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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

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By: (1831-1904)

Isabella Lucy Bird was a 19th century English traveller, writer, and natural historian. She was a sickly child, however, while she was travelling she was almost always healthy. Her first trip, in 1854, took her to America, visiting relatives. Her first book, The Englishwoman in America was published anonymously two years later.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is compiled of the letters she sent to her sister during her 7 months sojourn in Japan in 1878. Her travels there took her from Edo (now called Tokyo) through the interior - where she was often the first foreigner the locals had met - to Niigata, and from there to Aomori. There she crossed over to Yezo (Hokkaido), and her account on the life of the Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan, provides an interesting glimpse of days long past.

First Page:

UNBEATEN TRACKS IN JAPAN AN ACCOUNT OF TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR INCLUDING VISITS TO THE ABORIGINES OF YEZO AND THE SHRINE OF NIKKO BY ISABELLA L. BIRD

PREFACE

Having been recommended to leave home, in April 1878, in order to recruit my health by means which had proved serviceable before, I decided to visit Japan, attracted less by the reputed excellence of its climate than by the certainty that it possessed, in an especial degree, those sources of novel and sustained interest which conduce so essentially to the enjoyment and restoration of a solitary health seeker. The climate disappointed me, but, though I found the country a study rather than a rapture, its interest exceeded my largest expectations.

This is not a "Book on Japan," but a narrative of travels in Japan, and an attempt to contribute something to the sum of knowledge of the present condition of the country, and it was not till I had travelled for some months in the interior of the main island and in Yezo that I decided that my materials were novel enough to render the contribution worth making... Continue reading book >>


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