This gay, lovely, prosperous, old-new city of one million inhabitants has long been reputed as the "Middle Capital." It is the greatest city between the two giants of Tokyo and Osaka (234 miles from Tokyo and 118 miles from Osaka on the Tōkaidō trunk line).

It is of course hardly surprising to learn that Nagoya has her enemies, that is those who envy her progress in the present and her proud history in the past. But is this not true of any progressive city, just as it is true of any woman who makes her progress in the world? Her competitors will always accuse her of having succeeded either by her wiles in the present or by making capital of her past. Whatever the cause, Nagoya, like every successful woman, has made history. Of course it is true that, again like every woman, Nagoya has a past; yes, and is not ashamed of it. It matters therefore little what the envious may say, for Nagoya is a city of which Japan is proud, and what is equally important, she is a city proud of herself and whose citizens are proud of her.

What, however, the rest of Japan loves about Nagoya is its sweet dialect. It is singularly feminine and delicious. If the Tokyo dialect is the best in which to quarrel with one's superior in the office and get fired, the Osaka tongue befits a street auctioneer foisting junk on unwary strangers, and the Satsuma dialect is good for policemen scolding drunkards, Nagoya's is the best language in which to make love. No mortal man can resist a beautiful woman whispering in the dulcet accents of Nagoya. The secret of this tongue consists in its endless flow of incomprehensible cadence; it goes on winding and twisting like an eel, ungraspable and interminable, in which you can make neither head nor tail of a single sentence, and in which "yeses" and "noes" are so intermixed amid a maze of honorifics that you cannot tell whether the speaker is paying you compliments or gibing at you. But such is its mysterious power that it convinces without your understanding a word.

No comments: