Howe Letters - 1908-12

G.F. Kirby, President George A. Howe, Vice President H.J. Howe, Sec'y-Treas.
Office of
The LeGrand Quarry Co.
Marshalltown, Iowa
September 1, 1908
Dear Girls:
The unexpected is what always happens and one is fortunate who is prepared & gets through all right. I am sitting at a table at the hospital, my wife is lying in the bed nearby and my son is lying in a big chair close to her.
Actual fact. Born tonight at 6 and both mother & son are doing fine. The boy although a month premature is well developed & healthy. But the Dr. isn't going to take any chances so we are getting an incubator from Chicago and the Dr. thinks everything will go well. I think his eyes are brown. And he certainly shows at times his lungs are good & strong.
But it was all so sudden we hardly know "where we're at". This a.m. Allie & I spent down town looking at a circus parade -- took it easy, didn't stand up long & neither felt tired when we reached home, but on the way home Allie noticed a discharge which the Dr. says was the bursting of a water bag. There was no pain & we couldn't account for it so I called Dr. Chesire. He said probably there was a weak membrane & we could expect birth within 48 hours. After he left she had labor pains severely & I called him again & grabbing up what clothes we could he whirled us out to the hospital in his automobile & in 1 1/2 hours it was all over. Tonight Allie is feeling fine & the boy's asleep. It's a relief to have it over & I believe all's well. Allie's folks will be right home.
With love, Geo.


George and Alice have been married two years; Robert is about a year old. Oda was married in 1902 but is now apparently touring Europe without John; or at least he is not mentioned?
Oda is 42, Margaret 39 [and suffering from rhumatism], George 37. Bess is probably Cousin Bessie Sawyer Kobele, daughter of Thomas Killam Sawyer, about 23 and living with 60yr old parents in Ormond, Fla.

Hotel Cappuccini Convent, Amalfi,
May 23 1909
Dear George.[from Margaret]
I am writing this letter in one of the most beautiful places I ever saw where we are spending Sunday. But I must go back to the time we left the boat. We went to Hotel Bellevue in Naples which is high up back of the town and from our rooms we had a splendid view over the bay of Naples. That afternoon we took a drive up to Poselipo passing many fine villas, and close by great tenement houses filled with poor people. Such beautiful climbing paint geraniums. Everything built on terraces as the land slopes up so. Friday a.m. we went to the National Museum where we saw wonderful treasures which have been dug up in Herculaneum and Pompeii, bronzes, frescoes, mosaics and statuary. We rested several hours during the middle of the day as it was hot and in the afternoon went down to see the shops but bought very little. Sat. morning went by train to Pompeii, about an hour's ride. It is very hard work going about through the ruins as they cover several acres, and it was very hot, and we only stayed inside two hours. Bess & I each had a chair and Oda had one also the second hour. Each chair was carried by two men and when we reached a house or temple that we wanted to examine we would leave the chair and walk through. When you remember that Pompeii was destroyed A.D. 79, over eighteen hundred years ago, it is wonderful to see how well things have been preserved, under the layers of ashes and lava. In the house of the Vettii are frescoes which are very beautiful and remarkably clear but of course the best ones have been removed to the museum in Naples. The House of the Faun (so called because in it was found a bronze statue of a dancing faun) is very beautiful.
From the Temple of Jupiter one has a fine view of Vesuvius and I took a picture which I hope will be good. Then we went into the House of the Tragic Poet described in "Last Days of Pompeii" as the house of the hero Glaucus, which though small must have been a gym of beauty with its pillars and courtyard. The public bathhouse is one of the best preserved of the buildings, with several rooms in one of which the marble floor and marble swimming pool were almost perfect. At one o'clock we had lunch at Hotel Suisse and then rested there until our train at 3.50 for Vietri. This took us an hour and there we took carriages and drove to Amalfi, 12 miles, one of the finest drives I ever took. The road is high above the sea, with a view across the sea on one side and up the steep hills on the other side. We drove through three or four little fishing villages and all along were acres of lemon trees with branches trained over trellises, loaded with both fruit and flowers so that the air was sweet with the perfume. There were also olive trees and quantities of grapevines and it was just sunset time so you can imagine how beautiful it was.
This hotel was formerly a Capuchin Monastery. Many of the rooms were formerly cells. The dining room was their refectory with a little balcony at the top where a priest stood and read to them as they ate. And there is a chapel where we attended a service this morning. There are beautiful cloisters, a long pergola covered with grapevines and quantities of flowers there and in the garden. It stands on the side of the hill, 230 feet above the sea, up such a steep slope that there is no road to it. So our carriages stopped down below and Bessie and I were carried up in chairs, while the others walked. The view is magnificent across the sea and the little town below and then above us the steep hills.
[No closing but from Margaret]


Fischer's Park Hotel, Palazzo Della Regina Margherita
29 Maggio. 1909

Dear George:
This letter is begun on the wrong page because of the picture! You don't know how good it was to get your letter at Naples & one here at Rome! The whole ocean beside half the continent seems a wide separation! Last evening I read that there were earthquake shocks in Iowa & the middle West last Wednesday & wonder if you noticed them?
M. Bess & I were in Sorrento from Tuesday to Friday & had such a nice quiet time. Wednesday we went by boat to Capri where the other three met us & all went into the famous Blue Grotto. Three persons get into a small boat & are rowed with heads ducked into the small opening into the cave which is quite large. The walls glisten with some phosphorescent composition & the water, deep blue, sparkles, worth seeing once at least. A boy will dive for two francs extra but no one seemed to care to have him! Returning to Capri, we landed in small boats & ate lunch in the grounds of a hotel (we had ours with us, sandwiches, boiled eggs & packages of raisins wrapped in leaves & roasted!) Then M. & I drove to Anacapri, winding road about mountain with glorious views of sea & islands. All returned to steamer which left at 4 & we 3 were back at the Cocumella Hotel about 5.
Thursday we rested & Friday at 9 a.m. we left Sorrento by train for Castel lamare. In the U.S. such a trolley ride would be famous far & wide & we enjoyed it so much, a beautiful winding road, peasants & their homes, mountains, ravines, sea, so picturesque. At C. we waited for 50 min. for a train which brought us to Naples at 12.26. Here we had our lunch at the station & waited for the others to meet us. They came at last with the luggage & we had a great time getting the tickets, trunks weighed & paid for, facchinos to carry suitcases etc. but we were finally settled all together in a compartment & soon speeding away for Rome. It was a "treni di rettissimo", with but two shortstops in 4 hrs. run. Such an interesting country, gardens (irrigated) with potatoes, peas, beans etc. all in blossom & some kind of grain being harvested. Tiny villages tucked away on the side of hills, monasteries, ruins, vineyards, olive, orange & lemon groves, so much variety. Reaching Rome we were soon settled at this Hotel which we find clean & comfortable. Yesterday we went to the bankers for we were all in need of cash which we find as useful here as at home! And the way the big coppers disappear! To look or smile at a person means an outstretched hand! Tho I don't think the beggars are quite so numerous as 20 yrs. ago.[Some of the family were in Europe in 1889 for some long while; see "Letters to Charles from Europe".] Some of them must have gone to America & landed at the State Hospital in Tewksbury!
We took a 2 hr. drive to the chief points of interest to get our bearings & returned for lunch. Late in the p.m. the three strong ones went to the Coliseum while the three weaklings went to the Piazza di Spagna (remember the Spanish steps where the artists models, flower girls etc. congregate?) Had some tea & did a little shopping. Dinner at 7.30 & as it is table d'hôte it is a long preceding.
This a.m. we went to St. Peters for High mass at 9.30 o'clock. There were many there, a cardinal, church officials etc. & the music was fine. We stayed over an hour & then the weaklings returned. We think most of the Canopic [their ship?] passengers must now be in Rome for we are constantly meeting them.
Norman White is still causing a commotion in the Mass. legislature; he is bothering the N.Y. & N.H.R.R. people who have been trying to form a merger with the B. & N.R.R.
I am so glad Alice is proving the treasure we consider her; can she go to church & has she made any acquaintances? She'll enjoy the garden as much as you. Tell her we had a boiled dinner last evening -- that is, a sort of corned beef with potatoes, cabbage, little carrots & turnips with a kind of sauce, served as one course. Peas, beans etc. are served alone as a course. We also had some delicious field strawberries for dessert. Margaret is having some trouble with rheumatism which I hope will wear away soon. She & B. can't endure much & I go with them rather than with the others, though I call myself pretty well.
It is luncheon time & I must stop. I do hope Robert can have an interval between his teeth, for it is so hard to have them come so fast. Kiss him & Allie for me.
Lovingly, Dode

Glad you did not forward those photos. Don't send any wedding cards or anything of that kind but open them & tell me what they are. Though it is only 2 cent postage to England from America our letters require 5 because Baring Bro. have to forward them & they make us pay double if there is not enough on them. Please save these postals for me.
Lovingly, Margaret

Aunt Margaret Howe and Bessie Putnam's trip to Hawaii and Japan, Spring 1912
[The manuscript was neatly written with page numbers. Notes taken from a number of folded sheets are in brackets apostrophe [' ']. Apparently the folded sheets were used for writing the article. Other notes in italics are editings. They had a second home in Ormond Florida where apparently she lived when this was written.]
Japan is a seventeen days journey from San Francisco, but I had spent a month in Honolulu, which is 6 days from San Francisco, so the trip from there to Yokohama takes only 11 days. At the 180° of longitude, which is halfway around the world from Greenwich London, a difference of a day is made in order to keep the same day at the same time around the world. In going west we lost a day and went from Friday to Sunday without having any Saturday. And in coming back we had two Wednesdays, the first time I ever had a chance to live a day over again. ['I was interested to find cablegram sent Saturday afternoon received by my sister Saturday morning.']
The first thing that attracts one's attention on landing in Yokohama is the 2 wheeled vehicle like an overgrown baby carriage, which is called a jinrikisha. (Picture) these were invented and introduced into Japan many years ago by an American. The men who pull them are very strong and able to travel at a dog trot for many miles without apparent discomfort. They asked little for the use of them, about .15 an hour, but expect one to pay an extra man .05 to help pull one up a hill of any size. (Sen, yen .50) ['5 sen or 2 ½ extra man'; 'other piece of money is yen or .50'] One sees many bicycles in Japan but few horses, and still fewer autos, as the streets are entirely too narrow for them. When it is too hilly for a jinrikisha, the people travel in a chair ['kago'] that is carried on the shoulders of 4 men. As the men step, the motion is up and down and makes one feel seasick. (Cards.)
Japan is a most picturesque country because it is so uneven, with its mountains, and its many streams and waterfalls. The islands are of volcanic origin and they have frequent earthquakes, and I had the pleasure, if you can call it so, of experiencing two. One woke me up out of a sound sleep and the bed really shook for several seconds. The proprietor of the hotel went about through the halls trying to reassure the people as he told me in the morning he was always afraid that some of his guests in their fright might jump out of the windows. In some parts of the city bric-a-brac and pictures fell, but it did no damage in our hotel. The next evening we had another shock and I was glad we were to sail the following morning as two doses of earth quake were quite sufficient.
The highest volcano of Japan is Fujiyama, over 12,000 feet high. My first view of it was from the boat the morning we landed, as it was visible from daylight until we reached the harbor of Yokohama. Long before any other part of the land was in sight we could see the snow clad peak apparently floating in the sky, and this view of it, in the early morning light, was something never to be forgotten. The shape of the mountain is so symmetrical and so beautiful with its crown of snow that we do not wonder the people have really worshiped it, and are fond of drawing it whenever possible. One sees it pictured so often on all kinds of Japanese goods. (Picture.)
Japan may well be called the "Land of Flowers", and November, when the chrysanthemums come, and that time in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom, are kept as seasons of festival. Their cherry trees are not a fruit tree like ours but are only planted for the blossoms and there are 2 varieties, one having pink flowers and the other white. I had always heard of the cherry blossoms but I did not know that the azaleas grow wild over there. I was at Nikko when they were in their prime and the fields and mountainsides were covered with them, ranging in color from pink to cherry red, and many of the bushes as tall as pear trees so that one could walk under them. It was the most wonderful display of flowers that I ever saw. Even the common people have great appreciation of flowers, the tourist shops will have a plant of some kind displayed. Their arrangement of flowers is very artistic, a single blossoming branch or one beautiful flower or at most 2 or 3. Knowing this I was surprised to notice the ugly arrangement of flowers in the hotels, all kinds and colors jammed in together, enough to give one a nightmare. Later on I learned that this was done to please the foreigners as they understand it is what will suit our taste. [' As we noticed the perfect taste displayed in the arrangement of flowers in the shops and houses we were amazed to see the awful combinations of flowers in the hotels where we stopped. We learned afterward that this was done to please us because the Japanese understand that our idea of beauty in floral decoration is to mass all kinds and colors of flowers together.
At our hotel in Kyoto it was the custom to decorate the table in some special way for the last meal of each guest. And so on our last day there we were honored by receiving the most horrible bunch of flowers that I ever saw. And some people who had been at the hotel two weeks had a huge basket of flowers that was enough to give one a nightmare.']
['Everyone has heard of the cherry blossoms on Japan. Though it was too late in the season for us to see them in their prime, yet we saw several trees in full blossom and could imagine what they must be in their glory. There are two varieties of the cherry blossoms, the pink ones which we saw and the white ones which come earlier in the season and which many people consider even more beautiful. The trees are quite different from our cherry trees as they are not a fruit tree at all but are only planted for the flowers.
As we rode on the train to Nikko we saw many clumps of bright flowers which we discovered to be azaleas. Not having heard that they grew wild it was a delightful surprise to us. The hills about Nikko were almost covered with these bushes, with blossoms of all colors, from white through all tones of pink to the deepest cherry red. And many of the bushes were as tall as our pear trees so that one could walk under them. It was the most wonderful display of flowers that I have ever seen, one that I shall never forget. Certainly Japan is a country of many delights, not the least of which is the flowers.']
Their gardens are very attractive and Mr. Putnam's garden across the river here in Ormond gives us some idea of what they are like. Everything is on a small scale, small rustic bridges over little streams of water, dwarf trees and shrubs, and the stone lanterns that are so common through Japan. Mr. Putnam has some of the lanterns at the entrance to his place and in the garden is a torii, or sacred gateway, like those which are always found at the entrance to every Shinto temple. (Picture) Many of our finest trees and shrubs are imported from Japan, one of the most beautiful of which is the Japanese maple with its dark red leaves, in shape much like the cut leaf maple. The cryptomeria, [Japanese cedar] a kind of spruce tree, grows to a great size and age like our redwood trees of the far west. I saw an avenue of them 25 miles long and the trees were over 300 years old and towered to a great height ['and the wonderful temples at Nikko are surrounded by these magnificent trees.
The Japanese people have such great love for trees and shrubs that they are unwilling to cut them down even if they are unsightly. We noticed a number of old misshapen trees that were propped up in the hope of preserving life in them. Our jinrikisha men were very quick to call our attention to anything unusual in the way of flowers or trees.']
The houses of Japan are built low because of the earthquakes, with a roof of tile or thatch. The floors are covered with mats which are padded to make them comfortable to sit on as they do not use chairs, but sit on the floor with their feet under them. It is due to this position that the Japanese are so short, because their legs are not developed from the knees down. The mats on the floor are of a regulation size and so one can tell the size of a room by the number of mats required. The cooking is done over a charcoal fire. Instead of the stove they have what is called a hibachi, a box filled with sand on top of which is the charcoal. A pot of hot water is always ready on a hibachi, as they are constantly drinking tea, but as their cups are not larger than an egg shell, no great amount is consumed during the day. A merchant of any account expects you to take a cup of tea and a cake before looking over his goods. At the entrance to the house they leave sandals or clogs, and walk into the house in their stocking feet. Their stockings come to the ankle and are padded a little so they are comfortable in walking on the mats. (House.)
The Japanese eat their meals from trays set on the floor in front of them and their diet is extremely simple, fruit, some vegetables, rice and fish, which is often eaten raw. The very poor people use wheat, barley or millet instead of rice, as the rice raised in Japan is of superior quality and always brings a good price, and so they cannot afford to eat it. ['Farmers cannot eat the rice they raise...'] They sleep on the floor on a very thin mattress which can be rolled up and put away during the daytime and as they have little furniture to care for, it must be quite easy to live the simple life that we hear so much about. (Card) In pictures we always see Japanese women dressed in bright colored kimonas but this is not true to life as respectable women wear quiet colors after they are 15 years of age, dark blue, gray or brown ['few petticoats']. The little girls are very gay in all colors of the rainbow, but little boys dress in dark blue. I only saw one woman wearing a European costume, but many of the men have adopted European clothes, and with them wear low shoes with elastic sides that they can slip off easily on entering their homes. It is to be hoped the women will be slow about changing since their own dress is so much more attractive. But the change will come since the government encourages it, and most of the students now wear skirts over their kimonas, those of the boys being made like a full divided skirt. [Doll.] The country is burdened with terrible taxes and for this reason there is much extreme poverty. The women are obliged to do all kinds of hard work and I saw them in the rice fields standing in water up to their knees. Because of the scarcity of horses, the farmer and his wife must themselves haul the loaded cart to market and beside pulling with every ounce of her strength, the woman would perhaps have a heavy baby strapped on her back.
The Japanese are a happy natured people and the little children smile and wave their hands as one rides by them on the country roads. They are interested in foreigners, and it is hard to take photographs on this account because they crowd around one to watch. They are gentle with children. I never saw anyone rough with a child except one woman who struck a child with a cloth that she had in her hand. [Picture of baby.] Those who have lived long among them say that they are generous, unselfish and so unbusinesslike that they are often called dishonest. In many banks and hotels the cashier is a Chinaman, but I have heard that this is not because the Japanese cannot be trusted but because Chinese from a certain province are chosen because they have a special gift for figures, and so are used as cashiers in other eastern countries as well as Japan. Many Japanese merchants are very sharp in trade but so are many of our own merchants. (Custom house)
['Make splendid soldiers. Card shows child being taught to fence. In Tokyo I have visited school where they were taught to fence and also the movements of jujitsu or Japanese wrestling, and it was remarkable to see how a small boy could throw down a boy twice his size by means of these movements. These exercises make them strong and fit to go into the Army later. '] They are very patriotic and will make any sacrifice for their country. They have great self-confidence and realize their own importance. [' They have very strong filial piety as the Chinese have.'] These traits, and their progressive spirit, which makes them ready to accept new ideas, accounts for their rapid progress of late years. The schools in the cities are quite up-to-date. I visited one in Nagoya; it was a large building where there were 1600 pupils of grammar school age, the boys and girls in separate rooms with desks and chairs like our own. ['I saw classes in writing, singing, sewing, carving & several classes in the courtyard were going through gymnastic exercises. Perfect quiet everywhere & everything right up to date but of course things were different in country districts.'] In the corridors and on the landings of the stairways were pictures of famous men and the headmaster was pleased to show us the pictures of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. ['Headmaster took us about but though I imagine he knew some English he would not try to speak it but I had a Japanese guide that day so he talked through him.'] Another reason for their advancement is due to the training which they have received from the missionaries. I was greatly interested in visiting Doshisha, the great Christian College of Japan, which was founded by the American Board with the help of Joseph Neesima, a Japanese who was educated in this country. There are over 1000 students in the institution and many of the graduates are now men of position and great influence. In talking with President Harada he told me that the government is beginning to appreciate the work done by the college. ['Kyoto, Mr. Langdale, gospel hymn with Japanese words, address by Minister of Education.']
I think it would be entertaining to stop at one of the native hotels, but that was not possible for me so I cannot speak of them. The large hotels, though they may be managed by Japanese, are run according to European ideas, though they may have a Japanese section where one may live in Japanese style. They are perfectly comfortable in every way and the food is all that one could wish for. One novelty that I enjoyed was the tender root of the bamboo cooked in cream which I thought more delicious than asparagus. Of course all the servants are Japanese and the little maids are very attractive. The manager, or someone in the office, is sure to speak good English and will give one all the information needed about the sights of the city. Then too, the hotel porter who meets the trains, will be able to speak a little English and will help one about buying tickets etc. so it is perfectly easy for American women to travel alone in Japan if they do not go off from the beaten track. English is the one foreign language that is used through the country.
All signs in the railroad stations are in English as well as in Japanese. The trains ['narrow gauge'] are the best place to study the people and in the first-class cars one has the chance to see Japanese of the highest class. Cars like Ormond mile car. When they enter the car, most of them spread a traveling rug over the seat to protect their beautiful silk kimonas from any dust, slip off their sandals, step up on the seat and sit down on their feet. As they sit in this position, with their backs to the aisle looking out the window, they look very odd to us, more like little animals than people. Though there were good dining cars, few of the Japanese ladies used them but ate a lunch instead. At the large stations one could buy luncheon put up in small wooden boxes in a dainty fashion, rice instead of bread, fish, pickles and sweet cakes, and it was surprising to see how deftly they would use their chop sticks. (show sticks) At every station boys went along the platform selling pots of hot tea. Though they are careless about many sanitary points, they are very clean about their persons and frequent baths are the rule. I noticed at many of the stations a long a row of faucets and wash basins on the platform and when the train stopped, the common people in the cars would make a rush for those basins to wash their face and hands while the train waited. The paper Japanese lanterns are still used entirely in the small villages for lighting and all the jinrikishas have one fastened at the side at night and one sees the little lights bobbing along as the riksha [sic] man runs with his carriage.
I was in Nagoya the night they celebrated the Festival of Lanterns. Great boughs of bamboo were inclined over the narrow streets, each branch hung with from 12 to 24 lighted Japanese lanterns, and rows of large and small lanterns were strong across the front of the houses. The front partitions of the houses were pushed back and one could look into the rooms, which were decorated with lanterns, and see the little women dressed in their best kimonas. It was really like fairyland or like a play in the theater. This was true of many things in Japan. Everything is on such a small scale, and so unlike anything I had seen before, that it did not seem real and I often wanted to pinch myself to be sure I was awake. ['Saw 12 or14 little boys carrying a long dragon made out of white cotton cloth. They would run along the street, dash into a house and out again. We did not know the meaning of it.']
I was glad at Kobe to have the chance to attend a performance at one of their theaters. The audience sit on the floor of course, which is divided into sections by a railing a few inches high. Each family or party sits within their section sipping tea or eating fruit perhaps, as the plays last for hours. The children, though quiet, roamed about at will and when tired curled up on a cushion at their parents' feet for and went to sleep. Once a baby cried and the mother put her hand over its mouth and ran out with it. ['Chairs were brought in for us and placed against the wall at the side, and a charcoal stove was brought in for our feet, though it was so warm we didn't want it.'] The play that we saw must have been a tragedy because there was so much weeping in it. ['The women characters were men dressed up as women.'] The floor of the stage was a big circle that revolved. When an act ended the circular floor turned carrying back out of sight the scenery of the last act and bringing into view that of the next scene. So there was no waiting between the acts which was a good point that might be copied by our theaters. ['The air was perfectly good as these people are so neat and clean. We did not stay more than half an hour and when we came away the women ushers and ticket seller bowed us out and one of them said "thank you" in English.']
There are two forms of religion in Japan, Shintoism and Buddhism. Shintoism is the old religion and demands little more of its adherents than an occasional visit to the local temple or annual festival. It does not teach any theory of the destiny of man or of moral duty. It is a compound of nature and ancestor worship and has gods of wind, fire etc. The sun goddess was the supposed ancestress of the heaven descended Mikados who according to the Japanese have reined in unbroken succession since the beginning of the world and are themselves gods upon earth. Other men who have died are worshiped as gods and new ones may be created at any time. The services consist of offerings of food and the recital of formal addresses or prayers. In the temples, before saying these prayers, they ring a gong to attract the attention of the God.
Buddhism, the other religion, ['rose in India from the 7th to the 11th centuries before Christ'] was brought over from China in the year 584 and became the popular belief. The priests who introduced it were men of learning and taught the people many of the arts of China. The architecture of the Shinto temples is very simple and as I said before in front of each is a torii or sacred Gateway. On the other hand the Buddhist temples are very elaborate with pagodas, belfries [sic] and richly decorated shrines. [Picture] The finest ones are at Nikko and are made of wood of different colors finished with lacquer and with most elaborate carvings. And here is the stable where was formerly kept the sacred white horse which was for the use of the gods. I suppose the priests realized that the people had outgrown that superstition and so when the last horse died he was not replaced and the stable is now empty. There are numberless charms and amulets used in the Buddhist religion. The people appear to be very devout as they stand with folded hands in front of a hideous idol, or buy printed prayers to tie up in front of an idol. [Card of Buddha.] I saw a woman doing a strange thing as a penance or to win special favor. ['There was a veranda all around a certain building in the temple grounds at Nara.'] She was running around the veranda of the temple, each time around laying down a small bamboo stick from a bundle which she held in her hand. She was purple in the face and looked as though she might drop from exhaustion. A little girl running after her appeared to think it a great lark. In another temple was the bronze figure of a bull and a man was rubbing the bulls neck and then the neck of his child in the belief that he would thus cure the child of throat trouble.
['The Buddhists also encourage pilgrimages to special shrines and temples. (Old woman in Nagowa.) Buddhism teaches that Nirvana is the final result of existence, a state in which the thinking substance while remaining individual is unaffected by anything external, is devoid of feeling, thought or passion. [Sic as written] Nirvana is attained after numerous transmigrations and progressive sanctification. If one does well one will come back to earth in a higher form, if one does badly one will return in a lower form.
Unlike the Shinto priests the Buddhist priests were men of learning and they were able to teach the people many things. Most of the art that one finds in Japan was introduced from China by means of these Buddhist priests.
The two religions became so mixed that in time Buddhist priests performed service in many Shinto temples. In 1868 when the revolution occurred which restored the Mikados authority, Buddhist priests were expelled from Shinto temples and there was a revival of interest in Shintoism. It is said that now at birth most Japanese children are placed under the protection of some Shinto deity whose foster child he becomes but his funeral rites are conducted by a Buddhist priest. For one reason most of the cemeteries adjoin Buddhist temples and it is only lately that burial according to the ancient ritual of the Shintoists has been revived. White mourning color.']
The late Emperor of Japan, who died a few months ago, was a very great man and was the admiration of everyone who realizes how much he did to give Japan the high position which she occupies today. He was the first Mikado to appear in public or take any active part in the government since for 700 years the Mikados dwelt in gilded captivity in Kyoto, and it was the Shogun who was the real ruler. The Shogun in each case was a successful soldier, or the head of some great family ['and they lived first at Kamakura and afterward at Yedo or what in time became Tokio.'] Japan had never encouraged strangers to come in but in 1625 she closed her gates entirely to foreigners, and the Catholics who were the first missionaries were expelled. This was under the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was afterward buried in Nikko where he is now worshiped as a god in the wonderful temples I spoke of. In 1853 the United States sent a fleet under Commodore Perry to insist upon the abandonment of the Japanese policy of isolation. This gave the final blow to the Shogunate, which had been weakened by internal discontent among the people. The Shogun was obliged to resign and the Mikado was restored to power, and from that date we have the beginning of Modern Japan.
Satsuma. [old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Ky?sh?.]
[Card pinned to manuscript]
March 3rd. Dolls Festival. ['All little girls March 3 dolls festival.']
May 5th Boys birthday. Carp symbol of courage and bravery. ['All Japanese boys celebrate their birthday on May 5th. Over each house they fly as many paper fish as there are boys in the family. -- represents carp the symbol of courage & bravery.']
['In towns workman has name of his trade written on back of kimona or coat in big white characters, can tell porter, mason, carpenter etc.']