528 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
A JAPANESE DINNER
As "example is better than precept," so the account of a real happening may be more suggestive for imitation, and thus more practical, than the most minute rules and regulations in didactic form.
To the hostess, ambitious of offering her guests an entertainment that shall not be stereotyped, and like those of every one else, the account of a Japanese dinner once much enjoyed may be told, by way of suggestion.
The invitations were in red script on Japanese paper napkins.
Upon our arrival we were requested, much to our dismay, to divest ourselves of shoes and accept in their stead list slippers, which at once gave a feeling of remoteness from our everyday selves as we slid and sluffed our way to the reception-room. Here the walls were concealed behind sliding paper screens and wall-panels (hired for the occasion, it was confided) adorned with flying storks and fiery dragons, its floors covered with mats of straw. There was scarcely any furniture, but some choice bits of pottery were seen, and in the corners were massed branches of artificial cherry-blossoms, recalling the spring festival of the Flowery Kingdom. The light all came from paper lanterns of many shapes and colours suspended from the ceiling.
Our hostess was gowned a la" Madame Butterfly " in a richly embroidered kimono of pale blue, with crimson flowers rambling over its surface, tied about with a crimson Obi that might almost have served as wings.
The host, with hands concealed in his large sleeves, joined his wife in a series of calisthenic exercises of graceful bows, drawing in his breath between his teeth with great frequency, and murmuring: