Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/296

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rial diseases of severe nature uncommon; even the milder forms in most localities not common. Typhoid and typhus rarely epidemic, the latter uncommon." With these facts before us, let us examine the conditions of living among these people. It is well known that their houses are so arranged that the winds blow through them from one end to the other. In summer they are entirely open. The privies are never connected immediately with the houses except among the lower classes in the larger cities, where, as in Tokio for example, among the poorer houses the privy is in the back part of the house, but even in these cases a close sliding-door always separates this apartment from the living-room, and a grated window without glass permits thorough ventilation. In the public inns, too, the privy is sometimes connected with the building, to the great discomfort of foreigners. In the country villages it stands alongside the road, separate from the house. Their sewage system, so far as I am aware, is superficial, and there is no sewage-gas to contaminate the air. The houses have no cellars, and consequently the air in them is not polluted from this source. On the other hand, their wells are not always properly situated, and the water is liable to pollution from gutters. The important point to be noted, however, is in regard to the disposition of their offal, and it is well known that every day or two this is removed and scattered on their rice-fields and other cultivated areas. The vaults consist of water-tight vessels of limited capacity. In Tokio they use for this purpose oil-barrels, which they coat with a kind of varnish inside and out. From the small size of this vessel accumulation never occurs, and from its nature the soil never becomes saturated by its contents. Men, instead of being paid to remove it, actually pay for it!

The Japanese having no cattle or sheep, but few horses, no pigs, and but few fowls at the most, depend entirely upon the sewage of towns for the fertilizing material of their farms. No one at home can form any idea of the perfect manner of this work. Even in as large a city as Tokio, with its million inhabitants, this service is performed with a neatness and thoroughness which surpasses belief. The foreigner finds one of his senses rudely assailed at times, though, as to that matter, he may go into one of the most refined cities of America, and, with the exception of a few summer months, encounter the same discomforts. Dr. David Murray has called my attention to the very important service performed by the crows and a kind of hawk which act as scavengers. We are so accustomed at home to find these birds especially wild and wary, that it is a somewhat startling sight to see them perching on the buildings in a crowded city like Tokio, and swooping down in front of you in quest of food, which might otherwise decay and vitiate the atmosphere. The destructiveness and brutality, generally speaking, of the children of Christian nations lead to the stoning of dogs, cats, and birds of all