JNHS promotes Japanese culture

Giving back to the community through unique cultural events

By Eileen Chih

JNHS club members volunteer at Wesley United Methodist Church for the 85th Wesley Aki Matsuri Fall Festival.

Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS)/Japanese Club is a club that provides much more than just community service. It opens up new opportunities for students to learn about a culture that it is very different from the American lifestyle.

Japanese Club President Rebecca Zhu said that the club allows students to learn about aspects of Japanese culture they are unable to experience in a classroom setting.

“JNHS members have the opportunity to volunteer at events where mochi is freshly pounded and made,”  Zhu said. “[We] possibly eat some too.”

Senior club member Megan Le was first interested in the club as a fun way to learn more about Japan outside of class.

“My favorite event from last year was volunteering at a Buddhist temple,” Le said.

A big difference between American culture and Japanese culture is the level of respect for one another.

“Formality is so highly valued in Japanese culture that it is built into the language itself; for example, saying ‘thank you’ to a friend would be different from saying ‘thank you’ to a teacher,” Zhu said.

Club Adviser Junko Birdsong said the club offers students the chance to learn about Japanese culture, history and pop culture along with food.  

“The club has a respectful atmosphere and the club members and officers all have very positive attitudes,” Birdsong said.

The club president also stressed how students do not need to be in a Japanese class in order to join.

“You don’t have to necessarily be taking a Japanese class; in fact, that’s exactly what J-Club is for. There’s something about Japanese culture to like for everyone, whether it’s the anime, food or festivals,” Zhu said.

Last year in the cafeteria, the club hosted their first J-Night where they invited parents and the rest of the student body during open house to show what the club had to offer about Japanese culture. Students in Japanese 3, Japanese 4 honors and AP Japanese discussed different aspects of Japanese culture.

The JNHS officers have been working with other Japanese clubs within the district to plan events that will be available for all students to attend. The first event will be the Karaoke Contest/Gyoza Social at FHS on Nov. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.