Japanese Culture Club Celebrates 'Hanami'

by Shenoj Kuruvilla

Last month, the Japanese Culture Club made their debut! They aim to educate and expose students to Japanese culture, which is more than just about anime, manga and cosplay. They plan to use a student-friendly approach to promote Japanese culture and teach basic Japanese language to their members.

On the 27th of April, they held their first ever event, "Hanami." Hanami, which means 'flower viewing' in Japanese, is a traditional festival usually celebrated between the end of March and early May to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossom flowers, which only bloom for two weeks each year.

In Japan, Hanami is typically celebrated by having an outdoor party under the sakura trees. Some places even hang paper lanterns at night.

During the Hanami event held by the Japanese Culture Club, BACPAC was transformed into a 'picnic spot' with sakura branches, picnic mats and various types of Japanese food, as well as an origami section.

Volunteers and committee were also dressed the part, as the committee dressed up in "yukata" and the volunteers in "haori," which are both traditional attire commonly worn in Japan.

The event started off with a mingling session where guests were able to meet others, while doing origami together, seated on one of the picnic mats. Some guests even took the chance to pose for photoshoots as the area was decorated.

Throughout the event, guests were able to buy various types of Japanese food and drinks such as "onigiri," "dango," some common Japanese sweets and snacks, as well as "matcha."

After some time, the emcee stepped up to welcome the guests and start off a round of team games. The first game was 'Russian Roulette,' where teams where given "onigiri," or rice balls. The team who had a wasabi rice ball would be eliminated. This continued until there was only one team remaining.

The next game was a Japanese version of 'rock paper scissors' called "Janken." Each team sent a representative to participate in the game, tournament style, until the winner was declared.

In the end, the winning team for both games received a prize, and the games session ended. The guests went back to mingling, and some even posed for photos at the photo area at the back of the hall.

The event was certainly an interesting one, exposing students and staff to Japanese culture. So if you have an interest in Japanese culture, join the Japanese Culture Club for their next event!