Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/297

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HEALTH-MATTERS IN JAPAN.

kinds. In Japan such a thing is unknown, and a stone thrown at a dog (I speak from experience) is generally answered by an inquiring look, hens hop out of the way, and even cats do not take the hint! In other words, the crows and hawks are never molested, and the result is that all carrion and other stuff left in the streets are pounced upon and carried off immediately.

As far as climatic conditions are concerned everything is most favorable for the development of filth-diseases, provided the sources of danger were present. In the summer months the heat is oftentimes oppressive, the moisture excessive, meat decays rapidly, and the decomposition of fruit and vegetables quickly ensues. With fruit especially ripeness is almost coincident with decay.

In regard to the personal habits of the people, it is interesting to remark that they drink very little cold water. The water is drunk as hot tea—in other words, it is boiled. Of extreme importance, too, in regard to children's disorders, is the fact that, until they are two or three years old, they draw their nourishment from the maternal fount. No child is fed artificially.

On the other hand, it is interesting to note that the Japanese eat unripe fruit to an inordinate extent. The moment fruit shows the slightest signs of being soft as an evidence of ripeness, it is considered by them as unfit to eat. It is astonishing to see them eat hard, green peaches—clinching them in the fist, as a country boy does a hard apple, and biting off each mouthful with a loud snap. They eat their pears in the same way; cucumbers are eaten in a more unripe condition than with us even; and water-melons, which are so much inveighed against at home, are here eaten by all classes and at all times.

In fact, they seem to revel in those things which at home are considered so productive of summer-complaints; who does not recall the astonishment he has felt at the sight of country children of tender age eating green apples, green corn uncooked, and similar things, and yet suffering no ill-effects therefrom? These facts may not prove, perhaps, that unripe fruit is harmless; but, in connection with the other statements, they do show that the removal of sewage-matter from houses is the important point to consider, and that its removal insures an absence, or a less number, of cases of those diseases which enhance our death-rate at home, and lends an additional reason for the necessity of vigilance on the part of communities regarding these matters.

Concerning sunstroke, it is believed at home that one of its inciting causes is the exposure of the body or head to the overpowering heat of the sun; and the subjection of the uncovered head to the direct rays of the sun is looked upon as dangerous. On the other hand, it is admitted that intemperance in food or drink, and particularly the latter, may be inducing causes. Be that as it may, it is sug-