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Participating in Gakuen-sai was an incredible experience for me. Prior to the 

event, I learned from a Waseda University exchange student that big universities
in Japan invite renowned singers to perform at their Gakuen-sai. Another
Japanese student also shared with me that during the event, students would 
showcase their talents through performances and there would be a variety of food and traditional trinket stalls. On the day of Gakuen-sai, I was amazed by the diverse range of activities available. From quizzes about Japanese culture, to body-painting, homemade sweet food, and card games, there were so many options to choose from. The Japanese culture quiz, in particular, caught my attention. Despite the fact that I got zero answer correct, it was an engaging and interactive experience. I was able to learn a lot about Japanese culture from the revealing of the answers.
Moreover, Gakuen-sai allowed me to meet and interact with many new people 
from different backgrounds. I was able to make new friends with students from
Japan and other countries, which helped me to broaden my perspectives and
learn about different cultures. The atmosphere at Gakuen-sai was lively and
vibrant, with people laughing, enjoying themselves, and having fun. It was a truly
inclusive and welcoming environment.

For Gakuen-sai my group did a Setsubun themed stall. It originally took a while for my group to decide on a theme for our stall but after a lot of thinking we thought that Setsubun would be fun for everyone, plus it would likely be familiar to those attending Gakuen-sai since the actual Setsubun festival had just occurred.I drew traditional Oni as well as Oni from anime and manga on paper so people could, rather than throw soy beans, throw candy at the demons to chase them away. At the end of Gakuen-sai I also let people keep the drawings as a souvenir to remember Gakuen-sai. My group also had customisable Oni masks with different sized horns which meant people could make their Oni special. Another fun thing my group did was set up a VR headset which allowed others to explore Japan and Japanese culture through virtual reality or even play games on it if they didn’t enjoy our Setsubun activities. Despite this though, it took a while for people to come up to our stall, maybe because the stalls around us had lots of delicious food that piqued their interests. But once the did come to our stall, they had the opportunity to relive the thrill of Setsubun through the excitement of the Gakuen-sai. As people came to our stall one by one, crowds started to for around those using the VR. We had a screen where people could observe what was being seen on the headset which made it more popular. The members of my group took turns watching over the stall so each of us would get a chance to see the other Gakuensai-sai stalls and activities which allowed it to be a really fun experience and I got to interact with more of my peers and introduce others to two aspects of Japanese culture – Gakuen-sai and Setsubun.

Gakuen-sai was a memorable and enriching experience that allowed
me to immerse myself in Japanese culture and make new friends from diverse
backgrounds. I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in such a
wonderful event, and it has left a lasting impression on me. I would highly
recommend anyone to attend Gakuen-sai if they have the chance.





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