From letters written en route to his friend Mariano Ponce and first published in Manuel Artigas’ Biblioteca Nacional Filipina, Manila, June, 1910.
On February 28th, 1888, I arrived in Yokohama. A few moments after reaching the hotel, I received the card of the official in charge at the Spanish legation. I had not even had a chance to brush up when he called. He was very pleasant and offered to assist me in my work. He even invited me to live at the legation, and I accepted. If, at the bottom, there was a desire to watch me, I was not afraid to let them know all about myself. I lived at the legation a little over a month, and traveled in some of the nearby provinces of Japan. At times, I was alone; at others, with the Spanish official himself, or with the interpreter. While there, I learned to speak Japanese and made a slight study of the Japanese theater. After many offers of employment, which I refused, I sailed at last for America, about April 13th.
On the steamer, I met a half-Filipino family the wife being a mestiza, the daughter of an Englishman named Jackson. They had with them a servant from Pangasinan. The son asked me if I knew “Richal,” the author of Noli Me Tangere. Smiling, I answered that I did; and, as he began to speak well of me, I had to make myself known and say that I was the author. The mother paid me complements, too. I made the acquaintance of a Japanese who was going to Europe. He had been a prisoner for being a radical and editor of an independent newspaper. As the Japanese spoke only Japanese, I acted as interpreter for him until we arrived in London.
During this voyage I was not seasick.
I visited the larger cities of America, where I saw splendid buildings. The Americans have magnificent ideals. America is a homeland for the poor who are willing to work.
I traveled across America, and saw the majestic cascade of Niagara. I was in New York, the great city, but there everything is new. I went to see some relics of Washington, that great man whom I fear has not his equal in this century.
I embarked for Europe on the “City of Rome”, said to be the second largest steamer in the world. On board a newspaper was published up to the end of the voyage.
I made the acquaintance of many people. They wondered at my taking about with me a foreigner who could not make himself understood. The Europeans and Americas were astonished to see how I got along with him. I could speak to every one in his own language and understand what he said.