National Geographic : 1953 Nov
625 National Geographic IPhotographer .. Baylor Ioberts In Wide, Wet Steps, Rice-growing Terraces Curve with the Hillside's Contour For the Japanese, rice means the staff of life. Early summer is planting time. Harvesting begins in September in the north, October in the south. These farmers near Kobe transplant seedlings. sight, and we altered our course to come along side. The captain asked the way, and the fisherman pointed. We proceeded, but, having failed to bring the pointing finger along with us, we were soon lost again. The captain began to look for another fishing boat. Our boat carried no chart or compass. I had assumed that these hardy seafarers would know their way by a sort of sixth sense. But, after all, they were fishermen, not voyagers. I had to admire the nerve of a captain who would embark so nonchalantly on a hazardous voyage, but I doubted more than ever the suitability of his name, Wide-Margin-of Safety. Fortunately, Captain Harada of Kansai Steamship Company had persuaded me to take along a score of detailed charts, each covering a small area of the Sea. I dipped into the hold and brought up a mighty roll of them. Each was some three feet by four feet, and altogether there were enough to carpet most of the deck. I found the chart for this immediate area and called the captain. He tried to understand it, but gave up and looked for another fishing boat. I rooted out of a suitcase a pocket com pass I had thrown in at the last minute, never dreaming that we would actually need it. With charts and compass I took over as navigator. The navigation was far from per fect; destinations seldom appeared where they should have been, and islands often bobbed up without the approval of compass or chart. But at least we did not have to zigzag from boat to boat asking the way. Thus we innocents abroad blundered our way through the Inland Sea, while Kompira chuckled in his shrine at the foot of the fore mast but benevolently diverted our stem whenever we might have struck something.