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Enriching Encounters with Japanese Culture


The spring 2023 semester has been filled with hands-on learning for William & Mary’s Japanese Studies students. We extend gratitude to Junko Ishizu for her assistance with several student-led activities. As William & Mary’s Japanese House International Fellow, Ms. Ishizu put forth an ardent effort to expose students to dance, calligraphy, traditional handicrafts, and cooking through enriching events.

Among them was the traditional Japanese card game 100人一首 that requires considerable physical and mental skill. While the students found the individual matches enjoyable, the group matches were far more entertaining. Students also madeどら焼き, a classic Japanese dessert with red bean filling between two slices of sweet fluffy pancakes, andいちごだいふく, a cute strawberry wrapped with sweet bean paste and mochi. The cake’s appearance can be linked to certain personality traits and offer insight into the creator.

During an International Language House event, the Japanese House performed Bon-Odori (Bon Festival Dance), traditionally presented during an annual summer Buddhist festival commemorating people’s ancestors. Ms. Ishizu and three students wore yukata, which was traditionally worn during this festival, and they invited the audience to join them as they danced.

Ms. Ishizu’s contributions during 2022-2023 academic year afforded students the opportunity to have authentic encounters with Japanese culture. どうもありがとうございました!