Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
The Japanese are talking of forming some troops also, and I hope they will. But they already get some of the Scout training in their own schools and homes. They learn that their first duty is to be loyal to their Emperor and country, and to make themselves strong, brave, and manly, so that they can serve their Emperor all the better. And every boy and every man carries out this idea. We know this from their wonderful bravery in their war with Russia.
I went and saw a lot of them at their daily practice of fencing with bamboo sticks and practising jiu-jitsu to make themselves strong and active and good-tempered.
I say good-tempered, because it is very like boxing, you have to take a good many hard knocks, and take them smiling; if a fellow lost his temper at it everybody would laugh at him and think him a fool.
In jiu-jitsu they learn how to exercise and develop their muscles, how to catch hold of an enemy in many different ways so as to overpower him, how to throw him, and, what is very important, how to fall easily if they get thrown themselves.
Boat Handling Sea Scouts would be interested, and perhaps amused, to see how the Japanese manage their boats.
Most of them scull their boats-even great big boats with a single oar over the stern instead of putting it through a rowlock or crutch as we do. They have an iron pin sticking up out of the stern about three inches high, and there is a small round hole in the oar by which it fits on to this pin and can then be waggled sufficiently to screw the boat along.
In Northern Japan, where the Ainus live, they row the boat, but they pull the oars alternately, first the right, then the left, not as we do, both sides together. In this way their boat keeps zigzagging all the while as it goes, and takes a longer time to get where it wants to go.
Japanese at Home
I noticed that the Japanese boys are very kind to children, they would often stop and play for a minute or two with a kiddy as they passed, or would take a baby about with them tied on their backs (which is the usual way that babies are carried in Japan).
The Japanese from boyhood upwards are fond of flowers and of animals and birds. While I was there the cherry trees were all in full bloom, and the people went about the parks in crowds simply to look at them.
During their war with Russia, ladies who visited the wounded Japanese soldiers in hospital said that the presents which the men liked the most were a few flowers or a spray of blossoms.
The Japanese houses are all beautifully clean and neat, but I think we should find them a bit cool in winter. They are generally built of lath-and-plaster with tiled roofs, and all the room walls and many of the outer walls are wooden frames with small panes like windows, but covered with thin paper which lets in the light. These frames are neatly fitted in grooves, and are made to slide to and fro.
There are no doors, so if you want to walk into the next room you slide part of the partition wall away.
If your room is too small, you can slide most of the wall away and so make the next room part of it. Or if you want fresh air you slide away the outer wall and so make your room into a kind of verandah. The Japanese often do this, as they love the open air, although it is as cold as in England. They do not have tables or chairs or beds, but they use the floor, which is covered with