By: ALICIA FLORES
Calligraphy, origami, delicious food—These are just some of the things you too can partake in if you join IU South Bend’s Japanese Club.
The Japanese Club is a social club open to any IUSB student interested in the Japanese culture, no prior language course required.
The club currently meets biweekly with meetings taking place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. with about twenty members, said club president Allison Steele.
Steele has been involved with the club for about a year now and said it is a lot of fun.
“I took French three semesters, Italian one semester and nothing really stuck,” said Steele. “I have always loved Asian cultures and Japanese so when I found out they did Japanese here I started taking the class.”
Shortly after, Steele joined the Japanese Club.
The club focuses on Japanese culture by taking a look at different Japanese music genres, game shows and foods while also learning a bit of the language.
A typical meeting starts with logistics—what the club is planning or needs to do followed by the word of the day. The Japanese word of the day will then set the theme for the rest of the day, said Steele.
For instance, last week’s word was uta, which means song, so Steele had three music videos of different genres to show the group.
The Faculty advisor for the club, Yoshiko Green, will often cook foods for the students to not only try but to learn to make as well.
“Last week we had mochi, which is a Japanese dessert. She does it in a way where we can all learn how to make it if we are interested,” said Steele.
The club hosts two big events a year on campus, the annual Sushi demonstration and the Asian Heritage Festival.
The Student Government Association (SGA) recently approved funding for the club’s annual sushi demonstration, which is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in Fireside A and B. The demonstration will include free sushi along with mocha.
The Asian Heritage Festival will take place sometime next semester, said Steele.
“It is our big event where the whole community comes. We have dancers, food, calligraphy and origami booths,” she said.
The event varies slightly from each year with different activities to do.
Other projects currently in the works include the annual Boo to You, a possible collaboration with Notre Dame’s Japanese Club and the making of origami for International Language Week that will take place next month.
Steele encourages those interested in studying abroad, specifically in Japan and Hong Kong to take advantage of the learning opportunities the Japanese Club has to offer.
This past summer, several members of the Japanese Club along with students taking Japanese language took the opportunity to study abroad in Japan and Hong Kong. Steele says being in the club helped her become more prepared for the trip.
Prior to the trip, the club held language sessions lead by students who were a bit more advanced in the language to brush up on some of the basics, said Steele.
With the club being focused on the culture, things the club has learned throughout the semester became useful throughout the trip.
“Knowing a bit about what the culture is like before I went was very useful. You might not know this, but Japanese people are very polite, and for instance, if an American went there and acted as they usually do they may be considered rude or obnoxious. So it is very important to learn about the culture before actually going there.”
Steele strongly encourages studying abroad and becoming familiar with the culture prior to arriving in that particular culture. “It was a really cool experience, and we all really enjoyed it.”
The Japanese Club is looking to recruit new members so contact Allison Steele at email@example.com.