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Our Visit to Japan
We do not know where we have been more beautifully entertained than we were in Japan. A lovely little Japanese maiden with an embroidered robe told us a good many interesting things. One of them was about "Boy Day."
It seems that in Japan all the boys have one birthday, that is, May fifth is set aside for a universal boys' birthday. They have then a celebration, all over the nation, and it is what with us would be a bank holiday like Thanksgiving, or Decoration Day.
The carp is chosen for the emblem, because he is the Samurai, or warrior fish, because he is so full of courage, and figures of him are made of crepe and floated from bamboo poles, along with their flag.
On that day the boys are instructed in the standards of manhood as they are expected to live, and shown their ancestors' great deeds as recorded in the family records.
We think we should not exactly care about a wholesale birthday, but the maiden said that the girls also have one, which is March third. A doll made like the small girl child is presented to her and she is supposed to keep it until she grows up, so that her children may have it. Japanese people care a very great deal about their ancestors, and we suppose they feel about them as we do about our greatgrandfathers who fought with George Washington.
We had Ceremonial Tea, in a lovely tea-garden, which was very beautiful, but of course we are not allowed to drink tea, but the cakes were interesting, and father said that budding authoresses should always absorb local color.
We think that we did that because we studied the flowers and shrubs very intently, and while father talked with the artist who was making lovely postal cards by painting scenes from the gardens we went out and traced to its source the laughing brook which was rushing through the grounds. It did not spoil it a bit for us to discover that the brook came from a water pipe sunk in the ground, because we understand of course that the gardens did not grow there of their own accord.
The Japanese people love beauty and always create it wherever they may be living, and their gardens at the Fair are very wonderful. They have a dwarf evergreen tree which is said to be over one thousand years old. It is about as large as our Christmas tree is when we have a large one for both families.
In Japan, the silk culture occupies an important place. We saw some exhibits of it, and it seems to us that if we did not care so much about our native land that we might like to go and raise silkworms in Japan.
Your loving cousins,
Jane and Ellen.
A lovely little Japanese maiden with an embroidered robe told us a good many interesting things.