Mar 252007
 
Authors: Bob Shipton

Anyone who has had an itching desire to tear apart issues of the Collegian could have contributed to the Gateway to Asia Festival on Saturday.

Students were shredding as many papers as they could in the Lory Student Center to make sure there was enough canvas for all the participants to practice in the eight different kinds of strokes in takes to master this Chinese style of writing.

The day started out on a much different note, however, with Dr. Anthony Tu, professor emeritus of CSU and professor at Chiba Institute of Science, speaking to the crowd about bioterrorism in Asian countries.

Being the only nation to fall victim of an actual nuclear attack, Tu said, Japan is far more concerned with the threat of North Korea and planning defenses if they attack than emerging new forms of bioterrorism.

After Tu spoke, students and community members headed to the North Ballroom, which featured stations with traditional Japanese games like Kendama, origami and paper cutting workshops, a “would you like to write your name in Japanese?” booth, and even a place to stop and sip some tea.

Many of the volunteers coordinating the activities came from students in the Asian studies programs, according to Jason Dickens, a senior Japanese major and president of the Japan Club.

“It took a huge effort to get all of this put together,” Dickens said. “We had a lot of people put in plenty of time on this.”

The crowd was also entertained by White Dragon Kung Fu, Kendo and Monkey Boxing demonstrations as well.

Freshmen Lauren Thomas and Rachael Seamon, who are both taking Japanese as a foreign language for the first time, came to the festival to experience more of the Asian culture.

“I came to just have a good time and learn a few things,” Thomas said.

One thing many people got to learn at the festival was their fortune, as the table of palm readers seemed the yield the largest quantity of visitors.

Dickens said the festival is a good way to let people experience a different culture, which he said is one reason he has enjoyed being in the Japanese studies program.

“It’s very fulfilling because it is something so completely different from the way we were raised,” he said. “It is so enjoyable, but also obscenely hard.”

Staff writer Bob Shipton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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