Local News

Japanese Classes Host Haiku Holiday Film Fair

By Angela Sheu and Linda Wang

Local Editor and Humor Editor

On Saturday, Jan. 21, the Japanese classes at Los Gatos High School hosted their 21st annual Haiku Holiday Film Fair. The event featured alumni speakers, vendors, an art contest, and two movie screenings: Jungle Emperor Leo and Kintaro Walks Japan. All proceeds from the festival went to Mental Health America, an organization that aims to educate and promote mental health awareness across the United States.

The LGHS main building underwent a transformation to accommodate the many people who came to celebrate Japanese culture. Along the walkways were booths set up by different groups, clubs, and committees presenting a variety of different goods. The LGHS Key Club organized a boba event to raise money for ENGin, a program that pairs Ukrainian youth with English speakers. Further down the hall, the Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS) sold bagged goodies, hot coffee, and snack bundles for anyone looking to grab a bite in between screenings. 

Several clubs from Saratoga High School also came to raise funds for their prospective goals, such as the Saratoga JNHS and the Saratoga Green Committee. The latter, which displayed a variety of bamboo cutlery, metal straws, and other reusable silverware, shared their goals for their booth: “Right now, we’re trying to make our school a more sustainable place in energy, paper usage, everything. We want to reduce the amount of times we throw away something… with these goods, you buy it once and you can reuse it for years.” 

In the main theater, students watched Japanese class alumni share videos reflecting on their experiences with Japanese culture after taking the language class at LGHS. In addition, some alumni showed up in person and answered questions from the audience. 

Throughout the day, participants could also vote for their favorite art submission as posted in front of the theater entrance. In the end, Sean Yukler won with a piece depicting the Ogre of Rashomon from traditional Japanese folktales.

Preparations for the film festival started at the beginning of the school year. The JNHS focused on creating T-shirt designs, finding vendors who could set up booths, and coordinating volunteer work. Overall, the planning and the cause was worth it. Co-president and senior Callum Fallside detailed the reasoning behind the cause, explaining, “We found that during COVID and also recently with the rainstorm, a lot of people had problems with their mental health and I feel like it’s not addressed. This year I pushed for Mental Health America because I felt that it was the biggest organization where you could put money in it knowing it was going somewhere good.” Reflecting on the whole festival, JNHS treasurer and junior Nicole Shimamoto concluded, “As a JNHS officer, the best part of the Film Fair is sharing Japanese culture. It makes me happy to express my community and getting to see people immersed in Japanese culture.”


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