Chapter Nineteen: Mission Accomplished! Kondō Reaches Hualian Harbor
(Trans. from Taiwan nichinichi shinpō January 30, 1931).
They were going to sleep in the monkey's lair. Judging from the size of the cave, they surmised that this was a very large troupe. Nevertheless, the Aborigines did not care. Once they figured out that this was a monkey's shelter, they resolved to kill them and eat the meat for lack of other provisions. According to the Aborigines, the number of monkeys did not matter, even if it were thousands, so long as the head monkey could be killed. Thus, they loaded their guns and began preparations. At perhaps 3:00 p.m., a loud gusting noise came from the mountain. It was a really big sound, hard to describe, the unleashing of pent-up energy; it gradually approached them with countless numbers of monkeys, returning to their lair! Without realizing they were being watched from behind, the monkeys playfully cavorted about, screaming and crouching in their spacious abode.
There was a large monkey who appeared to be the head. A shot was fired by the Aborigines, who never missed. It knocked him tumbling head over heels. The large monkey crazily fled the cave and stopped just short of the cliff, where he fell over dead. The unexpected gun shot coupled with the head monkey's sudden demise stunned the rest of the monkeys, who stood bolt upright shrieking, fleeing for their lives. It was as if heaven and earth themselves were roaring. Watching carefully to be sure the coast was clear, Kondō and the Aborigines came out of the cave. They started cooking the meat gleefully, overjoyed to eat at last. Kondō knew not how many more days it would take to reach Hualien, so he ordered the men to save the meat. They also caught rainwater in a pot, which they used to boil the bones and intestines for their evening meal. They ate and went to sleep that evening on full stomachs.
On September 27th, they finished their ascent of "Needle Mountain." They still had to make the descent, but this was relatively easy—they practically slid down. This place looked familiar to Kondō, so he checked the landforms. Guess where he was. Oddly enough, he had emerged just over the cave in which he had stashed those provisions the previous January! He could not resist yelling, "We've arrived in Hualien Harbor! And we have something to eat!" Kondō was so overcome by joy that he wanted to jump, so filled with gratitude he wanted to melt into tears. It struck him; this had been his goal for over twelve years, since 1896. As he dug up the canned food, rice and saké in the cave, he prayed to the Ise inner-shrine and Narita Temple. The five of them raised their cups to the flag, nearly in tears, happily embracing each other. It was about 1:00p.m. Kondō was moved to utter speechlessness.
The Aborigines could not resist drinking at this relief. They sang and continued their Aborigine dances into the night. What a difficult route to find. This cave was located just to the right of Chiyakan ravine, or the craggy mountain impasse [they had approached the previous January]. Nonetheless, it required two days to make the ascent and climb down again. What Kondō dubbed "Needle Mountain" was downstream from Xikou, below the mountain known today as "Hiyama." They were exhausted from drinking, dancing, and hiking; they slept soundly. The next day, September 28th, they happily left this memorable cave to arrive at a police substation located about thirteen miles away, at Xikou. Here they saw human faces for the first time in a while. Soon after, it was reported by telephone to the Hualien sub-prefect that Kondō had successfully crossed the central mountains. They stayed overnight at the police sub-station.
September 29th, 1907. What an unforgettable day! After leaving the village Wawwaku, they really entered Hualien Harbor. When they reached Wuquancheng on foot, Hualien Infantry Battalion leader Major Kinoshita Ryōkurō and some soldiers came out to greet them. A cart had been prepared for their arrival. The troupe was given a big welcome, and led to the sub-prefect threadbare, dirty, and covered in sweat from sleeping out of doors—they were in no condition to pay their respects. The major looked askance at the flag's [scrawled on] characters. When he heard the story, however, he told Kondō that he was a classmate of Captain Fukahori’s. This connection greatly augmented the Major's elation at the success of the crossing. Moreover, he happened to know Captain Fukahori's widow's address. A telegram was quickly sent to her to inform her of the success of the crossing that day.