Sunday, November 4, 2012

September 11-15, 1953 Still in Tokyo, Still Shopping, The Zoo and The Forbidden City

"Near the center of Tokyo is the palace where the Emperor of Japan lives.  The palace was originally a castle built in 1457 and the palace grounds are surrounded by a high wall and a moat filled with water. 

A large part of the palace was destroyed during World War II and a new one will soon be built.  Japanese officials visited the White House in the United States and Buckingham Palace in England before they planned the new home for their Emperor.  

Main gate onto grounds, Emperor's Palace

The Diet building is not far from the palace.  This is the center of the Japanese government.  The Diet is composed of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. All of the members are elected by the Japanese people who must be twenty years old in order to vote.  The Prime Minister, or President, and his Cabinet are chosen from among the Diet members and by the Diet members.

Where does the Emperor fit into this democratic form of government?  He is the symbol of Japan to his people.  This is made clear in the first part of the Constitution which the Japanese wrote, with the help of the United States, after the war.  The present Emperor Hirohito is not only loved by his own people but is greatly respected by scientists of the world.  He is an authority on marine biology and spends much of his time working in his laboratory.  He has discovered new forms of marine life and has written books and papers on marine biology."
(Dragon-fly Land:  Japan, by Bonnie Belshe, 1955.)  

Diary Entry:  Sept. 11, 1953

"Rain!  Darlene & I took subway downtown.  Fulbright furnishing sitters now--college girls with some English.  First orientation meeting at 2:00 P.M. Miss Kanda very nice.  Made folded paper toys for children.  Went to Fulbright sukiyaki party in hotel dining room.  Excellent food.  Prepared & served by Diet building waitresses.  Citron soda & beer flowed freely. Neither did we sit on floor."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 12, 1953

Lovely, sunny day.  Mr. Mishimura asked me to tell management if we wanted different food for children so we made a list.  Dinner was greatly improved.  Had a dessert at last--apple pie & very good.  Children got some rice.  Manager didn't think we'd want ice cream since it has been cool.  Hope to have some tomorrow.  Miss Kanda came at 2:00 p.m. & we all went to the zoo.  They had a year old hippo.  Very fine zoo."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 13, 1953

"Pouring rain and a Sunday.  No meetings so we went downtown soon after lunch.  American pharmacy like any other drug store.  Everywhere people talk to Ann.  She won't talk.  Browsed in book stores.  Found books on Japan.

Children got some new blocks so were happy when we got to the hotel & they could open them.  Found them each a cotton robe too.  No trouble about language in the dept. stores.  Someone also speaks Eng.  Stores all open on Sunday.  Closed on Mon.  This is such a noisy town.  Radios squawk & blast.  Horns honk.  All kinds of noise."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 14, 1953

"Festival is going on and there are plays in the street, drums, music, parades, noise. Started to rain so bought two umbrellas.  Chose our handles & man fixed them on.  Discounted 50 yen without our asking.  Mother gave Bob & Ann each a paper hat.  Little man once made an umbrella for the Emperor.  Today was good sample of Japan's humidity.  Nothing got dry.  Beds feel clammy."

Children's Autumn Festival book

  Diary Entry:  Sept. 15, 1953

"Festivals still going on.  This is a sort of Thanksgiving.  We walked down to the parade &  took a few pictures.  A shop keeper came out and took our picture.  Climbed to observation tower on Matsuya Dept. store & took a few pictures.  At supper we asked for cheese sandwiches for Bob & Ann.  Waiter understood it as salad sandwiches so they had a sandwich made of chopped potatoes, carrot, peas.  Ann said, "Boy, they sure make good sandwiches in Japan."  Went to Forbidden City (Chinese Restaurant). Glazed bananas for dessert.  Wonderful."



  1. I'd love to pour over those books - especially the one about about Japanese Customs and Manners. I've always found etiquette books highly interesting, but haven't read too many from countries outside of Northern Europe and North America.

    Wishing you the loveliest of Sundays, dear Ann,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. I see I have missed another comment! And to have discovered it 4 years later is quite strange:-) Perhaps I have finally learned how to use the dashboard-haha! You are correct that the books are very interesting and rather unique. I wish that more people gave thought to etiquette today. Perhaps we'd all experience more courtesy that way! Thanks so much for your support and encouragement of the blog, including your thoughtful comments. I hope I find whatever I have missed so that I can thank you properly. I am so sorry to be so late in my reply. What poor etiquette:-)

  2. I'm very grateful for having one of the latest greatest masterpiece as much as I appreciate. And I'm very proud of her getting know you which is my proud I may God bless you and more.

    1. Thanks so much for writing! It is great to hear from you and I appreciate your comments very much.

  3. That is amazing in 1953 boy! Japanese doesn't have any camera.… that is very important for Japanese history after War II  they look so joyful and happy very remarkable scene a lot … I must to say thank you for the sharing greatest masterpiece of mine. God bless us and y'all!👍

    1. Thank you! I'm delighted that you saw this post and enjoyed the photos! And yes, they are a little piece of history:-)


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