150 Attend Tomodachi Potluck

altOn Sunday, June 12, the first group event of this year's Tomodachi Program was held.  It was a potluck.  About 150 students and family members attended.  In addition to the yakisoba, there were yummy casseroles, side dishes and desserts.  There was also an Onigiri table where participants could learn to make their own onigiri (rice balls).  There were a variety of fillings to choose, as well as choices for the outside of your onigiri.

Another activity was Suikawari, or watermelon splitting.  It is a traditional Japanese game that involves splitting a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded.  Played in the summertime, suikawari is most often seen at beaches, but also occurs at festivals, picnics, and other summer events.  The rules are similar to pinata.  A watermelon is laid out and participants one by one attempt to smash it open.  Each is blindfolded, spun around three times, and handed a wood stick, or bokken, to strike with.  The first to crack the watermelon open wins.  Afterwards, the chunks of watermelon produced are shared among participants.

Before the Potluck ended, guests were treated to a Soranbushi dance performance by seven American Studies Program students.  The Soranbushi is one of the most famous traditional songs in Japan.  It is a Japanese sea shanty that is said to have been first sung by the fishermen of Hokkaido, northern Japan.  The dance moves depict fishermen dragging nets, pulling ropes, and carrying luggage over their shoulders.

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