Japanese Student Association springs into semester with festival

Japanese Student Association is hosting its Japanese Spring Festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday outside the Bill Daniel Student Center. Photo courtesy of Baylor Japanese Student Association

By Junna Miyazaki | Reporter

Japanese Student Association is hosting its Japanese Spring Festival, or Harsumatsuri, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday outside the Bill Daniel Student Center in order to bring Japanese culture to the Baylor community.

The festival is being held to celebrate springtime. Harumatsuri translates to spring (haru) and festival (matsuri).

The festival will have seven game booths. These will include calligraphy, origami and painting. Each attendee will receive a paper fan to decorate and keep. There will also be a game that utilizes chopstick skills, tasking participants to get as many beans as possible from one bowl to the other without scooping them.

There will also be a game called menko, which is famous from “Squid Game.” Each player uses menko cards made from thick paper or cardboard, printed on one or both sides with images. One player’s card is placed on the hardwood or concrete floor, and another player throws down his card, trying to flip the other player’s card with a gust of wind or by striking his card against the other card. If he succeeds, he takes both cards. The player who takes all the cards, or the one with the most cards at the game’s end, wins.

The festival will also feature performances, including a Taiko drum performance by Dallas-based group Kiyari Daiko.

Taiko was originally used for ceremonies, festivals and traditional dance, but it has evolved into a musical art known around the world for its deep, resonating beats, driving rhythms and powerful physical movements.

“The most exciting thing will be the Taiko drum performance,” Waco junior and JSA vice president Brooke Foit said. “I’ve only seen a video before, so seeing it firsthand is going to be amazing.”

The group will share and introduce Japanese culture with dynamic rhythm and the sounds of Taiko drums, one beat at a time.

“We perform every year at Baylor’s spring festival, except the past few years because of COVID,” Kiyari Daiko leader Emiko Suzuki said. “We appreciate our long-term relationship with Baylor and looking forward to seeing you guys.”

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $1 for game tokens. Paper sakura blossoms will be given out if the player of the game can accomplish the tasks at the booth.

“Everybody’s been working hard on the festival,” Floresville junior and JSA social chair Maegan Mahula said. “I would like people to come to that — anybody who’s interested in Japanese culture and just wants to try to do things.”

The event will also feature Le’s Kitchen.

“Preparing for Harumatsuri has been a great learning experience,” Foit said. “I’ve learned how to set up an event, advertise and work with a team.”