, though the ingredients of some of the dishes, as will be seen from the following bill of fare, were rather strange to our ideas. Still they were all eatable, and most of them really palatable.


Shrimps and Seaweed.

Prawns, Egg Omelette, and Preserved Grapes.

Fried Fish, Spinach, Young Rushes, and Young Ginger.

Raw Fish, Mustard and Cress, Horseradish, and Soy.

Thick Soup, of Eggs, Fish, Mushrooms, and Spinach; Grilled Fish.

Fried Chicken, and Bamboo Shoots.

Turnip Tops and Root Pickled.

Rice ad libitum in a large bowl.

Hot Saki, Pipes and Tea.

The meal concluded with an enormous lacquer box of rice, from which all our bowls were filled, the rice being thence conveyed to our mouths by means of chop-sticks. We managed very well with these substitutes for spoons and forks, the knack of using which, to a certain extent, is soon acquired. The long intervals between the dishes were beguiled with songs, music, and dancing, performed by professional singing and dancing girls. The music was somewhat harsh and monotonous; but the songs sounded harmonious, and the dancing was graceful, though it was rather posturing than dancing, great use being made of the fan and the long trailing skirts. The girls, who were pretty, wore peculiar dresses to indicate their calling, and seemed of an entirely different stamp from the quiet, simply dressed waitresses whom we found so attentive to our wants. Still they all looked cheery, light-hearted, simple creatures, and appeared to enjoy immensely the little childish games they played amongst themselves between whiles.

After dinner we had some real Japanese tea, tasting exactly like a little hot water poured on very fragrant new-mown hay. Then, after a brief visit to the kitchen, which, though small, was beautifully clean, we received our boots, and were bowed out by our pleasant hostess and her attentive handmaidens.

On our return we had considerable difficulty in procuring a boat, our own boats being all ashore under repair. It was a beautiful moonlight night, but bitterly cold. The harbour being so full of shipping, our boatmen were at first puzzled how to find the yacht, till we pointed to the lights in the deck-house - always a good beacon at night in a crowded harbour.

Wednesday, January 31st. We left the yacht soon after eight o'clock, and started by the 9.34 a.m. train for the city formerly called Yeddo, but latterly, since the Mikado has resided there, Tokio, or eastern capital of Japan. The ground was covered with snow, and there were several degrees of frost, but the sun felt hot, and all the people were sunning themselves in the doorways or wide verandahs of their houses.

Yokohama has been so completely Europeanised, that it was not until we had left it that we caught our first glimpse of Japanese life; and the whole landscape and the many villages looked very like a set of living fans or tea-trays, though somehow the snow did not seem to harmonise with it.

We crossed several rivers, and reached Tokio in about an hour, when we at once emerged into the midst of a clattering, chattering crowd, amongst whom there did not seem to be a single European. The reverberation, under the glass roof of the station, of the hundreds of pairs of wooden clogs, pattering along, was something extraordinary. Giving up our tickets, and following the stream, we found ourselves surrounded by a still more animated scene, outside the station. We were just deliberating what to do next, when a smart little Japanese, with a mail-bag over his shoulder, stepped forward and said something about Sir Harry Parkes. He then popped us all into several double and treble-manned jinrikishas, and started off himself ahead at a tremendous pace, shouting and clearing the way for us.

Tokio is a genuinely Japanese town. Not a single foreigner resides within its limits, with the exception of the foreign Ministers. There is no hotel nor any place of the kind to stay at; so that, unless you have friends at any of the Legations, you must return to Yokohama the same day, which makes a visit rather a fatiguing affair.[16]

[Footnote 16: I have since heard that there are two hotels at Tokio, such as they are.]

Our first halting-place was at the Temple of Shiba, not far from the station, where most of the Tycoons have been buried. It is a large enclosure, many acres in extent, in the centre of the city, with walls overgrown with creepers, and shadowed by evergreen trees, amid whose branches rooks caw, ravens croak, and pigeons coo, as undisturbedly as if in the midst of the deepest woodland solitude. I had no idea there was anything so beautiful in Japanese architecture as this temple. The primary idea in the architecture of Japan is evidently that of a tent among trees. The lines of the high, overhanging, richly decorated roofs, with pointed gable ends, are not straight, but delicately curved, like the suspended cloth of a tent. In the same way, the pillars have neither capital nor base, but seem to run through the building perpendicularly, without beginning or end. The principal temple was burnt down a few years ago; but there are many smaller ones remaining, built in exactly the same style, and all the tombs are perfect. Some people say the bodies are enclosed in coffins, filled with vermilion, but I need hardly say we had no opportunity of ascertaining the correctness of this statement. We entered several of the temples, which are perfect marvels of carving, gilding, painting, and lacquer work. Their style of decoration may be somewhat barbaric; but what a study they would form for an artist! Outside, where no colour is used, the overhanging roofs and the walls are carved with a depth and boldness, and yet a delicacy, I have seldom seen equalled; the doors and railings being of massive bronze, brought from the Corea. Within, a dim religious light illumines and harmonises a dazzling mass of lacquer, gold, and painting. It is the grandest burial-place imaginable; too good for the long line of men who have tyrannised over Japan and its lawful sovereigns for so many centuries past.

The streets of Tokio were crowded with a motley throng up to the very gates of the citadel, where, within the first moat, stand all the yashgis, or residences of the Daimios. Each yashgi is surrounded by a blank wall, loopholed, and with a tower at each of the four corners. Within this outer wall is the court of the retainers, all of them 'two-sworded' men; then comes a second wall, also loopholed, inside which dwell distant relations of the Daimio; and then again a third enclosure, guarding the Daimio himself, with his immediate belongings. After crossing the third moat we reached the Mikado's gardens and palace, the public offices, and the residences of the foreign Ministers, all of which were formerly occupied by the Tycoon, or Shogun, and his ministers. On the waters of the inner moat were thousands of wild ducks and geese. Nobody is allowed to harm them, and the birds seem to be perfectly aware of this fact, for they disport themselves with the greatest confidence.

The English Embassy is a nice red brick house, built in the centre of a garden, so as to be as secure as possible from fire or attack. After a most pleasant luncheon we looked over the nucleus of a second collection which Lady Parkes is beginning to form. Her former beautiful collection was burnt a few years ago, a most disheartening misfortune, especially as the opportunities for obtaining really old and good things in Japan are diminishing day by day.

A little later we started in great force, some in carriages and some on horseback, attended by running grooms, to see something more of the city. These men think nothing of running by the side of a horse and carriage some forty miles a day. They form a distinct class, and when working on their own account wear little clothing. When in the service of private individuals they are dressed in tight-fitting dark-blue garments, with short capes, fastened to their arms, and large hats.

Just outside the Embassy we passed two of the finest of the still existing yashgis, the larger one being used as the Home Office, the other as the Foreign Office.

There is always a festival going on in some part of Tokio. To-day there had been a great wrestling-match, and we met all the people coming away. Such crowds of jinrikiskas, full of gaily dressed and painted women and children, with their hair plastered into all sorts of inconceivable shapes, and decorated with artificial flowers and glittering pins! We met six of the wrestlers themselves, riding in jinrikishas - big men, prodigiously fat, and not at all, according to our ideas, in fighting or wrestling condition. One of their jinrikisha men stumbled and fell, just as they passed us, and the wrestler shot out, head over heels, and lay, a helpless ball of fat, in the middle of the road, till somebody came and picked him up. He was not in the least hurt, and, as soon as he was set on his feet again, began to belabour the poor jinrikishaman most unmercifully. After a long and delightful drive we arrived at the station just in time to catch the train.

The return journey to Yokohama, in the omnibus-like railway carriages, was very cold, and the jinrikisha drive to the Grand Hotel colder still; but a roaring fire and a capital dinner soon warmed and comforted us.

After dinner we looked over a fine collection of photographs of Japanese scenery and costumes, and then returned to the yacht in the house-boat belonging to the hotel, which was prettily decorated with bright-coloured lanterns, and which afforded welcome shelter from the biting wind.

Thursday, February 1st. - Careful arrangements have been made for our excursion to the Island of Inoshima, to see the great figure of Daibutz. By eight o'clock we had landed, and packed ourselves into a funny little shaky carriage, drawn by four horses. We drove quickly through the town, past the station, along the Tokaido, or imperial road, running from one end of the Island of Niphon to the other, and on which so many foreigners have been murdered even within the last ten years. Now, however, it is perfectly safe. The houses are one story high, and their walls are made of the screens I have already described. These screens were all thrown back, to admit the morning air, cold as it was. We could consequently see all that was going on within, in the sitting-room in front, and even in the bedrooms and kitchen. At the back of the house there was invariably a little garden to be seen, with a miniature rockery, a tree, and a lake; possibly also a bridge and a temple. Even in the gardens of the poorest houses an attempt at something of the sort had been made. The domestic occupations of the inhabitants being conducted in this public manner, a very good idea might be obtained, even at the end of a few miles' drive, of how the lower class of Japanese wash and dress themselves and their children, how very elaborate the process of hair-dressing is, to say nothing of a bird's-eye view of the ground-plan of the houses, the method of cooking food, &c.

As we emerged into the open country the landscape became very pretty, and the numerous villages, nestling in the valleys at the foot of the various small hills, had a most picturesque appearance. At a stone-quarry that we passed, on the side of a mountain, there were about seventy men at work, without any clothing, though the thermometer was far below freezing point. The Japanese are a sensitive nation, and finding that foreigners were astonished and shocked at the habits of the people, in going about without clothes, and in bathing in public and at their house doors, they passed a law prohibiting these customs in towns. In the country, however, the more primitive customs are still in force, and every dwelling has its half-open bath-house, whilst the people do as they like in the matter of clothing.

After stopping twice on the road, to drink the inevitable tea, we changed from our carriage to jinrikishas, each drawn and pushed by four strong men, bowling along at a merry pace. The sun was very warm in the sheltered valleys, and the abundance of evergreens of all kinds quite deluded one into the belief that it was summer time, especially as camellias grew like forest trees, covered with red and white bloom, amidst a dense tangle of bamboos and half-hardy palms. There were many strange things upside down to be seen on efther hand - horses and cows with bells on their tails instead of on their necks, the quadrupeds well clothed, their masters without a scrap of covering, tailors sewing from them instead of to them, a carpenter reversing the action of his saw and plane. It looked just as if they had originally learned the various processes in 'Alice's Looking-glass World' in some former stage of their existence.

We had not long left the town before our men began to undress each other; for their clothes were so tight that it required no inconsiderable effort to remove them. Some of them were beautifully tattooed. My wheeler had the root of a tree depicted on one foot, from which sprang the trunk and branches, spreading gradually, until on his back and chest they bore fruit and flowers, amongst which birds were perched. On his other leg was a large stork, supposed, I imagine, to be standing under the shadow of the same tree. Another man had human figures tattooed all over him, in various attitudes.

In less than an hour we reached the narrow strip of land which at low water connects the island or peninsula of Inoshima with the mainland. This isthmus was covered with natives gathering shells and seaweed, casting their nets, and pushing off or dragging up their boats; whilst an island rose fresh and green from the sea, with a background of snowy mountains, stretching across the bay, above which Fujiyama towered grandly. This name signifies 'not two, but one mountain,' the Japanese thinking it impossible that there can be another like it in the world. The lovely little island is called Inoshima, and is conical in shape and covered with evergreens and Buddhist temples, with a few small fishing villages scattered on its shores. We walked right across it in about an hour; so you may imagine it is not very large. The sea teems with curiously shaped fish and beautiful shells. The staple food of the inhabitants seems to be those lovely 'Venus's ears,' [17] as they are called - a flattish univalve, about as big as your hand, with a row of holes along the edge, and a lining of brilliant black mother-of-pearl. These were lying about in heaps mixed with white mother-of-pearl shells, as big as your two fists, and shaped like a snail-shell.

[Footnote 17: Haliotis.]

Our jinrikisha men deposited us at the bottom of the main street of the principal village, to enter which we passed through a simple square arch of a temple. The street was steep and dirty, and consisted principally of shell-fish and seaweed shops.

An old priest took us in hand, and, providing us with stout sticks, marched us up to the top of the hill to see various temples, and splendid views in many directions. The camellias and evergreens on the hillside made a lovely framework for each little picture, as we turned and twisted along the narrow path. I know not how many steps on the other side of the island had to be descended before the sea-beach was reached. Here is a cavern stretching 500 feet straight below high-water mark, with a shrine to Benton Sama, the Lucina of Japan; and having been provided with candles, we proceeded a few hundred feet through another cave, running at right angles to the first.

As it would have been a long steep walk back, and I was very tired, we called to one of the numerous fishing boats near the shore, and were quickly conveyed round to our original starting place. Before we said good-bye, one of the old priests implored to be allowed to dive into the water for half-a-dollar. His request was complied with, and he caught the coin most successfully.

We lunched at a tea-house, our meal consisting of fish of all kinds, deliciously cooked, and served, fresh from the fire, in a style worthy of Greenwich; and as we had taken the precaution to bring some bread and wine with us, we were independent of the usual rice and saki.

After this we proceeded on our way towards the Daibutz, or Great Buddha, situated within the limits of what was once the large city of Kama-kura, now only a collection of small hamlets. As all Japanese cities are built of wood, it is not wonderful that they should in time entirely disappear, and leave no trace behind them. But there still remain some of the columns of the temple which once existed in the gardens surrounding the idol. Now he is quite alone; and for centuries has this grand old figure sat, exposed to the elements, serenely smiling on the varying scene beneath him. The figure is of bronze, and is supposed to have been cast about the year 1250 or 1260.

It is some 50 ft. high, with golden eyes and a silver spiral horn on the forehead. It is possible to sit or stand on the thumb, and within the hollow body an altar is erected, at which the priests officiate. Sitting there, amidst a grove of enormous cryptomerias and bamboos, there is an air of ineffable silent strength about that solitary figure, which affords a clue to the tenacity with which the poorer classes cling to Buddhism. The very calmness of these figures must be more suggestive of relief and repose to the poor weary worshippers than the glitter of the looking-glass and crystal ball to be found in the Shintoo temples. The looking-glass is intended to remind believers that the Supreme Being can see their innermost thoughts as clearly as they can perceive their own reflection; while the crystal ball is an emblem of purity. Great store is set by the latter, especially if of large size and without flaw; but to my mind the imperfect ones are the best, as they refract the light and do not look so much like glass.

In another village close by - also part of the ancient Kama-kura - there is a fine temple, dedicated to the God of War; but we were pressed for time, and hurried back to the little carriages. The homeward drive was long and cold; but the Tokaido looked very pretty lighted up, the shadows of the inmates being plainly visible on the paper walls, reminding one of a scene in a pantomime. On our way down a very steep hill we met the men carrying a cango. It is a most uncomfortable-looking basket-work contrivance, in which it is impossible to sit or lie with ease. These cangoes used formerly to be the ordinary conveyance of Japan, but they are now replaced by the jinrikishas, and they are seldom met with, except in the mountains or in out-of-the-way places.

Friday, February 2nd. - I was called at five o'clock, and at half-past six Mabelle and I started for the market. It was blowing a gale, and our four oarsmen found it as much as they could do to reach the shore. The Shanghai mail-boat was just in, and I pitied the poor passengers, who were in all the misery of being turned out into the cold of the early morning, with the spray breaking over them as they sat in the small boats.

The market at Yokohama is one of the sights of the place. There were large quantities of birds and game of all kinds - pheasants with tails six feet long, of a rare copper-coloured variety, ducks, pigeons, small birds, hares, deer, rabbits. The fish-market was well supplied, especially with cuttle-fish. They are not inviting-looking, but are considered a delicacy here. A real octopus, in a basket, with its hideous body in the centre, and its eight arms, covered with suckers, arranged in the form of a star, is worth from a dollar to a dollar and a half, according to its size. I was not tempted, however, to make any purchases.

From the market we went to one or two small shops in back streets, and thence over the bluffs, in the teeth of a bitterly cold wind, to a nursery garden, to examine the results of the Japanese art of dwarfing and distorting trees. Some of the specimens were very curious and some beautiful, but most were simply hideous. We saw tiny old gnarled fruit-trees, covered with blossom, and Scotch firs and other forest trees, eight inches high, besides diminutive ferns and creepers.

It being now half-past nine o'clock, we went to the hotel to meet the rest of the party for breakfast, and at one o'clock we returned to the yacht. At half-past one Lady Parkes and several other friends from Tokio came on board to luncheon. They told of three disastrous fires that had taken place in Tokio yesterday, by which the Home Office - one of the finest old Tartar yashgis - and several smaller edifices had been destroyed.

After the departure of our guests we paid another visit to the shore, and saw the foxhounds. They are a nice pack, and have good kennels outside the foreign settlement. They were out this morning at 6.30, but unfortunately we did not know of it. There are plenty of foxes, and some very fair country not far from here; so they expect to have good sport.

We weighed anchor at 8.30 p.m. and proceeded under steam. At 11.30, when off Touraya-saki, we set some of the head canvas. It was a cold night, with sleet and snow, though it was not blowing as hard as during the day.