So much has lately been written about Japan that it seems almost like repeating ancient history to set on record that the Japanese live, move, and have their being in extremely flimsy houses, constructed for the most part of wood and strengthened with paper. These convenient buildings naturally afford frequent food for the fiery element, and inasmuch as they can be reconstructed at a small cost, and almost as quickly as they can be burned down, the Japanese are rather apathetic on the subject of fire extinction. A fire in Japan partakes of the nature of a social function. First the lire bell is rung there are plenty of fire bells, and plenty of fire brigades— and very shortly one or other of the latter arrives on the scene, amid a great clatter and shouting. Nobody is really distressed at the occurrence of the lire, and the zeal of the firemen, who work intelligently and quickly, is fostered rather by a spirit of emulation than by a genuine desire to render a public service. For are they not the first on the scene, and shall they share the glory with others? Everyone in the city goes out to view the fire, be it night or day. At night the honest people carry lanterns as a token of good faith (since no thief would bear a light to reveal his whereabouts), and the whole scene is one of the most cheerful sights imaginable. To be sure, no one is ever killed, and even accidents are rare, for, if anyone is penned up in a blazing house he has only to push a wall down and walk into the street, to receive the congratulations of the public! When the fire has been extinguished, all the visitors to the neighborhood begin a round of calls upon their friends living near, who hurry home to receive them. It may be two in the morning, it matters not ; Japanese etiquette overrides all considerations of convenience. If time does not permit of the whole circle of acquaintances being visited before morning, the duty must be completed next day. Truly this is the quintessence of courtesy! But, despite the Oriental placidity with which the Japanese accept the visitations of fire, they are curiously Occidental in their method of producing conflagrations. Their chief implement is a very cheap form of paraffin lamp, used in conjunction with low-flash-point American oil. Which is one more illustration of the truism that the Japanese are a people of strange contradictionsThe London Fireman.

Fires In Japan


Fires In Japan.

The largest fire experienced for the last thirty years at Tientsin occurred on the 2tst ultimo, at daybreak, at a place called Hopeh, or north of the river, within a mile of the Viceroy’s vamen. This portion of the suburbs of Tientsin is a particularly tusy one. One hundred and thirty seven large business houses were burnt out, and their goods, etc., valued at completely destroyed. In addition to the business houses godowns and dwelling-houses to the number of “ 2000 rooms,” as the Chinese compute them, were also involved. The total loss could not be less than 1,500 000 taels.

A destructive tire occurred at Koshina. in the Tansei district of Kchizen province, at eleven o’clock on the night of the 8th instant. Two hundred and thirty-nine dwellings, thirty godowns, seventeen outhouses, three shrines, three temples, one school and one village office were completely destroyed. One person was burned to death.

At Fukauratnura, Aomori prefecture, on the 13th instant thirty-eight houses were burned ; and 011 the same day at Tatemura. sixty-eight dwellings were destroyed. Intelligence of still another fire comes to hand from llarimachi City. Fukushima prefecture, the damage consisting of a school and 115 houses, completely destroyed.

Advices from Toyama state that a large fire also occurred at Higashi-midzuhashi-tuachi on the 12th instant, which lasted ⅜ for three days and a half, and burned 250 houses. The following day, Hachinobe, in the Aomori prefecture, was the scene of a fire and 150 houses were destroyed.

There seems to be a question in the minds of Lowell (Mass.) aldermen whether the tire department needs a new engine house or a new engine in the Centralville district.