Incense Shop from Jinrikisha days in Japan By Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore

Japanese Landscape


The "incense-shop" is one of the choicest and most truly Japanese of curio-shops. It looks, from the street, an every-day affair; but after propitiating the attendants by a purchase of perfume, the inner wealth is revealed in rooms filled with the choicest old wares. The salesmen tempt the visitor with rare koros, or incense-burners, and, in an elementary way, the master plays the daimio's old game of the Twenty Perfumes. He sprinkles on the hibachi's glowing coals some little black morsels in the shape of leaves, blossoms, or characters; scattering green particles, brown particles, and grayish ones, and showing the ignorant alien how to catch the ascending column of pale-blue smoke in the bent hand, close the fingers upon it, and convey it to the nose. You cannot tell which odor you prefer, nor remember which dried particle gave forth a particular fragrance. The nose is bewildered by the commingled wreaths and mixed cathedral odors, and the master chuckles delightedly.
Jinrikisha days in Japan
 By Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore