Special Dinners, Dances and Luncheons 529
" Kon ban wa" (Good evening). " Yoku oide nasatta " (welcome), while Madame Butterfly smilingly added, "Ikaga de gozarimas ?" (How do you do ?). "Go so ken de ornedito gozarimas " (I hope you are well).
The more literal translation of her greeting would be: '- How are your honourable insides ? I congratulate you on your good health."
We were then called upon to admire certain curios which were taken from their place of concealment for our appreciation—according to the Japanese custom. An obliging friend drew our attention to the fact that the contents of the vases had been chosen with hospitable intention, each having its special significance, and conveying complimentary good wishes. A tiny pine tree was there to carry the message that the hosts wished long life and happiness for all. A bamboo implied the hope for their prosperity, and a plum branch for peace and plenty.
These were all in the recess called a "toko no ma," and each guest was expected to bow solemnly in front of this recess, in acknowledgment of the compliments offered by the flower arrangement, and to linger a few moments, presumably for the due appreciation of every branch and stem.
Many of the guests came in Japanese costume, which enabled them with the greater ease to take their places on the mats before the little low, four-legged trays. Each guest was provided with one of these lacquer tables.
The feast began with tea and sweetmeats, the usual prelude to all Japanese good-cheer, accompanied by cakes of rice flour and honeycomb—after which the following "Kordate" or menu was served: A fish soup called "Suomoro" (not unlike a chowder), accompanied with bamboo sprouts, raw sliced halibut with a sauce, i