Chas. Blauvelt

233 Broadway, New York City, U.S.A.

This is the diary kept by my grandfather on his visit to Japan from August 6 to September 10, 1923, an idyllic travelogue culminating in the cataclysmic Tokyo Earthquake and Fire. Aside from a few commas, this transcript is verbatim. Blanks ("______") are in the original.
- Whit Blauvelt

Copyright © 1995, The Estate of Charles Blauvelt

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in scholarly work, may not be copied in whole or in part without permission.

C o n t e n t s

Aug 6: Arrival in Yokohama
Aug 7: The American Kitchen
Aug 8: The Imperial Gardens
Aug 9: The Gardens of General Iguchi
Aug 10: Climbing Fuji

Aug 12: Swimming Races at Numazu Beach
Aug 13: Shizouka: Shrines & a Dinner
Aug 14: Cormorant Fishing at Gifu
Aug 15: Yoho Waterfalls Carnival
Aug 16: Count Otani in Kyoto
Aug 17: Dinner Theatre in Okayama
Aug 18: The Palaces of Kyoto
Aug 19: The Fragrance of Roses
Aug 20: An Island in the Inland Sea
Aug 21: "My Old Kentucky Home"
Aug 22: Loafing in Miyazima
Aug 23: Naval Restrictions
Aug 24: Loafing in Miyazima
Aug 25: Return to Kyoto
Aug 26: A Collection of Carp
Aug 27: The Count's Garden Party
Aug 28: Moving Pictures
Aug 29: The Best Singer in Japan
Aug 30: Fishing Boats

Sept 1: A Terrible Earthquake
Sept 2: Fire by Night & Day
Sept 3: Korean Vengance
Sept 4: Martial Law
Sept 5: Communications Down
Sept 6: The U.S.S. Whipple
Sept 7: Destination Desired
Sept 8: The President Pierce
Sept 9: Salt Water
Sept 10: Started for Home

Aug 6/23

6 a.m. arrived Yokohama & had breakfast with Mr. + Mrs. O. + Yoichi at the Grand Hotel.

Was met at the boat by twelve members of Okamoto + Co. Ltd. and after breakfast came to Tokyo.

Stopped at the Imperial Hotel.


Aug 7

Visited O+Co. Ltd. office. Shopped at Ida + Co. lunched at the American Kitchen. Visit Yonezo's new house in afternoon and had supper at restaurant.


Aug 8

Visited the Imperial Gardens in a.m. Had long talk with Takegi in afternoon.


Aug 9

Took train at 9:30 from Tokyo to Numadza arriving at about 1 p.m. Had lunch on the train - OK. Train consisted of about ten cars - 1st 2nd & 3d class.

About a dozen came down to the train to see me off and another twelve or fifteen met us at the station on arrival, two of which were Generals past 70 years old.

Shortly after arriving at the Senshokaku Hotel right on the beach we left in two autos and visited the gardens of General Iguchi. Gardens were very beautiful and General Iguchi and his wife both were pleasant. After seeing his gardens we returned to his new home and saw a wonderful waterfall, with Mount Fuji in the background.

Had an opportunity to see a real Japanese town. Children in birthday suits and men wearing only a strap. Mixed bathing on the beach, men wearing just a strap, and taking this off to put on their B.V.Ds.

Before supper Y.O. said take off your clothes and come down and I'll show you a Japanese bath. My room had been the main meeting room for all and was as open as all outdoors, and at the time about four men and a maid were in the room, so I asked where to disrobe and Y.O. laughed good and proper when he said right here. I had the maid evicted and then got busy.

Supper was served in my bedroom on the floor in small trays to all except me. Mine was at a table overlooking the ocean. All were dressed in kimonos. I had softshell crab, toast, steak, potatoes, fried chicken, asparagus, peas, tomatoes, soup and strawberry jam. Had an aluminum fork that bent out of shape every time you used it and a steel knife.


Aug 10

Left Numadzu Station at about 6:45 for Gotemba arriving at about 7:30. Took autos to Subashiri. Here we changed to horses and went on horseback to what is known as the 8th Station, a distance of eight miles from Subashiri. At this station we were 10990 feet in the air. We stayed here over night in what they called a hotel. It consisted of one big room say 18 x 45 feet, with two entrances, and a window at one end. Near the end which had the window was a wood stove on which all the cooking was done. We arrived at the hotel(?) at about 5 p.m. and already about twenty were in their beds for the night. There were fourteen or sixteen in our party, all men, and a piece of sheeting about five feet high was drawn across one end giving us about ten by eighteen feet to ourselves. Cushions were brought in and we preceded to have supper, some of which was prepared on the aforesaid stove and some brought with us. When that was out of the way we cleared up things and our beds consisting of a heavy quilt each were laid on the floor. We slept with our feet to feet in fact the feet of one man overlapped those of the man on the opposite side of the room. There were about 65 all told sleeping in the big room and about five of them were women. Because of the cold all the doors were closed. Our pillows were about 4" x 4" x 10" made of straw and after we laid down on our beds they brought other heavy comfortables and covered us up.

Because of everything nobody in our part of the house slept at all.

We were all up at about four this morning but for lack of water we merely cleaned our teeth and mouths and called it a bath.

We got started on the last 1400 feet of the journey by about 4:45 a.m. today and reached the highest peak shortly after sunrise. The views were wonderful. In all directions we could see lakes and other mountains in the distance. We were far above the clouds and they looked like snow so far below. After circling the mouth of the former volcano crater we descended. We came down the mountain by what is known as the sandy descent. It is a path of loose cinders about the size of buckwheat and pea coal combined and is soft to a depth of fifteen or more inches. The path leads for the most part almost straight down the mountain side and very rapid descent can be made by taking long running strides striking on the heels and sliding at least a yard at each step. At Station Two we took a wagon and at Uneagaeshi took an auto back to the station for home. It was a wonderful thing to see the steady stream of visitors to the sacred mountain. They were almost all Japanese and ranged from eight or ten years to eighty.

One old Japanese man accompanied by three girls probably grandchildren climbed to the peak carrying a pack on his back that he could hardly lift to its position. In our party was one man seventy-two years old and another past sixty. They made the entire trip without complaint and finished as strong as any of us.


Aug 12

Rested at Numazu.

Beach crowded because of the swimming races. Took some pictures and gathered stones in the morning and went in swimming in the afternoon. Water very warm. After supper went to the village and saw fireworks in the river. Boats prettily decorated and great crowds in gay colors.


Aug 13

Arrived at Shizuoka at about 1:30 p.m. Was met at station by about a dozen representatives including General Yoshiye of the Japanese Army a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War, Capt. Ishii of the Japanese Navy and ______.

We were driven in two autos to the Daitokwan Hotel where tea was served and wet towels provided. We then drive to the ______ Shrine and later to the ______ Temple. Here everything was open to us. The vast treasures were all hung on display and the old priest over 76 years old although not well came out and greeted me. We visited the tomb of ______ and following the custom of Japan poured water over the flowers in stone vases and into a basin forming part of the tomb so the soul of the departed would not thirst for a drink.

In the evening there was a dinner given in my honor at the hotel and this was presided over by General Yoshiyi who sat directly opposite me. On his right was Capt. Ishii and on his left was ______. Mr. Okamoto was at my right and Mrs. Okamoto at my left. There were twenty-six or twenty-seven at the dinner. Gen. Yoshiye made the address of welcome in Japanese and was loudly applauded and Mr. Okamoto then translated the address for me. Gen'l Yoshiye then made another short address and presented me with a gift representing the art of Japan and to which sixty or more had contributed funds for the purchase.

Met Mrs. + Dr. Morris Booth Miller of the University of Penn., who lives in Philadelphia and is a good friend of Judge Buffington and Mrs. Hartsforn and several other friends of Y.O. Introduced them to Mr. Seiko on the train.


Aug 14

Arrived at Gifu at about 5:00 p.m. and went direct to hotel. ______ Company had chartered the largest of about fifty boats and we got aboard at about 6:30. Twenty-seven men and three geisha girls to entertain and some supper. About eight in the kitchen to prepare it. Boat itself about 80' x 12' propelled by poles and drawn by three coolies from shore by ropes. Night was perfect with just a new moon shining. We floated up stream about two miles and anchored there, waited for the fishermen to come down. While we were waiting we ate a Japanese supper and shot off fireworks. There were perhaps two hundred boats of all kinds on the stream, each gaily decorated with lanterns. After supper the geishas sang and played the samisen.

At about 9:45 the fishing boats came in view. About eight of them each burning a bright wood torch, about the size and shape of a peach basket, over the water slightly in front of the boat. Standing in the bow of each was a man holding twelve cords about fifteen or eighteen feet in length and each cord or rope was tied around the throat of a bird called cormorants, about the size of an ordinary duck but more slender. These birds had not been fed since just after fishing the night before and were therefore very hungry. They are trained at catching fish and would dive under the water and swim about and catch fish of all sizes which they would try to swallow whole but because of the string around their necks could only get part way down. They would then be drawn into the boat and a slight pressure at the lower end of the throat would cause them to dislodge all the fish into the boat still alive. One of these birds was brought over to our boat and showed his capacity to be eight fish about the size of good big smelts and one fish about 11" long.

Through on order of the governor of this province the fishermen were instructed to keep close to our boat which was marked with a lantern up high over the boat. We were within ten feet of some one of the boats for at least thirty minutes and saw the whole workings of this style of fishing. It is very wonderful, interesting and exciting.

To-day we will visit the Government department controlling the raw silk industry. One of the famous waterfalls of Japan known as Yoho Waterfalls and will then move on to Kyoto.

We were told that the birds catch about 250 to 300 fish a night.


Aug 15

Left Geifu at about 9:00 a.m. and visited a silk worm and cocoon establishment. Then went by train and auto to the Yoho Waterfalls at Yoho. This being the day for Yoho Waterfalls carnival there were hundreds of others there who had come with the sole idea of being helped by bathing in the falling waters.

It is said by so doing you can keep well for the whole year. They were there of all ages. Singly, by families, couples, groups and often an old lady or an old man with an infant in arms. There was not standing room with a radius of 50' of the base of the falls and the crowd kept changing all the while. Costumes of every type, or non at all served as bathing suits. Throughout Japan there seems to be an absolute disregard for women's modesty.

Men bathe at most beaches wearing no bathing suits or undress on the beach and then put on just a strip of cloth which they wear as a strap. Children of both sexes bath absolutely naked up to the ages of ten or twelve years.

In the bathing at Yoho there appeared to be a seriousness and sincerity about the bathers. They were there for a serious purpose and were apparently firmly convinced that the bath will keep them well. The falls and nature scenery around them are beautiful, and the sight of hundreds forcing their way in to reach the falls was remarkable.

Arrived in Kyoto at about 7:30 and was met by Count Otarri's Cadillac limousine and two cars from the hotel. We rode in the count's car to the Hotel Sawabun where we will stay for about three days. Are to call on Count Otani at 10:00 tomorrow, and are to visit the Imperial Palaces at 8:00 a.m. the next day.


Aug 16

Count Otani sent his car to my hotel for us and after a half-hour ride through and about Kyoto we were driven back to his house and temple and received by Count Otani, his wife, daughter Princess Tada, son Prince Kocho in the reception rooms of the Temple where the Imperial Family is received and where Crown Prince of England was received. We had a very pleasant half-hour chat after Count Otani presented me with one of Saiko's pictures, a picture by himself and a copy of reproductions of all his paintings and of those of his ancestors. He then showed us through the temple buildings permitting me to take pictures, and afterward we returned to his home, where refreshments were served and all sat for their pictures in their living room. These were taken in the [illegible]. After lunch we had a long drive in Otani's car about Kyoto visiting various shrines and temples. Tonight we are going out again in his car to see some special celebrations and fireworks - another annual affair that we just ran into.


Aug 17

Left Kyoto at about 8:30 a.m. and arrived at Okayama 12:50. Was met at the station by Mr. Ishihara and Mr. Nagasawa and by a party of about thirty others. Mostly middle aged to elderly men, a few ladies and four or five children.

Went directly to our hotel in Noksho's[?]. After getting our baths we were told that a reception awaited us at the park. This meant that I would be called upon to make another address.

We left the hotel and were taken to the park about a mile away in rickshaws, arriving at a large building decorated with a large American and a large Japanese flag, at about 2:30 p.m. After removing our slippers we entered to find about seventy men and women awaiting us.

After a short rest in an ante-room and some preliminaries we entered the main room and were given seats at a small table in the front. Scattered about among the gathering were large cakes of ice set in tubs to keep the temperature down. On our table were flowers and a large tub in the front had very pretty flowers and a large branch of pine.

There was a short opening address, then the address of welcome and then an address of presentation, and a translator interpreted for me. An incense burner was presented to me as a token of appreciation for what I had done for Japan. It was carried by one of Mr. Ishihari's daughters. It represents a boy Ohuda sitting upon a lion studying the Koran, and was made right in this city of Okayama.

I had to make a reply to the welcoming address and to the presentation address and these were translated by the same interpreter who left out about three-quarters of what I said. Later Mr. Okamoto gave them the part that this fellow left out. After speechmaking a Japanese lunch was served, and after that we returned to a large outdoor theatre where two short poems were acted in pantomime accompanied by three Japanese harps (called Koto) played by a man and two women. The man recited the poems to the accompaniment of the music while the girls acted the parts. It was very pretty and moved many to tears. The costumes worn by the players were wonderful. The stage setting absolutely plain. Afterwards I met the players and members of some very wealthy families here.


Aug 18

Visited the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Went through the palace where the former Emperor lived and where the former Empress lived and also through the palace formerly occupied by the Shogun and in which palace the power and controll was returned to the Emperor by the last Shogun.

The buildings are of typical Japanese construction with their pretty roofs of bark or tile, only one story in height, very irregular in shape and covering considerable ground. The interior is so constructed that several rooms can be thrown into one room by sliding back large dividing screens which constitute the walls or by removing them altogether. The palace of the former Empress is smaller and less elaborate than that of her husband. Neither of these compared to the palace of the last Shogun. The walls on every side were beautifully painted screens. Work of the art masters and many being three hundred to six hundred years old. The predominating colors were blue, green, white and a vivid red. The subjects were many including Pine Forests, Cranes, Flowers, Cherry Blossoms, Plum Blossoms, Wild Ducks, Wild Animals, Knights Afoot + on Horseback. The background was very often on gold leaf and the effect was gorgeous.

In the palace of the former Emperor is a large room about 40' x 60' where the Coronation of the Emperor Ceremony has taken place. This room or hall has an exceptionally high ceiling and is simply but beautifully decorated in gold, black and red.

In the centre of the room is a throne of gold with black and red decorations and a large chair inlaid with pearl and gold. This is the Emperor's throne and to his left, nearer the end of the room, is a smaller and lower throne also beautifully decorated in gold, black and red for the Empress.

Formerly the Empress was not present at the Coronation Service, but the present Emperor changed the custom by permitting her to occupy a smaller throne in a less conspicuous place.

We also saw and walked through the room in the palace of the last Shogun, where he gave the power and controll of the country back to the Emperor and also gave that palace to the Emperor.


Aug 19

Okayama Commercial Museum in the morning returning to our hotel at about 11:15. After dressing went to the golden wedding celebration of Mr.+Mrs. Ishihara Sr. It was held in a tea house as their home is only a small one and would not accommodate the guests. An informal reception was held first and then all went into a large room about 40' x 60' where tables were all set for about fifty. The Japanese squatted on mats on the floor before low tables and a regulation height table and chairs were provided for the Okamoto and me. The Japanese food was served in many small dishes on small lacquer trays and consisted of about twenty items about seven being served as the first course. All ate with chopsticks. We started on Japanese food with chopsticks but later food more of the American style was served us. Among other things raw eggs were served in a soup dish with a tablespoon for eating it. The dinner was served by ten geisha girls none of which were good looking. Sacke, Port Citrone Cider and mineral water were served. Several speeches were made and presents presented. The geisha girls afterward sang and played on the Samishen. They also danced but there was nothing pretty about any of it. The girls were very attentive. Came to our table in groups of two or three and wanted to know my name, age and profession. One of them wanted me to remember her name. She appeared to be the most refined and intelligent one of the lot, name Nacachiyo or something like that. She told the Okamotos that the next time I came to Japan she will take care of me. She had read Y.O's book The Fragrance of Roses and said I looked older than my picture.


Aug 20

On the 5:30 a.m. train and in about an hour boarded a boat at Umo. This was a steam boat 120' long by about 25' bern two decks and built of steel with a speed of about seventeen miles an hour. It registered 250 tons.

About thirty of us started for an all day sail through the Inland Sea of Japan to Miyazima. We had beautiful weather and a very comfortable trip, taking several pictures along the way. We were saluted with air bombs at two points along the line and made a special stop where about thirty boarded the ship to greet me. At about seven in the evening we landed at ______ where the Okamotos and Ishihara and I stayed for the night. It is an island perhaps half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, with an elevation of about five or six hundred feet, owned privately and only about three or four miles from Miyazima. We had an excellent supper of about eight courses served on a large boat house or open dock over the water, and slept in large open rooms on the top of the hill.


Aug 21

Took small boat to Miyazima arriving at about 10:00 a.m. Was met at the dock by a party of perhaps thirty. After stopping at a hotel for tea we boarded a boat chartered for the purpose and sailed around the Island of Miyazima. This island is about ten miles long and a mile to three miles wide. It is very beautiful, with rugged rock shore or smooth white sand beaches. It is covered entirely by trees, mostly pines of various types and maples, and has many hotels and shrines. The sail took about four hours and we had a Japanese lunch aboard. After returning we went in swimming and then returned and had baths.

After that we dressed for another dinner to me which was informal and attended by about 40. There were two welcoming addresses and I had to give a short talk of about fifteen minutes, which Mr. Okamoto translated. A Japanese dinner of about fifteen or eighteen dishes was served by ten geisha girls and later these girls entertained us with songs and dances, some of which were very pretty. The chairman of the program announced that he was going to call on different ones to sing or tell as story or give a dance. I sang My Old Kentucky Home for them and received very hearty applause and request for more. It was agreed that I would sing one more if I could sing at the end of the performance and could give them a Hymn as sung in my country. I sang two verses of "Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break" and everyone sat still as a mouse until I had finished and then gave me a very hearty clap and most of them thanked me personally for coming and speaking and singing for them.


Aug 22

Loafed at Miyazima.

Took short walk in the morning and bought some souvenirs, including a cane and sent out about 40 postals.

Rec'd 2nd letter from Kate postmarked Tuckahoe 7/24/23.


Aug 23

Rec'd 3d letter from Kate, postmarked Tuckahoe July 31/23. Climbed to the top of Mount Miyajima this morning. Only about one thousand feet above sea level but commands a wonderful view. Not permitted to take photographs from the mountain as this is a fortified port and naval restrictions do not permit picture taking or sketching.

Dug clams and went bathing in the afternoon.


Aug 24

Loafed at Miyazima. In afternoon went swimming and dug some clams. Got to bed early. Rec'd letters from office re Sept. Articles of Import - Freeman's letter re Gray matter etc.


Aug 25

Left Miyajima or Idsukushima at about 2:00 p.m. in small boat for the main land, where we took train for Kyoto arriving at 11:20 p.m. Here we were met by Otani's Packard with chauffeur and a representative from the Sawaban Hotel. On our way to Kyoto we were met at several stations along the line by friends or members of Mr. Okamoto's staff, and at Okayama photographs were presented to us of groups taken at the dinner given me there and at the time of the golden wedding celebration of Mr. Ishihara's parents. At Onomichi which is the largest village on the Inland Sea they gave me a package of postcard views of the place.


Aug 26

Count Otani sent his Cadillac Limousine with chauffeur and footman at 7:30 this morning and we drove about forty miles to Nara to see the shrines there and also to Horinji and Uji where we saw other shrines. From there we went to Yamashina where we saw the finest collection of carps of all kinds. Some of them about 100 years old. They are the private collection numbering about 300 and have been collected from all over the world.


Aug 27

At about 9:00 a.m. Otani's car called for us and drove us to Hozu, a distance of about 15 miles. Her we entered a boat about 35' long and about 4 feet wide. It is built with a flat bottom and straight up sides with front and back sloping up sharply from the water. It is of light construction and the bottom and sides warp in and out as it strikes bottom or against the stones. We started down the Hozu River at about 10:45 and passed through all the rapids and narrow passes. The distance from Hozu where we started to Saga where we ended our trip is about 9 miles and takes about one and one half hours.

At 2:00 in the afternoon we went to Count Otani's Temple to a memorial service held on the 27th of each month in honor of St. Shinran. The Temple itself is a wonderful building with a main auditorium about 150' x 125', and having an enormous alter and ______ occupying a space of say 60' x 125'. There is much gold, and black and red lacquered boxes and stalls. About twenty priests took part in the service which lasted just forty-five minutes. It was led by Count Otani and was very impressive. Was well attended.

At 5:30 left for Count Otani's where a dinner was given in my honor.

Count Otani, Mr.+Mrs. Okamoto, Seiko, Mr. Numa and I constituted the dinner party, which was held at ______ formerly the property of Count Otani's father. It is a palace set in a beautiful Japanese garden which is over 500 years old, right in the heart of Kyoto. The grounds consist of about ______ acres and include lakes, landscape, tea houses and waterfalls besides the palace itself. After being served cocktails on arriving we were shown about the gardens and then returned to the palace where an a#1 dinner was served consisting of about ten courses and four or five different kinds of wine. Everything was nicely served in the best of American style and we finished off with beautiful green ice cream, resembling pistachio but to my regret flavored with the best of young tea leaves. Small cakes accompanied the ice cream and demitasse also. After than fruit and finger loaves. The whole affair was very fine.


Aug 28

Loafed at Kyoto. In the evening saw some moving pictures that a Mr. Numa produced in Japan and is bringing to U.S.A. to exhibit among Japanese.


Aug 29

Left Kyoto at 9:50 a.m. by train arriving at Bendenjima about 2:30 p.m. Had a long auto ride direct to our hotel right on the Ocean or a Bay of the Ocean. Went swimming on arrival. Had supper on the large veranda and was then entertained by Mr. Nakamura and his two daughters and two other men who played and sang for us. Mr. Nakamura played for the late Emperor and is regarded as about the best in Japan and his daughters are also ranked very high as players. We later went out in three boats decorated with Japanese lanterns, and later had refreshments and turned in for the night as we were to get out at five tomorrow morning for a fishing trip, after big fish.

On arriving at this station was met by ten or twelve of Y.O's friends and three autos bearing American + Japanese flags. This entire party will go fishing with us.


Aug 30

Got up at 5:00 a.m. and went out fishing at about 6:00 a.m. I held the record for the morning's catch with four small fish. Had breakfast on the fishing boats and after lunch left Hakone or Miyanoshita arriving at the station about 6 p.m. Took an auto to the hotel. Met the Otanis and had supper and then after talking with the Otanis a few minutes retired for the night at about 9:30.

On our way up from Bendenjime was met at two or three stations along the line by small parties of friends. At Shidzuoka several friends met the train and General Yoshiya gave me another souvenir. It looks like a box of tea.


Sept 1st

At Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Was talking in my room #310 on the third floor with Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Takaki of O.+Co. Lt. here at about 11:55 a.m. when we felt a terrible Earthquake. The whole building rocked and trembled, chairs and the beds slid about the room and we were all scared. As soon as the first quake passed we ran for the street. I stopped long enough to lock my door and my trunk. The halls were dark and all the guests were on their way to the street. Plaster was all over the floor in the halls and on the stairs but the building seemed little damaged.

The streets filled fast with frightened people and buildings were down all about us or badly cracked. We get into Mr. O's car and started for Ueno Park where he lives. Fires and started in six or eight places where we passed and burned with terrible fury. Mr. Takaki left us near the office of O.+Co. Ltd. and just about that time a second quake but not as severe came. After arriving at Mr. O's house the fires seemed to cover the whole city. The fires burned all day and all night. Refugees passed his house by the hundred thousand. Most women carrying babies the men and children carrying great loads of bedding or clothing or pushing a rikisha or some contrivance loaded with house-hold effects. Probably their entire belongings. They used part of Mr. O's house as a hospital and treated a great many.

One man arrived who was caught on a bridge as which the fire was burning and before he could get across because of the crowds ahead fires burst out ahead of him and he lost his mother, his wife and four children - the youngest a little boy who died of suffocation on his daddy's back.

Another woman and four small children arrived for treatment. She had left home with the young ones as her husband was at work at the time of the quake. She reached another bridge and tried for hours to get across but the passage was blocked by sick and the dying or dead and she finally resigned herself to die in the fast approaching flames. She huddled all the little ones around her telling them that they might better all go together. So this little group sat together awaiting the end when a man finally helped them and they got over the bridge and up to Ueno Park, where thousands and thousands were camped.


Sept. 2nd

The fire burned all night and food could not be had anywhere. Supplies were all destroyed in Tokyo and Yokohama. Water was obtained from a well in the grounds of a temple nearby, but was giving out under the heavy use. A woman arrived hugging a little babe. She had left home with three children and her husband and had been caught in a narrow pass with fire all about them. Her husband wanted to kill the children to end their misery as quickly as possible but she would not consent, and drawing the child close to her heart she ran forward, and somehow she got through alive but burned and saved the child.

The fire burned all day and got very near us by evening. I thought our fate was the same as those many poor refugees I had seen and pitied for these last two days and we put all Y.O. salvables in his Storehouse which is supposed to be fire proof and prepared to flee for our lives with a little baggage.

I wrote a farewell note to my sweetheart and left it under a flower pot on a stone in Y.O's yard hoping it would be sent to her if I was lost. I asked Mrs. O. to tell Kate how often I thought of her and our little lovers so far away and how broken hearted I was at being so far away and not having seen them in so long a time. I felt my end was not far off.

We all assembled in their entrance with several others prepared to move at the word. Runners had been sent to the edge of Ueno Park to get the final report of the fire. They came back with the views that the fire was still quite some distance from the edge of the park. Shortly afterward word came that the militia had arrived in full force at this point and was doing everything in its power to save this section.

We waited - such a strain. I could not understand just what they were saying and kept thinking of my loved ones at home whom I had not seen for so long, and might never see again. In about half an hour word came that the fire was under controll, but it looked far from controll. A little later came word that there were lots of Koreans in the neighborhood setting buildings afire with kerosene and dynamite. This gave us all a new scare. We put in trying times up to nine thirty when the fire actually looked to be within controll and the wind had changed so as to blow it back over the burned area. We kept a look out all night. Word came of three Koreans caught with dynamite in their possession.


Sept 3

The fire burned all night but this morning seemed farther away and less threatening. We learned that all told seven Koreans were taken during the night right near us all of which had dynamite or poison or kerosene in their possession and each one was armed. It was reported that several hundred had been taken in the city at large. About three quarters of the city is burned down and over three million are homeless. Probably over a million will starve to death.

Walked to hotel about noon. Hotel is serving two light meals a day. For supper today we had beef and potato soup - a half slice of roll and a cup of cold tea.

Tokyo Nichi Nichi reports Princess Dowager Kayo killed by quake - 150,00 lives lost in and near Tokyo and about 300,000 buildings completely destroyed.

Prince Natsukata - Family killed.
Prince Higathi Fushini killed.
Princess Hrioko Kamii ".
Princess Sakiko Yamashima ".


Sept 4

Slept in chair in front of the hotel last night. Soldiers patrolling the entire city, now under Martial law. Only one or two slight tremors felt during the night and no disturbance notices. No fires visible.

U.S. Embassy has temporary office here at the hotel. All at the hotel were examined today and those who had rooms given badge to get meals. Slight tremors felt throughout day - apparently no fires in city. Many Koreans arrested. Army post part of the hotel.


Sept 5

Slept in my room last night. Water not yet on. Breakfast of spaghetti - pancake, small slice of melon and coffee. Gave cable and $20 [illegible] to a Mr. Foley who was to walk to Osaka with some other business associates. He was going to send the cable off as soon as he arrived. Probable not possible to send from Yoko or Tokyo for at least another week.


Sept 6

Trunks left hotel in three truck loads for transfer to barge to be put aboard U.S. destroyer and taken to Yokohama harbor and put on boat there. We left hotel at about 8:30 and walked to the landing about three miles away where we boarded the same barge. Were taken out to the Destroyer #217 - "Whipple" - and then left for Yokohama. We thought we were to be put on the President Pierce but neither this boat nor the Wilson were in so we were transferred to a French boat "Andre Lebon" which was lying in the harbor awaiting parts for her engines to come from France. This ship is a big one about 70,000 tons and fitted to accommodate about 800 to 1000 passengers. We were given a room on B deck - 3 in a room. No sheets or bedclothes of any kind. Can get water only at meals and only half an hour in the a.m. and half hour in the evening for washing. Boys on the Whipple were great. Our destroyer took all foreigners - not only Americans.


Sept 7

Slept on boat last night rather poorly. Coffee and crackers served for breakfast in our rooms. Nothing else. Watched all day for the President Pierce or President Wilson. Harbor full of boats both merchant and warship. Meals simple but sustaining. During our supper an announcement was made asking all Americans to meet in the smoking room right after the meal to make their desires known as to needs and destination desired. The officer in charge then said he wished to amend the statement to include all foreigners and a great cheer went up. We got the jump on the English, French + all others.

This list was taken at about 9 p.m.


Sept 8

Weather clear. Had breakfast + lunch in the Andre Lebon and at the luncheon it was announced that all Americans desiring to go to Kobe would be put aboard the Australia and sail between 3 and 4 p.m. Practically all those wishing to go to America also went over to the Australia as we were told that she would go to Kobe and then leave at once for Vancouver. We were also told that the President Pierce had left for San Francisco without stopping at Yokohama. All our baggage was bundled out and we boarded the Earl of Australia at about 4 p.m. only to learn that the Pierce had not sailed by would call at Yokohama at 7 p.m. Then all those who wanted to go to America were advised to go right back to the Andre Lebon and await the coming of the Pierce. This upset some of the officers on the Australia who raised strong objection to handling the heavy baggage again.

It was finally agreed to hold the Australia in Yokohama for the arrival of the Pierce and to transfer us direct to her. She came in at about 10:30 p.m. and we were put aboard. My room 109 for which I held a receipt dated Aug. 4th had been given to someone else at Kobe and although I protested they would not make a change and give this room to me. They put Yoichi and me in a room with a man Elias and a Jewish chap who had his belongings all over the room. This is room #101 and is such a shape that it is hard to get two trunks into it. We went to bed a little after midnight and slept well.

Learned we would not sail until Monday Sept. 10th.


Sept 9

Up at 6 a.m. No hot water for bath or shaving. Salt water only in tub and that cold. Hard to get up any lather but got a bath and shave and am glad to be safe on the Pierce.


Sept 10

"President Pierce" short of fresh water and had to restrict its use. Got under way about 1 p.m. Was glad to be started for home.


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