These past few weeks have been extremely busy for me, with school starting and getting involved in various clubs. I want to make sure to make the most of my time in Japan and get lots of opportunities to make friends and speak Japanese, and one club I joined to help with that is called WIC (Waseda International Circle). For the past month or so we’ve been working hard to prepare for an event called Yataimura, which happened this weekend.
Yataimura was a large festival on campus with lots of booths and stalls selling various food and other goods, and in WIC we split up into four separate groups and were given a theme to follow in the food we sold and the costumes we wore. This year the overall theme was “Fairytales from Around the World” and the teams were for Peter Pan, Aladdin, Snow White, and Princess Kaguya. I was on team Princess Kaguya, which is easily the one least familiar to western audiences. It’s a story about a girl who was found by a bamboo cutter and grew to be a beautiful princess. Several princes professed their love for her without even seeing her face and so she set them off on impossible tasks to test their sincerity. In the end, however, Princess Kaguya married none of them and instead returned to the moon where she was originally from.A week ago we made several kinds of food, and ultimately we decided on takenoko (stewed bamboo shoots) and imomochi (fried potato balls shaped like mochi that look like the moon). We felt that they were delicious, a good price, and fit the theme we were given.
Finally, after all of our preparations, the day of the festival finally came. It was raining all day, but we had a lot of fun. My team was divided into groups with one group standing by our stall and calling out to people to buy our food, and the other groups walked around the festival carrying the food. I actually was able to talk with several Waseda University alumni who were interested in my time as an exchange student, and got to meet new people in WIC as well! All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I’ve made a lot of great friends through getting involved.