As cherry blossom trees grew beautiful flowers on Wellesley’s campus, the Japan Club celebrated spring and Japanese culture with its flower festival, Hana Matsuri, on April 17.
“We used to have a Snow Festival around mid-February [but] because of COVID-19 and restrictions on food and capacity, it takes a while for the Office of Student Involvement to approve our event so we decided to have a flower festival instead,” said Takami Harano ’25, Japan Club’s co-cultural chair.
To accurately replicate the celebration, Japan Club set up booths, activities and performances representing elements of Japanese traditions and cultures.
The night was officially kicked off by Nihon Buyou, a traditional Japanese dance performed by professional dancer Michiko Kurata. Following the dance, Wellesley Shotokan Karate members performed two Japanese rock songs.
In between three shows of the evening, participants toured the 11 booths and learned more about Japanese culture. They had the chance to fold paper cranes with origami paper and write calligraphy. They also played games like ring toss for prizes and competed with friends by showing off their use of chopsticks.
Japan Club showcased new elements at this year’s festival. Harano said, “We have a new booth for this year, the J-Pop music booth, to get more people to know about Japanese popular music.”
At the same time, the newly formed Anime Club debuted with their booth at the festival.
“Our entire e-board worked on setting up games and producing merchandise since January for the booth. We are enthusiastic about Hana Matsuri to promote anime and Japanese culture to everyone,” said Lina Zhang ’25, on Anime Club’s committee team.
To address current dining restrictions at Wellesley events, the club gave out free bento boxes, with a variety of choices like chicken, pork or horse mackerel katsu, mapo tofu, ground meat and curry; served with dorayaki, a Japanese sweet pastry.
“We want to let people know more about Japanese cuisine and how it is unique,” said Harano.
The night ended with Olin Fire Arts’ spectacular flame performance and the Japan Club’s e-board dance.
“It is difficult to recreate a sense of the real Hana Matsuri, exactly like in Japan. However, since it has been a long time [since an in-person gathering], we just hope to bring people together with Hana Matsuri.” shared Harano.