The fifth day of the fifth month is the Boys’ Festival. Then they are selling bows and arrows and other toy weapons everywhere. Everywhere they hang out great paper fishes, shaped like carp, and brightly painted. These are hung to tall bamboo poles of which there is one set in front of every house where they have a boy in the family. One fish is hung for each boy, and it is a gay sight to see the hundreds of bright fish waving and tossing in the wind. The reason 92why the carp is represented is because it swims up the river against the current; so it is hoped “the sturdy boy, overcoming all obstacles, will make his way in the world and rise to fame and fortune.”
The women tattoo, beginning in girlhood. The patterns are cut in the flesh with a razor and soot is rubbed into the lines; to render the 96color permanent, water in which ash-tree bark has been steeped is rubbed over the part tattooed. The tattooing first done is at the centre of the upper lip; later the lower lip. The marks are added to from time to time until they cover the upper lip and reach from ear to ear. Such women appear to have a great moustache. After marriage a woman’s forehead may be tattooed, also patterns may be made up the backs of the hands and on the arms, and rings may be tattooed around her fingers.
Korean Lion represents a game that children in Japan are very fond of playing. They are probably trying to act as well as the maskers did whom they saw on New Year's Day, just as our children try and imitate things they see in a pantomime. The masker goes from house to house accompanied by one or two men who play on cymbals, flute, and drum.
The boys in the picture must be playing with the puppies of a large dog, to judge from their big paws. There are a great many large dogs in the streets of Tokio; some are very tame, and will let children comb their hair and ornament them and pull them about. These dogs do not wear collars, as do our pet dogs, but a wooden label bearing the owner's name is hung round their necks.
The masker goes from house to house accompanied by one or two men who play on cymbals, flute, and drum. He steps into a shop where the people of the house and their friends sit drinking tea, and passers-by pause in front of the open shop to see the fun. He takes a mask, like the one in the picture, off his back and puts it over his head. This boar's-head mask is painted scarlet and black, and gilt. It has a green cloth hanging down behind, in order that you may not perceive where the mask ends and the mans body begins. Then the masker imitates an animal. He goes up to a young lady and lays down his ugly head beside her to be patted, as "Beast" may have coaxed "Beauty" in the fairy tale. He grunts, and rolls, and scratches himself. The children almost forget he is a man, and roar with laughter at the funny animal.
Yoshi-san and his Grandmother go to visit the great temple at Shiba. They walk up its steep stairs, and arrive at the lacquered threshold. Here they place aside their wooden clogs, throw a few coins into a huge box standing on the floor. It is covered with a wooden grating so constructed as to prevent pilfering hands afterward removing the coin. Then they pull a thick rope attached to a big brass bell like an exaggerated sheep-bell, hanging from the ceiling, but which gives forth but a feeble, tinkling sound. To insure the god's attention, this is supplemented with three distinct claps of the hands, which are afterward clasped in prayer for a short interval; two more claps mark the conclusion. Then, resuming their clogs, they clatter down the steep, copper-bound temple steps into the grounds. Here are stalls innumerable of toys, fruit, fish-cakes, birds, tobacco-pipes, ironmongery, and rice, and scattered amidst the stalls are tea-houses, peep-shows, and other places of amusement. Of these the greatest attraction is a newly-opened chrysanthemum show.