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There are a few stone and brick buildings in Tokyo today, thanks to Japanese eagerness in trying western ideas and methods, but most of the business streets are like this one. Miles and miles and miles there are of just such grayish wooden shops and houses of unpainted wood, with tiled roofs (sometimes they are thatched, but tiles are commoner here in town) ridge-poles with fancifully carved ends and broad eaves that over-hang the front of the building. You notice that each one has a projecting awning or piazza-roof over the ground floor entrance. Look closely and you will see that some of the fronts are closed with sliding screens of bamboo and paper, while others are thrown entirely open by removing the screens. A retail shop has its floor covered with soft, padded mats like those in a house, and clerks and customers patter about in their sticking-feet. Almost all calculations are made with the help of a soroban-a wooden frame full of beads strung on parallel wires. Even dignified middle-aged mean wearing European clothes resort to it for help in figuring the amount of one's purchases. There are, you see, no sidewalks here; horses are rare, and automobiles do not yet terrify people out of the road- all have equal rights here. In rainy weather the mud is something serious, but the Japanese go briskly clattering about on wooden clogs which keep their feet well up out of the mire, and since nobody wears shoes indoors, it does not matter so much, after all. these carrying-poles, much like those used in China, constitute a popular substitute for carts or express-wagons. These coolies can carry much heavier loads than you would think possible; their scanty diet of rice, tea and shredded fish is not calculated to develop stout muscle, but they work uncomplainingly. (See Scherer's "Japan Today", Davidson's "Present Day Japan" Chamberlain's "Things Japanese,"Griffis'"The Mikado's Empre," etc,) From notes of Travel, No. 9, copyright, 1904, by Underwood & Underwood. ____________________________ Burden-bearers of Tokyo, Japan. Porteurs de Tokyo, Japon. [[?]]
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