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.

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Jazz Cafe in Japan

Older Jazz musicians from my hometown of New Orleans have proclaimed to me that the country to bring the next golden age of Jazz will be Japan. With this prediction in mind, I decided to go to a theme cafe where Jazz is not performed, but consumed. Milestone, a jazz cafe located just blocks away from of the Seibu Shinjuku Station took me to a different world from the crowds and excessive neon lights that the district is famous for.
Inside, we were greeted by an old man wearing a light kimono signaling for us to sit at any of the six tables in the slightly cramped room. Books about jazz lined one wall, while records occupied another. On the third wall sat a massive and ancient stereo system. With its old electric tubes and wires exposed, it played vinyl and CD’s of old American Jazz musicians. My friend at first tried to sit at a table where his back would face the speakers, but the host came and gestured for him to move. Aside from the music, there were no other sounds to be heard. The host tried his hardest to not speak—save for when he needed to tell us to buy an alcoholic drink. I am a music lover, but I couldn’t help but feel a little awkward sitting at attention in complete silence to a machine playing music for me. However, after a while I became immersed in the music and almost caught myself clapping at the end of a song. When the host was not making drinks or food, he flipped through crates of records and CD’s, deciding which song to play next. While we were there, an old salary man came in, quietly ordered a glass of wine, and then sat as close to the speaker as he could. For the rest of the night he sat there with his eyes closed and his head bobbing to the music.

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