CET Japan

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Ready for Japanese learning in everything? Enroll in an intensive language class. Live in a furnished Japanese share house with local roommates. Take on out-of-class projects and interview locals. The CET Japan program is designed to maximize language improvement and covers at least a full year of university-level Japanese each term. The flexible curriculum includes options for electives in Japanese or in English. The cozy campus is just 15 minutes from downtown Osaka. Weekend trips and group excursions take you off the tourist map, to hot springs, a re-created ninja village, or a ropes course in the mountains. Japanese language learners of all levels and majors are welcome to attend the fall and spring programs. The summer program has a full-time language pledge and is open to students with at least 2 previous semesters of Japanese language.

  • Small, intensive language classes
  • Cover a year's worth of Japanese each semester
  • Out-of-classroom projects & learning
  • Dedicated class segment to help you adjust to daily life in Japan
  • Electives in Japanese or English

Questions & Answers


based on 25 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 8.2
  • Housing 7.5
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 25

CET Japan Summer

This program was intensive, as promised. I did make a lot of progress in regards to my Japanese ability. I would recommend your Japanese be at least low/mid-intermediate, as the pace does not allow for much adapting if you fall behind. Expect to have a lot of busy work in regards to homework. Myself and fellow classmates had consistent trouble managing sleep and completing all of the homework. If you prioritize your grades, do not count on having free time to explore the area or travel. CET does a good job warning students beforehand that this isn't a vacation, but even finding time on the weekends was a challenge. I highly recommend that students with ANY type of health or mental health related issue start that dialogue as soon as possible with the staff and to already have relevant documents on hand when arriving. This was a life saver for me, the absence/tardiness policy is pretty unforgiving if you don't come prepared.

A highlight of the program were the language partners. The Japanese students were incredibly patient and accommodating. If your assigned partner isn't the most helpful, other partners will be more than happy to help so don't hesitate to engage with the other language partners.

No, I don't recommend this program
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Summer in Osaka, Japan

It was a great cross-cultural experience. The students were offered great opportunities to attend awesome excursions with the program.; The staff and the local roommates were definitely supportive of the foreign students for the most part. Although the academics had proven to be rather challenging, it was definitely an effective way of learning a language in a fast pace. One thing that I would recommend on improving is the communication between the local roommates and the foreign roommates. A weekly check-up on both of them could be beneficial.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by including more excursions.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Satisfactory academically, could be a bit better-rounded

I chose this program primarily for the academic rigor, which it did provide. My Japanese language ability improved significantly over the course of the program and the materials provided by my classes was generally effective. My teachers were all excellent and I very much enjoyed going to school every day to learn the new vocabulary and grammar. In this respect, I got what I wanted from my experience at CET.

How can this program be improved?
I believe this program should have better support for students. Additionally, I would have liked the staff to communicate more transparently with students during the program.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Hi Christopher, Thanks for leaving a review about CET Japan! I'm glad that you found the intensive language program met your academic goals for improving Japanese. If you would like to provide more specific feedback on how the program can offer stronger support for students on-site, please reach out to me at [email protected] Thanks! -Shelley Jessee, Director of Marketing

No, I don't recommend this program
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Challenging, but Rewarding

This program was challenging and some assignments felt unnecessary and superfluous to the development of my Japanese skills, but overall it was a good program. The people I met on the program, both Japanese and international, are unforgettable. The language pledge is difficult at first, but extremely helpful for developing confidence and fluidity in speaking. It is easy to default back into English, but if you try to speak in Japanese as much as you can, even if you cannot get it right, it helps. If you're looking for a program that will drastically improve your skills in Japanese this program is a good choice. Osaka is a great city for someone who wants the big city, but also someone who wants a more quiet area to live. Great food, funny and unique people, and a decent class.

How can this program be improved?
This program has work that sometimes feels like it is assigned for the sake of assigning work which feels frustrating. I wanted to spend more time traveling, but I was unable to because the amount of work.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Friendships that will last a lifetime!

The biggest thing I gained was so many friends that I am really close to. I also hugely improved my Japanese skills. This experience has opened my mind to the world (met so many people from all over the world while I was in Japan) and also made me decide to live in Japan in the future.

The program was very rigorous and we studied so much within a short time. Everyday we had quizzes and a large amount of homework (in my opinion it was a little excessive but it was in order to finish the workbook in time). We learned so much each week. It was also great how we were not allowed to be speaking English with other participants of the program. This forced us to practice all the time.

The staff members for CET were very nice and always willing to offer their support. The teachers were also encouraging and tried their best to make learning the language easy.
I lived 5 minutes away from school by train, and my place was 2 minutes away from the station (though I skateboarded most places). My roommate when I was there is one of my best friends to this day. I really miss my life in Japan!

How can this program be improved?
Homework can be useful, but I feel the best way to learn the language is hang out with locals! That is what I did all day until late at night when I started my homework. Usually got very little sleep! Just being in a totally different culture, immersed in the language, you will learn fast! So I feel that the program can be improved by making the work load a little easier.
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing language learning experience

The CET program in Osaka is, in my opinion, one of the best study abroad programs in Japan. It will NOT be the program for you, however, if your goal is to have an easy semester that allows a lot of travel and free time. It WILL be if you want to enhance your Japanese language ability and truly live like a Japanese college student. The Japanese classes are intense, often, and have a lot of work involved. The language pledge forces you to express yourself in and use Japanese every single day. Living with a Japanese roommate means that you have to communicate and learn about your roommate's style of living, and it also gives you an easy entrance into how a real Japanese college student lives. Because there are a lot of pros and cons of this program's aspects, I will break it into parts.

Japanese language classes
- They are HARD and rightfully so. You will see your Japanese improve quickly.
- The professors are amazing, available, and encouraging.
- The class field trips made me more connected to different parts of the culture, while also using Japanese to understand them and talk about them. My favorite was probably my class's trip to Himeji-jo.
- The classes are small (at least smaller than at my home university).
- The project class was a huge turning point for me. I would have never thought that I was capable of interviewing local Japanese people, creating a presentation about a topic, and presenting it completely in Japanese.
- The learning gaps between class levels are large. My class (200 level) was more encouraging and fun, but we also learned a lot. My friends in the 300 and 400 levels found these classes extremely hard and time-consuming, and were incredibly stressed about them.
- If you're looking for a program with good English-taught electives, I would not recommend this program. My electives were, quite simply, jokes, and did not challenge me in the way I hoped. That being said, it was fun to take a Japanese culture class while in Japan.

Living situation
- Living with my Japanese roommate gave me a view of what it was like to be a college student in Japan.
- I was able to practice with my roommate and get help on my homework almost always.
- I made a friend that I can still connect with and talk to, even after I left.
- I lived in an apartment in Toyonaka with only my roommate, so my experience was different than the majority of students who lived in share houses. However, living in a small city on the edge of Osaka was amazing -- I was able to travel by train to anywhere and eat anything within the vicinity of my apartment.
- Some people get closer to their roommates than others, which is frustrating.
- Some roommates don't try to hang out with the American students and are busy with their own lives.
- There are definitely cultural differences that come with living with someone from a different country.
- How you live in Osaka is strongly dependent on where you get placed. Students living in share houses had very different experiences that students living in apartments.

Excursions and Travel
- The CET official excursions were AMAZING and things I would have never thought to do myself. Examples include: eating a vegetarian meal at a Buddhist temple, traveling to Gifu prefecture and staying in a ryokan, visiting Byodoin temple
- There was VERY little time for travel outside of the program. We had 2 breaks during the spring semester, and one was Golden Week. I wish there had been more long weekends so that we could explore more of Japan.

- CET offered fun activities during the week that really enhanced my experience. These included: takoyaki party, karaoke party, origami making workshop, naginata demonstration, calligraphy class, etc.
- The CET staff were always available to students, especially with things like injuries/illness and emotional difficulties. Additionally, they always helped with simple Japanese living requirements like paying bills, enrolling in health insurance, etc.
- Living in Osaka means that you are close to SO many major cities. Nara, Kobe, and Kyoto are all barely 45 minutes away. Thus, it is easy to travel around the areas and visit famous places on weekends. This starkly contrasts studying abroad in Tokyo, where you need to take a bullet train or airplane to get to larger cities in other regions.
- The language pledge forced me to think in Japanese and express myself through the words I knew. This was probably the MOST important point that enhanced my language ability.
- CET is on a normal American spring semester system, which means that Japanese students were on summer vacation for a majority of the time. Thus, there were no opportunities to participate in clubs or events on the OGU campus, and meeting other Japanese students proved exceptionally difficult.
- CET staff is strict on the language pledge. Although it was extremely beneficial, it was frustrating when you wanted to befriend other English-speaking students. Additionally, CET staff scolded Japanese students that wanted to speak English with us, which was unfortunate.

Overall, this program truly changed my thinking in terms of what I wish to do after I graduate. I loved Japan so much that I decided I wanted to steer my career goals toward living and working in Japan. If you want to learn Japanese and live in a way that is more closely aligned with how it is truly like to live in Japan (vs. living in a bubble where your only friends are other American students studying abroad), then this is the program for you.

Yes, I recommend this program
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CET Intensive Japan: Challenging, but Fun

My experience in Osaka may be different from what "foreigners" experienced because I am Japanese-American, so I look Japanese and can do conversational Japanese. I heard many stories of my international classmates being stared at by random people in the train, when walking in the streets, etc., but they got used to it and just ignored the stares. Although I can speak conversational Japanese, CET placed me in a level (4) in which I could challenge myself. I had little knowledge of kanji, so being placed in a higher level was challenging because of the amount of learning kanji (25-50 kanjis a week) and writing we had to do. The support of the teachers and staff really helped me get through the semester. The teachers are all very friendly and are willing to help the students with utmost care.

CET also provided a chance to stay at a Japanese family for a weekend in a city called Sanda, which is about an hour train ride. The experience differs from house to house, but I enjoyed my host family very much. My host mom would teach me how to cook Japanese food (okonomiyaki). and since it was almost Girl's Day (March 3), we made a traditional dish called chirashizushi. Although the trip was short, I had a memorable time with them. I am very thankful for CET for providing a chance for us to experience what it is like to live in a Japanese family.

I believe my experience at Japan changed dramatically when I joined "Nihon Buyou," which is a traditional Japanese dance class offered once a week. I got really close with the other international students who took her class and with the teacher. We were like a family. She would invite us to her house and she would teach us how to make traditional Japanese food. At the end of the program party, we would perform a dance that we have practiced throughout the semester.

How can this program be improved?
Since I was in a higher level Japanese, I did not have much trouble expressing my thoughts, but the lower level students had difficulty, which made it difficult for us to really communicate. CET has a language pledge, in which you can only speak Japanese in the building where you are studying (International Center). Most of the time the lower level Japanese wouldn't stay long to chat in the Japanese lounge (a room where you can relax, do your homework, and snack on some food that CET provides), so it was a bit difficult to talk with them. But the purpose of the program is for them to improve their Japanese, so it's understandable to have the pledge, but maybe having fun events where the higher level students can help with the lower level students with their Japanese could help create bonds between students.
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Japan Summer 2016

If you want to travel somewhere to meet awesome people, go to Japan. The Japanese I met were some of the nicest, most considerate, most helpful people I've ever known, and that made the trip completely worth it. My roommate never hesitated to help me with my homework or show me a cool tourist destination. Some thing about Japan can be tough to figure out at first, and I would have struggled a lot had it not been for everyone going out of their way to help me. The Japanese were also always very respectful to me. I never had to deal with an angry cashier or frustrated bus driver; they were always calm and patient. Putting aside the incredible culture and super interesting language, Japanese people alone are reason enough to go to Japan.

How can this program be improved?
The full-time language pledge made it somewhat difficult to establish good relationships and friendships with the other American students due to our limited Japanese ability. I think it would be good to have weekly events where we could speak English and get to know one another better.
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun with CET Osaka

CET was an amazing experience with a great housing program! Instead of a dorm, I lived in an apartment with a local Japanese student from the same university. I became really close with my roommate & her family and often joined them for dinner on holidays, which really helped me improve my Japanese (and Osaka-ben) outside of class. In addition to CET program activities we did together, my roommate showed me around Kyoto, took me to her calligraphy class (she's attended since she was 4!), and even invited me on a road trip to Fukuoka and Yamaguchi prefectures during Golden Week to visit her father's childhood home. Overall, CET's roommate program is an incredible way to foster both your language learning and life-long relationships on study abroad.

How can this program be improved?
Although the language pledge is helpful for immersion and faster language learning, some beginning level students struggled with it. Because they had little to no Japanese experience, some said they didn’t feel confident practicing outside of class without first knowing the basics.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Great Experience Overall

I really enjoyed my experience in Osaka. I think my most difficult challenge was trying to learn Japanese from scratch. However, I eventually got over the language barrier thanks to the staff at CET.

How can this program be improved?
Schedule more time to travel.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Definitely consider this program!

The summer I spent with this program was life-changing. Osaka is surrounded by so much culture and history that I was continually learning on a day-to-day basis. I could take a stroll around the city and run into the most delicious food I've ever tasted, take a train to Kyoto and visit a famous temple, visit Nara and interact with deer roaming on the streets; the possibilities were endless! Every weekend was a new adventure and the Japanese roommates only made it even better. They are actually the best part of the whole program. Aside from constant language practice at home, they were always so excited to take us out to a new area or organize a get together at someone's house. At first it was hard to interact because everyone had just met and most of us weren't used to the language yet. However, the roommates made me feel so comfortable that I got over my fear of saying something wrong and quickly began to speak naturally. Now the main reason I want to go back is to see them all again. I absolutely recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
The gap between the courses offered is too large. For example, the 2nd year class seemed to easy for some people, yet they also did not feel prepared enough for the 3rd year class, so they were in an awkward situation. There should be intermediate courses added, or the curriculum should be modified to account for the difference in ability between each of the three levels.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Growing Up Abroad

This program is by far the best thing I ever participated in. If you are serious about learning a language, then CET is the way to go. The academics are truly challenging, and the language pledge can be difficult for lower level speakers, but if you can push through, you will find your abilities improved tremendesouly in just a short amount of time. I lost a lot of sleep, but it was worth it because i was able to create so many memories with such great people everyday and with the special activities CET plans.

Yes, I recommend this program
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CET Semester in Osaka, Japan

I just returned home from studying abroad in Osaka, Japan. While I am very happy to be home, I also realize that I probably will never get a chance to study abroad again. Whether with CET or another program, study abroad is a must do.

I decided to study abroad for the fall of my junior year. It had almost nothing to do with my major, although I did receive credit for some classes that will go towards my major. Before I chose CET, I had taken one full year (two semesters) of Japanese language classes. During my time abroad, I wanted to find a program that would give me the best opportunity to learn as much Japanese as possible. CET, therefore, stuck out as a target program for me. I applied, got accepted, and filled out all my paperwork, got my visa, and headed to Japan.

CET's staff did a good job pre-departure of responding to emails promptly and answering all my questions, which I had a lot of. Like all programs, there are a lot of forms to fill out, and CET did their best to help me get everything done.

Post Arrival
Upon arrival in Japan, we were guided by CET staff from the airport to campus. Getting to campus and getting settled in was easy and efficient.

The First Week
The first week was a long week. We had a lot of free time to get used to everything. I was thankful for that time, but it was dull for many of us because our Japanese roommates were still on vacation. I was dying to get out and explore, eat, play club sports, and do new things, but unfortunately I wasn't confident enough in my Japanese skills to try and go out on my own in a city I knew nothing about.

The first week of classes was an interesting and slightly awkward period. Everyone was at different levels in their Japanese language studies and the teachers had yet to finalize who was in which level class. In addition, every day, we were taken outside the classroom to learn how to do important things in Japan (buy groceries, ride the train, mail a letter). It was interesting and informative, but at times I felt we were a big inconvenience to the locals we were obliged to ask menial questions to.
Nevertheless, I learned basic skills needed to live in Japan.

After that first week, we progressed into our main studies from our textbook. I was placed into the level 2 Japanese class. Once I got used to my professors (先生), I really started to love my class. The pace at which we learned new grammar, vocabulary, and kanji was very fast, but because my teachers were so good, it was easy for me to do my best and enjoy the learning process. I cannot praise my teachers enough (I had two teachers that taught our class each for an hour a day). They were extremely patient, fun, and most importantly passionate about teaching. There was a mutual understanding that improving our language skills was our number one priority. The textbook we used (GENKI 2) was a very well designed and written textbook too. Learning was very straightforwards. I got out what I put in. With five students total in my class, we got a lot of personal attention, which really caters to my learning style. Overall, the Japanese classes were the number one strength of this program. In four months, we completed a full year of japanese. It's amazing how much we improved.

I lived in a shared house with five minutes away from campus. There were eight of us total, four foreign students, four local students, all attending classes at Osaka Gakuin University. We were each assigned a roommate, but we each had out own rooms. I am extremely thankful that the CET staff (Lauren Nakasato) arranged this for us. Because it was Japan, the space was small and limited, but it was satisfactory. My room had everything I needed(slow wifi/tv/sink/shared kitchen/American style bathroom, showers, laundry machice), although in the winter time it was freezing at night and we were only given one heavy blanket. Because there was no central heating, and because using our heating units were expensive, we were encouraged to tough it out and wear as much warm clothes as possible. But even if I wore everything at night, it was still cold. CET please give your future students more than one blanket. If you are a future student, pack long underwear. It sounded unnecessary to me, but I wish I had it. Other than that, the housing situation was awesome. All the roommates had part time jobs, but because there were four of them, there was usually a local Japanese student around to help with homework, answer questions, or come out with us. My housemates were awesome. My roommate was awesome too. We were all compatible, and I am thankful to have had them around. CET would not be the same without the roommate program.

Osaka Gakuin
The University we studied at has around 5000 undergraduates I think. I never could find the number online, but 5000 is what local students estimated. The campus is nice, small, and has a good cafeteria where you can get a filling lunch for 3/4$ which is great for students who didn't receive any stipend from their home schools. There is also a fully functional, American style gym where you can do any kind of exercise you want (treadmills, olympic squat racks, bench press, dumbbells, stretching room). There are three full time trainers there that can help you if you need a spotter. They are super nice, but do not understand too much english. Nevertheless, I went almost everyday. OGU is known for their sports teams, but not for their academics. Most students do not have homework, and they said that they did not have to work hard during class. But this is completely separate from the studying that we did.

Going into study abroad, I was very excited to join sports clubs/circles and meet new people through competition and having fun on the field/court. From what CET told me, and what is on their website (countless student clubs!), I had high expectations. Almost halfway through the semester, I still was unable to join any clubs. CET must change this on their website. It was very misleading. I had brought my baseball gear from America, hoping to play any level of organized baseball. I didn't care, I just wanted to play. But it was clear that the student clubs on campus did not want foreign students with limited conversational abilities to get in the way, which in all fairness, we would have. However, I sent many emails pleading for a chance to try out, and I was able to join the rubber baseball team, which turned out to be awesome. The guys were awesome, welcoming, and nice to me. The hardest part was getting connected. In reality, CET has little to no framework for foreign students to get involved in these clubs. From my experience I learned that getting involved in these clubs comes down to how bad you want to join and how persistent you are. In the end it worked out great for me, but I only got to play for the last two months of my trip. My suggestion for incoming students is to see what your roommates and housemates are involved in and ask to join in with their help.

The City
Osaka is a crazy city. Osaka Gakuin is 15 minutes away from downtown Umeda which is a hub of nightlife, food, and sightseeing. You are also very close to Kyoto, Namba, and other amazing cities, both modern, and traditional. Many students were able to travel as far as South Korea on their three day weekends (which there were many of). Plane tickets are cheap and if you have the time, definitely travel around Japan. Its easy and its worth it. I wish I had travelled more around Japan. This again comes back to how much you want it. You get out what you put in. In the end it is up to you to go out and see Japan. Go for it.

Roommate Program
My roommate and I were a very good fit. Many were not as fortunate. But because most of us lived in shared houses with up to eight people, there was always flexibility between roommate pairs so everyone had someone they could connect with. The language barrier was my biggest issue. I only had a years worth of Japanese before coming to Japan, so it was very hard for me to express myself fully. My roommate knew a good amount of English though so we were able to navigate difficult situations. There were some things we never were able to explain to each other, and it was frustrating, but in the end it was all right. Making mistakes was unavoidable, and it was best just to get over it and move on. My biggest difficulty with my roommate was that it was really hard to figure out what he wanted (what kind of food to eat, where to go, what to do on weekends). We both feared inconveniencing each other, and so we would get into the "anything is ok" conversation loop. I tried to explain that I knew relatively nothing about the Osaka area and that I will do/eat anything, but my roommate was form Okinawa so he also did not know the area. Nevertheless, we had a great experience together. We ended up playing baseball together on the same team. He is coming to America this summer and wants to go skydiving. Lucky me.

You get what you put in. CET gives you everything you need to start. The clubs experience was frustrating, but I succeeded in the end. It was cold at night sometimes, but I had an amazing time. I saw so much of Japan, learned so much Japanese, and made friends that I will keep forever. I am lucky. Some people did not have as good a time as I did. It all comes back to how far outside your comfort zone you are willing to go.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Intense but rewarding

I admit there were times that I felt really frustrated with the program because it was very hard. However, at the same time, it was because the program pushed me so much that I learnt so much Japanese.

How can this program be improved?
Extend the length of the summer program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Do not pass up this opportunity

Before I left for Japan to complete the CET program, I was actually kind of anxious to just "get it over with" and come back home to finish school. By the end of the program however, I could not have felt more at home in Japan.

Everything about the summer intensive program was excellent from start to finish. Classes were Monday through Friday, from about 9am to 3pm with some breaks. Class was challenging. Working through a full year's worth of material in only two months meant that we were faced with multiple quizzes each day, and weekly presentations and essays. Students were expected to come to class prepared, and lesson plans and expectations were clear each week. Although I can only speak for my class, the material was a lot of fun every day and the students really got to know each other. There was an obvious improvement in everyone's spoken and written Japanese ability from the start of the course until the end.

What really made this program special was the social dynamic between the students and the Japanese roommates. I lived in a house with 7 others, and it became the spot for most people to gather after classes and for events. The Japanese students worked very hard to make sure everyone felt included, and group events were planned several times a week throughout the duration of the summer. Having never lived with this many people under one roof before, I was not sure what to expect - but the roommate aspect was easily the best part of the entire experience for me. Every conversation - from how to cook something to experiences growing up - was a learning opportunity. My former roommates are some of my best friends now, and when I return to Japan I will be certain to see them again.

I remember going on a run during one of my last days in the program and reflecting on my time there. I was excited to see friends and family back home, but I also felt like I was leaving a whole life that I had created in Osaka. It is hard to know what to expect when you sign up for an intensive language program, but my experience with CET could not have been better.

How can this program be improved?
It would have been great to have a little more time tacked on to the end of the program - after classes had ended - to really say goodbye to everyone and visit those final places you had yet to see. We had to move out of our housing the day after the final exam, and even just a couple more days would have been really nice.
Yes, I recommend this program


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About CET Academic Programs

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...