Academy students learn about Japanese culture at an annual festival

Juniors Jalen Tam and Christina Dang are enjoying the bonsai trees on display at the Ohana Festival.

While most students spent the recent three-day weekend sleeping in or going to the beach, Sacred Hearts Academy’s Japanese III Honors students volunteered at the annual New Year’s Ohana Festival. The event was held at the Japanese Culture Center of Hawaii and across the street at the Moiliili Neighborhood Park.

The event is made up of food vendors, Japanese cultural activities and games. Throughout the day, there were various performances and demonstrations put on at either the park stage or building stage.

Some of the performances included Taiko drum demonstrations by the Taiko Center of the Pacific and a musical performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

“The event was just filled with so much culture and…passion (through performances),” junior and volunteer Ragelle Lumapas said.

The Academy students were assigned to specific stations, where they handed out booklets that included the day’s festivities, as well as a map of the event.

Each group of students were also allotted a 30-minute break to enjoy the different vendors and festivities. They also had the opportunity to tour the Center’s Okage Sama De exhibit. The exhibit, which translates to, “I am what I am because of you,” features the history of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii and gives visitors a look into the past.

To conclude the eight-hour service, students were provided with a free lunch and allowed to participate in the rest of the event’s activities.