We were all sad that this would be the last Japan Day held at the Teen Studio in the Central Library, so we decided to go out with a bang and did we ever!
On November 3rd, Culture Day (文化の日, Bunka No Hi) is a national holiday in Japan to celebrate and promote the arts, cultural activities, and academic achievements. In the spirit of Culture Day, we decided to have our own version of this celebration and held a festival where different stations were set up where teens could partake in a variety of activities including: a Yu-Gi-Oh! dueling area, a Super Smash Bros. tournament, a paper crane origami contest, an area where teens could free draw and finally, a place where they could paint kokeshi dolls (a traditional Japanese toy).
We began the program by talking a little bit about current anime news; we were all wondering if the Attack on Titan live action movie could be the best or the worst thing ever, then some of our lady otakus played and performed the Bad Apple dance for us!
At 4:00 p.m., teens let loose to go to whatever station they wanted to or sign-up to compete in one of the tournaments that were held. The table that teens ran to first was our “freebie table”, where we had Japanese snacks, anime button pins, posters, DVDs, and toys for anyone to take home with them!
At the Yu-Gi-Oh! table, we thought there would be an epic card-tossing throw down, but instead of a blood-sport, years-long Yu-Gi-Oh! fans engaged in free battles and showed beginners to the card game how to start playing. Where the Yu-Gi-Oh! table was a lot calmer, the same thing couldn’t be said for the Super Smash Bros. tournament! We had quite the crowd gathered looking at participants duke it out, but Henry Toon came out the victor, with Cass Cyprien coming in second place. For those not looking to enter a battle royale, we held an origami contest (teen Jenny Ngo won this) and free tables to draw and paint kokeshi dolls.
We were honored to have a special guest come visit Japan Otaku Day; Japanese exchange student Asahi! She and her host sister were dressed in beautiful Japanese yukatas and added just what we needed to give our Culture Day some traditional flair!
At the end of Japan Day we had a final giveaway of some great prizes and sang a song dear to many anime fans’ hearts, the English version of the Pokémon opening theme song! Our goal with Japan Day is to have a space where teens can be themselves; no one is less than, everyone is proud of their weirdness, and most importantly we can make brand new friendships that may last a lifetime. We hope coming to Japan Day throughout the time at the Studio was a lot of fun and that you learned something new!
Remember, Keep Calm and Eat More Pocky!!
P.S. I would like to give a special “Thank You” to Javon Ayers, Michael Buentello, Chris Sauceda, Jay Nguyen, and all the other teens and volunteers that have helped make not only this, but past Japan Day programs a success.
Reading Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar was very refreshing; the original struggles of the very real characters and the unique twists made for a very pleasing read that I’ll definitely be re-visiting.
Jam’s amazing british boyfriend, Reeve, is gone, and there’s nothing she can do about it, or the paralyzing depression that's taking control of her life. There’s also nothing she wants to do about it, but her worried family members are thinking otherwise, and ship her off to the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school made specifically to help heal “emotionally fragile” teens. Jam doesn’t want to be there, and she certainly doesn’t want to be placed in an exclusive english class that’s studying the depressing works of Sylvia Plath. But Jam and the four other troubled teens of Special Topics English soon discover that the journals that were intended to document their problems have more to them than meets the eye. The world of Belzhar gives the kids a way to turn back the clock and re-live the lives they once had. But why have they been given this chance? And at what cost?
Stop what you’re doing. Sprint to the library. Check this book out.
Belzhar presents a story that will keep you guessing until the end, rooting for every character, and hoping for their triumph. Relatable, entertaining, and completely unique, Belzhar is definitely a read to check out.