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International students take part in Machida festival

On Sunday, September 24, 30 students from J. F. Oberlin University’s short-term exchange programs helped to carry a mikoshi, a portable shrine, as part of the Machida Tenmangu Festival. Participants included students from the U. S. A., the U. K., Italy, Australia, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Macao, Brazil, and the Philippines. This year marks the 22nd consecutive year that international students from J. F. Oberlin have participated in the festival, in collaboration with Tokyo Machida Salvia Rotary Club.

The idea is to give the students a first-hand experience of Japanese culture. Wearing jackets with the logo of the Hara-machida Roku-chome neighborhood, they carried the mikoshi through the shopping streets of downtown Machida, shouting energetically as they did so. After they’d finished, they sampled such festival favorites as takoyaki and kakigori from food stalls lining the streets, and from the smiles on their faces, it was obvious that they were enjoying the experience.

Wu Bohan, a student from Taiwan, said, “I’ve wanted to participate in a Japanese festival for a long time now, so this was a great opportunity. Even with 50 people carrying the mikoshi, it felt heavy, and my shoulder hurt. Also, you’re really squashed in tightly with the people in front of you and behind you, so it’s not easy at first, but together with my J. F. Oberlin friends and the people of the Roku-chome neighborhood, I soon got used to it. I also enjoyed the food stalls afterward. I was tired, but it was an exciting day.”

For more information, please contact J. F. Oberlin University’s Office of Public Affairs at 042-797-9772.