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A Japanese Boy   By: (1865-1928)

Book cover

First Page:

A JAPANESE BOY

BY

HIMSELF

NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

1890

COPYRIGHTED , 1889.

By SHIUKICHI SHIGEMI.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

MY BIRTHPLACE MY GRANDFATHER TENJINSAN.

CHAPTER II.

OLD FASHIONED SCHOOL MY SCHOOLMASTER THE SCHOOL HOUSE.

CHAPTER III.

THE KITCHEN DINNER FOOD.

CHAPTER IV.

GAMES NEW SCHOOL IMITATING THE WEST MORE ABOUT MY SCHOOLMASTER PUNISHMENTS AT SCHOOL.

CHAPTER V.

BATHS EVENINGS AT HOME JAPANESE DANCING AND MUSIC.

CHAPTER VI.

AMATEUR ACTORS AND REAL ACTORS AND ACTRESSES JAPANESE THEATRE.

CHAPTER VII.

WRESTLING STORY TELLERS PICNIC AND PICNIC GROUNDS AN OLD CASTLE AND A TRADITION.

CHAPTER VIII.

ANGLING A PIOUS OLD LADY AND HER ADVENTURES.

CHAPTER IX.

THE YAITO A WITCH WOMAN AUNT OTSUNÉ, MISS CHRYSANTHEMUM AND MR. PROSPERITY.

CHAPTER X.

NEW YEAR'S DAY THE MOCHI MAKING OLD TIME OBSERVANCES.

CHAPTER XI.

KITE FLYING HOW I MADE MY KITE MY UNCLE AND HIS RIG KITE OTHER NEW YEAR GAMES HOW WE END OUR NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS.

CHAPTER XII.

OTHER JAPANESE HOLIDAYS TANABATA AND INOKO, THE BOYS' DAYS THE SHINTOISTIC AND BUDDHISTIC ABLUTION MASS.

CHAPTER XIII.

OUR PRIEST AND BOY PRIEST OUR DOG GEM SHAKA'S BIRTHDAY.

CHAPTER XIV.

THE FESTIVALS OF LOCAL DEITIES SCHOOL AGAIN, AND SOME ACCOUNT OF MY SCHOOL FELLOWS CONCLUSION.

PREFATORY LETTER.

PROF. HENRY W. FARNAM:

Dear Sir: My motives in writing this jejune little volume are, as you are aware, two:

1st. There seems to be no story told in this country of the Japanese boy's life by a Japanese boy himself. The following rambling sketches are incoherent and extremely meagre, I own; but you must remember that they are a boy's talks. Give him encouragement, and he will tell you more.

2d. The most important of my reasons is my desire to obtain the means to prosecute the studies I have taken up in America. Circumstances have obliged me to make my own way in this hard world. If I knew of a better step I should not have resorted to an indiscreet juvenile publication a publication, moreover, of my own idle experiences, and in a language the alphabet of which I learned but a few years ago.

To you my sincere acknowledgments are due for encouraging me to write these pages. This kindness is but one of many, of which the public has no knowledge.

I am, sir, Yours very truly. SHIUKICHI SHIGEMI

NEW HAVEN. CT., September, 1889.

A JAPANESE BOY.

CHAPTER I.

I was born in a small seaport town called Imabari, which is situated on the western coast of the island of Shikoku, the eastern of the two islands lying south of Hondo. The Imabari harbor is a miserable ditch; at low tide the mouth shows its shallow bottom, and one can wade across. People go there for clam digging. Two or three little streams empty their waters into the harbor. A few junks and a number of boats are always seen standing in this pool of salt water. In the houses surrounding it, mostly very old and ramshackle, are sold eatables and provisions, fishes are bought from the boats, or shelter is given to sailors.

When a junk comes in laden with rice, commission merchants get on board and strike for bargains. The capacity of the vessel is measured by the amount of rice it can carry. The grain merchant carries about him a good sized bamboo a few inches long, one end of which is sharpened and the other closed, being cut just at a joint. He thrusts the pointed end into bags of the rice. The bags are rice straw, knitted together roughly into the shape of barrels. Having taken out samples in the hollow inside of the bamboo stick, the merchant first examines critically the physical qualities of the grains on the palm of his hand, and then proceeds to chew them in order to see how they taste. Years of practice enable him to state, after such simple tests, precisely what section of the country the article in question came from, although the captain of the vessel may claim to have shipped it from a famous rice producing province... Continue reading book >>




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