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Valpo’s Japanese Club, one of the cultural clubs here on campus, allows students who are interested to immerse themselves in the Japanese culture.

“Japanese Club basically is like a way for students who are interested in Japanese culture to get an experience of that on campus without necessarily knowing the language or being familiar with it beforehand,” said James Baur, President of the Japanese Club.

The club meets every Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Union and is available for any student of any background. Activities held in the club include things like origami, calligraphy, presentations and Japanese food nights. 

The organization also works with the Japanese Student Association (JSA) where they collaborate to hold many events including planning trips to Mitsuwa Japanese Market and to Chicago for authentic Japanese food.

“JSA doesn’t have set meeting dates, we have events that we inform people about once we come up with them so we don’t really have set dates but we do collab with James and their club,” Nadya Al-Shawi, President and founder of the Japanese Student Association (JSA) said. 

JSA and the Japanese Club sometimes host collaborative events with one another.  

“We do collab events sometimes, have booths where those groups show up and do certain activities. One big one that we do is calligraphy where they draw like you know the japanese characters,” Baur said.

Like most clubs on campus, it offers people the opportunity to expand their knowledge on a given subject beyond the initial facts they may have and it helps shine light on how things are done in said culture. It also gives the opportunity to practice the language a little. 

“I think the reason the club needs to exist is because a lot of people are interested in it,” Baur said. “When we set up the club fair a lot of people came by and they [were] sort of interested in like anime and games stuff like that, and you can kind of take them further and introduce more like Japanese cultural stuff.”

With student interest already embedded in a club like this, the club serves as a place where students can explore that very interest, in a setting where there are other students on campus who are just as passionate. It’s somewhere students can go to not only learn about Japanese culture but also enjoy the things that they might have an interest in. 

Other than the student activities fair that is held at the beginning of the school year, Japanese Club builds their members by word of mouth. By spreading the word about their club, the club is able to gain more new members each year. 

“I think it’s been like a stressful semester and for me even personally, it's great to have something else to do that's not so focused on work and like the crunch of time,” Baur said.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining Japanese Club, you can email James Baur at james.baur@valpo.edu for more information. 

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