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Preview: Pierce College vs. Japan debate

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Preview: Pierce College vs. Japan debate

It isn’t often that a debate duo from Japan battles against the Pierce debate team onstage, but on March 11 students will be able to witness it at the Japan Day event.

The Japanese Club will be hosting Japan Day at the Great Hall to explore and celebrate Japanese culture from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of a preview for the event, Japanese Club member Connor Ferguson expressed his excitement.

“This isn’t an advertisement for Japanese Class. This is an opportunity to share Japanese culture with everyone at Pierce College, not necessarily academic activities, but enjoyable ones,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the debate between the Japanese pair and Pierce students was coordinated by the Communications Studies group.

“The topic is going to be a discussion on a house law in the Japanese Imperial Family,” Ferguson said.

The “controversy,” according to Ferguson, is that the current Emperor’s only heir is his daughter. Some dispute that the Emperor’s brother has a son that should be the next Emperor instead.

“There’s some argument there,” Ferguson said. “Some want a female Emperor, but some want the boy.”

The event will have a food creation workshop where students can learn how to make onigiri rice balls and how to write their own names with calligraphy pens in Katakana and Kanji. There will also be a tea ceremony and Japanese future telling, also known as Omikuji.

Ferguson said his goal is for students to be open to discovering more about Japanese culture from Japan Day.

“I hope that they learn that there’s more to Japanese culture than the surface elements. The food, culture and even the writing system is ethnically rich,” Ferguson said. “It’s not intimidating. Japanese can be a very scary language to look at, it’s very foreign, but their language is simple and easy to grasp and they’re a lot more like us than we assume.”

Japanese professor Yoshiko Takase said there will be a custom shrine to welcome students as they enter the Great Hall.

“We are going to decorate the Great Hall like a shrine, with the decoration committee, they are building an 8 feet tall shrine gate,” Takase said. “It was one of the student’s ideas.”

Ferguson added that many materials were used for it and they are putting the finishing touches on it.

“Culturally speaking, the purpose of the shrine, there’s a lot of importance in Japanese culture on rituals,” Ferguson said. “It’s not strictly a religious experience, it’s a passing through. You’re entering into the event through this barrier in and out of the event.”

Ashkon Hojati, the leader for the set-up committee that was established for places like the Great Hall, is working with Ferguson and Takase on setting up the event.

“We’re hoping for the tables we’re going to be using to have a castle-esque themed decoration, something to rise up above the table to top it off,” Hojati said. “A lot of the decorations will come from stuff students have made, so for example, presentations and what not. We want to have something for Omikuji, a fortune telling booth, make it yourself onigiri or rice balls, presentations and panel discussions.”