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See You Soon, Japan

Brandon Santiago | Writer

Since I was in the fifth grade, I have had an undying passion for Japan and everything that comes with it. Japan’s culture, food, anime, and so much more have flooded my mind for most parts of my life.

During high school, I took up Japanese as my language elective. Who knew Easton Area High School would have that option? I was stoked, took the class, and aced it by the time the school year ended. During that time, my Japanese teacher offered her students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She was planning a trip to Japan with her as the tour guide!

But of course, nothing is truly free. Especially not a trip from Pennsylvania to Japan. The trip cost about $3000, and growing up in a lower-class household, it wasn’t going to happen. I brought this up to my teacher, and being the cheerful teacher she was, she told me about something that she thought would fill that empty space I was feeling inside.

She told me there was a Japanese festival that is held every year in Brooklyn, New York, and Washington D.C. called “Sakura Matsuri.” Sakura Matsuri is a cultural festival that brings Japan to the United States.

They serve mochi, sushi, and teriyaki chicken; they have live performances; and they have all of the knick-knacks you can think of. Samurai swords, kimonos, anime-inspired plushies — the list goes on.

When I first visited the festival in Brooklyn, it was beautiful! Pink Sakura trees, Japanese food vendors, and all of the decorations lit up the whole park. Though it wasn’t Japan, it sure felt like it. That’s why I love their culture. No matter where they go, they bring a part of Japan with them. One day, hopefully soon, I will visit Japan, and I will appreciate every breath and step I take when I get there.


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