Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/199

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

JULY, 1904.




A VISIT TO THE JAPANESE ZOOLOGICAL STATION AT MISAKI.
By Professor BASHFORD DEAN,

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

JAPAN is not at its best in the rainy season. For the rain comes down in floods. And my first impression was that Misaki was a larger aquarium than even a zealous naturalist needed. We had left Tokyo at six—I was about to say, early one morning, but I recall that six is not early in Japan—on a small bay steamer which plies daily to Misaki. And a few hours later we had about reached a climax in our rolling, when, turning suddenly, we ran under the lee of an island and came to anchor. I confess that I was not cheered by the glimpse of Misaki; the town was a flat, sodden mass of thatched houses, its background an abrupt knoll, with a ragged skyline of dripping and irregular pines, and the drooping eaves of a temple. And to add to the dismalness of the picture, even the sampan men appeared tearful as they shedded streams of rain from the points of their porcupine-like coats. Our fellow passengers, on the other hand, showed not a symptom of discomfort, and they clambered smilingly into the sampans, standing or crouching under a mass of oil-paper umbrellas, men often tucking up their kimonos and standing bare-legged like storm-bound birds—their wide wooden clogs giving them the appropriate webbed feet. Ashore was waiting for us an assistant of the station, Mr. Tsuchida, and together we waded through the narrow and fishy streets of the town (which I found, to my surprise, had a population of five thousand, and was of no little commercial importance in furnishing fish for the Tokyo market) to the Inn Kinokuniya. This inn I recall vividly, for its host, in spite of the drenching rain, thought it necessary to hunt the town for a knife and fork for the foreigner, and while