Allison Declercq-Matthäs, Contributor Ω
With a number of events on their plate, TRUSU Japanese Club members have been working hard to prepare for International Days.
“Remember, though sometimes it may not seem like it, our booth is very popular,” club president Cheyanne Bradsley warned club members as she went over the schedule the evening of Friday, Feb. 1. The club was busy with an overview meeting and two dance meetings in one night.
For weeks they’ve been practicing the Soran Bushi, a famous traditional Japanese sea shanty and their signature contribution to the International Days showcase.
“It’s really common for high school students to learn the dance for school festivals,” Bradsley said. She first learned the steps to the dance in grade eight and nine when a Japanese exchange students studied at her school. When International Days came up during her first year as club president she introduced the song.
“It just kind of stuck and now we’ve been doing it for three years,” she said. Though Bradsley described the dance as simple, the dancers take breaks to relieve their leg and arm muscles.
“With all the practices, we do get really sore,” said Jenna Banman, vice president of the club and participant in the dance. “It’s really hard on the thighs because the stances are mostly done in lunges.”
Last year the dancers wore happi, Japanese festival jackets, during the showcase. Made from cotton, many had Japanese lettering talking about the towns they’re from or the festivals they’re for.
Along with the International Showcase dance, the club will be contributing to the International Tea Expo on Tuesday, Feb. 5. They’ll also host a dress-up booth Wednesday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 7. With kimonos donated for the event from across campus, those who want to wear traditional Japanese clothing can visit the booth and have their photo taken by Chad Finlay, a member of the club.
“A whole mixture of people on campus let us borrow their traditional clothing,” said Bradsley. An owner of two formal kimono and two yukata, or casual kimono, Bradsley will be lending these clothes to the event too. Participants will have their photos emailed to them afterward.
The booth will also have kanji and calligraphy for those too shy for the camera.