Japan culture comes to AHS

Tiana Reams, International Editor

Students can learn new languages, taste new food, and experience a glimpse of life in another culture. A new culture has come to AHS: The Japanese Culture Club.
The club was created two months ago and run by president Mikayla Parsons.
“I founded the club in the beginning of the fall season, and since it is new I have only been a member for two months,” Parsons said.
As the founding member and president, Parsons has major responsibilities such as recruiting new members, coming up with activities and maintaining her knowledge of the Japanese culture.
It is also important that Parsons helps the sponsor and keeps the intact.
Parsons works with English teacher Sasha Duran, the club sponsor, to make sure everyone looks forward to coming back every other Tuesday.
The next meeting for the Japanese Culture club is today, Tues. January 23.
Kids from all grades are interested in the club; there are about 50 students in the club in all. The smallest meeting that they’ve ever had has been roughly 20 students, impressive for a new club.
“Seeing club members smile during an activity shows me that the members are having fun,” Parsons said.
When the club meets, they participate in multiple activities. On one Tuesday that they met, members made sushi rolls, which is where you put sushi inside of a bamboo mat and roll it.
Although, they do not just make foods and learn Japanese, they learn about the clothing and TV shows that they make.
“During the club, we learn about the Japanese language and writing, traditional dishes, the attire, sports, watch movies and shows, and leisurely activities such as playing games and just getting to know each other,” Parsons said.
Parsons works hard to get the word out about her newly founded club. She makes sure that new members will not regret joining the club.
Sometimes, Parsons will go around and talk to her friends about the club so that her friends can spread the word as well.
“I highly encourage people to join because it is a club that members look forward to every other Tuesday and is definitely the highlight of my day,” Parsons said. “It is a place where one can make new friends who have similar interest as you.”
Of course, the weight of the club is not only on Parson’s shoulders. Duran helps Parsons run the club and supports her decisions and ideas.
Duran was raised and born here in the United States, but has Japanese background.
“I grew up in this area but I was born in Japan and my mom is Japanese so I am half Japanese,” said Duran.
Parsons pitched the idea about the club to Duran herself and Duran supported her and the start of the club.
Parsons knew Duran’s background of Japanese culture, so having her as the sponsor would be good for the club.
“Mikalah came to me the first week of school saying she wanted to make a Japanese club and she had known I would be a good person to ask just from previous years,” said Duran.
In the past meetings, the club members played traditional games, learned the unique Japanese alphabet and made food.
“In the future, we plan on practicing wearing kimonos and other things,” said Duran.
Even though the club is new, Parsons plans to pass the club on to another president and continue it throughout the years at AHS.
They hope the club will make students more aware of Japanese culture even for those who are not Japanese.
Many students are very interested in the club and they like to interact with the other members and participate in the activities.
Students are obviously excited for the club with dozens of students participating in the first two meetings.
“We have a lot of underclassmen participating and we also have a lot of upperclassmen leading in the club this year and trying to make sure the underclassmen feel welcome so that their place can be replaced next year,” said Duran.
Since the club meets on only Tuesdays, it is harder for underclassmen to come since it is not a late bus day.
“We still have a lot of interests and some of the kids will still even meet outside of the club and outside of school,” said Duran.
It is still possible and encouraged for students to join the Japanese Culture Club.
Duran and Parsons create activities daily and work together all the time to make sure club members look forward to coming back.
They always plan ahead and make time to discuss things. They try to get people from outside of the school to come and volunteer for their club.
“Me and Mikalah are usually always on the same page, whatever idea Mikayla wants I will approve and make it happen,” said Duran.
Overall, the Japanese club is a place where you meet new people that are not just there for the anime, but also for the culture.
It is an active club that does a new Japanese activity every time they meet. It is a place where people can laugh, be competitive, and have a good time.
“I want it to be a fun and safe place for students to come and discuss their shared interests and somewhere for kids to meet other people they wouldn’t meet in their other classes,” said Duran.
Duran hopes to keep the club running long after Parsons graduates.
If you are interested in joining the club or have any questions concerning the club contact president Mikalah Parsons or club sponsor Sasha Duran.