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NEW WILMINGTON, PA – Have you ever wondered what it’s like to travel across the world? One Student, Christen Duerring went the distance and over the summer and studied abroad.

“I really wanted to experience the culture. I’ve wanted to go to Japan for a very long time. I’m a big anime fan.  I’m a big Otaku and Weeaboo, whatever word you want to call it.  And then as soon as somebody told me that I could study abroad,  it’s going to have to be Japan nowhere else!”

Duerring got to see the culture first hand on her adventure over. Though a lot of people may have dealt with culture shock, Duerring says she didn’t have that trouble. She also spoke about the differences in cultures between America and Japan. Duerring says things such as trash cans are more sparing around the cities, and that is it more appropriate to enjoy your meal while sitting, making walking and eating stand out.

“There are different things that are considered polite that would be regarded as rude or vice-versa. Like it’s not polite to blow your nose in public, you have to go to the bathroom or something if you want to do that. It’s not polite to talk on the trains, especially on the phone. There’s like signs everywhere about like oh refrain from talking on the phone.

Duerring went on many adventures around the country to see different landmarks and the culture. While she had her classes, she was taking in Japan. She got to see monuments and festivals while there, even partaking in some of the food there. She visited a particular shrine with her group, the Fushimi Inari-Taishi shrine.

“We went to Fushimi Inari which is a big shrine with like thousands of red gates. And it’s like a hike all the way up the hill, through a bunch of those gates. And they’re big on Foxes with the Inari shrines.”

Duerring’s group learned how to use the purification fountains at all the shrines and temples that she visited in Japan. She explained about how you purify yourself at a shrine by taking a ladle and filling it with Holy water, then taking it in her right hand and pouring it on the left, making it pure. Repeating the steps for your right hand, then repeating once again for your left hand. Though it can be skipped by some, the ritual also has people putting some water on their left hand and sipping it into their mouths, swishing it around before spitting it back out. Finally, you always end by holding the ladle vertically, removing excess water from it before putting it back.

Duerring learned so much from the travel experience and hopes to return to Japan again sometime soon.


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