Japanese Student Association kicks off semester with festival

The Japanese Student Association is holding its Japanese Spring Festival from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday in front of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Photo courtesy of Baylor Japanese Student Association

By Junna Miyazaki | Journalist

The Japanese Student Association holds its Japanese Spring Festival, or Harsumatsuri, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays in front of the Bill Daniel Student Center to bring Japanese culture to the Baylor community.

The festival is held to celebrate spring. Harumatsuri translates to spring (haru) and festival (matsuri).

The festival will have seven game stands. These will include calligraphy, origami and painting. Each participant will receive a paper fan to decorate and keep. There will also be a game that uses chopstick skills, asking participants to get as many beans as possible from bowl to bowl without picking them up.

There will also be a game called menko, famous in “Squid Game”. Each player uses thick paper or cardboard menko cards, printed on one or both sides with pictures. One player’s card is placed on the hardwood or concrete floor, and another player throws their card, trying to flip the other player’s card with a gust of wind or by knocking their card against the other map. If he succeeds, he takes both cards. The player who takes all the cards, or whoever has the most at the end of the game, wins.

The festival will also feature performances, including a Taiko drumming performance by Dallas-based band Kiyari Daiko.

Taiko was originally used for ceremonies, festivals, and traditional dance, but has evolved into a musical art known worldwide for its deep, resonant rhythms, driving beats, and powerful physical movements.

“The most exciting thing will be the performance of the Taiko drum,” said Brooke Foit, vice president of Waco junior and JSA. “I’ve only seen one video before, so seeing it first hand is going to be amazing.”

The group will share and present Japanese culture with dynamic rhythm and the sounds of Taiko drums, one beat at a time.

“We perform every year at the Baylor Spring Festival, except for the last few years because of COVID,” said Emiko Suzuki, head of Kiyari Daiko. “We appreciate our long-term relationship with Baylor and look forward to seeing you.”

The event is open to the public. Tickets cost $1 for game tokens. Paper sakura flowers will be given out if the game player can complete the tasks at the booth.

“Everyone has worked hard for the festival,” said Maegan Mahula, Floresville Junior and JSA Social Chair. “I would like people to come to this – anyone who is interested in Japanese culture and just wants to try doing things.”

The event will also feature Le’s Kitchen.

“Preparing for Harumatsuri was a great learning experience,” Foit said. “I learned how to organize an event, advertise and work with a team.”

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