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Japanese Club Thrives Throughout Pandemic by Hosting a Variety of Events

Gif by Midori Davis

Clark College’s Japanese Club provides opportunities for students to learn about Japanese culture, even when school and club activities are entirely online.

The Japanese Club has been a part of Clark College for over 20 years, according to Japanese professor and club advisor Nami Inoue. The club is open to all Clark students, regardless of whether they are studying Japanese or not.

The club usually meets every Friday and their weekly meetings consist of fun activities that get everyone engaged. Activities such as playing traditional Japanese games or watching the club officer’s presentations on different aspects of Japanese culture, are some ways the club engages their members.

The club also holds a few large events each term, such as their virtual Tea Ceremony event. To celebrate this event, tea bags and Japanese snacks were shipped to participants for them to enjoy at home.

This year’s Tea Ceremony event was also on the same day as the Lunar New Year. The club shared presentations on Lunar New Year celebrations and customs of various other Asian countries, in addition to Japan.

The club also occasionally invites guest speakers from Japan and the U.S.

The club always participates in the annual Sakura event, which celebrates the friendship between Vancouver and its sister city Joyo, Japan. The Sakura festival observed its 25th anniversary last October.

Even when the club’s events went virtual due to COVID-19, club President Josephine Lowery and Vice President Chelsey Le strive to maintain student engagement in the club. They coordinate large events each term and add to the variety of existing activities.

“When I first joined, I just joined because I didn’t have much to do at the time,” said Le. “But I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends– we’ve gotten to talk and do a bunch of activities together, even throughout the pandemic. It’s been a great way to have fun and not stress too much about school.”

In fact, Lowery and Le were awarded with the ASCC Club Award at the 2021 OSWALD Awards ceremony for their contributions to the club over the past year.

“I love Japanese culture and both of our advisors, they work so hard for us in our classes and with the opportunities they try to give us,” said Lowery. “I thought this would be a really good opportunity to learn about leadership more.”

Lowery and Le, who are graduating from Clark this year, were surprised at the end of last year when they heard from Inoue that they were going to lead the club. However, they rose to the occasion and persevered through the virtual shift that came with the pandemic.

“These two ladies always think of new activities and communicate with ASCC to create events without needing my help,” said Inoue. “Even with the Involvement Fair, they always showed up and really showed that this club cares about students that have been staying at home.”

To read about the Indy’s previous club spotlight click here.

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