Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/16

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or barrooms, and their substitution by public bath-houses, at almost every corner—all these must be regarded as factors productive of this sense of quiet and rest. Then, again, the strange com-mingling of the new and the old—for, turning aside from some busy street thronged with shoppers, venders and tradesmen, a few steps may find us approaching some majestic temple gateway, leading to the shrine or tomb of some great hero of centuries gone by. Ascending the time-worn stone steps, and standing beneath the shadow of the lofty gabled roof of the gateway, our gaze may follow the intricate maze of lacquer and bronze architectural adornment until it is lost in the shadowy gloom overhead. On either side of the two central columns, and shut off by a railing, are the colossal figures of the "guardians of the temple," grim and gaunt, with sword in hand. Flanked on either side are the tall bronze or stone lanterns of the temple, and still beyond, back even of the font of water and the great temple bell in its gabled belfry, is the shrine itself, a fitting resting place or tribute to one who has served his country well, guarded as it is by gnarled and ancient pines and lofty cryptomarias that were ancient when the grandsires of the happy throng below ascended these self-same steps to offer a tribute to the memory of the hero.

There is a marked similarity in the daily routine of the inmates of Japanese homes, whether they be homes of the rich or poor, the official or tradesman. The wife is always the mistress of the home, and hers is the duty of in every way possible rendering the life of her husband happy—and to be happy herself, as far as he knows. The instruction of the daughters of the home in the various domestic duties also devolves upon the mother. The wardrobe of the entire family is the work of her hands, with the assistance, perhaps, of an aunt (obāsan), maid, or her growing daughters. The latter, by the way, are taught how to sew while yet quite little tots, and as they grow older in years and skill, are initiated into the mysteries of art needlework. Then the daughters are instructed in music, a certain knowledge of the samisen, koto, or some other musical instrument being regarded as a requisite accomplishment in even the poorer and middle classes, while the daughters of the higher classes and nobility are well versed in art, music, and the poetry of the country. The other accomplishments deemed desirable in women consist principally in the artistic arrangement of flowers and the details of ceremonial tea making and drinking (cha-no-yu).

The recitation, or reading of historical poems (utai) is a favorite study, especially if some romance is interwoven into the story. Usually the dramatic poems (iōrori) are ceremoniously read or sung by the young maidens, while an elder sister or teacher will thrum a minor accentuated accompaniment on the samisen. Some-