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East Asian Language and Culture Festival celebrates UA students and programs

Students practice Chinese calligraphy at the East Asian Language and Culture Festival held Feb.15 on the UA Mall.
Erika Howlett
Students practice Chinese calligraphy at the East Asian Language and Culture Festival held Feb.15 on the UA Mall.

The department of East Asian Studies and the Center for East Asian Studies hosted the annual East Asian Language and Culture Festival on the University of Arizona Mall on Thursday, Feb. 15. The festival featured student performances as well as activities and academic information

“Our event today is mostly to promote our wonderful curricula here at the UA, centering on East Asian languages, literatures and cultures,” said Kimberly Hassel, an assistant professor in East Asian Studies. “We’re just really excited to be in community with everyone and showcase our wonderful students, our faculty, our programs.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., crowds gathered on the Mall to watch as students studying Chinese, Japanese, Korean and more showed off what they’ve been learning. Performances included singing, dancing and a traditional Chinese clothing fashion show. 

“This shows how many Japanese language students and culture students we have and how we have a tight community,” said East Asian Studies instructor Tetsuya Takeno as he prepared his students for a demonstration of Japanese cosplay and a song performance. “It’s even recruiting for next year as well.”

Elizabeth Badowski is a junior studying psychology with a minor in Chinese. As part of her language class, she was an announcer for the fashion show that took place during the festival, which featured several students dressed in hanfu, a historical style of Chinese clothing. 

“I’ve always wanted to learn Chinese but I never got the chance until I got to college, so I started taking it and I love all the professors,” Badowski said. “They’re all so sweet and they recruit us for these events.”

There were also booths featuring calligraphy, as students wrote name tags for guests in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Other tables featured food, games, giveaways and academic information about East Asian Studies courses and the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs Center

Aside from students in language classes, other groups were invited to perform, such as the Purple Bamboo Ensemble, which performs Chinese folk music through the Fred Fox School of Music

The Purple Bamboo Ensemble performs traditional Chinese music at the East Asian Language and Culture Festival.

Ran Li, a graduate student studying educational psychology, is a member of the ensemble and performed several pieces of music during the festival. She mentioned that the ensemble was recruiting and encouraged students to learn more about it, especially since she had never played traditional instruments before joining. 

“We meet up every week and every time after rehearsal, I really feel very happy,” Li said. 

Other guests included the Sakura Tea Circle, a local nonprofit which performed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. 

Lia Chen from the Sakura Tea Circle prepares to demonstrate a Japanese tea ceremony.

Alice Yu is the associate director of the Center for East Asian Studies. She spoke about the success of the event, which only began last year. 

“It’s our signature event,” Yu said. “The purpose is to bring East Asian culture and language to the community and let people know more about it.”

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