Commodore had provided himself with a variety of presents for the Emperor and the Japanese dignitaries, and now took occasion to deliver them. He accordingly sent the telegraph apparatus and the diminutive railway on shore, and the American sailors, aided by the Japanese, were soon busy in putting them in working order. In addition to these there was a liberal supply of books, Colt’s pistols, Champagne, whisky, and perfumery. The Japanese were not to be outdone in generosity, and, accordingly, had provided a quantity of articles of the manufacture of their country as return gifts. These consisted of rich brocades and silks, chow-chow boxes for carrying provisions, tables, trays, and goblets, all made of the famous lacquered ware ; of porcelain cups, pipe-cases, umbrellas, and various specimens of the Japanese wardrobe. There was one article which deserves mention, as it is a universal accompaniment of all presents ; it consisted of a bit of salt-fish, wrapped in sea-weed, and tied in an envelope of paper.
These presents having been duly arranged in the Treaty House at Yokuhama, the Commodore and his officers were invited by the Japanese Commissioners, on a certain day, to receive them. After the ceremony of the reception of the various gifts displayed on the occasion, the Commodore prepared to depart, when Prince Hayashi said there was one article intended for the President, which had not yet been exhibited. The Commodore and his officers were accordingly conducted to the beach, where one or two hundred sacks of rice were pointed out, piled up in readiness to be sent on board the ships. As such an immense supply of substantial food seemed to excite the wonderment of the Americans, who were naturally aghast at the idea of conveying such a stock of Japanese rice to the remote distance of the White House — and, moreover, loading themselves with so much coal for Newcastle — the interpreter, Yenoske, remarked that it was always customary for the Japanese, when bestowing presents, to include a certain quantity of rice.
While contemplating these substantial evidences of Japanese generosity, the attention of the Commodore and his party was suddenly riveted upon a body of monstrous fellows who came tramping down the beach like so many huge elephants. They were professional wrestlers, and formed part of the retinue of the Japanese princes, who keep them for their private amusement and for public entertainments. They were twenty-five in all, and were men enormously tall in stature and immense in weight of flesh. Their scant costume — which was merely a colored cloth about the loins, adorned with fringes, and emblazoned with the armorial bearings of the prince to whose service each belonged — revealed their gigantic proportions, in all the bloated fulnes of fat and breadth of muscle. Their proprietors, the princes, seemed proud of them, and were careful to show their points to the greatest advantage before the astonished spectators. Some two or three of the huge monsters were the most famous wrestlers in Japan, and ranked as the champion Tom Cribs and Hyers of the land. Koyanagi, the reputed bully of the capital, was one of these, and paraded himself with conscious pride of superior immensity and strength.