Traveling With a Troupe

By Putt Mossman, Photography by Unknown

The third week in Yokohama a group of Japanese motorcycle racers requested that we enter an All-Japan Championship Race Meet, to be held near Yokohama on a third-of-a-mile track. We accepted, and on the following Sunday, with three shows to give at the Exposition, we divided our events so that neither would interfere with the other. Ray, Don and Bert were unfortunately beset with various motor troubles. Bert took a second in the 500 c.c. event. I managed to get through with no major difficulties, and succeeded in winning the Japanese championship in four classes: the 350 c.c., the 500 c.c., the 750 c.c., and the 1200 c.c.. With three shows, including two board-wall crashes, under my belt and eighty laps of racing against tough competition, I was a tired young man.

We made frequent trips to Tokyo to secure parts and necessary equipment to keep our machines in first-class condition. Like any large city, Tokyo is a beehive of industry. Were it not for the signs and advertisements in Japanese characters one might easily imagine oneself in Los Angeles or San Francisco. You can buy anything you want in Japan at very reasonable figures; about one yen for one dollar, the yen, at the time, being equivalent to twenty-eight cents gold or American money.

It is only on rural trips that one sees the real Japan-coolies laboring in the rice fields, wearing quaint conical hats and straw capes and living in thatched-roofed houses. This is really the interesting and beautiful part of Japan.

During the course of our eight weeks, we were honored by the attendance at our program of many high dignitaries, including the youngest son of His Royal Highness, the Emperor. A curious thing about the prince is the fact that he prefers, in spite of his royal birth, to begin at the bottom as a soldier, a mere private, with the same privileges, or deprivations if you prefer, of the average enlisted man. You can’t help but respect him.

The week before the sailing date was spent in hustle and bustle of packing. On the sailing day, with a certain sadness in our hearts, we watched a beautiful and hospitable land recede from our view over the stern of the S.S. Taiyo Maru. One thing eased our feelings. We are returning to the land of cherry blossoms and take up our interesting experiences where we left off.

The ten days to Honolulu were bright and enjoyable, the ocean being as serene as a mill pond. The Taiyo Maru was a luxury liner compared to the Rio. Beautiful social and dining rooms, and games of every description. Not the least thing for our amusement was a beautiful tile swimming pool on the top deck, where we spent many happy hours.

The islands loomed up on the tenth day at dusk. Cloud-enshrouded they marched along, and quite early the next morning Diamond Head stood out with the sun at its back. My day was spent with relatives, looking over the beauty spots of the Island. Punchbowl Hill and Pearl Harbor, the naval base came first, and of course, the inevitable dip on the beach at Waikiki. Lastly, as a fitting climax, we saw what to me was the most beautiful sight in the world- the gorgeous panorama from the Pali.

The weather remained clear and calm for the balance of our trip into San Francisco. Thus, back to the states and home complimentary as he was in his mention of the San Diego Exposition.

By Putt Mossman
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