Join your fellow Princetonians, May 7-16, 2017, on this adventure that will enrich your intellect and open your heart to the supreme elegance and tranquility one can only experience in Japan.
Journey into the heart of Japan and explore the exquisite arts and enchanting ancient culture with visits to modern and historic landmarks. Tour the sacred sites and temples of Kyoto, including the famed Golden Temple Kinkakuji and the serene rock gardens of the Ryoanji Temple. At the Tenryuji Temple, practice meditation with a Zen Buddhist master. Take a ride on the bullet train passing through gorgeous natural terrains with splintered wooden villages, and river-fed rice paddies. Spend two days in Kanazawa, the UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art, where over 400 local craftsmen ply their trade, carrying on the tradition passed down through generations for more than 500 years. Wander through the charming Miyama Village and admire the work of master artists in their studios. Stay at an authentic Japanese Ryokan in Shimane where you will experience genuine Japanese hospitality and the traditional way of life. Soak in soothing natural hot spring waters under the stars. Participate in a traditional tea ceremony and a special Japanese Kaiseki dinner. Those wishing to extend their Japanese journey may participate in an optional Tokyo extension.
About the Study Leader
Constantine N. Vaporis *87, Professor of History and Founding Director of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will serve as the study leader for this Journey.
Though his research focuses on the Edo period, Professor Vaporis is deeply interested in the entire range of Japanese history and teaches his courses from an East Asian or comparative context. Author of Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan; Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern Japan; Voices of the Shogun's Age: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life in Tokugawa, Japan, 1603-1868 and (pre-press) Sword and Brush: Portraits of Samurai Life in Tokugawa Japan and Encyclopedia of the Samurai, he also remains fascinated by contemporary Japan.
He has received numerous fellowships for research in Japanese history including a Fulbright Scholar's Award and an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers. Having received his Ph.D. from Princeton's East Asian Studies department, he taught for a year in Princeton's History department before beginning his teaching career at UMBC in 1989. He has had visiting appointments at The Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania, was appointed the 2013-2016 UMBC Presidential Research Professor and recently selected for the ASIANetwork's Speakers Bureau, 2017-19.
He frequently conducts workshops in Japanese history for teachers and museum docents, three-day courses on contemporary Japanese and Asian history for various U.S. government agencies and served as a writer-consultant for the National Geographic Museum (in Washington, D.C.) exhibit "Samurai: The Warrior Transformed" (2012).
Vaporis first traveled to Japan in 1978, and has continued to travel there almost yearly. He has lived in a number of different cities across the country — Tokyo, Kyoto, Kochi, Hiroshima — for a total of roughly seven years.