Abigail Williams, Contributing Writer
Abigail Williams: Tell me a little bit about Japanese Society for All.
Mako Takahashi: It’s all about Japanese culture. JSA stands for Japanese Society for All. We have five or six Japanese students and many international students in our club. Also many people are interested in anime. We are not an anime club though, we are interested in Japanese culture. We don’t have holidays like Thanksgiving, instead we have a big New Year’s. We don’t have Halloween, although that is getting bigger in Japan now. We try to talk about culture, although we do talk about music, fashion and pop culture, so it’s not too boring.
AW: Why did you join JSA?
MT: I joined JSA because I am Japanese. I thought it was a good opportunity to get to know others who are interested in Japan. It is a good first step to get involved in the campus community and build my resume, as I know a lot about Japanese culture and I didn’t have any resume experience in America. Now I am the historian for JSA.
AW: What events does JSA hold on campus?
MT: Because a lot of current e-board members are music industry majors, we hold a lot of music events. We had a Sakura Music Festival this spring. Sakura means cherry blossom as it was a spring-themed music festival. We had seven or eight performers of all genres, as we only care about the companionship that the music brings. We asked for donations and we served food. We had a huge earthquake a few years ago in Japan that led to a tsunami [the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami], and it led to a lot of property damage, so we raised money for that cause. Many people also like the sushi night that we do as well.
AW: What was the most enjoyable activity that you have participated in with JSA?
MT: We were involved in the first annual Lunar New Year event this year. We collaborated with Chinese Dragon and the Korean Cultural Club and we had an event. Lunar New Year is in the beginning of February and we offered LEAD credit. I didn’t expect that many people to show up, it was very impressive. A lot of people have never been to all three clubs, so it was good to know what other clubs are doing. Some professors even came to that event with their kids and were having a lot of fun. We prepared New Years games that are traditionally played in Japan that included a card game, Karuta, and a game like pin the tail on the donkey that is a face that you have to place facial parts on their correct places, called Fukuwarai.
AW: What would you tell someone who is interesting in joining JSA?
MT: Join us! You don’t have to know anything about Japanese culture to come to JSA. We have trivia or word of the day every other week, and we have fun activities. Everybody gets to know new people and it’s a good place to meet international students if you’re interested in Asian culture. Especially for people who are learning Japanese, it’s a good place to improve their language skill, and it’s just really fun!