The principal apartments in all Japanese houses are at the back, looking out on these miniature landscapes... A lake, a rockwork, a bridge, a stone lantern, and a deformed pine, are indispensable; but whenever means and circumstances admit of it, quaintnesses of all kinds are introduced. Small pavilions, retreats for tea-making, reading, sleeping in quiet and coolness, fishing under cover, and drinking saké...
¬ -from "Letter XVI"
Taking the form of letters to a beloved sister, this chronicle of an 1878 trip to Japan is a classic Victorian travel journal. Isabella Bird was a woman who, she readily admits herself, was ill-suited to the middle-class British life she was brought up in and much more at home in the "savage wilds."
Intrigued by the "real" Japan, the outlying areas that were then yet untouched by galloping Westernization, she spent time in the remote villages of the Ainu, the ancient peoples of Japan, and touring much of the backcountry of that exotic land.
Charming and insightful, this lovely book will please readers of travel adventure.
British writer ISABELLA LUCY BIRD (1831-1904) traveled extensively around the globe. She is also the author of A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879), Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan (1891), and Among the Tibetans (1894).
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