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Study Abroad Japan: A poet’s perspective

Avis Adams
Green River faculty Avis Adams in front of Tokyo Station.

English instructor Avis Adams co-led a group of community college students to Japan for fall quarter 2013. Adams taught her students creative writing while she was there, but she also found herself immersed in a new culture and expressing herself through her poetry.  

"I would see something that would just resonate with me, then I would write about it," Adams said. Three of her poems are featured below; her words will transport you to Japan.  

Soku Nekko

A howl in a dark
space,  

a whistle for the wet
cat.  

The spit of rain against
my window,  

as my heart
races.    

Hachioji Festival
Faculty and students filter salt water at the Hachioji Festival.

Floating

Across the square,  

rushing,  

a fluid furl
of fabric,  

a billowing.  

Long hair, unbound,
caught in the breeze,  

lifted.  

Among a sea of heads,  

bobbing,  

she flows
with the swarm,  

traversing  

the multitude,
her skirt  

curling  

behind as she  

glides  

to the West Gate,
last train home,  

a flower petal,  

floating.

Fushinmi Inari Taisha
Fushinmi Inari Taisha temple in Kyoto is home to the god Inari.

Golden leaves spiral

Golden leaves float like
yellow snowflakes,  

spiral,
twirl,  

float to the ground where
like children, we kick  

as we stroll,
our autumn dance  

crisp
and fresh.

Every fall quarter, Green River students have the opportunity to study abroad in Japan at Kogakuin University. Through this 10-week program, students earn 15 Green River transfer credits in Digital Photography, Creative Writing and Japanese Culture. Find more information here.