Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

Archive for February 11th, 2010

Greiving Across Cultures »

While I was studying abroad in Japan, a Japanese friend of mine living back in the States committed suicide. My sorrow was too intense to describe. I could not handle being abroad at that time; I felt that I should be back in America, grieving at the site where he passed away and comforting others who had known him. The Office of International Affairs at Tokyo International University asked us not to talk about it too much with the Japanese students, fearing they’d become depressed. But I couldn’t help but reach out to a few of my closer Japanese friends. I needed, for myself, to let them know that my life had been changed forever. And, looking for reasons why my friend might have taken his own life, I wanted to put his death in the cultural context of his home country. I thought that it might explain everything.