Monday, 6 August 2012

Sapporo Cafe and Bar, Dairen

Lowry mentions several bars and brothels his novel Ultramarine in the fictional port of Tsjang Tsjang, which actually existed in Dairen in 1927. One bar that was real was the Sapporo; "There we go, boys, there's the old Sapporo-" (Pg. 30); "Sapporo Bar's the place to go, down the Yamagata Dori." and "Yes, the Sapporo Bar, Hilliot. Follow the tramlines, it's just past the Customs House, Meet you there tonight." (Pg 67) "What was the name of the place?" "Sapporo Cafe and Bar. Here, I've got the card. Listen to this. Nice and clean accommodation. Quick service. Sapporo Cafe and Bar, No. 157, Yamagata-Dori, Tel. No. 6705. Soft and hard drinks. Mariners are all welcome. Here is a place you must not fail to visit, everything at very moderate charges." (Pg. 134). Lowry first used that last sentence in his short story 'Punctum Indifferens Skibet Gaar Videre' (Pg. 71).

The above card from Stan Hugill's book Sailortown confirms the address given by Lowry. Given the precise detail referred to on page 134 of Ultramarine we must assume that Lowry visited the bar and kept the card as the language is very similar to the cards depicted in Hugill's book. Hugill also refers to a Sapporo Cabaret in Tsingtao a port visited by Lowry on his voyage to the Far East.

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