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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Where the Past is Woven into the Present

This photo of Osaka Castle was taken on the Kansai excursion offered to the JSP students and it is an image that I think epitomizes my Japanese Studies Program experience. I was always in a state of awe and wonder throughout my stay in Japan because of the way Japan incorporated modernity and history together in the sense that culture is preserved despite their rapid progress in technology and the modernization occurring throughout the country. In the image, one can see the towering presence of the castle with large buildings poised in the background. I’ve always been intrigued by the way Japanese culture seems to prosper as the generations pass, and going to Japan to see the culture for all it’s worth exceeded my expectations. Visitors to Tokyo, and the surrounding prefectures, can easily be caught up by the bright lights and crowded streets of the big cities, but going to Kansai really made me take a step back and appreciate what Japanese culture has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, there are various spots near Tokyo where visitors can feel the same emotions that I felt here and there are big cities in Osaka, but I was captivated by the power and presence of this particular castle inspiring me to take this picture. As the two month mark approaches from the end of my study abroad experience, I still remember visiting Osaka and appreciate, if not more than before, the incredible opportunities that were given to me.

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