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Afoot in Japan: A Nineteenth Century Guide to Walking The Back Roads

ISBN: 9781535503297
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2016-08-07
Number of pages: 112
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  • Regular price $21.74

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Some two hundred and fifty years ago, there was a historical cultural shift in Japan that witnessed people of every social stripe on the road, sometimes for weeks and even months, out for the sheer pleasure of being out and away from their everyday lives. As the number of travelers increased on the roads, so did the number of inns, tea houses, noodle shops and souvenir shops—many still extant today—to accommodate them. In time, this led to a great cross-section of ideas and local cultures, and came to help redefine what it meant to be Japanese. This was ref lected especially in literature, and by the early 1800s, detailed guidebooks were published making travel all the more convenient. After numerous requests from his friends, Yasumi Roan, an experienced traveler, wrote and published Ryoko yojinshu, here entitled Afoot in Japan, in 1810. In this short work he includes detailed tips, information, and instructive poems on a myriad subjects: from footwear, changes in water, poisonous bugs, what to wear in colder climates to how to prevent fatigue. For the more security-minded, there are even printed talismans to ward off whatever dangers one might encounter on the road. Traveling on foot in an unfamiliar environment presents many of the same problems to the modern Japanese as it does to the Westerner who decides to go off the beaten path in Japan today. Thus, the periodic republications of this two hundred year old book in the original and modern Japanese, and this English translation as well. Shod with a good pair of shoes and carrying a copy of Roan’s tips, the adventurous hiker—either rural or urban—will be well-equipped for a safe and rewarding journey. -- WSW

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