In 1907, Augustine Frost, then a doctor in the British Army, visited Japan, travelling by steamer from Hong Kong to Kobe.
He travelled around the country for three months on trains, electric trams, Jinsha railways, on foot and on horseback. He kept a diary – see below:
He made friends with his Japanese hosts, ate their food and learned their language – not knowing that his sons would end up fighting against the Japanese during WWII – and that one would not survive the war. He kept a journal of his journey around Japan – which will soon be available to read on this site.
He also took a camera, and some of his photographs have been uploaded onto this site. His account paints a unique picture of a country emerging from a closed past. His account also shows that the tourist industry was already well-established in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century. He also had views on Japanese food:
“Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese are bad cooks. As a result, dyspepsia is a national complaint. The drink sakle, which tastes like a poor hseery, which relieves their symproms for a while. They taking to European l;ager in a big way and if Japan ever becomes a wealthly nation may very well rival Germans as beer drinkers”.
In 2020, Germans were drinking 94 litres of beer per capita versus 34.9 Litre per capita in Japan.
Among the photographs are two of the J Ando Cloissonne works in Nagoya. They are still in business and reponded with this email when I sent them a copy of the photographs:
Thank you for mail and the fax.
And,I am sorry for the reply’s slowing.
We also are keeping the picture postcard from you. However, information of having been bought in 1907 became us and it became reference very much. We wish to express our gratitude for your goodwill.