Beijing to Japan and Back Again

Aliza Warwick, Class of 2014, shares details about a week-long excursion to Japan—a special feature of the Autumn 2012 Beijing Civ program.

My classmates and I recently returned to Beijing from Japan, where we were on our week-long excursion exploring Japan through the streets of its cities, its historical and cultural museums, and of course, its cuisine. I don’t know where to begin in saying how much I (and my classmates, too!) enjoyed the trip.

For me personally, China has always been a primary focus and interest in Asia, if only because I study Chinese and love the language. When I signed up to be a part of the East Asian Civ program in Beijing, I was looking forward to learning more about countries that I had never really studied before in history classes. Specifically, I figured that I would get a really in-depth look at China and its people since the program is centered in Beijing, but I honestly didn’t expect to get such a close and personal view of Japanese history and culture as was made available to me through the in-classroom learning paired with outside Japanese experiences. I’m so immensely glad that I did and that it was.

The trip itself was sensational—we were constantly on the go, from museum to castle to shrine, but with just enough free time that I still feel like I got to explore each city in my own way. Professor Ketelaar and our wonderful guide, Takako-san, were just fantastic leaders, flexible when plans had to change and motivational enough to get a group of 20 year-olds up and out of the hotel by 8am. Our days were packed with great food, incredibly interesting history, and experiences that none of us will ever forget.

Photos and text submitted by Aliza Warwick, Class of 2014. Aliza participated in the Beijing: East Asian Civilizations program in Autumn 2012. For more photos, please visit Aliza’s album.

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Japan, Beijing