TCC Anime and Japanese culture club members share their opinions on the benefits of students becoming culturally aware.
Cultural awareness is a concept that has grown in relevancy over the years, as has interests with Eastern culture by Westerners. NE Campus has capitalized on this with the Anime and Japanese Culture club, a place where students can go and learn about Japan together. The club, led by club president Mena Kennedy, meets Fridays at 1PM to observe and celebrate Japan’s unique traditions and offerings.
Before the start of their most recent meeting, club members discussed what it means to have cultural awareness.
“I think cultural awareness is important,” NE student and club secretary Ethan Kuioth said. “Texas is actually quite a diverse place and populations are full of various groups of people and I think it’s important to learn more about other cultures and know more about everyone.”
NE student and club member Dylan Bacchus felt similarly regarding the importance of being well-versed in other cultures.
“It [cultural awareness] expands people’s views on how they see the world,” Bacchus said. “They’re not so closed off in their own little pocket.”
Despite this, Bacchus said the desire to learn about other cultures will always depend on the person.
“Some people enjoy to experience new things and some people are not accustomed to change,” he said. “I think it’d be better if everyone were more open to experiencing new things. Not even just Japanese culture but any culture.”
NE student and club member Ki Boyd said that learning foreign cultures can benefit people by making them more open-minded.
“Learning different cultures makes a more well-rounded person,” Boyd said. “Like, if you go to Japan, you’ll know the significance behind why they dress and talk the way they do.”
Kuioth said there’s social benefits to learning about new and foreign cultures.
“I feel like anyone can benefit from learning about any culture, because there’s always some linking factors between all of them,” he said. “Learning more about all of them can lead to you being more accepting and kind of understand the differences between different groups of people.”
He said there’s a sense of community from the club, a “familial vibe,” that can be felt that comes with broadening your cultural awareness and learning new skills.
“I think empathy is something people can learn [in the club] and sort of social skills,” he said. “Honestly, the whole point of having a club and an environment is to make friends with new people and find a place that you feel you kind of belong in on campus and have a group of people that you kind of get to know and potentially hang out with more. That’s what we try to go for is a close vibe like that.”
Kennedy detailed some upcoming club events and activities such as a Japanese movie night festival event, a cosplay-themed event called Cosplay Café and field trips to special anime conventions and Japanese gardens.