National Geographic : 1945 May
Peacetime Rambles in the Ryukyus how an animal in the zoo must feel, for no trained bear ever had an audience which watched its movements with greater curiosity. "I stopped to light my pipe and almost lost it in the melee which ensued, as the natives fought for the vantage places of the inner circle. "Finally in despera tion we all climbed in rickshas, and one of my companions shouted "Ginko!" (bank), the one word of Japanese we then knew. We had not the slightest idea where the ginko was, or even if such an institution existed; but we hoped that it would at least get us where we could breathe in peace. The coolies pushed and shoved a way through, with our gallery string ing out behind. "We eventually lost them and found the bank, but the financiers would have nought to do with our American gold. Apparently they had never seen the like and did not know its value. We stood in in decision, when sud- meinoulsi rrnits From a Yaeyama Hillside Comes a Car of Coal Mining in the Ryukyus is of little importance. The Japs increased annual peacetime production of all minerals to about 90,000 tons. The islands' normal yearly output of sake was worth twice that of the mine products. denly one of our rick sha men started off on the run, beckoning the others to follow. "He led us to a little shop in a hidden side street, and there, to be sure, was the ubiqui tous Chinese, the business man of the Orient, who knew our gold and would change it. From Japan to New Guinea he is always to be found - honest, industrious, impassive, living in his dirty little shop but alive to all the possibili ties of business, in whatever guise they may present themselves." Weather Changes in Twinkling of an Eye Today Okinawa has a Tokyo branch bank, in a modern bank building, and its officers are fully alive to the value of gold. Before starting for the mission, we ordered the waterproof hoods of the rickshas raised. It seems to me that Okinawa has weather rather than climate. B. J. Bettelheim, pioneer missionary in the Ryukyus, wrote one stormy September day in 1847: "The suddenness of the changes in the weather are such as would scarcely be cred ited. You may see in a twinking of an eye the brightest sky turn into a mass of wild clouds, and the threat is equally suddenly carried out, in a torrent poured down with violence before we have time to take up the' shutters." If earthquakes are almost unknown, some of the typhoons which sweep the islands create major disasters. In summer the sun beats down heavily if not dangerously after 9 a. m.