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J-Club springs into spring with festival

Spring is upon us and Japanese Club (J-Club) is inviting it today with its fourth annual spring event Haru Matsuri. 

Literally translated to spring festival, Haru Matsuri is a time in which the Japanese celebrate a new beginning. Traditional activities are centered on planting crops to signify the new bloom.

“Haru Matsuri is a
celebration of springtime,”
sophomore chemical
engineering major Aleem Waris said. “It is meant to celebrate the changing of the seasons.” 

Waris is the emcee for the event and will be stage-managing the various acts. He said he got involved with the club because he admires Japanese culture. 

“The president of J-Club last year
convinced me to model in their signature fall event, Night in Tokyo, and I just fell in love with the people and the atmosphere.” 

Waris said not many members of the club are actually Japanese, but rather a group of multicultural
individuals brought together by their mutual love of Japan. 

“Although not many are Japanese, they truly have a passion for the culture,” Waris said. 

Festival goers can expect plenty of food and games, including a traditional ninja-star throwing game. 

“We will have something called ‘Shuriken Showdown’ where players throw shuriken to knock down cups,” Waris said. “Pretty
standard stuff.” 

Members from the Japanese-Korean dance club at USF, JKD Crew, will perform a J-Pop dance and J-Club member Sean Cole will display collectable World War II memorabilia. 

 “My World War II Japanese memorabilia collection includes authentic uniforms, awards, equipment, currency and documents related to Imperial Japan from years 1905-1945 and scale replica models,” Cole said.

Cole said he collects these items because of his fascination with military technologies.

“When you can touch real history, the stories and experiences of the Second World War become more personal and you can relate to them better,” Cole said. “I love and support the USF Japanese Club because I feel groups like this build strong international relationships of educated individuals who will keep our nations from repeating the same mistakes our ancestors made.”

Leader of the JKD Crew, public affairs major Leslie Pradaxay, said the choreography for the dance is very animated. 

“The choreography is a mix of energetic modern dance with an addition of hip-hop and R&B,” Pradaxay said. “It is very up beat, very much like dance music.”

Waris wants those who are skeptical about Japanese culture to come out to the festival if only to experience something new. 

“They should broaden their horizons to a relatively unknown culture. It is not just all anime and games,” Waris said. “Their
culture is so much more emotional and vivid than that.” 

Haru Matsuri  will be held today between noon and 4 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater.