by Sister Thuan Bui
The Virtual Japan program is a phenomenal work at this time of pandemic. I cannot imagine how much I have learned from this program. When I followed it for five days. I felt like I was in Japan when the guided tour introduced the places we visited.
I was excited to hear Osamu who talks about the Sensoji temple and the customs of the Japanese. They come to the temple to pray for good life and fortune. Osamu is a wonderful tour guide with his knowledge.
Day 2 with Max, I followed him virtually to walk around the city and Bamboo forest. It made me homesick and brought me back to my childhood. I was impressed when I saw the bamboo tree, it is nature and spiritual to me. The natural noise of birds singing, the windy bamboo moving. The sun filters through the densely packed grove, projecting thin slashes of light on the road, and people are wonderful and harmonious with nature. It makes me feel that I live among the divine. Yes, it is the true divinity of life and universe.
Day 5 was exciting to me at the Japanese Garden at our school. I did not know that the small house in the garden is a Tea House which is a part of Japanese culture. We attended a tea ceremony with Dr, Komagata. When she explained step by step how to make tea and drink tea, I thought that this is a kind of practice of patience and harmony with nature. I especially learned about a simple Tea House and when people want to enter the house, they have to bend down as a sign of humbleness. Also, I recognize that the tea ceremony is not only about serving and receiving tea but also has a purpose to let guests enjoy the hospitality of the host in a peaceful atmosphere that is distinct from daily life with its fast space and busy with work. This is such a beautiful culture that makes peace come back to the inner self.
This program makes me think about other programs for students who don’t have the opportunity to study abroad. I really appreciate those who organized and presented this trip. I also thank the tour guides with their knowledge and the work they did to show us beautiful places.