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.

RSS Feed for JapanCategory: Japan

Lost by translation »

When I went to Japan for the fall semester of 2016, I had the time of my life. My host family in particular were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I got to stay in a house that was built over a hundred years ago. I did however, have a particularly awkward incident […]

Fulfilling a promise »

I’m from a town of about 10,000 people in Oregon, where the tallest building I can think of is 4 stories high. I’ve never been one fond of heights. After enrolling at Willamette, I had been taught a few years of spanish, but I never really had the chance to speak it. I had lost my […]

Kamakura Daibutsu »

Accidentally Hiking Up a Mountain »

During my very long winter break, I expressed a desire to my family to go on a hike, like we used to when we went on vacation.  Once in Japan, I decided to act on this desire (just without my family) and had what was probably the single most enjoyable day on my entire trip […]

Kawagoe Festival »

YouTube Fan Fest, Japan »

Tokunoshima, Japan »

Living the Dream »

Don’t look them in the eyes! »

Hiking Mt. Fuji »

A Day in Hiroshima, Japan (Spring 2014) »

流鏑馬 (yabusame) Mounted Archery »

My host family showed me a flyer for an archery event at the park near our house. I convinced my friend Alyssa to go with me. The event was fun and the archery was amazing. The archers raced down a path and shot at three targets. They did this routine three times before the event […]

Takoyaki fun »

When my friend invited our mutual friend Kelsey and me to come to her house, I didn’t realize I’d get to make takoyaki. I’d eaten takoyaki before and really enjoyed it, and had been wanting to learn to prepare a Japanese dish. Takoyaki seemed like a good choice. After all how hard could making small […]

Creating New Bonds in Japan »

When I decided to study abroad, I figured I would return having had the same experiences most other study abroad students have: a new perspective on life, improved language skills, etc. But my two most fond memories are not at all what I would have expected. The first is living with a host family and […]

The Most Important Lesson »

Before I went to Japan, I always used to say “No, I’m not someone who does stuff like that.” I used to limit myself like that and tell myself that there were certain things that I would just never do because they “weren’t me”. I was wrong. Japan was a whole new, exciting world. I’d […]

Sugimotodera in Japan (Alex Smith) »

This photo I took is of the stairs leading up to Sugimotodera temple (杉本寺) in Kamakura, Japan.  The temple itself is part of the Tendai sect of Buddhism and was founded in 734 BCE.  Although it is a little bit of the beaten track, it is considered one of the oldest temples.  The moss covered steps particularly interested […]

Sanja Matsuri »

“Million Dollar View” »

Click to enlarge This is a photo I took of what is known as the 百万ドル夜景 (Hyaku-man Doru Yakei) or “Million Dollar nightview” in Hakodate, Japan. I’m not sure what exactly the criteria are for a nightviews, but apparently it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world…or at least in Japan. While […]


Going to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine at night was one of the most breathtaking experiences I had while in Japan. Wandering up the mountainside between thousands of torii gates, my friends an I were almost the only ones there. Pure silence except for the sound of footsteps. I doubt I’ll ever experience such a solemn, […]

Everyday Street + Anticipation »

Throughout the preparation in being able to study abroad, it is always made clear that studying abroad can be and is a life changing experience for some people. To me this photo is of a street I always crossed to catch the bus that was part of my everyday commute routine, and brought my emotions […]