Japanese club brings the land of the rising sun to Shoreline

Photo by Aaron Meliza
Caption: Japanese Club president Violet Laucirica (behind podium), and vice president Natasha Sidik (pointing) lead the group in a game show-style trivia game. Teams competed against each other by answering questions relating to Japanese culture.

By Adelia Sindunata

A year ago, Violet Laucirica and her friends had a plan to establish a club where they could share the love of Japanese culture together.

Now, Japanese club has been through its second quarter with members from diverse backgrounds.

Laucirica, the president of the club, fell in love with Japanese culture when she was in elementary school.

“When I was a kid, my mom went back from a trip to Japan and brought me some stuff,” Laucirica said. “Since then, I’ve been interested in Japanese culture and when I was in second grade, all of my friends started to talk about anime and I became a fan of it.”

According to Laucirica, she likes Japan because their culture is unique.

“I love the way that the Japanese embrace both traditional and modern aspects of the culture, and weave them together,” She said. “For example, there are crazy places like Akihabara with 6 story gaming arcades on every corner. But you can also find tiny shrines and temples, and other beautiful traditional style places a short walk away from those arcades.”

It was at the end of 2015 when she realized that there were a lot of students at SCC who shared the same interest as her, but there was no club for them.

“We have Chinese Culture Club, Korean Club, but there is no Japanese club,” Laucirica said, “I told my friends, ‘Hey, why don’t we start a Japanese club here?’ and they agreed.”

With help from some schoolmates, the Japanese club held its first meeting last winter quarter this year and 20 people showed up exceeding Laucirica’s expectations.

“At that time, I thought only 10 people would come.” She said, laughing.

Daigoro Hata, an international student from Tokyo, Japan, is one of the members who joined at the beginning. According to Hata, he heard from Laucirica that she wanted to make a Japanese Club, and he was interested in joining.

“It’s a pretty good opportunity for me to share about Japan and practice English at the same time,” Hata said. “I want to share my culture with other people, so they will understand that Japanese culture is not only about anime and sushi, it is way beyond that.”

Meanwhile, Charles Law, a student from Hong Kong who came to the club meeting for the first time on April 13, has a different reason to join this club.

“I know the Japanese language, and I think this club offers me the best opportunity to use my skills,” Law said. “There are some Japanese students here (in this club), and I can practice.”

According to Laucirica, they did lots of activities, such as making origami, trying Japanese snacks, and learning basic Japanese. They also get to know Japanese festivals like Hina Matsuri, the festival for the girls.

“The goal of this club is to provide a place where students can get connected to each other and exchange their knowledge about Japan,” said Laucirica, smiling.

Some of the members shared their most memorable experience in the club. Hata, despite being a Japanese native, said that he gained new knowledge about his country.

“I came from Tokyo, so I didn’t know much about the other parts of Japan,” Hata said. “I learned about it from the people in the Japanese club.”

Charlotte Yeung, one of the first members of Japanese club, said her most memorable experience was the snack flavor guessing game, where they were shown a random Japanese snack and had to guess what flavor it was.

According to Laucirica, there were some challenges when she created the club. Laucirica said that since Japan is a broad topic and the members have different interests on various aspects of Japanese culture, they faced difficulties in deciding the focus of their club. Their solution? Post a schedule on their Facebook page about their upcoming meeting topics, so the members can come to the meetings with their topic of interest.

On April 23, Japanese club will host a field trip to Cherry Blossom Festival in Downtown Seattle, where they can try Japanese traditional games, wear kimonos and learn calligraphy. They will also host a welcoming party for Japanese students who will be coming to SCC to study at the Hospitality and Tourism College (HTC) program, and the club wishes that all students come to the welcoming party.

Japanese club meets from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday in room 1101.