National Geographic : 1904 Nov
448 THE NATIONAL GE According to an investigation recently made, Chinese rice can be bought at half the price at present prevailing in Japan, and but for the existence of the Chinese " corn law," which prohibits any ex portation of rice, Japanese agriculture would have suffered much more rapidly and seriously. The competition of China, where vast tracts of land are still left uncultivated and where the price of rice is cheap, must be expected sooner or later, and then a serious fall in the price of Japanese rice will set in, caus ing a series of agricultural changes. Japan can not hope to compete in agri cultural productions with those coun tries which have immense territory. Hence Japan must rely on industrial development rather than on agriculture, SOME PECULIAR FEATURES OF CEN TRAL AFRICAN GEOGRAPHY FOR about ten degrees south of the equator in central Africa, in the southern part of the Kongo Valley, one is struck by the fact that the rivers, streams, and lakes are usually bordered with a dense vegetation, which extends out from the water a distance propor tioned to the extent of the surface of the water. Adjacent hills and mountains are often found covered with dense vege tation on one side, and are bare on the other. Beyond this bordering vegeta tion are found vast plains, almost tree less or with small scrub growth and coarse, thin grass. Where the interior is not level the hills are also bare of large trees or heavy vegetable growth. This condition may be explained by reference to several facts. For the months from May to October there is a dry season, when scarcely any rain falls at all. The days are hot, but the nights are cool, the thermometer often reading 50° F. There is a heavy evaporation OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE and must strive to excel in the quality of goods produced rather than in quan tity. The examples of Egypt with its cotton, Italy with its rice, France with its silk, and England with its wool and sheep may well be cited as cases of countries the limited area of which does not allow them to compete with vast countries in the quantity of agricultural productions, but which in the quality of their respective staples distance all competitors. Japan possesses all the advantages necessary to make her a great manufacturing country. Her peo ple possess exceptional skill and labor is relatively cheap; coal is abundant, and the raw material is easily obtainable either at home or in the neighboring countries. from the waters during the day, followed by condensation into dense fog at night. This fog spreads out on the adjacent sides of the waters and moistens the sur rounding territory, thus taking the place of rain and causing a luxuriant growth wherever it occurs. The usual morning winds blow the fog against the exposed sides of hills and mountains and up the valleys of tributary streamlets, acting on the soil so dampened like summer rains. Where the fog is not borne the country is dry. The natives often shave off the hair from one side of their heads, the effect presenting the same appear ance as the hills of their country. If one marches parallel with the rivers and within the range of these fogs and winds, he must pass through tremendous forests. If he gets out of this range he can march parallel with the same streams but over open plains or hills and moun tains with only a sparse vegetation. SAMUEL P. VERNER. Department of Anthropology, LouisianaPurchaseExposition.