Guam | Hiking and Chamoru Village

We began the day talking about the ethics of conducting interviews in a community setting. Best practices, as told by my professor, include keeping sensitive information undisclosed and sharing how any and all information will be used with the participant. We then proceeded to cover health and illness in Oceania.

 Later, we visited the coast. I don’t quite remember the name of the area or the beach, but it was astonishing. The waves were like none I have ever seen before and they crashed beautifully against the rocks. I sent my drone up to get aerial footage, and was not disappointed!

We ended the school day with a visit to the mountains as the sun was setting. Because we jumped out of the car and watched the sun set so quickly, we never checked where we were. We were running on island time and island schedule, lol.

That night, we visited Chamoru village, as we were told by locals that it is always active on Wednesdays with numerous food and jewelry vendors. There is also a lot of dancing and laughter everywhere! We had a blast looking through the booths and we even got called up to dance. It was an experience.

Tecpatl studied abroad in Guam in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/asianam-guam/

Guam | Prutehi Litekyan

In class, we learned about a movement on Guam to protect a sacred site known as Litekyan. The local Chamoru community is trying to raise awareness and seize the destruction of the land by the United States Marines. The Marines plan to use a segment of Litekyan, which is currently open to all, to serve as a firing range. Although they will not use all of Litekyan, their environmental impact will damage the area and if they build their range, the entire land mass will not be available to the public, including the indigenous Chamoru people that have taken care of the region for thousands of years.

We were fortunate enough to engage in the demonstration and meet members of the community that were passionate about protecting their sacred sites. Being these reminded me of home and our Protect The Sacred rallies on the mainland.

I came across Amber, a Chamoru woman who was holding up a familiar sign. I introduced myself and my communities, explained what I am doing in Guam and asked her if I could take her portrait. Telling this story is important to me because it hits very close to home. Constantly, we are struggling against desecration of our sacred sites as Indigenous Peoples all over the world. Furthermore, we are constantly having to be at the forefront of environmental protection because it impacts our communities first.

It was beautiful to see families and youth demonstrating together. The signs the community was holding up were very thought provoking, and I was surprised to see that many cars passing by honked in support. The movement is growing.

Guam | Class Field Trip to Hagatna and the Town

Every Wednesday, we have a class field trip as part of our course. This wednesday, we went to Hagatna and toured parts of the city with Elder Malia. One of the most notable parts of the trip was traveling to the canoe house where the most traditional canoes are still kept to this day. The Chamoru people are a canoe maritime people, and it was incredible to see their traditional structures as well as their contemporary changes. Malia was very knowledgeable about the history and language of her people, and shared in detail.

We spent some time learning about the importance of the canoe and how fast it was, as noted by Spaniards during the 1500s. It is truly remarkable technology, as the canoe is shaped differently than most canoes in the world. Instead of keeping a symmetrical shape, it is curved and this allows the air to flow differently, letting the small canoe soar.

Our next stop was the Guam museum, but on the way we stopped by the town’s Catholic church. Right in front of the church, there was a vendor selling Coconuts, and because it was a really hot and humid day, all of us wanted a coconut. He sold it with a straw and told us to come back when we finished the juice. He would then open it for us and serve it with soy sauce. it was delicious!

After being refreshed by the coconut, we headed to Guam museum! It was closed, but Elder Malia’s status as a leader in the community granted us access because she was giving us a tour. It was beautiful and had a really nice view of the town. As we all gathered on the outlook, Malia explained the history of this town center and how the Spanish gathered and displaced Chamoru people when they were colonizing the island. The Spanish relocated Chamoru people around the churches and the Spanish officials lived in the hills to police the community with a good view of the land.

Fortunately, we ended on a happy note as we then traveled to a Latte site where there were multiple giant Latte structures. Malia explained that these structures were used as foundations for the traditional Chamoru houses. They are found all over Guam and are reminders of its original inhabitants. The Latte are very important to the Chamoru.

Tecpatl studied abroad in Guam in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/asianam-guam/

Guam | Visiting the Island You Can Walk To

We want to take advantage of our free time before classes start, so today we hopped in our rental cars and headed to a beautiful beach we found on google! It was relatively close, and it sure was beautiful. On the way there we told jokes and shared stories, getting closer with every passing minute.

There was a small island in the middle of the water, and I had the urge to try to swim to it. About 5 minutes out, I realized the shore was just not going to deepen. We ended up walking about 3/4 of the way to the island but some in the group were not comfortable swimmers so we decided to turn back and leave it for another day. We later googled it and found that on low tide, it is perfectly safe to walk to.

We then noticed a swing set in the water built out of wood and approached it. We figured it was there for the public to use and my classmates began doing photoshoots on it, haha. The tide was only knee high, so we were not able to use the swing set to jump, but nevertheless it was a good time.

Tecpatl studied abroad in Guam in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/asianam-guam/

Guam | First Visit With Guam’s Waters

After our orientation and initial introductions, my group decided to take a sunset stroll to the beach by the University of Guam’s campus. It was a short 15 minute walk and allowed us all to get to know each other a little more. We talked about our majors and what each of us were hoping to get out of the program.

After a bit of walking, we reached the shore and were amazed by the view. The water was also incredibly beautiful and warm, something I was not used to feeling. It was an awesome first day.

Tecpatl studied in Guam in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/asianam-guam/

Guam | Native Justice: Social Movements in Guam

By Tecpatl Kuauhtzin

My journey with the Native Justice program begins in the school year, during which I learned about the opportunity to participate in this travel study during an Asian American Studies course. Immediately, I was interested in learning more about the Chamoru people and Guam, and how their experiences relate to mine as a Native American youth living in a heavily industrialized and colonial space. I had always been interested in participating in a study abroad program, but never felt connected to one as much as this one. The scope of the program, from working with Chamoru community organizations to working with the environment, was important to me as a student focused on American Indian issues and environmental protection.

Fast forward to today, July 6, I am sitting in the airplane and will be arriving to Guam shortly to meet my cohort and attend our orientation.

Tecpatl studied abroad in Guam in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/asianam-guam/

Italy | The Coliseum

By Andrea Zachrich

My first impression of the Coliseum was that it was smaller than the Rosebowl. My second thought after that was that the Rosebowl was unlikely to still be standing 2,000 years from now in the same way the Coliseum is. My third thought was awe at the fact that this incredibly large structure has withstood the test of time (not without damage, of course, but what’s left is still pretty spectacular).

The Facts

Its Name

I love the story of how the Coliseum got its name. During the reign of Emperor Nero, he commissioned a massive bronze statue of himself as the sun god that was often called the “colossus” because of its huge size. (It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). This statue, which was nearly 100 feet tall, stood right next to the coliseum (with various reworkings of the face for different emperors) until an earthquake in 1000 toppled it, but by then the name of the amphitheater had already been determined. So the name Coliseum comes from the word colossus and essentially refers to a structure that is near the colossus statue of Nero. The true name of the amphitheater is Amphitheatrum Flavium in latin, or Flavian Amphitheater in English, because it was constructed during the Flavian dynasty. That name, however, is rarely used, and the word coliseum with a lowercase “c” has even come to be used for other amphitheaters from the Roman world.

Ancient History

The Coliseum was started around 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian, and was completed by his son Emperor Titus in 80 AD following Vespasian’s death. The name Flavian Amphitheater comes from these emperors, who were a part of the Flavian dynasty. It was paid for by using wealth acquired from booty during war. According to ancient sources, the inaugural games of the Coliseum lasted a full month, and 9,000 animals were killed and there were hundreds of gladiatorial fights and other spectacles. Some scholars even believe that the amphitheater may have even been filled with water and used for mock naval battles, but other scholars believe that this may have only happened once at the inaugural games or not at all (the Romans did have these mock naval battles, called naumachia, but the location usually made use of existing bodies of water and thus the Romans may not have needed/wanted to use the Coliseum for this purpose). It could seat around 50,000-80,000 people depending on the amount of wooden seating at the top and how packed in the people were. The structure has a series of underground tunnels (you can see them today because the wooden floor no longer exists) that would be used to raise wild animals into the arena or sometimes gladiators from special trapdoors. It also had a canvas cover on the top of the amphitheater called the vela or velarium, the latin word for sail (like from a sail boat) that served to protect viewers from the sun or rain. All of the games at the Coliseum were free to attend and were usually paid for by the emperor, but you had to secure a token with a seat on it prior to the event in order to be allowed in. But, if you were an elite, you didn’t need this token. The emperor had his own box, the senators had marble seats (you can still see this section of seating today), and many elite families had their own boxes in the Coliseum from which to watch the games.

Materials and Architecture

The Coliseum is really a remarkable structure, and has stood for nearly 2,000 years with minimal damage aside from deliberate material robbing. The Coliseum is the largest amphitheater from antiquity. It is mainly made of concrete, tufa (a volcanic stone common in Roman building), and travertine (another stone commonly used by the Romans). It was faced with marble and had statues facing outwards in all of the archways in antiquity. It has three stone layers of seatings (with ionic, doric, and corinthian capitals on the outside) and used to have a top, wooden layer of seating that was the Roman equivalent of the nosebleed seats which most likely burnt down. These wooden seats required near constant maintenance in antiquity, and were frequently subjected to fires and other damages that come from being outside. The structure had a central wooden platform (now completely gone – probably because it rotted away over time) that would have been covered with sand where all the spectacles took place. As discussed earlier, there is an extensive system of tunnels under this floor that were used to place animals and people into the arena. Below are some photos that show the series of tunnels under the floor.

Modern History

During the early medieval ages, the arches of the Coliseum housed shops and were used as housing. There was also a chapel built in the structure at this time. Around 1200 AD, the Frangipani family took over the entire Coliseum and used it as a fort and to house their family. In the mid 1300’s, an earthquake toppled much of one of the sides, and the stones that fell were reused in other buildings around Rome. Similar to many other buildings in Rome, the bronze clamps that held the stone together were actually dug out of the stone, and you can still see the holes that this left on the structure today (and makes it even more remarkable that the Coliseum is still standing). In the mid 1700’s, Pope Benedict XIV declared the site to be sacred and forbid further quarrying because he claimed that Christians had been martyred in the structure. While the Roman did prosecute Christians for much of their history, there is no historical evidence that executions took place in the Coliseum, and many scholars believe that no Christians were ever killed there for the crime of being Christian. There is, however, still a large cross inside of the Coliseum, and this Pope’s declaration did help save the amphitheater from further damage. The Coliseum was finally fully excavated under Mussolini, and underwent a massive restoration project from 1993-2000. There used to be a ton of cats that lived in the Coliseum, but there aren’t as many today. I saw one when we went as a class, and none when I went with my brother. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, and draws in massive amounts of revenue for the Italian government.

Random fun fact: gattara is the Italian word for an old lady who takes care of cats on the streets, and its one of my favorite words I learned in Italian (along with cucchioli which means puppies or kittens which I learned when visiting my Sicilian family and their puppy!) Writing about the stray cats in the Coliseum reminded me about this word.

The Gladiators

Now we get to the good part: the gladiators of the Coliseum. Contrary to popular belief, only about 10 percent of gladiators ever died in battle or from their wounds in battle. It was still a very risky profession, but not as dramatic as is often depicted in movies. Gladiators often did not battle to the death because a gladiator is an expensive investment for their ludus, or gladiator school, because they must be trained, housed, and clothed. It would not be economical to own gladiators if your investments die half the time they were used for a fight. Most gladiators were slaves, although some people did choose to be gladiators. They occupied an interesting place in society. Many were wealthy, as they often got paid large sums to fight, and good gladiators had a type of celebrity status in Rome, but they also were denied the right to citizenship, and many were slaves (although they could often afford to pay for their freedom with their battle fees). They could not marry Roman citizens (although there are stories of particularly famous gladiators consorting with senator’s wives), and had tattoos to signify that they were gladiators. The fame and wealth accompanied with the loss of rights meant that gladiators occupied this strange limbo ground in Roman society.

Going There

Honestly, getting into the Coliseum is really quite a process. As with most tourist attractions in Rome, I would recommend going early and maybe even getting in line before they open. I would also get tickets in advance, or get the super ticket from the Forum the day before so that you don’t have to wait in line to buy a ticket here. When we went as a class, we got there quite early, maybe around 8:30 and only had to wait in line about 30 minutes. My brother and I went a different time and got there around 9:30, and had to wait in line for a little over an hour before we even got to buy our tickets. It takes so long because they send you through security (of which they should have more open) and then have you purchase your ticket after, which, as you can imagine, is a slow moving process. The price of the ticket isn’t terrible, i believe its only 15 euros to visit both the Coliseum and the Roman Forum.

I really enjoy learning about the Coliseum. It is an iconic symbol of Rome, and reminder of the wacky types of entertainment the ancient Romand enjoyed. It’s name, history, construction, and the gladiators that fought (and died) here are all fascinating, and learning about them really enhanced my visit to this awesome place. It was even cooler to take my brother back a second time and teach him all of things that I had learned. In many ways, the Coliseum is symbolic of the ancient Romans: its massive and beautiful and opulent with a violent and bloody history.

Italy | Some handy Italian (and Rome) Tips

By Andrea Zachrich

I thought it might be useful to make a guidebook of things I learned in Italy and differences between the culture there and in the U.S. so that you don’t look like an idiot tourist like I did. Not all of these are super strict guidelines, and some only apply to Rome, but I hope they can help you in your future travels!

  1. You almost always pay after you eat (or drink, if its coffee), regardless of if you eat in a more traditional sit down restaurant, or a walk-up to the counter and order kind of place. Basically, they just trust you to pay after you finish eating. Trying to pay before usually leads to a lot crazy looks and most places will just tell you to wait.
  2. That being said, however, if you’re ordering something quick like a gelato or a drink, they often ask you to pay before you eat it, and then you walk up with your receipt to get your order. Giolitti’s, my favorite gelato place in Rome, functions like this. I would default to the first way of paying unless you see a register near the front of the store or notice someone else paying first.
  3. Grazie – this is the word for thank you. You will use it a lot. For the love of all that is holy, it is not pronounced “gra-zi”, but rather “gra-zi-aye”. I realize that sometimes it will sound like the first pronunciation because Italians often talk rather quickly, but they make fun of Americans who pronounce it the first way.
  4. Italians don’t really have a concept of lines or right of way, so often times if you’re tying to order something you have to be a little assertive and make sure you are heard. I don’t think its them being rude, but rather they assume that everyone behaves like that. Same goes with crossing the street. Drivers won’t stop for you unless you’re already in the street. True Italians just make eye contact with the driver while stepping in the street in front of traffic and assume the cars will stop.
  5. People in Italy eat pizza with a knife and a fork. This took a little getting used to, but I think it makes it better because you can get a better bite of pizza. I also saw my Sicilian relatives cut up parts of the pizza with a knife and fork, and then eat it in pieces with their hands, but I wouldn’t do that unless you see other people doing it (that could have been a more casual way to eat because we were with family too).
  6. For some reason, Google maps worked a lot better for me than Apple maps while I was in Rome. Apple maps would often take me to the wrong address, while Google maps was much more accurate. I’m not really sure why this is, but to save yourself the hassle of going to the wrong place, I would just start with Google maps. You can also use Google maps to figure out which public transportation line to take if you tap on the symbol that looks like a train (super useful!)
  7. If you’re in Rome, I would start with an English “hello” when you walk into a store or restaurant and not a “ciao” even though this goes against everything I stand for in terms of not looking like a tourist. The reason is that if you start with ciao, and you look Italian (as I do because my grandparents are from there), people will start rapid fire speaking to you Italian, and then have to repeat themselves in English after they realize you don’t speak their language when you blankly stare at them, and that’s frustrating for everyone involved. If you start with a hello, they know to start in English, and then if you’re trying to work on your Italian you can always tell them that and ask for some tips.
  8. Download the Italian language dictionary of google translate onto your phone so that you don’t have to use your data. Many museums won’t translate the placards by the art, so the app is useful to have to know what you’re looking at. Ditto for restaurant menus so you know what you’re ordering (at least at first until you get the hang of it).
  9. Watch your stuff , especially on public transportation, because there are a lot of pickpockets. (The amount of times I had an older Italian lady on the tram motion at me to close my bag was absurd. When I was in Catania, Sicily, an old couple even stopped their car in the middle of a busy street to tell me to close my bag, so clearly pickpocketing is an issue in Italy).
  10. Meal times are different there. Lunch is around normal time (usually 12 or 12:30 to 2:00), but dinner is later at around 8:30. If you can’t wait until then, you can head out and grab aperitivo, which is pre-dinner drinks and snacks. It usually starts at around 7:00 (honestly, its a great concept). Breakfast is usually something very simple such as a coffee with a small pastry.
  11. It’s hot in the summer. Like really hot, with humidity on top of it. Visiting sites in the morning and the late afternoon, with an A/C break and nap mid-day, is the way to go. You might feel like you’re missing out, but trying to move around in the middle of the day is miserable and makes you feel terrible.
  12. Get an Italian SIM card for your phone if you’re going to be there any substantial amount of time. It’s the easiest and most stress-free way to communicate. Yes, you do get a different phone number, but your friends and family can use Whatsapp with your old phone number to get in contact with you. Also, Vodafone offers amazing deals on internet usage I got 8GB of data for 10 euros (essentially unlimited data at that amount)! That’s unheard of in the US.
  13. Bring a reusable water fountain to fill up at the nasoni fountains that are all around town and save yourself some money!
  14. Always have cash on you. Many smaller gelato and coffee places only take cash, and even some bigger places act like its a huge inconvenience when you try to use your card. You can get cash at ATMs. Look for one that has a flat fee to pull out money. Make sure not to keep all your cash with you in case it get stolen. Also, get a travel credit card. Bank of America offers an awesome one that covers all international transaction fees.
  15. If you know Spanish, it will really help you in Italy. There was one person in our study abroad group who would just speak Spanish to waiters and servers, and they almost always knew what he meant. I’m not sure they appreciated him speaking Spanish, but it was an effective way to communicate. Most places in Rome have at least one person working there who speaks English, but Spanish may be better to start with if you’re fluent.
  16. Some useful words and phrases:
    1. “Ciao!” is hello and goodbye. I like this word a lot.
    2. “Prego” is translated into “you’re welcome”, but it’s used in more ways than that (although its still used as you’re welcome frequently). Often times, it could be better translated into the word “please” or “go ahead”. When servers are ready for you to order or a hostess takes you to your table, they will often say “prego” to let you know that they are ready for you to speak or that this is where you’re sitting.
  • To order: “per me, ________”, which means “for me, _______ and then whatever you want to order.
  1. The bill is “il conto”. Servers in Italy don’t get tipped for their service, so they generally care less than servers in the US. Don’t be surprised if you have to ask a couple times for the bill. You’re also kind of expected to sit and chill after you eat, so often times they won’t think to bring the bill right away if you don’t ask.
  2. How to say excuse me: this one is particularly useful. There are three phrases in Italian for the one English phrase of “excuse me” and I was a little confused about the usage of the different phrases at first…
    1. “con permesso”: excuse me when you are walking past people (very helpful on public transportation)
    2. “mi scusi”: excuse me when you are trying to get ones attention (such as in a restaurant)
    3. “scusa”: sorry to apologize for something (usually used by my clumsy self when I bumped into someone)
  3. “Dove il bagno?”: where’s the bathroom. You can also just ask “il bagno?” and they’ll usually point you in the right direction.
  • “caldo” and “freddo” are hot and cold, respectively, which is useful for when you’re trying to order coffee.
  • “andiamo” is let’s go! Professor Gurval used this often while trying to get our class places in Rome.
  1. And lastly “allora”. This is one of my favorite words in Italian. It’s basically a placeholder word, and functions as “um” or “well” does in English. If you hear someone say this, they’re probably thinking about what to say.

That’s all I can think of for now. Rome is a pretty easy city to figure out, between Google maps, the internet, and the fact that many people there speak English, you will be a-ok. Good luck on your travels!

Japan | My Favorite Things About Japan

1. Kawaii Culture

Kawaii is the culture of general cuteness that exists in Japan that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world. From adorable mascots for historical locations and buildings, to Hello Kitty themed shinkansens, cuteness is everywhere. While cute culture in Japan can actually be traced back to the Edo period, it’s become incredibly popular since the 1970s. Of course, the obsession with cuteness at this time began with teenage girls, but since has grown to be appreciated by people of all ages. In my opinion, the presence of cuteness in everyday life simply improves the quality of life. Passing by guardrails shaped like little frogs, or getting a napkin with designs at lunch, can make you smile just a little bit more than you would on any other normal day.

2. Train Stations

In the United States, train stations are exactly what they sound like: a place where you get the train. But in Japan, they are so much more. Train stations have entire malls, restaurants, and rest spaces attached, making them a genuinely enjoyable place to be. This is extremely convenient for when you are hungry after a long journey, since you don’t even have to leave the station to enjoy a quality meal– one of my favorite pizza restaurants in Japan is actually located in the station itself. Similarly, it is really nice to be able to run an errand, like grocery shopping, without having to even leave the station to get what you need. Like with kawaii culture, the fact that train (and subway) stations are comfortable, clean, and well-designed makes your day just that much better than it otherwise might be.

3. Sento and Onsen

Taking baths at home always seem like a “treat yourself” kind of activity, but I always end up uncomfortable, unable to adjust the water to quite the right temperature. Sento and onsen, however, are extremely relaxing because everything is done for you! It’s like going in a hot tub, except there are five or more different hot tubs to choose from and you can stay for an unlimited about of time. Sento is more of a bathhouse, with many different tubs to choose from, while onsen are specifically sourced from fresh mountain spring water. I’ll admit that bathhouses aren’t for everyone, but there are also many locations that offer private booking so you don’t have to be there with anyone else.

4. Conveyer Belt Sushi

Conveyer belt sushi is admittedly probably the worst sushi you’ll get in Japan. But this is Japan: the worst sushi is just as delicious as good-quality sushi at home. And the best part? It’s often only $1.50 or less per plate! Whenever I eat at conveyer belt sushi restaurants, I can have a filling meal of tons of different kinds of sushi for only $7 or $8. Because this type of restaurant is a novelty in the United States, it often ends up costing the same or more than traditional sushi restaurants. While you’re in Japan, definitely make use of the amazing conveyer belt restaurants to get your fill of Japan’s most famous dish!

5. Nature and Seasonality

My absolute favorite part about living in Japan is the abundance of greenery and the appreciation of the changing seasons. Because Japan experiences all four seasons very strongly, many traditions are rooted in these changes. So, as the seasons change, there is always something exciting to look forward to, like a special seasonal food or activity. Similarly, there is always a great appreciation for the flowers that bloom every season. I spend much of my time at different gardens and temples, appreciating the flowers in bloom. I love seeing Japanese teenagers taking photoshoots with all the different flowers, old people in large groups birdwatching with extensive camera gear, and families with babies enjoying all the colors.

Mackenzie Lorkis studied in Kyoto, Japan in the Language & Culture, Doshisha Univ. Program – Spring 2018

Japan | “Why Japan?”

BY MACKENZIE LORKIS

When I first told people I was going to study abroad in Japan, their immediate response was a look of surprise, and then, “Why do you want to go to Japan?”. It’s fair to say that Japan isn’t the most popular study abroad destination for UC students, but there are a lot of reasons why someone would want to study in Japan. I decided to ask a few of my fellow UCEAP students why they chose Japan, and what their favorite thing about Japan has been over the past few months:  

Mika Post
UC Berkeley 
Junior 
 
“I came to Japan because I’ve always wanted to go to school in Japan. I love Japanese food and Japanese stationary, and I love the language too. It’s important to me to be here because I’m half Japanese, but my mom has never been here and doesn’t speak Japanese at all. My favorite place in Japan is Fushimi Inari, since it’s peaceful and tucked away in the woods.” 

Stephen Shelnutt 
UC Berkeley 
Junior 
 
“Initially I was interested in Japanese because I watched a lot of anime, but I think these days I’m more interested in the culture and people. Unlike newer countries like America, Japan has had thousands of years to develop its culture, and even in the modern age Japan is very “Japan”. The people are also very polite, and society is so well put together that I wanted to experience living here for awhile.” 

Jonathan Phenix 
UC Irvine 
Junior 
 
“I came [to Japan] for the art and older towns with rich history. Seeing the Standing Namabutsu Taishi and the Sakyamuni Bronze donated by Tokugawa Ieyasu 4th have been a couple highlights in art. City wise, I really enjoyed my time in Nachikatsuura and Shingū. Getting to see Porter Robinson at a basement venue in Kyoto was also quite the experience.” 

Mackie Lorkis (aka the author of this blog) 
UCLA 
Junior 
 
“I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, and I wanted to challenge myself by studying in a country where I didn’t necessarily know the language and nobody else I know had been before. My favorite part of Japan is the appreciation for nature and the changing seasons. Seasonality is a really important part of Japanese culture, and is one of the biggest inspirations for architecture, art, food, fashion, and more. I’ve always lived in Southern California, so it’s been really exciting to be somewhere where the seasons are not only noticeable, but an important part of both art and everyday life”. 

Mackenzie Lorkis studied in Kyoto, Japan in the Language & Culture, Doshisha Univ. Program – Spring 2018