Kyoto, Japan

Monday, September 23, 1929

Over a pot of tea we discussed Socialism, the Soviet Government of Russia, philosophy, and grammar. These subjects grew and brought in others till, after an all-day discussion ending with literature at ten PM, we had just about decided the destiny of life.

Cecil has a unique philosophy of life: That through a careful and psychological training, people will be raised so that they will not be subject to emotions. That they could not become attached to a person or thing that the loss of that person or thing would cause them to feel a loss, and in case of someone dearly loved to detract from and perhaps ruin their lives. That everyone will live the fullest lives possible and all sorrow or elation will be absent. This has its advantages but also its disadvantages. In the first place, our emotions have always been played upon from our birth, spoiling us, so to speak. Then there are our natural instincts, born with us, such as love, hate, fighting instinct, mating instinct, etc., that could not be overcome without suppressing our desires, and thus setting up complex reactions within the body and mind that would certainly be detrimental to health and happiness. Of course there are those who claim we are born with no instincts, but cultivate them during our early training.

How could such a program be successfully carried out, even in many generations? There would have to be complete cooperation and understanding which is too much to ask of even a small city not to mention scores of nations. Under such a system, the family institution would crumble for there would be no group instinct nor love to hold it together. And this isn’t a tenth.

We took a tram over the hills to Otsu, seven miles from Kyoto, and there had lunch in a little Japanese place. As usual the waitresses laughed and giggled when we showed them attention. It became lots of fun for we tried to teach one some English. She sat at our table and every time we emptied our rice bowls she would fill them again. She was to say “don’t mention it” in reply to our thanks. She laughed, blushed, and giggled, but was enjoying it immensely. Every helping became smaller so she would have more chances to recite her English. As it was she had plenty of chances for I had 8 bowls of rice and Cecil 10.

Otsu is a city of 40,000 inhabitants at one end of Biwa Lake, a beautiful large body of inland water, bounded on the west by the Japanese Alps, on the north by mountains, and on the south and east by a low flat expanse of green paddy fields that lose themselves in distant hills. There are many spots of beauty and scores of shrines, temples, and historical places near this lake and on its islands.

We took a small boat to Salamoto and there began the ascent of Mt. Hiei. There was a German aboard the boat and he went up as far as the cable car with us. Cecil had a great opportunity to air out his German, which he speaks well.

The path was very steep and climbed up through a lovely forest through which we caught glimpses of the lake from time to time. Three-quarters of an hour of steady going brought us to Kompon-chudo, an old Buddist temple established as early as 785 A.D. The whole edifice has an aesthetic beauty and well harmonizes with the antique atmosphere of the environment. Today is a national holiday, the Autumn Festival, because of the Autumnal Equinox. The gay crowds were everywhere and most of the temples were well patronized. In fact, they always are. Life over here for those who have leisure seems to revolve about the temple, not especially as a place to pray, but also for rest, meditation, recreation, and picnics. Their beauty, charm and ancient traditions and historical associations must be held very dear by the Japanese.

There is a second cable car that does not run on tracks, but is suspended in the air by a cable line, and carries you a half mile or less across a hillside to the opposite side of Mt. Hiei. On the east side of the mountain, 2,800 ft. above sea level, you see the serene lake, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, 146 miles in circumference, 267 square miles, being 248 feet above sea level and having a maximum depth of 318 feet. On all sides are the dark green mountains misty in the distance. Shimei, the highest point among 36 peaks of Mt. Hiei, is a spot to dream about, for Lake Biwa lies on one hand, and Kyoto on the other. There is a cable car with the west side too but we walked it—under the forests and bushes—coming out at a traction line near the foot, hence to Kyoto.

This time we chose a very busy and humble Japanese rice house where we had fish and numerous bowls of rice and cups of tea, all for 18 sen or nine cents. I enjoy a place like that. No person of high caste would ever be seen in such a place for only the lowest eat there, coolies and workingmen. Still, the place is reasonably clean and the food is good.

Cecil had decided to leave tonight for Kobe so he could get to work tomorrow again. We walked to the station, through Theatre Street, down another narrow thoroughfare where we visited some curio shops, and finally to the station where we said goodbye. Cecil will have left for Berlin before I return to Kobe.

Was darned sorry to see him go for he is a dandy boy and interesting and intelligent. He is 24. His father is dead and his mother lives in a town in Kansas. Cecil studied in a Kansas university and later Columbia. He was very interested in psychology and economics. Coming to Germany, he worked in the coal fields in the southern part of the Rhine near Frankfurt, and won a scholarship on a thesis he wrote of this work. The scholarship begins this November.

After a year in Germany he took a bike trip to Berlin, Pozan, Moscow, Prague, Vienna, through Switzerland up into Prussia again. Then he took the Trans-Siberian train across Russia and Siberia to Vladivostok and a boat to Japan where he has remained a month, seeing Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Kobe. He has spent some time in Moscow and Russia studying the conditions, etc. and may return when his scholarship is finished to teach English and to study and observe—or else return to America. Socialism has claimed him as one of its adherents and he is all for the system and sees a great future for Russia if the Soviet Government continues its present policy for another twenty years. The experiment is an interesting one and I like some of its policies. I agree with Cecil that it will some day spread over the world and possibly tear down all national boundaries. Though it teaches the horrors of war, it does not hesitate to take up arms for national defense. Certainly its doctrines as working out in actual practice are giving the laboring classes preference over others and are eliminating costs of advertising, middlemen, etc. by complete monopolies on all commodities.

Walked back to the hotel (2½ miles) in the rain, but had a large parasol. Theatre St. was packed with humanity parading under parasols, and life was almost as gay as ever. Bed felt good for a change. It consists of a thin mattress laid on the floor, a sheet over it. You have another sheet and a heavy comfort to pull over you. As I am taller than most Japs, my feet hang over the end. The pillow is bullet-shaped and filled with dry rice. This is all rolled up and stuck away in the daytime.

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