Despite poor weather conditions, the UNT International Department, along with the Japanese Cultural Organization, presented Japanese Spring Festival April 23 in Library Mall, bringing together a few of the Japanese clubs and students who are interested in Japanese culture.
One of the main attractions was to try on a Japanese kimono, a traditional garment.
Kady Shirley, a journalism major, came to the event because she wanted to take a picture in kimono.
“It’s something I’ve done every year so far,” Shirley said. “I just like to get the pictures, [and] to get college experience.”
Shirley is one of many students on campus who enjoy learning about Japanese pop culture, including anime, which are hand-drawn computer animations, and Japanese comics called manga.
Shirley has been interested in Japanese culture since she started reading manga in sixth grade.
“[Japan has an] interesting history, and I enjoy anime and manga,” Shirley said.
Jacob San Antonio, vice president of the Mu Epsilon Kappa Anime Club, became interested in Japan through his fascination with anime. After studying abroad he discovered characteristics he likes more about the Japanese culture than just anime.
“I went and I studied abroad there over this past summer, and I can honestly say that my favorite part about Japan is a mishmash of different regions and cultures [and] because it’s such a small island, it’s all cramped together,” San Antonio said.
During the Spring Japanese Festival, San Antonio was not only promoting the Anime Club but also Omikuji, the Japanese style of fortune telling.
See video: San Antonio presents Omikuji
“You draw a chopstick and whichever one you get depends on what fortune you get,” San Antonio said. “You can have: best luck, good luck, fair luck, medium luck, bad luck and, then, the worst luck is the absolute worst.”
If unhappy with the fortune they’ve received, participants can tie it to a tree or on a string to get the bad luck out of their way.
“The spirits are supposed to wish away all the bad luck,” San Antonio said.
The festival offered students and faculty the opportunity to learn the art of Japanese calligraphy.
Shoko Tanaka, a fashion merchandising major from Japan, was at the event to show people who like to learn how to use calligraphy.
“I’m kind of teaching how to write this style of calligraphy,” Shoko said. “We are usually taught how to write calligraphy in the elementary school in Japan.”
This year’s festival was Mary Blair’s first time doing calligraphy at the event.
“I’ve been learning how to write [calligraphy] for three years now,” said Blair, a technical communication major. “So, hopefully I’ll do a good job.”
The festival also gave students the opportunity to learn more about UNT’s study abroad and exchange programs based in Japan.
Sarah Resnick, a study abroad advisor, was at the event to help students get the information they needed and assisted with advising what to choose from the variety of programs.
Resnick mention a program for faculty members, and that would be an option to go to Japan with group from UNT and not having to study abroad.
“I think there is also a faculty program, so a faculty form UNT takes students to Japan, and that’s always summertime,” Resnick said.
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