Home Community Voices Good Fortune ‘福’ from Japan Week at Bellevue College

Good Fortune ‘福’ from Japan Week at Bellevue College

Good Fortune ‘福’ from Japan Week at Bellevue College

Text By Ansh Chavda For The North American Post
Photos by David Yamaguchi The North American Post

Scenes from Bellevue College Japan Week, September 30. TOP ROW, from left: karaoke, kendama (traditional ball and spike game), Go (Japanese chess).

For the past six years, the Japanese Culture Exchange Club (JCEC) at Bellevue College (BC) has held an annual event celebrating and introducing Japan and Japanese culture to Bellevue and the Greater Puget Sound area. This year was no different. From September 25 to 29, the JCEC and BC hosted weekday hybrid webinar sessions for BC students only.

On September 30, the college invited the public to explore the festivities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with support from the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle. With 200 volunteers and thousands of attendees, the seventh annual Japan Week was an unforgettable success.

One of the most notable parts of this year’s Japan Week was a special guest, famous Rakugo storyteller and comedian Katsura Sunshine. Thanks to the Tateuchi Foundation, Mr. Sunshine’s show was free for all attendees to experience. All 300 seats of the Carlson Theater were filled as Mr. Sunshine shared an exciting and entertaining performance.

Other fun activities this year included singing in a karaoke room from a catalog of over 30,000 songs, watching Japanese folk stories in the BC planetarium, shopping at the Japanese flea market, experiencing an Urasenke tea ceremony, trying on yukata (light summer kimonos) provided by the Japanese Consulate in front of a castle backdrop from the Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association, and learning about ikebana (flower arranging) through demonstrations. Throughout the day, international students from Japan organized a popular dango-making workshop (rice-flour dumplings), with the support of Uwajimaya, that had people lining up for hours in advance across the campus!

from left: Meito Shodo-Kai Calligraphy Association; Okinawa Kenjin Kai Chijinshuu of Washington State; cosplay.

In addition to the scheduled events, visitors could fold origami, learn kendama (traditional ball and spike) tricks, play Go (Japanese chess), write their names in kanji, try calligraphy, watch martial arts demonstrations, listen to taiko groups and more.

For visitors who love competition, the JCEC held a Japanese trivia quiz, a cosplay contest, a kendama contest, and a paper airplane contest for adults, teens and children alike.

Online, participants could submit pictures of their custom origami and bento creations to be entered into a contest.

The Japan Week website providing general information, schedules and online activities for guests was managed by students in the club. It received over 4,800 visitors in the past month.

The annual tradition of the JCEC choosing a kanji for the Japan Week’s iconic daruma logo continued this year, with the selected kanji being福 (fuku), or fortune. It was a perfect choice, as we were all fortunate to have another amazing Japan Week!

On behalf of the JCEC, we appreciate the generous support and donations from the community. In addition to BC, the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle, the Tateuchi Foundation and Uwajimaya, other local sponsors included Kawabe Memorial Fund, the Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association and the Japan Business Association of Seattle. Their combined support made Japan Week possible.

Thank you to all who supported and visited our event this year! See you next fall!


P.S. Please fill out the survey to help us plan next year’s Japan Week.


Ansh Chavda is a second year running start student at BC and President of the
JCEC. He plans to study computer science and finance after graduating from high school in June 2024.