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April 18 , 2009

A Journal from Japan

"A Daily Record of Life as Seen by a Scientist"


This daily journal was written primarily because I well knew that time would force the swiftly passing incidents and impressions to blur each other in my memory.

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Then want of leisure tempted me to send the journal home to friends in place of letters, and the two or three for whom I originally intended it widened the circle by handing it on to many others, until it has, in a way, become public property. Several of those who have read it have asked me to publish it in book form, and although I vowed that I would not add to the al-ready excessive number of books written on Japan, I have decided to publish this just because it was not written with a view to publication. It is this which gives it any claim to attention, and guarantees its veracity. To preserve its character I have stayed my hand where it has often been tempted to change or revise statements which may sometimes seem too hard in the softening light of distance.

Days about which there is no entry were filled with work on my fossils at the University. Many evenings were spent with friends at dinners or dances. Reference to these things has been deleted, for neither the solid work nor the social gaiety is likely to interest any one now.

Personalities (alas, not always irrelevant!) have been eliminated of necessity, but I have not attempted to give the text any literary form which it did not originally possess. The words are exactly those jotted down at the time and place that they profess to be, and therefore mirror, as no rewritten phrases could, the direct impression that that time and place made on me. Japan is changing swiftly, and I saw things from a point of view that differs somewhat from any recorded, so that perhaps these daily impressions may have an interest for those who cannot visit Japan, and in the future for those who prefer facts to fair sounding generalisations and beautifully elaborated theories.

Hampstead, July 1909.

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