Shortly after arriving at AIU, I signed up with several other international and first-year students. At first, the translation of instructions from Japanese to English was very difficult for some of the members, and this disrupted the flow of the meeting. I think for this reason, many of the international students stopped coming. Even so, some of us stuck with it, and the translations greatly improved as the semester continued. As someone who is studying Japanese, it was precious for me to listen and then compare with the translation after.
Hawaiian club met twice a week for an hour to an hour and a half. There was also an additional workshop with Allyson Yayoi. Allyson is a very experienced hula dancer who used to perform competitively. It’s a pleasure to watch her dance because it shows how wide the skill range of hula is. I felt very motivated to improve when learning the hula from her.
In just one semester, I learned five dances and was able to perform on four separate occasions. We danced at the AIU summer festival and an oyster festival on the coast of Akita, as well as our own Summer Valentine Hula show. Towards the end of the semester, myself and one other dancer performed for fun at a local bar.
My favorite performance and experience during the entire semester were performing at the oyster festival. Our performance was televised, and we were dancing next to the ocean. It was a rewarding experience because many members of the community had never seen the hula before, so they were very thankful for our performance. Hawaiian club is an excellent club for international students. The time commitment is not as significant as other clubs, so you have plenty of time for other activities. The club is not very traditional, so it is more casual, but since it is instructed in Japanese, it still feels like an experience unique to AIU.