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JSA shares culture through traditional snacks

By Brianna Cummings

Section: Arts

March 17, 2017

The International Cultural Center smelled of chocolate and strawberries due to an event for the Japanese Student Association’s (JSA) celebration known as Japan Week. Wednesday, March 15 marked day three of Japan Week, also known as Snack Night.

There were tons of food for those in attendance. The snacks consisted of strawberries, pineapple, apples and bananas, among other fruits. There was even a chocolate fondue fountain. On another table were bowls filled with Pocky, chips and Nori Maki Arare, a rice cracker wrapped in seaweed. Beverages included Oi Ocha, which is unsweetened roasted green tea, and Calpico, a un-carbonated soft drink that resembles milk.

The club also showed a Japanese animated film, “5 Centimeters Per Second,” which followed a romance between a boy and a girl from middle school to adulthood. The movie was well-animated and had a beautiful score that entranced the audience, but did not keep them from going back for more food.

This is the second year that the JSA hosted Japan Week. For the whole week, they plan on sharing Japanese culture with the rest of the Brandeis community. On Monday, they kicked off the week with Ramen Night.

“We served 200 servings,” said Yu Dai ’17, JSA’s co-president along with Tamara Garcia ’18. “We had regular ramen, and we also had a spicy ramen challenge,” Dai added. Tuesday was supposed to be Anime Night, but the snowstorm postponed it to Tuesday, March 21. On Thursday, the club delivered Japanese fried chicken, known as Karaage, to people’s dorms. On JSA’s Facebook page, they described Karaage as KFC but better. On Friday, the club and its guests will visit a Japanese restaurant in Cambridge called Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ.

Like all cultural clubs, JSA is a staple at Brandeis. Since Brandeis prides itself on social justice and strives to promote diversity and inclusion, it needs clubs that will help community members see the beauty in other cultures. JSA currently has 19 members who come from many different backgrounds but who bond over their love of Japanese culture.

“There are not a lot of Japanese students [at Brandeis], but we have a lot of people who are fascinated with Japanese culture,” Dai said. “I am glad there is a club that can showcase Japanese culture and people can come here and discuss it. Eventually we can showcase it to the whole Brandeis community. I think it is important to share the culture with other students,” Dai continued.

JSA’s next big event is on April 22 and is called Haru Matsuri, which means Japanese Spring Festival. Dai described Haru Matsuri as “half festival, half performance” and said that the event would have lots of booths for people to enjoy different activities, like taking photos. She also said the club is looking to feature a lot of performances at the Japanese Spring Festival event.

Overall, Snack Night was a success. The food was delicious and the event was casual and inviting. People entered the room as they pleased and exited with full stomachs and smiles.

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