Water is Life
In Japan, people have a deep connection with the country’s plentiful water resources, creating a national culture where water is not only used wisely, but also in very unique ways.
We explore the country, making observations, conducting site visits, and engaging with a range of local people in an attempt to better understand the Japanese relationship with water in industrial, economic, and cultural spheres.
Goals and Objectives
Participants delve into Zen Buddhism and the inherent respect for nature that it embodies. Students open their minds to novel ways of looking at the world and practice Zen meditation to learn about the nature of their mind and thoughts.
Through direct interviews and conversations with local Japanese counterparts, students are better able to understand Japan’s relationship to the sea.
Students will examine the unique interplay between industrialist and environmentalist approaches to water usage in Japan.
Onsen (natural hot springs) are a time-honored tradition across Japan, providing the perfect escape to tranquility and relaxation. While requiring a degree of cultural sensitivity and openness for travelers, a visit to an onsen is an experience like no other around the world.
Japanese gardens are designed to express the breakability of existence as well as time’s unstoppable advance. Water features are carefully placed according to Buddhist geomancy for good fortune, following rules laid out in the 11th century in the first manual of Japanese gardens, the Sakuteiki.
Located on the outskirts of Tokyo is G-Cans, also known as the “Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel”, an incredibly huge storm sewer system built to protect the city’s 13 million residents from heavy rainfall and tropical storm floods.
We explore Tsukiji, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. While the inner market is scheduled to move of 2018, the outer market still remains the preeminent place in the world to witness the combination of industry and craft that creates the maritime cuisine of Japan.
This small city on the outskirts of Kyoto, provides the perfect place to explore the interplay between nature. religion, and the arts in Japan. Along with the famous bamboo groves, activities include a riverboat tour on the Hozu River, a visit to the blessed springs in the Matsunoo-taisha shrine (founded in 700 AD), and the Rakushisha Residence, home of the 17th century haiku poet Mukai Kyorai.
One of the ‘three views’ of Japan, Matsushima is famous for the pine-clad islands dotting the bay. We tour some of the local specialty aquaculture (oysters and nori farms), experience the uniquely shaped islands which partially protected the town during the tsunami, and hike up local hills to get a wide view of Matsushima Bay.