Student Voice: A Taste of AIU and Akita: Kanto Festival-Trevor Freemire, Lyon College, U.S.A.

AIU has restarted hosting international exchange students for the first time in two years starting from the Spring 2022 semester. Student Voice introduces what international exchange students have learned and experienced at AIU and in Akita.

Here is a message from Mr. Trevor Freemire.

One of the things that I was looking forward to when I got to Akita International University was joining the Kanto Team. So, after the first week of settling into the dorms, I went with a couple of my roommates to my first Kanto practice and was welcomed into the team with open arms. Being the only foreigner on the Sashite team was a bit tough at first, but the other students were willing to work with me to help me learn how to hold the pole correctly. I wasn’t able to make too much progress since the semester was so short, but I was able to get to a point in which I could do the first technique, Hirate, comfortably.

Mr. Trevor Freemire’s Kanto performance: Photo credit to Yuto Nakajima.

I am very grateful to the other members of the Sashite Team since the team was so attentive in helping me develop my skills. If it was not for them, I would have dropped the pole more times than I could count. I was also able to look to them for inspiration to improve my own skills. I wanted to be able to do the things that they could do. One of the coolest things for me to witness during my time on the Kanto Team was the skills of the Upperclassmen. Everyone who was on the team before me was very skilled at doing Kanto, and I always looked forward to watching them do their performances. They were able to pull off some amazing things when performing that I can’t even dream of doing myself. 

Photo by Mr. Trevor Freemire.

The Magnum Opus of my time attending AIU was the Kanto Festival. The Kanto Festival, being an event specific to the Akita region, was one of the determining factors in my decision to come during the Spring Semester. Despite the weather forecast the week prior, the weather was very good this year, which was a good thing because this was the first time the festival had been celebrated in a long time, from what I heard. Because of this good weather, I was actually able to perform quite a few times and show off what I had been able to learn during my one semester at AIU. One of the best sights was when the poles were raised up in the very beginning. 

Photo by Mr. Trevor Freemire.

But boy was the festival tough! I was wiped out by the end of the festival, but I persevered through it all! It was a great experience, and I was told that I was a permanent member of the club, meaning that I could return for any future Kanto festivals that occur! I definitely want to come back in a few years for another festival!

From the Center for International Affairs

Being able to participate in the Kanto Festival, one of Akita’s traditional festivals which was held this year for the first time in three years, must have been a very precious and unforgettable lifetime memory for him.

AIU’s Kanto team also performs during events other than Akita’s Kanto Festival, such as at AIU Open Campus Days and AIU festivals, so if you are interested please try to attend one of their performances!