Talin Tanielian, an art student currently working towards her MFA in Animation, was selected by the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to represent CSULB on an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan last January.
The KAKEHASHI Project involves an exchange of youth between Japan and the United States of America, and seeks talented participants who are anticipated to actively contribute to relations between Japan and the U.S. in the future. This initiative includes groups comprised of high school students to young professionals who engage in short-term (approximately 9-day) study tours fully funded by the Japanese Government.
The project aims to promote a deeper understanding of Japan among those living outside Japan – in particular Japanese politics, society, history, and diplomacy – through people-to-people exchange. It also seeks to promote interest in Japan and share the country's attractions within the international society. During the trip to Japan participants visit education and research institutions, modern and traditional industry sites, cultural heritage sites, local government offices, and participate in exchange workshops.
Of her experience in Japan, Talin wrote:
"This winter, thanks to the KAKEHASHI Project, I had the incredible chance to travel to Japan and meet some of the most humble people on earth. I learned so much about the religion, culture, and met with a few Japanese government officials to hear lectures on Japan's diplomacy. I was welcomed as an honored guest by the Yoshi No Ya family in Takashima, a family who had never met me before, and I was treated with so much kindness and respect. I learned that despite there being a huge cultural difference, and language barrier between us, we as humans have so much more in common than we think. There is no boundary for goodness, and I feel that I truly experienced it when I stayed in Japan. I was introduced to an entirely new outlook and appreciation on life, all thanks to my experience abroad.”