The East Asian Festival is truly an amazing event. For the past 12 years, students studying Japanese and Chinese, alongside people who simply appreciate Asian culture, have come together to celebrate. This year, I was lucky enough to attend and experience the festival for myself.
In preparation for this event, students and professors worked closely together to perform various poems and songs, and to create meals for others to enjoy.
The celebrations began at 2 p.m. and there was plenty to do and much to admire. There were various tables on one side of the room dedicated to teaching things such as calligraphy, origami (the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures), Chinese paper cutting and so on.
I myself tried paper cutting, but after nearly ripping my poor paper to shreds, I realized it was a beautiful tradition that is meant to be observed, not attempted. It was also a great opportunity to sample snacks from each country. My personal favorites were the green tea cakes, the Taro (a tropical plant with a thick root that can be boiled and eaten) snack and the Chinese New Year candy.
The overall atmosphere of the event was joyous. The room was filled with happy chatter and laughter. Even if you knew no one there, you couldn’t help but give into the positive auras around you, especially when it came time for the performances.
After a brief introduction of the Chinese, Korean and Japanese New Year, we got to listen to Jinsup Choi, a professor at Wright State, perform Korean Percussion. As the rhythmic beat played on, the vibrations from the drums could be felt in the air and it wasn’t just the audience enjoying themselves. While playing, Choi and his two colleagues smiled and laughed, making the performance ten times more fun to watch.
Another performance I enjoyed was from East Asian Club members who performed “TT” by TWICE, a popular Korean girl group. Even though I already knew this song, it was nice to watch fellow Wittenberg students get up in front of the room and have an all-around fun time as they lip-synced and danced. It was especially nice because Curtis Makela, ‘17, was the only guy in the performance and rather than being embarrassed at the feminine hip movements he was asked to do, he got up and danced.
After attending this festival, I am sad that it was my first and last time. This was an event meant for many to enjoy the beauty in East Asian cultures. People ate, did crafts and laughed together. It was a wonderful way to learn about East Asian culture and I suggest that those who didn’t attend this year go next year.