Item description for Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: The Firsthand Experiences of a British Woman in Outback Japan in 1878 by Isabella L. Bird...
Isabella L. Bird was one of the most famous British travelers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her destinations included Canada, the United States (the Rocky Mountains), Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Persia, Kurdistan, China, and Morocco. She is particularly known for her intrepidness and lively writing style.
Written in the form of letters to her sister, her account of her trip to Japan in 1878 is viewed as a classic of travel writing and a valuable account of little documented areas of Japan in that era. Rather than stay in the Tokyo region or travel south to Kyoto, the mecca of Japanese civilization, she chose to travel north through the most arduously mountainous areas and eventually visit the island of Hokkaido, where lived the indigenous Ainu. With the Ainu, Isabella took an ambiguous stance: she admired them tremendously on the one hand but could not, on the other, find it in her heart to remove them from the category of savages.
The Foreword, "Reading between the Lines," calls into question the accuracy of Isabella's observations of the Japanese and Ainu and casts doubt on the judgments she formed. Readers are urged to read the book actively, rather than passively, if they are not to be led astray by Isabella's biases and eccentricities.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Apr 30, 2006
Publisher Japan & Stuff Press
ISBN 4990284801 ISBN13 9784990284800
Availability 51 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 02:52.
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More About Isabella L. Bird
Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) was a nineteenth-century English traveller, writer, and a natural historian. Bird finally left Britain in 1872, going first to Australia, which she disliked, and then to Hawaii (known in Europe as the Sandwich Islands), her love for which prompted her second book (published three years later). While there she climbed Mauna Loa and visited Queen Emma. She then moved on to Colorado, then the newest member of the United States, where she had heard the air was excellent for the infirm. Dressed practically and riding not sidesaddle but frontwards like a man (though she threatened to sue the Times for saying she dressed like one), she covered over 800 miles in the Rocky Mountains in 1873. Her letters to her sister, first printed in the magazine Leisure Hour, comprised her fourth and perhaps most famous book, A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. Bird's time in the Rockies was enlivened especially by her acquaintance with Jim Nugent, a textbook outlaw with one eye and an affinity for violence and poetry. "A man any woman might love but no sane woman would marry," Bird declared in a section excised from her letters prior to their publication. Nugent also seemed captivated by the independently-minded Bird, but she ultimately left the Rockies and her "dear desperado" Nugent was shot dead less than a year later. At home, Bird again found herself pursued, this time by John Bishop, an Edinburgh doctor in his thirties. Predictably ill, she went traveling again, this time to the far east: Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Isabella L. Bird was born in 1831 and died in 1904.
Reviews - What do customers think about Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: The Firsthand Experiences of a British Woman in Outback Japan in 1878?
Engrossing-- a must read for travel-lovers and Japanophiles May 21, 2006
Isabella Bird's firsthand account of the Japanese countryside and its inhabitants is fascinating for its detailed description of nature and is full of interesting observations of the customs and characteristics of both the Japanese and Ainu people. Isabella Bird deliberately chose to avoid the main routes as she traveled northward, and for the villagers she meets along the way, she is the first foreigner that they have ever laid their eyes upon. The reaction that she provokes is enough to make you laugh as Isabella does a good job of describing the scene before her eyes. Last but not least, I especially enjoyed reading the insightful Forward which gave me some food for thought as I read through the book.