Phuong Anh Do
Marshall University’s Japan Club is a group for anyone interested in “the land of the rising sun” and offers students from different backgrounds opportunities to meet and learn from each other’s various experiences, ideas and perspectives.
To begin the fall semester, Japan Club hosted their Welcome Picnic Sunday afternoon at Ritter Park, with roughly 40 members joining in to celebrate.
The picnic occurs each semester to welcome newcomers and provide students the chance to get to know more about Japanese culture.
Ryohei Fukuda, president of Japan Club, said the goal of the picnic is to connect everybody in the community, not only students from Japan or students majoring in Japanese. Everyone is welcomed.
“We have students from different countries, we have some Chinese students, some Japanese students and also native friends,” Fukuda said.
Anne Miller, a Marshall student majoring in Japanese, said Japan Club is a great group for students to make friends with similar interests in Japan.
“I have a chance to speak more with Japanese students, and it really helps me with my own studies,” Miller said.
Other members of the club said it provides valuable opportunities to students wishing to travel to Japan in the future.
“A lot of people here haven’t been to any other countries, and they get a chance to know about Japan before they really get there,” Masami Ikechi, a Marshall student from Japan, said. “And they don’t really get shocked when they go abroad.”
During Sunday’s picnic, participants had opportunities to attend different outdoor activities together and enjoy free food, including sushi, chicken curry, Japanese rice bowls, cookies and pizza.
Marshall’s Japan Club received $500 from Student Government Association funding last year and were able to host various events.
“Last year, we didn’t get as many people as we wanted. So this semester, we want to retain the number,” Fukuda said. “We hope to host frequent events for students. We’ll see how many people will show up for the next one.”
Upcoming events include Movie and Bonfire Night Sept. 19 and International Festival Nov. 9, during which attendees can watch movies and dress in Japanese traditional clothing while being introduced to Japanese toys and cultures.
For more information about Marshall’s Japan Club, students may email [email protected] or visit their Facebook page, Marshall Japan Club 2019-2020.
Phuong Anh Do can be contacted at [email protected]