Many of the people brought me presents of fruit or fans, dolls, photographs or sake. I always tried to make them a little speech of thanks, but sometimes I am sorry to say that a wild unreasonable mad fury possessed me, and I felt that I was being tortured. Any other personality near me was like a concrete thing, an actual weight pressing on me. Hot fire would rush through my nerves until I was scared of breaking out into violent speech, and I would say, ‘Please ask everyone to leave, I am tired and must sleep. I knew that the people there were sometimes deeply offended.
The Japanese could not understand that nerves could be so on edge as to drive a person crazy. Mine were; I sweated in an agony of fear if the nurse dressing my wounds twitched a single hair. I offended them, too, when I asked visitors to leave me alone when I was having my wounds dressed. Some of these wounds were in quaint places and I was at first embarrassed when women and young girls at the end of the bed watched them being dressed. Later I grew used to being watched, as I grew used to other Japanese customs, and to Japanese food.
All Inclusive Trips To China Photo Gallery
There was one visitor I was always glad to see. She was a Shintoist disciple, perhaps a missionary, because she left me Shinto tracts with an English translation headed ‘Foreign Missions’. This amused me because ‘foreign missions conjured up for me a picture of a didactic intense white man making Polynesian natives wear Mother Hubbards, and converting people like the Japanese. The reason why I was always glad to see her – for this Shintoist disciple was a charming old wizened up lady – was that she radiated goodness, and also did physical good each time. She prayed with a long droning incantation, and all the time she glided her hands over my body always in the same way until I felt soothed, then drowsy, and afterwards would drop into a heavy sleep, no matter how many visitors were in the room. Also, she gave me rice-charms to swallow, but I do not know if they had any effect.
I had a special nurse, who was Christian Japanese. Afterwards I found out that she was employed by the police. She was quite unlike any other Japanese girl I met, and much of the time she spent sleeping loudly. Between whiles she showered me with glasses of water, medicine, ice and knocks. She was very clever at one thing, catching mosquitoes.
I thought the Japanese women I met were ideal with their happiness, desire to please, fondness of a joke, and their polite manners. They were small, with perfect figures, soft skinned, with plump firm flesh, doll’s eyelashes, with soft, dark, slanting eyes, and jet black hair. They were the most charming and delightful women. The Japanese men seemed to treat them roughly, but they were extremely happy. I never could form a clear opinion of Japanese men. They were so intensely foreign to an Englishman that it was difficult to find a standard by which to measure them. They could be insensitive and cruel; they could be intensely kind. Here is a letter I had from Hayashi-san, the interpreter at Kagoshima:
Sir, receiving the report of the mishap I have profound regret which never could be forgotten. I expected you will success as I said you, I hope you will success, when bid farewell on the beach. I hope you will buy fresh eggs with money that I present to you and take them to make you healthy.One of the Japanese newspapers, the Nichi Nichi Shimbun with a nine million circulation, published an extra about my crash. They printed a letter from a lieutenant of the Naval Air Force that said, ‘We had been hoping that he would not encounter an accident when taking off at Katsuura. Kitsugura Bay is about 2,000 metres in diameter, flanked by rocks 100 metres high. The outlet of the bay is narrow, and just in front of it is an island. It is an ideal port of refuge, but a very dangerous place for seaplanes to come and go.’
Two days after the crash I began to wonder if I could write a book and get enough money by it to buy a fishing-boat. I wrote, ‘I’m going to inspect a fishing-boat here as soon as I can walk. Doesn’t seem to be much chance of ever getting a plane to finish my flight. In Suzuki’s house I wrote left-handed, ‘Every flight is moulded into a perfect short story; for you begin, and are bound to lead up to a climax.’