Littell's Living Age/Volume 137/Issue 1770/Miscellany

Curious Habits of the Japanese. — The Japanese habit of reversing everything, if we may regard our own way of doing as the proper way, is very curious, and in some of its details very interesting. Mr. Griffiths, in his work on Japan, discusses it thus: "Another man is planing. He pulls the plane towards him. I notice a blacksmith at work. He pulls the bellows with his feet, while he is holding and hammering with both hands. He has several irons in the fire, and keeps his dinner pot boiling with the waste flame. His whole family, like the generations before them, seem to get their living in the hardware line. The cooper holds his tubs with his toes. All of them sit down while they work. Perhaps that is an important difference between a European and an Asiatic. One sits down to his work, the other stands up to it. Why is it that we do things contrariwise to the Japanese? Are we upside down, or they? The Japanese say that we are reversed. They call our penmanship "crab writing," because, say they, "it goes backward." The lines in our books cross the page like a crawfish, instead of going downward properly. In a Japanese stable we find the horse's flank where we look for his head. Japanese screws screw the other way. Their locks thrust to the left, ours to the right. The baby toys of the Aryan race squeak when they are squeezed; the Turanian gimcracks emit noise when pulled apart. A Caucasian, to injure his enemy, kills him; a Japanese kills himself to spite his foe. Which race is left-handed? Which has the negative, which the positive of truth? What is truth? What is down? What is up?"Scientific American.

The Theory of Sleep. — A. Strumpell (Pflüger's Archiv) reports the case of a patient, aged sixteen, the whole of whose cutaneous surface was completely insensible, so that the strongest stimuli applied to the skin did not excite any expression of pain. A similar anaesthesia was shown in nearly all the accessible mucous membranes of the body, and muscular sensibility was completely wanting. In addition to this, there was a complete loss of smell and taste. Finally, the right eye was amaurotic, and the left ear deaf; so that, when the left eye was bound up and the right ear stopped, there was no further avenue of stimulus to the patient's brain. When the latter experiment was actually carried out, the patient in about five minutes sank into a deep sleep, from which he could only be roused by the stimulus of light; he could not by shaking only. When he was left to himself, he awoke in the course of the day, after many hours' sleep, either through internal stimuli or from the excitation of the brain through slight and unavoidable stimuli from without. British Medical Journal.