November 2nd to 9th, 1871
(Page 123)Nov. 2nd. Evening
Nov. 3rd. Evening
Spent the morning in straightening up my papers, and the afternoon in a long ride out beyond the river, in a quarter occupied by some beautiful tea gardens. We met my friend of the jumping match at one of them. He seemed (Page 125) glad to see me, but did not propose any athletic exercises.
Tonight I began a systematic study of Japanese, under the tuition of Horé, Hariki and another student interpreter named Nomura, they to learn English and I acquire Japanese. It is no great fun as yet, but will, I think, become easier when I have once mastered the peculiar grammar.
Nov. 4th. Evening
Today was the Mikados birthday. He is 23 years old. It was celebrated by dinner at his expense in all Govt. departments. Ours was given in our quarters. The little governor of Yesso, Tigushi Kendze, presided. I believe I have several times mentioned him before but lest I have not I will say that he is a very odd little Jap. Always wears Jap costume and is very careless about it. Has a face that irresistibly reminds me of an old womans and that he is exceedingly fond of champagne, which sets him up in a hurry. He is of higher rank than our good solid friend Kuroda who is, I think, the brains of the government of Yesso. Kuroda could not be present yesterday, owing to the recent death of his brother. Besides Tigushi there (Page 126) were three other Japanese officials, and the Genl. and myself. The dinner was in our own style and good. We drank to the Mikado, to Tigushi, to the absent Kuroda and other officers. Then Tigushi, who was decorated with a cap like that the Mikado wore the day he recd us, except that the preposterous imitation feather curved down his back instead of standing straight up, rose with the aforesaid cap cocked on one side of his head and proposed "The President of the United States", which we drank standing. As we had drank the Mikados health by this time I thought we had better break up, and so made an excuse to leave the table, which soon started the rest. The dinner took place at tiffin time instead of our regular dinner hour, so feeling feverish and full, I jumped on my horse and took a fifteen mile trot before dark, returning home just in time for a cup of coffee at dinner. After dinner, I, as usual, took my Japanese lessons and gave my lessons in English. I am not expected to do anything after 3 p.m. but prefer the society of my Japanese friends to playing euchre or chess with the Genl.
(Page 127)Nov. 5th. Evening
(Page 128)Nov. 6th. Evening.
Blue devils pretty well scattered. Today it was proposed that as none of the officers of the Kaitakushi are very busy at present I should give them lessons in English. I was very glad for I have felt the need of regular employment, so shall enter on my duties as an English master in a day or two. They requested me to do it as a favour, saying that they were aware that there was teaching below my grade but that they much desired to learn, and thought I could teach them as well. Of course I couldnt resist that had I wished to. I have already been giving conversational lessons to those most advanced of my own choice.
Such weather as we are having now is like the lovely time in Wis. at the end of Sept. and beginning of October.
Nov. 8th. Evening.
A quiet day. Nothing happened except that we changed our cooks. Whether for better (Page 129) or worse remains to be seen.
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