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UA community shows support for Department of East Asian Studies cultural festival

NeryAnne+Jinon+served+as+the+student+representative+for+her+Japanese+language+class+at+the+East+Asian+Cultural+Festival%2C+which+was+held+on+the+UA+Mall+on+Feb.+8+from+11+a.m.+to+2+p.m.+Jinon+said+that+her+love+for+Japanese+rock+contributed+to+her+appreciation+of+Japanese+culture.
Sabina Hernandez

NeryAnne Jinon served as the student representative for her Japanese language class at the East Asian Cultural Festival, which was held on the UA Mall on Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jinon said that her love for Japanese rock contributed to her appreciation of Japanese culture.

On Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Department of East Asian Studies hosted a cultural festival showcasing the diverse and rich culture of East Asia. The festival was held on the University of Arizona Mall and was open to the public, drawing in a large crowd of students. 

The festival featured a variety of traditional and modern cultural performances such as a K-pop dance performance, Tai chi demonstrations and even calligraphy exhibitions where students could practice and learn about Chinese calligraphy. A popular aspect of the festival was the traditional tea ceremony, which was put on by the Center for Buddhist Studies. Tea was provided for the students, which allowed them to traditionally prepare and taste the tea. The women presenting the tea ceremony were dressed in traditional kimonos, which gave more cultural insight to the demonstration. 

In addition to the cultural performances and demonstrations, the festival also featured a variety of information booths providing students with information about the different clubs and organizations supported by DEAS. These included booths from different language departments like the Japanese and Korean language classes, which provided information about signing up for these courses and declaring them as minors. 

NeryAnne Jinon served as the student representative for the Japanese language class, and she spoke about the importance of the class as well as her motivation for minoring in Japanese. Jinon said that her love for Japanese rock music made her appreciate more of the culture and the language. 

“Of course, loving the music can’t go without an appreciation for the language and culture, so I sought out a deeper understanding and connection through the Japanese program at the UA,” Jinon said. “I also think that the written language is [beautiful] visually and deserves equal appreciation to the spoken language.” 

Jack Johnson, another student who made a visit to the festival, said pop culture and world history classes made him interested in minoring in Japanese. 

“I seemed to gravitate towards a lot of East Asian options, and then when I got to college it just seemed like the most interesting option. I [felt] like taking an interest in East Asian culture would open me up to more opportunities,” Johnson said.

For students looking into East Asian Studies, Johnson said, “I would encourage them to give it a shot. It’s for sure intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it it’s an incredibly enjoyable journey.” 

Performances included Purple Bamboo Chinese Music Ensemble performing traditional folk music and an origami station. Some students cosplayed as their favorite pop culture icon from Japanese media. Additionally, K-pop dances were performed by the university’s dance team UnderSkore. 

Andrea Lee-Cruz, a member of UnderSkore, spoke about the significance of this festival.

“The importance of having an event like this is to shed light on all of the great programs that we have in our East Asian Studies department and all of our wonderful advisors and professors. I have had the greatest time learning with all of my Korean professors as they are some of the nicest and most understanding people I have ever met,” Lee-Cruz said. “I hope that other students are able to see that we are able to bring so many people together from diverse backgrounds to have fun and let loose, all while promoting the Korean culture and language.”

She also said that if any students are interested in joining UnderSkore, they can check the group’s Instagram @underskore.ua for details. Fall auditions will be held in September.  

For more information on the UA’s Department of East Asian Studies, including all current language classes offered, major and minor requirements, future events and more, head to  eas.arizona.edu


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