JUNE 22, 1953
TOKYO—Saturday afternoon the YMCA which had obtained the use of the Alaska Palace Garden, gave a tea which my daughter-in-law and I attended. The palace is now used as a library for the Diet, or Japanese parliament. It was built to resemble the central section of the Versailles Palace and the garden at the back suggests the Versailles garden with one big fountain playing as you come down the steps. The setting could not have been lovelier. We were first taken to see a tea making ceremony out of doors, which is apparently slightly different from the indoor ceremony. Then there were a number of folk dances ending with a court dance which was really a pretty sight on the garden lawn and finally a choir of young Japanese led by a young American man sang two numbers delightfully.
In the evening I went to see the American Friends Service Center to learn about their work and to talk briefly on the Human Rights Commission to a small group after supper. There is a Friends school here and the head of this school, who also runs the Center, tutors the young Japanese princes in English. She spoke with much interest about them and I hope I will have the opportunity to see the Crown Prince when he returns to New York in the autumn.
The Friends keep their identity all over the world and no matter what nationality you are with, the feel of the meeting is the same and it is a very democratic, kindly feeling.
Sunday we visited the head of the International House Association, Mr. Aisuke Kabayama. He is 88 years old and has devoted much of his life to creating better international understanding. He is a very charming, fine personality and I was very glad to meet him. Then we stopped for a minute to meet Mr. Asano and his family who had come to their gate to greet us and from there we went to the Prime Minister's country villa.
This is set in a lovely garden with the sound of the Pacific Ocean waves rolling in on a nearby beach. His daughter, Mrs. Aso, was his hostess again and we were a small party of six. This time talk flowed much more easily than it did when we dined with him. I enjoyed my visit very much and I do not wonder he likes to spend his weekends in the country, for so do I!
After visiting Kyoto I received a letter from some of the girl students of Kyoto University. It had struck me as odd when I asked why there were only 220 girl students out of an enrollment of 9000 that I was given no definitive answer, but, now that I have this letter, I understand the difficulty. In the first place, these girls say their parents feel the girls do not need higher education. If they overcome this objection, however, they still have to face the fact that the University has no girls dormitories, no facilities for them of any kind and no programs by which they can earn money to help themselves with expenses during their time at the University. They must find rooms at somebody's house. Many of the boy students have to do the same, but a Japanese house is not arranged for much privacy and girls find the situation very difficult. They ask for understanding and help from the women of America since they are trying to raise the money for a girls' dormitory and they have only 10,000 yen. They need 500 times that amount!
It does look as though the girl students had a rather difficult situation to face, doesn't it?