CUNY Students Help Share Japanese Culture @ Street Festival
The Consulate General of Japan had a booth in this year's 92nd Street Y Street Fest on Sunday, September 23rd. With the help of a few very enthusiastic CUNY college volunteers, visitors to our booth had the opportunity to obtain information and promotional items about Japan. But that awas not all. This year, visitors were vigorously encouraged to try on a set of traditional Japanese armor (yoroi) and take photos if they desired. For those who wanted to, a fully armored, samurai warrior (that we happened to have on staff) was available to pose with for pictures.
For those who were more creative at heart, the Consulate provided origami lessons at the booth. By the end of the day, literally hundreds of cranes and kabuto (samurai hats) were made by children as well as adults. Some participants even showed our staff some very interesting and inventive variations on the crane. Here is what our volunteers had to say about the event.
" It was a really great experience at the 92Y Street Festival as a volunteer. I was responsible for helping people try on the samurai armor. I've learnt Japanese from this festival "Origami." That was what I knew. I felt excited when I tried on the samurai armor. I have never seen real samurai armor before. I was happy to see people around the booth enjoying themselves although they did not look at the Japan booth. The festival went smoothly with a lot of enjoyment all around. Actually, I am not Japanese. I am Thai, but I am very interested in Japanese culture. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) student at LaGuardia Community College. This festival wasn't only beneficial for me, but also I learned something Japanese. I could improve my speaking and listening English. This was a great opportunity to learn more especially for kids or teenagers. I would like to hear news about such volunteer opportunities in the future. " - Jungburapa
" At the 92 Y- Street Festival, many people stopped at the Japan Consulate's booth while enjoying the beautiful early autumn weather, largely because they were drawn to the armor costume worn by Jesse Taylor who is one of the Consulate's staff members. There was a nice contrast between the clear blue sky and his vivid, orange Japanese warrior's outfit. People loved to take photos with him, and many tried on another set of armor the Consulate had prepared just for that purpose. As for my tasks as an intern, I helped people put on the armor, especially children 4-12 years old, as it was a little heavy. It looked great on all of the children who tried it on. Additionally, we had a small impromptu Origami class at the booth on how to make cranes and Japanese armor helmets. Later, Nanami-san, one of the volunteer members joined us, and the number of fascinated children kept growing. Many of them bravely tried to make cranes but it was more intricate a process for them than it looked. During the process, many of them almost lost their concentration or became discouraged and rather disappointed by the step when they opened their Origami again after they had just folded it. Yet, because of the process, once their Origami was complete, they could see how all their efforts paid off. As soon as their handy paper art was done, they looked so happy and satisfied as their parents smiled back to them. It was a source of great pleasure to pass on the art of Japanese origami to the children here since I strongly believe that cultural exchange is crucial in our increasingly globalized world. I personally appreciated the opportunity to be able to meet a lot people who were drawn to our booth, which was one small satellite of Japanese culture in Manhattan, sharing Origami and Samurai costuming with the world that fine afternoon on 92 street. " - Yamamoto
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The host of the street fest “92nd Street Y” is now offering a “Jewelry Tour of Japan”? in which you can learn about jewelry, metalwork and decorative arts of Japan.? Visit here for more information.