I was still suffering considerably from an accident I had sustained to my foot among the hairy folk of the Hokkaido, and I thought that the long walk would probably be beneficial to me, and would take away some of the stiffness which still remained in my ankle.
On weekends in Japan such an enormous exodus of people would come out to do their shopping; whereas for her, having had no firmly set schedule that enslaved her and not needing to release an enslaved being in the unbound weekend freedoms of malls, she had found a more internal brooding in the Hokkaido cold. She had feasted on poets and philosophers.
Up in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, we were entertained by a beautiful Japanese woman. We had been away from America for several months and were tired of eating Japanese food, so when we were invited to this Japanese home for a dinner we groaned. But much to our delight, when we sat down we had as fine an American dinner as any of us had ever eaten.
He told us that even the great steamers never went to sea during the Bon: no crew would venture to take ship out then. And he related the following stories with such simple earnestness that I think he must have believed what said: 'The first time I was very young. From Hokkaido we had sailed, and the voyage was long, and the winds turned against us.
She half believed that a time in Hokkaido would send a beautiful mix of color rushing like a torrent from her pallet. It would coruscate her in warm intimacy the way, to a swimmer, the 5:30 sun appears to immerse itself whole in a pool of water.
The world could not be deceived about the things that were plainly visible; all the Japanese had to do was to make sure that the world would deceive itself as it had done during the preparations for Port Arthur. A perfectly equipped army could be seen by all on the fields of Nippon, Hokkaido and Kiushiu, and the fleet was surely not hidden from view.
In his stead the thread of the conversation was taken up by Dr. Morris, of Brighton, an unusually cadaverous-looking individual, who sometimes maintained absolute silence for days at a time, and who was supposed to possess Japanese bronzes of untold value and to be on his way to Hokkaido to complete his collection. "You must not believe everything you see in the papers," he said.
And so it turned out. Just before the outbreak of the war, the Sun Banner was hoisted quietly on the two battleships and they were given the names of Nippon and Hokkaido, respectively; but they were omitted from the official Japanese Navy List and left out of our calculations. How Pekin and Tokio came to terms with regard to these two ships remains one of the many secrets of east Asiatic politics.
But I was determined to see them, in spite of the fact that people told me I would have to travel from one end of Japan to the other; and then cross four hours of sea before I got to Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan, where lived the tattered remnants of this once noble race. The name of this dying race is pronounced as if it were spelled I-new with a long I.
It was a stubborn fight, and it has lasted many centuries; but to-day they have been driven up on the island of Hokkaido, that northern frontier of Japan where the overflow of Japan is pouring at the rate of four thousand a year, making two million to date and only about fifty thousand of them Ainus. "Are they like our American Indians in looks, since their history is so much like them?"
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