National Geographic : 1921 Jul
THE GEOGRAPHY OF JAPAN Photograph by A. Nielen LIKE CLOTHES ON A LINE, THE JAPANESE HANG THEIR CORN OUT TO DRY This method of ripening and curing grain is necessary in some districts on account of exces sive rains and the short summer season. Again, while the western side of the great mountain mass of these regions ex hibits leaden skies and biting winds, on the east, toward the Pacific coast, the winter is nearly always delightfully bright and sunny and snowfalls are sel dom seen. AN AVERAGE OF FOUR EARTHQUAKES A DAY One of the most disturbing features (in every sense) of the natural phenom ena of Japan is the frequency of earth quakes. There is an average of four a day, but shocks of a very serious kind only occur once in six or seven years. The consolation is that if they came less frequently they would be more disastrous in their results. The greatest center of activity is on the Pacific coast, near the Bay of Tokyo, and it is here also that the tidal waves are most destructive. Sometimes the loss of life from the combined agencies has amounted to over 27,000. As many as a quarter of a million houses have been destroyed at once. Active volcanoes, however, provide a safety-valve for the disquieting forces at work below the earth's crust, and consequently the re- gions where these are found are seldom harmed by seismic shocks. Typhoons (or cyclones), unlike the earthquakes, can be counted upon with much more certainty, and invariably and appropriately usher in the break up of the summer heat, during the second week in September, though occasionally they appear at other times. This may be counted upon as an absolutely regular fixture. Their effects are usually more destructive on the coast, and occasionally one may find vessels of considerable size deposited high and dry in the back street of a large seaport town. PEASANTS DELIGHT IN HOT SPRINGS There are more than I,ooo mineral springs to be found in the mountain re gions of Japan, and in the more secluded spots they form a feature of peculiar in terest. They constitute a great asset to the peasantry in those regions, who resort to them by the thousands, for the sake of health or to kill time pleasantly in the company of their friends. Whatever else may be thought of the alleged fickleness of the Japanese character, it is certain that their love for hot water has never grown cold.