Year of the Snake Hits UCSD

Asian food, sports and arts had a field day at “”The Year of the Snake”” festival, held Friday afternoon at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies courtyard.

The annual event, presented by IR/PS, was a huge success in spite of some bad weather.

“”We’ve had a good turnout, despite the rain,”” said Christine Ha, co-president of South East Asian Link.

The four-hour event celebrated Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Nearly 150 people were in attendance, including those of Asian and non-Asian backgrounds alike.

“”The campus here is very diverse,”” Ha said. “”Lots of different backgrounds are here and it’s a lot of fun, especially since Southeast Asia is often unrecognized.””

The linguistics department hosted the festival and helped to put it together with the IR/PS students.

“”We did the framework, and the students planned it,”” said Japanese language professor Kuniko Tada. “”It’s a great opportunity for students to show what they’ve learned. We don’t see this great hidden cultural learning in language classes.””

Language classes do not usually discuss the social and political aspects of the countries they are covering, so the festival makes for a good experience of the cultural side of the languages students are learning.

The program started with an elaborate Lion Dance and a Bamboo Stick Dance. Students presented kung fu and karate performances, along with presentations of origami (paper folding), shoduo (Japanese calligraphy) and ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement).

Cari Wilhem-Motomura, a second-year IR/PS student majoring in international business management, lived in Japan for six years and mastered the art of flower arrangement while learning the language. She was on hand at the festival, teaching the art to attendees.

“”The celebration brings our students together to share our cultures,”” Wilhelm-Motomura said. “”We have a small school — only a couple hundred people — so it gives us a chance to really share different aspects of our cultures, besides the politics and business aspects we study.””

Kelly Morphy, a first-year IR/PS student studying Portuguese and Spanish, appreciated a look into Asian culture.

“”This school is on the cutting edge of global communication and diversity,”” she said.

The event was also featured on KUSI’s Friday evening telecast.