By Myles Goldman
"Today, we celebrate what it is to be part of-both in and of-our great capital," University President Steven Knapp said.
Originally scheduled to take place in the mid-campus quad behind Lisner Hall, the celebration was moved inside because of off-and-on rain showers. Although a scheduled Cherry Blossom tree planting had to be postponed due to the change in location, the tree was still in attendance, standing at the front of the room. It will be planted behind Lisner Hall in the near future.
Haruka Nakagawa sings "Sakura Sakura."
The ceremony was focused on exposing attendees to Japanese culture. The ceremony began with the reading of a haiku focused on the special nature of cherry blossom trees. Later on in the ceremony GW student Haruka Nakagawa, a psychology major minoring in theater and music sang "Sakura Sakura," a popular Japanese song that is translated to mean "Cherry Blossom O' Cherry Blossom." Nakagawa, who has spent much of her life in Japan, performed wearing a kimono given to her by her Aunt.
"I'm very happy about the strong international relationship between two countries I feel connected to," Nakagawa said after the ceremony. "I get to enjoy the season of spring [here in DC] the same way I do at home."
Diana Mayhew, Chair of the internationally known National Cherry Blossom Festival, also spoke at the event about the history of the trees in DC and GW's connection to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Many students have volunteered and interned with the festival during its nearly one hundred year history.
"GW is the epitome of extending the Cherry Blossom festival to a campus," Mayhew said.
JASA members practice their origami skills.
Throughout the course of the event the GW Japanese American Student Alliance (JASA) had a table set-up where attendees were able to try their hand at the art of origami and learn of the GW Chapter's efforts to raise funds for Japanese victims of recent tsunamis.
Following the ceremony, attendees who had signed-up had the opportunity to have a bento box lunch. This is the type of packaged lunch students in Japan bring to school. The lunch is known for being in a colorful box, layered with items of small samples of food such as several vegetables and pieces of fish.