UT’s Japanese Student Association Brings Golden Week to Campus
By Razyl Yanez
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – The University of Texas at Austin’s Japanese Association(JA) hosted a Golden Week Festival at the Gregory Gym PlazaSunday, April 9th.
Golden Week is a national Japanese holiday typically celebrated with a week of festivities including Constitution Day and Childrens’ Day. In Japan, students get a week off of school.
Sena Flores, the cultural co-chair for JA, first joined the organization to practice the Japanese language. He now helps host events to bring mainland and diaspora students together through their shared culture.
“We’re kinda using JA and this as an outlet to showcase what we know about our own culture but also allowing other people to have fun and entertain it as well,” Flores said.
The festival took two months to plan. Flores said the most challenging part of planning was dealing with the logistics of the event, like reaching out to other organizations, getting a sound system, making practice batches of food and finding people to work the events.
“We don’t have enough officers to run those tables and people need to come help make food and so just having the community come out to support us,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Flores said he was glad many JA members were willing to help out.
The festival had performances, along with various activities like “fishing” for Japanese yoyos in a kiddie pool. There was food, like daifuku, a Japanese snack made of a strawberry and red bean paste covered in mochi.
Esther Peng, a UT freshman, said she attended the event in hopes of taking a relaxing break from her studies.
“It was so nostalgic. I used to be able to do really cool paper cranes, but I just, like, forgot everything,” Peng said. “And like calligraphy too. This holds so many childhood memories for me. I’m not Japanese, but it’s like a lot of similar activities.”
As the sun went down, there were bigger performances on the Gregory Gym Plaza. Multiple dance groups from UT and the greater Austin community performed alongside singing acts. A large crowd gathered to cheer them on.
Kenta Tawara, an International student from Japan, usually celebrates Golden Week with his family back home, but this year he helped JA bring his culture to campus.
“I think that’s amazing. I didn’t expect so many people to come here. That’s so nice. Also, it’s so authentic. This is, like, real Japanese culture,” Tawara said.