The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Visitors

Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912)
October 1965

Meiji Yama o Otozureshi Gyoshonin
[Vendors Who Visited the Pit (Yama) in the Meiji Era (1868-1912)]
38.2 x 54.0 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

It was not clear if she was a woman from an island or a householder living by the seaside. Anyway, she also looked strong at first sight. She vended her kelp (kombu) all day, carrying a big round straw basket on her head. The basket had a square bottom and was about 70 cm in diameter. Its round top was slightly narrowed. It was said that it was 40 cm in height and could contain about 30 kg of kombu. The people in the pit looked surprised at her strong neck.
Another vender was a man from the countryside. He shouldered a big paper-made red pepper at the height of his waist. He shook and rang a bell in his hand, singing as follows:
"Ton! Ton! Ton! Ton! Tongarashi no kona!
Amai mo karai mo o-tekagen (sajikagen).
Jiisan nametara babasan horori to suruwaina."

"Buy our cayenne! [Tongarashi no kona means powdered red pepper.]
You can season your dishes with this pepper to your taste.
If you old husbands lick it, your old wives will be moved to tears."

The children in the pit were naturally not interested in red pepper, but some of them would buy and chew kombu (especially the shavings called todoro [sic: normally tororo] kombu and so on).

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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