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PREFACE.

THE following pages have been written in an interval of leisure following upon a return home from service in Japan, by a civil engineer who has been engaged for several years under the Japanese Department of Public Works. They form a record of work, travel and recreation, but do not offer any formal summary of the results of study; though it will scarcely be supposed that the institutions of the country have failed to impress the writer, who has ventured to express some views that are the outcome of his own experience and observation, in terms that it is hoped may not be found unduly prejudiced.

For reasons stated in their place, this work is of an unambitious and necessarily egotistical character, and its production may be attributed to the author's own obstinacy in face of some discouragement arising from the number and interest of previous works by more accomplished writers, the list of whom includes, however, more students and visitors than actual participators

in the material tasks undertaken of late in Japan; and as one of the latter class the author submits his tiny effort to the indulgence of readers.

The maps are intended chiefly to illustrate the travels recorded; but they contain some contribution to the corrections by which those having local knowledge can aid compilers.

It only remains to be stated that the “Chief” referred to in the earlier part of the book is Mr. R. Vicars Boyle, C.S.I., to whom the author would have sought permission to inscribe his work, were it more worthy; and that the “Chief Commissioner," or head of the Railway Bureau, is Mr. Inouye Masaru, now ViceMinister of Public Works, to whose energy a large measure of the success and progress of railway work in Japan is due.

April, 1883.

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