ICT event brings great turnout

Representin’ Japan Various displays portraying Japanese culture were viewed by more than 325 people this weekend.

This past Friday, March 2nd, the International Center of Topeka hosted “Japan: Land of the Cherry Blossom.”

The event helped not only welcome Japanese exchange students but also helped the Topeka community learn more about Japanese culture.

“I didn’t know they serve their food in such small portions.  It was really interesting to me because in China, we don’t do that,” said Chenchen Hao, a senior English major with an emphasis in literature. “I was also really impressed with how many people are interested in Japanese culture and their devotion to come to learn and join in on all the fun.”

A popular favorite for everyone who came to the event was all the different types of food.

“My grandma is Japanese, and I really enjoy learning and being around the culture whenever I can,” said Sam Corber, a junior physics and chemistry major. “Plus, I really love sushi, so that was exciting for me.”

Not only did the event allow people to taste some of Japan’s treasured foods, but it also had live entertainment, including a formal tea ceremony, a Japanese dance, some cultural songs, and a Kyudo performance, which is Japanese archery.

“I didn’t know that so many people would be here,” said Angel Stillions, a junior anthropology major and a Japanese dance and Kyudo performer. “Seeing everyone come here to see and support this festival we worked so hard to put together was just really awesome especially since they are coming to learn about Japanese culture. I hope next year we can maybe even get a bigger venue.”

An estimated 325 to 350 people attended the event. Though the ICT wasn’t expecting that many people to attend, they were very excited that so many people wanted to learn more and hope that next year it can be even bigger.

“I’m so impressed and so glad of the turnout of the event,” said Bassima Schbley, president of ICT. “It was amazing, and we even had enough food for everyone.”

Among the many compelling presentations about Japan was a video to remember the tsunami that hit last March.

“The video really helped me learn so much more about the tsunami that I didn’t even know about,” said Rizki Aljupri, junior finance and business management major. “It was really eye-opening and brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe how much they’ve come back in a year. I’m glad I got to learn many things I didn’t know before about the tsunami and all the culture in general.”

As for the Japanese students, they enjoyed sharing their culture and this opportunity to get to know everyone of different cultures and backgrounds.