Isabella has enjoyed her first few nights in Hakodate. She finds the climate “more invigorating than that of the main island. It is Japan, but yet there is a difference somehow. When the mists lift they reveal not mountains smothered in greenery, but naked peaks, volcanoes only recently burnt out with the red ash flaming under the noonday sun, and passing through shades of pink into violet at sundown.”
She's not, however, a fan of the houses, calling them “mean and low. The city looks as if it had just recovered from a conflagration. The houses are nothing but tinder.” Which makes a certain amount of sense, given the volcano situation.*
Residents are very aware of said volcano and use living roofs of sod and crops of grass as precautions against sparks during fires.
She’s been shopping, our Isabella, but hasn’t bought what she covets: the great bear furs and the deep cream-colored furs of the Ainu dogs.** The rest of the shops are full of only “the ordinary articles consumed by a large and poor population.”
That’s pretty much all that was in today’s letter.*** Tomorrow, tho, there is gossip about Ito.
* My next punk band will be called “The Volcano Situation.”
** Ainu dogs are now an AKC-recognized breed called the Hokkaido.
*** Not sure where else to put this so I’ll put it here: Hakodate’s mascot Marimokkori. He’s named after a species of algae and, well, you just need to click over and take a look at his most defining feature.