« السابقةمتابعة »
the animal is quickly remounted. In the five days of actual riding to which he is subjected during the trip, he fully keeps up his quickly-earned character by falling down twice, kicking other horses three times, knocking over two men, and creating great alarm in various peaceful villages. But we are anticipating.
A three hours' ride from Yokohama through flat and winding valleys filled with young rice and ripe corn, and then up on to a table-land, rich in black soil, golden crops, and rows of mulberry-trees, brings us to Haramatchida, just as darkness and heavy rain set in together. Hara-matchida is a moderate-sized village, composed of wooden cottages, very similar in size and construction to the buildings which line most of the streets of Yedo. As in most of the villages of this and the neighbouring provinces to the north and west, a large number of its cottagers make silkworm-rearing and silk-winding their chief occupations. The very next room to that in which we pass the night is occupied by some thousands of the useful worms, placed on trays raised a few inches from the ground. Some of them are still feeding, but most have already (June 10) passed that stage, and are spinning their cocoons amid the wisps of straw and twigs, called 'mubashi,' placed over their trays tent-fashion.
During the day we may see hundreds of cocoons spread out in the sun in front of the cottages. They have been removed from the 'mubashi,' and are being exposed to the sun with the view of killing the chrysalides within, and so preserving the cocoons for spinning purposes. Just at this time of year, too, the spinning operations begin; and often, as we pass through some small village, we may count half-adozen women sitting in front of their cottages, plying their primitive winding-machine with the right, while the cocoons lie in a small bowl of hot water at their left hand.
The methods of rearing the worms and of winding the silk throughout Japan are said to be of a primitive kind, notwithstanding the extent to which the occupation is pursued; and foreign machinery as well as foreign experience will have to be made use of if the country is to keep its supply up to the increasing foreign demand. Some idea of the amount of silkworm-rearing which is carried on in Japan may be gathered from the fact that in the year 1865 no fewer than 3,000,000 cards of eggs, each card containing on an average 3,000 eggs, were exported from Japan to France and Italy.'
A ride of ten miles from Hara-matchida, through the fresh air, rendered more than usually fresh by the night's rain, carries us across a rich table-land in a westerly direction to the village of Tan-na. Tan-na is close to a fine clear stream, at present not more than sixty yards in breadth; but which, to judge from the broad stony bed on either side of it, increases during a flood to six times that width. We spend two mid-day hours in Tan-na, then cross the stream by a ferry-boat and ride on towards the mountains which rise up still further to the westward. Nine miles riding brings us to the head of a narrow and pretty valley, and almost into the heart of the mountains. There we leave our ponies and walk three or four miles over a thickly-wooded ridge, and descend to Meyonachi (or Mé-ung-assi, as the natives seem to call it), a scattered little village, snugly placed by a brawling trout stream at the bottom of a deep valley, which is walled in by richlywooded mountain slopes. From the top of the ridge there is a fine view of the deep gorges that pierce the sides of
1 Much interesting and valuable information on silk-growing in Japan has been recently communicated by Mr. Adams, Secretary to the British Legation at Yedo, in his Reports (Japan, Nos. 1, 2, and 5 (1870), and No. 1. ,) presented to Parliament in 1870 and 1871.
O-yama (the second in height of this group of mountains, and variously estimated at from 4,500 to 6,000 feet), and of the sea-coast to the south, with the volcanic cone of O-o-sima in the distance. At Meyonachi we find quarters in a semi-deserted temple, where an old bonze,' or priest, does his best to supply our wants, which happily are not many.
Next morning, after a bathe in the cool stream and a breakfast on some of the trout out of it, we retrace our steps over the ridge, remount our horses at the other side, and ride round the skirts of O-yama to the village of Koyias, situated at the foot of one of the eastern slopes of the mountain. Koyias is a large-sized village, containing several tea-houses and temples. A mile beyond it, stretching part of the way up the side of a wide ravine which comes down from the central peak of O-yama, is another village, containing several remarkably clean and good-looking tea-houses. The road leading through this latter village, cut in many places into steps, is continued up the mountain to a temple which stands half-way up the ravine; thence a path leads up to the summit.
We spend a night at Koyias, intending to scale O-yama on the succeeding day. But alas for the best-laid schemes o'mice an' men !' The night's rest is to some of us destroyed, to the others much broken, by certain exhalations which show plainly that no sanitary commission has ever inspected Koyias. We feel bound to record this, partly from the very fact that it is the exception which proves the rule that Japanese tea-houses, as far as we know them, are well-arranged in this respect. Next morning votes are taken on a motion that 0-yama be ascended, and, the weather being doubtful, the motion is lost.
Two of us walk out at 5.30 A.M., however, and make for a jutting shoulder of the mountain which promises an extensive view. Early as the hour is, the village is awake and at work. The noise of the flail, often wielded by female hands, sounds from not a few sheds as it threshes out the wheat or barley cut a few days previously; and before many doorsteps is the busy housewife already reeling off the white and yellow cocoons. On the ridge we are not disappointed, for we thence have our first good view of Fusi-Yama, the Matchless Mountain, of which more anon. Descending by another path into the ravine of which the ridge forms the southern wall, we pass through a remarkably fine wood of firs, yews, and cryptomerias: one of the latter measures thirteen feet in girth at five feet from the ground, and we estimate its height at 130 feet.
In the forenoon we ride southwards from Koyias, and join the Tocaido, which here runs close to the coast, at the village of Mithawa. Heavy rain falls through the rest of the day, and we are in a soaked condition when, just at sunset, we reach Odawara. Odawara is a town of probably 10,000 or 12,000 inhabitants, and extends for two miles along the Tocaido, stretching from that line down to the sea on one side, and on the other inland for half a mile or more, to where a Daimio's castle overlooks and overawes it: for the Daimio levies tribute on all within his territory, and possibly the nearer the castle the heavier the tribute. We can testify, however, that the tribute has not rendered dear all articles sold in the town; for, when we leave the place, as the rain is coming down heavily, one of us invests in a waterproof coat, for the modest sum of two boos' and a half: i.e. half-acrown; a waterproof cape is offered for one boo,' and an umbrella for two! Truly Messrs. Moses & Son are here distanced” in more senses than one. We should
add that both coat and umbrella are made of strong oiled paper, and last remarkably well.
As we walk through the town, and out at its eastern gateway, we are saluted with various cries from little urchins of the universally impudent age of ten or thereabouts, who have evidently not seen many foreigners before. Their favourite cry is “ To-jen! To-jen !' which means merely ‘Foreign men;' but once at least we hear the cry Nankin To-jen !' 'Chinese foreigners !'-a curious illustration of the idea long prevalent, and still lingering among the Japanese, that all foreigners come from some part or other of China. These cries, however, are generally fewer in the villages through which we pass, than those of 'Anatta, ohio!”. Anatta, tempo sinjo!'-'Good day, sir,' “Give us a ha’penny, sir ! 'the rapidity with which the latter cry follows the former, being as remarkable in Meyonachi and Koyias as it is in places nearer home.
Leaving Odawara behind, we continue along the Tocaido for three miles, and then, instead of following its course still further up the Hakoni Pass, we turn off to the right, and take the path for Me-on-ooshta. The rain has been coming down in torrents ever since early morning, and our path, leading up the side of a valley, and winding in and out of wooded ravines, is for the time a watercourse.
We rather envy the costume of our coolies, with their single cape, their bare legs, and straw sandals, for all that our civilised clothes do for us is to get speedily soaked, and, by clinging to us, remind us constantly that we are wet through. Seven miles of up-hill work bring us to the desired village with its clean and pleasantlooking tea-houses. At the porch of one of them is the okomosan’ (landlady) and her 'moosmés,' ready to welcome the drowned-looking foreigners. It is a luxury to repair at once to one of the bath-rooms in the house, pull out a plug which lets in some warm sulphur-water