Yokohama, Japan

Thursday, September 26, 1929

Spent the night in a corkscrew position on the train, but got some sleep. Too dark to see Fujiyama when we passed. The country was still hilly and pretty this morning, but was too full of telegraph poles.

Reached the fine Yokohama station at 5:41 AM and I took a tram most of the distance down to where I finally located the Marine Y, a two-story wood building, but all right on the inside. I got a bed in the dormitory for a yen and have it all to myself. However, if my bed is like that next to me, I shall not be staying very long—for a very good reason.

The day is a miserable one—chilly and rainy—one steady pour. Already I have tatch a dood told and the outlook is rotten.

The new Yokohama will be some place some day. The streets are very wide, well laid out, and paved. Everything is new, of course, and there are some fine buildings here with more going up. Many banks, offices, hotels, etc. are in temporary places of business. When good weather decides to return, I imagine the city will look pretty good. Right now I prefer a heater and a hot lunch. The heater I can forget—also the warm clothes I left in Kobe. As for the hot lunch, I shall have to find a rice house as I can’t go the price here.

Seventy years ago Yokohama was but a small fishing village with a few groups of thatched cottages. Today it is one of the most important treaty ports of the Empire. It is situated on the Bay of Yokohama, 18 miles south of Tokyo, the capital. The city, 565,308 people, is divided into three parts—the eastern part is called Yamashitach and used to be the foreign settlement. Now it’s occupied by hotels, clubs, consulates, and foreign business firms. At the south end of Yamashitaco there stretches from east to west a low range of hills called “The Bluff.” This is the foreign residential quarter. All else is called the native town and occupies the greater part of the whole city.

As it was only drizzling at one, I put on my slicker and found a place to eat near the Sakuragicho Station (where trams leave for Tokyo every few minutes). I suppose a tourist would call my restaurant a dive. True, it doesn’t look so appetizing on the outside or in, and the owners are poor Japs who speak no English. But, as always, they were very kind and honored that I should eat there and gave me the best of everything, even to special chopsticks. I had a bowl of soup (which one drinks from the bowl, pouring some over the rice), rice, pickled vegetables, slaw, and two meat paddys [patties] with tea—all for 25 sen—12¢.

Not far away stands Daijingu Shrine on Iseyama Hill. This is a branch of the Grand Shrine of Ise which is the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan. The shrine is a new one, probably erected following the great earthquake of 1923. It is small and attractive.

Hard by is Nogeyama Hill which is crowned by a temple. This temple is also new and has a different design from the old style, one that is not nearly so attractive. A row of large cigars balanced on a plain tin-covered roof; two sticks protruding at either end of the roof—looking like a weak attempt at rusticness. A fine view of the city may be had from here. One sees the many ships at anchor, the ship-building yard where a gigantic red hulk is nearing completion. And there, new Yokohama, a fine city under construction. I guess the earthquake has left little of interest to see in the city. However, there are many places of interest in the vicinity and if the weather permits, I shall go to Kamakura tomorrow.

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