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Isabella Bird's Exploration in Japan

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by

Huey Wong

on 28 March 2011

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Transcript of Isabella Bird's Exploration in Japan

Bird suffered from several diseases in her childhood. Once, she have to remove a tutor from her spine, it was only partially success and Bird became depressed and have the habbit of not being able to sleep. Her doctor recommended her to travel. In 1854, Bird's father gave her a hundred pounds and told her she could go wherever she wanted. Economic Apparently, Bird could not use English gold in Japan. Mr. Fraser (in settlement) 's compradore helped Bird change her English gold into Japanese satsu or paper money: Yen, sen notes and copper coins. The characters on the papers were mostly Chinese and the English value were really small, Bird did not approve of that. Bird was given the advice to "look sharp after money matters", but she haven't manage anyone in her life and at first, she suspected of her eighteen year old translator-Ito, describing him as a "cunning Japanese youth." Environment During Bird's sail to Yokohama, passing through what seemed like a silent and wan environment, Bird thinks that their noisy sailing is like a "boisterous intrusion upon sleeping Asia." Bird visited a temple near her house in Nikko and learned that the old preist no longer believes in these mythical things. Still, he respected the Gods and the temple, and requested Bird to take off her hat and shoes before entering. She described the temple to be magnificent and bewildering. Inside was Buddha and two other statues in gilded brass, sitting on a lotus flower. However, what most impressed Bird was the flower carvings in the shrines, they were really detailed and was ten to fifteen inches deep. Social/Cultural Bird thought the Chinese immigrants in Japan (those of high status) were sober and reliable. They walk with an air of self-satisfaction and wore many garments with a brocaded robe and a scull cap, hair braided at the back. Bird hadn't thought they were unpleasingly looking, but she felt as if she was look down upon. The trnaslator - Ito, was a eighteen year old boy who came without any recommendation. However, because Bird understands his English and he understands Bird's, so she signed the contract with him, agreeing twelve dollars a month. Political Most information I got was from Bird's book - Unbeaten tracks in Japan, it is of the letters Bird wrote to her sister and her friends. However, people might disagree with what's in the book because not everything is pleasant, positive and beautiful, but what she wrote is all based on what she saw. Places Bird visited a popular buddhist temple in Asakusa, which keeps fair and festival around the whole year, it is dedicated to the "thousand armed" goddess of mercy-Kwan non. The temple has a double roofed gateway and figures in niches stood on either sides, with a paved temple court with stones and bronze lanterns, and heavenly dogs on stone pedestals. On the train journey from Yokohama station, Bird saw the beautiful neighborhood of Yokohama, with unexpected wooded hills and small beautiful valleys. Passing Kanagawa to Yedo, tall blue mountains were seen surrounding its boundaries on the plain land, it's eastern shore decorated with many fishing boats. Cultures The sound of clogs were new to Bird when she first heard them in the Yokohama station. She noted that the clogs made the Japanese three inches taller. Kuruma or Jin-ri-ki-sha is a type of transporation common in Japan (back then). It has a shiftable hood, two big wheels, velvet or clothing lining and cushion for the passenger's seat. They are drawn by one to three men according to the passenger's weight and speed required. There was a myth that says the runners pulling the Kuruma will have a shorter life and many sickness. When Bird first got to Japan she was travelling on a boat and changing to a punt. She notices that the punt is being skulled instead of rowed by two or four man. A men sculling stands and uses his thigh to rest the oar. Problem Bird has difficulty communicating with the Japanese, because the Japanese does not understand her, and she does not understand the Japanese. It is dangerous for a women to travel alone, she recieved many warnings and little encouragements from her friends. There are no English food. Solution Bird hires a Japanese translator, a eighteen year old boy named Ito. Bird's friend gave her many advices: to bring tinned food and soup, sprinkling insect powder on the bedding etc. (Though Bird did not take the advice given). Since there were no English food, Bird has to learn to adapt to eating Japanese food: rice, tea, egg and tasteless fresh vegetable Consequences Motives Isabella Bird's Exploration in Isabella Bird Map Sculling a punt Jin-ri-ki-sha/Kuruma Yedo Discoveries
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