Chapter 14. Journey to the Orient: Japan
Published:June 01, 2015
Extract from beginning of chapter:
Japan! The dream of my life since the time my father had imported a collection of curios and things Japanese, because of their artistic beauty and strangeness, and had given them to me, a boy in his teens, an incipient collector of everything interesting. The grace and beauty of Japanese decorations and utensils; the charm of the scenery as it appeared in pictures; and the attractiveness of the people and the friendliness of those I had met, developed a longing to visit the country and live among them as several of my older cousins had. The strangeness of the hermit people had been learned from the illustrations in the report of Commander Perry's1 visit, and a familiarity with their [culture] had been gotten from a college mate in the Sheffield Scientific School, Mitsukuri Kakichi,2 afterwards professor of biology in the university at Tokyo; he was a boy of fine culture who at college could write better English than I. There could be no feeling of aloofness toward a people having the qualities of Mitsukuri, and it was a source of sad regret when I reached Tokyo that my college mate was too ill for me to visit and soon passed away.
Dr. Kochibe, formerly director of the Imperial Geological Survey, and I had met in Chicago and afterwards traveled together in Russia; and Professor Kotō3 of the University of Tokyo had also visited me in Chicago. Japan, as a region of volcanoes, of lordly Fujisan, naturally excited the