MAY 27, 1953
TOKYO—On Saturday noon a welcoming lunch was given by the head of International House and the Committee for Intellectual Interchange which are the two committees working together to bring the US and Japan to a closer understanding of each other's situations.
Right after the luncheon Mrs. E. J. Griffith motored me back to the hotel to collect my bag and then we started up into the mountains. It was raining but in spite of that the beauty of the mountains could not be obscured. For the most part they are heavily wooded and where trees have been cut down, the forestry service, which was established some 50 years ago, is now replanting evergreens as rapidly as possible.
The road up the mountain is barely wide enough for two cars to pass, with deep gutters on either side, so if your eye is not good, you will land in a gutter and I fully expected to find a number of cars obstructing our way which had slid off, but nothing of the kind occurred! Somehow the biggest vehicles you have ever seen seem to manage to get by. There are deep canyons with rushing streams at the bottom of the mountains and along the way there are a number of Japanese hotels and hotels for foreigners on the hillsides. All of them have hot springs and people come there to take the hot baths.
All along the road it seemed to me one little village followed another. There is only room enough for one house on each side of the road so the front is a shop and the back and second story are the living quarters.
The vegetable markets fill me with the greatest interest for they grow white radishes a foot long and carrots two feet long! The average farmer cultivates from one and a half to three acres of land and he cultivates intensively whether it is a rice paddy, a wheat field, or a vegetable garden.
The Griffiths' house was bought from a German who certainly knew how to pick himself a beautiful site and then placed thereon a Bavarian house. The whole area is called Hakoni Park. The Japanese garden surrounding the house is well planned and attended and though it is not large it has a hundred varieties of trees and shrubs in it.
We went all around the servants' little native house to get an idea of what a real Japanese house is like.
All Saturday evening and a good part of Sunday the Japanese members of the Committee and the Griffiths as American residents of long standing, tried to give me a good picture of Japanese life and thought.
For one brief time on Sunday morning the clouds lifted on the top of Mt. Fuji and a beautiful sight emerged—a snow capped symmetrical cone with clouds around its base.
On our way home we drove to the other side of the mountain to look at the lake that is nestled in the hills. The clouds lifted again and we got a view of the lake with its little excursion steamer just leaving from the dock. As we continued down the mountain the clouds cleared completely and we had some lovely views.
Along the way we stopped at Princess Chichibu's house. Her husband died a few months ago and she and her mother have moved to a little house nearer Tokyo. Madame Saito was there and later Madame Tagaki came in.
I will tell you more about my talk with the Princess tomorrow.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Tokyo (Japan)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 27, 1953
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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