21st to 25th July 1872
July 21st 1872
Lathrop sent his horse around Volcano Bay by land, 60 miles, we intending to cross the bay in a native boat. After our fatigue (Page 68) of yesterday we slept almost all day. Wasson arrived from Hakodate this eve.
Took a junk this morning to cross to Moraran, 30 miles. After paddling lazily along the coast for 3 hours waiting for a wind, the boatman concluded that no wind was coming and we turned in at the little fishing village of Sawarra, seven miles from Mori, at the sea foot of Komagadaki. While landing at Sawarra, L. was positive he saw oysters growing on a rock about 15 feet under water. After getting ashore, as oysters are scarce enough here, we returned to the spot in a small boat and, for want of a better oyster rake, I dove in the ice cold water and brought up a huge bunch of beautiful - uneatable - mussels.
Sailed from Sawarra about 7 this morning, having notified our boatman that we must reach Moraran today if they had to swim and drag the boat. A dead calm almost all day, and the heat (Page 69) on the little boat stifling. We fished, we read, we smoked, we talked, as long as energy enough survived the heat. Then we crawled into the shade of the mast, which was about 4 inches wide, and, becoming misanthropical, quarrelled as to who should have that portion of the shadow nearest the foot of the mast, and so a fraction of an inch the widest. After a hearty roasting a light breeze sprang up at about 5 p.m. and at 9 we reached Moraran, a very small village under the bluff which fringes the shore, but having a good tea house. Found that Maj. Warfield and the engineer party had just that day left Moraran for a little town about five miles from there and off the ordinary road. After a plunge in the bay, turned in. It is an advantage of life in Japan that you can prepare for your plunges in your own room at your hotel, as a towel around the waist and loins is an ample costume for your promenade to and from the water. Lathrop and myself, being good swimmers, invariably attract a crowd, for the Japs are indifferent swimmers, paddling along in what we (Page 70) call "dog fashion".
Left Moraran at 10 oclock a.m., passing through a very rough country for about 10 miles, when we emerged upon a narrow plateau along the Pacific which we kept till we arrived at Horabeto, our tiffin place, at 2. On the way we passed an old Aino who saluted us with a gesture more utterly abject than I have ever before seen. It consisted in squatting low, leaning forward, the palm up and hands stretched out. Then the arms were gently moved as though dandling an infant. At the same time the poor Aino bowed almost to the ground, finishing by repeatedly stroking his long beard with (Page 71) both hands. As the Ainos whom we have seen strike us physically in every respect the superiors of the Japanese their masters, and as they were the original possessors of the soil, their abject behaviour strikes us painfully. Left Horabeto at ¼ past 5 for Shilanwe, 15 miles off, which place we reached at 10 p.m. having lost an hour, at least those of us who were in advance, in endeavouring to find a ford across the river on which the town lies, which, after some floundering in marshes and quick sands, we finally did, and then routed out a venerable old Aino from his cabin of rushes to show us the way to the Honji or Government hotel. Were we made our dinner on Japanese food, which this time was better suited to our taste than in general, more especially a sort of fish salad made of fresh sardines and some sort of vegetable, our cook arriving just in time to close the meal with a cup of coffee.
On the way hither, noticed to the N.W. of the town, about 20 miles off, the large volcano of Taromai, one of the largest (Page 72) active volcanoes in Japan. A thin spiral of smoke was today curling from its conical summit. On our arrival at the Honji the Aino who guided us thither, and another who assisted in the care of the horses, were rewarded by the Japanese with a large bowlful of saki, and we were invited to see them drink it, which proved quite an elaborate imbibation. First, the oldest of the two was served with a large bowlful, which he acknowledged by raising to his head and performing the same gesture mentioned a page or two back. Lowering the bowl, he raised it again to a level with his breast, and taking a stick which laid across the bowl he dipped it in the liquor, and elevating it about a foot above the cup, slowly and gravely shook the adhering drops of saki towards the south. This was repeated six times towards different points of the compass with a slow solemnity which, conjoined with the venerable appearance of the two full and dark eyed, heavily bearded men, was very impressive. After these libations (Page 73) the stick which had been used in their performance, was used to lift the heavy moustache of the drinker, and the cup was solemnly emptied. The other Aino then went through the same performance and so, with tolerable regularity of alternation till the liquor was exhausted, though the older man appeared to get a double share. While one was drinking, the other would gravely now and then stroke his long grizzled beard and bow to the spectators.
The Ainos are an ethnological puzzle, as nothing or next to nothing is known of their history save that (Page 74) to within a couple of hundred years they occupied all of this island of Yezo and the northern part of Nippon too. They were driven out of Nippon after a hard contest and finally thoroughly subjugated and compelled to pay the most abject obedience and deference to their conquerors. They are a strong, well built race with large, full black eyes, waving black hair, enormous beards and long hair more or less plentifully distributed over their bodies. One old man I saw, who had hair all over his back and shoulders which was at least three inches long. Their complexion is much the same but a little darker than that of the Japanese. In fact they seem the same people as those inhabiting the neighbouring Kurile Islands and known as "Hairy Kuriles". Their language is rude beyond belief and is said to present no affinities with any other known tongue. They are also said to have no means whatever of graphic language either by pictures or characters, and, more wonderful (Page 75) than all, no traditions. Still, however, I believe that this statement must be taken "cum grano salis", for the Japanese have always shown themselves very jealous of any foreign communication with the Ainos, and so far all intercourse with them has necessarily been held through Japanese sources. They are from fifteen to twenty thousand in number, live by fishing and hunting, the products of their labour having hitherto been absorbed by the Japanese Govt. which kept them under a system of ?peonage, and are a willing, strong and apparently by no means unintelligent race. Many of the men are strikingly handsome - so are a few of the women, but these latter are horribly disfigured as soon as they arrive at marriageable age by the tattooing of a broad blue mark around the mouth with sharp points curling up on either side like a well waxed moustache. This is faintly shown in the photograph but as the mark is blue it does not take dark. The Ainos live in large huts, the walls of which are made of bundles of rushes or coarse grass, and the roof of thatch. (Page 76) Inside the hut presents one or two rooms, rudely divided, and the same number of bed places, more like huge dry goods boxes in shape than anything else I can think of, which are made either of skins, rough planks, or the material of which the hut is built. Deer skins lie everywhere in profusion, and dishes, spoons and other utensils of carved wood are in profusion. The dress of the Ainos is partly of deer and bear skins and partly of a buff colored, coarse but exceedingly strong cloth which they make up from bark and which they ornament with rectangular patterns of appliqué of blue cotton obtained from the Japs. They have many ponies, in fact all along the east coast they manage all the trains of pack horses. They probably have some religion beyond the gross form ascribed to them by the Japanese, as is shown by such ceremonies as the libations before (Page 77) described. The Japs say that they worship the bear only. They probably do worship this animal - at any rate, whenever they kill one the skull is carefully preserved and placed on sticks outside the house (see photo) and the Ainos make these skull low obeisances - more than this, when they catch a young cub it is suckled for a time by an Aino woman and caged for a year, at the expiration of which, having been regularly worshipped and carefully looked after, it is killed with many solemn ceremonies in the presence of the assembled tribe. All provisions as fish, venison etc. are stored in elevated huts close to the hut of residence, which has given rise to the mistaken statement that the Ainos, like some of the tribes of (Page 78) the Malay Archipelago, lived in elevated huts. So far for the Ainos, this is about all I know about them save that they are armed with matchlocks obtained from the Japanese, with bows and arrows of rude construction, and that when chasing the seal they use harpoons exactly like those of the Esquimaux.
Pages 70 to 78 of the journal has spaces where SE evidently intended to paste photographs of the Ainos, their huts, clothing etc. It appears that no photograph was ever put in place - HT
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