Cultural Festival the next best thing to go to Japan for students

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Waiopehu College student Alyssa Nielsen tries her hand at a Japanese game of kendama.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Waiopehu College student Alyssa Nielsen tries her hand at a Japanese game of kendama.

Manawatū students got a taste of Japanese life at a cultural festival.

Higher education institution IPU New Zealand welcomed around 100 high school students from across the region on Wednesday for Bunkasai, a cultural festival of Japanese schools.

This is the first time that ISU New Zealand has hosted the event and Awatapu College, Feilding High School, St Peter’s College and Waiopehu College have participated.

Bunkasai are common in Japan and allow students to display their artistic achievements.

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ISU lecturer Hiroko Yuzawa (right) demonstrates and assists Thet Min Cho Augn of Awatapu College in the art of Japanese <a class=calligraphy.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

ISU lecturer Hiroko Yuzawa (right) demonstrates and assists Thet Min Cho Augn of Awatapu College in the art of Japanese calligraphy.

Students participated in presentations, calligraphy, Japanese games, origami, tea ceremony, drumming and Japanese food.

Brendon Chapple, head of Japanese at Awatapu, said the day was for students learning Japanese and it was an opportunity for them to experience Japanese culture.

With borders closed due to Covid-19, schools were unable to take exchange trips abroad.

“At the moment, we cannot take students to Japan on trips to experience Japan first-hand, but it is the best thing to do.

The students participated in various cultural activities, including Japanese calligraphy.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

The students participated in various cultural activities, including Japanese calligraphy.

“We bring them together and experience the culture. We want to encourage students to continue studying Japanese after high school, and not just treat it as something they study in high school.

“I hope some of them will go to Japan in the future.”

Kahupounamu Potaka, 14, a student from Feilding High School, studies Japanese as a subject in school and enjoys the cultural day.

She was doing origami and eating Japanese food when she spoke to Things and she said she was interested in Japanese culture.

“It’s definitely intriguing and different.”

She was learning the language and speaking a little bit.

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