Ask students in Shoko Fuchigami’s class about the best part of the upcoming Japanese Cultural Festival, and their response is likely to be, “The food!”
“The food is so good,” said Tess Russell, a second-year Japanese student. “You get a little taste of Japan right here in Washougal.”
Noelle Schmidt, a first-year student, is looking forward to cooking and selling items such as curry and rice, udon noodle soup, yakisoba noodles and green tea ice cream.
“I’m expecting to sample a few things, too,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the whole experience of being in a Japanese festival. I’ve always wanted to experience that.”
Washougal High is the only school in the Clark County area to host a Japanese festival, according to Fuchigami.
“The Okoto performers, Japanese traditional dancers and Taiko drummers come all the way from Monmouth (Ore.) to perform for us,” she said. “It is nice for our area to be able to experience this Asian culture. There will be authentic music in our auditorium, which is fantastic considering the price for admission.”
Preparations for the annual festival begin in January. In addition to traditional Japanese performers, students also sing in the event.
“My students love to have the festival,” Fuchigami said. “It brings the class together. They cook together, and eat, so they know what they’re going to be serving everyone.”
Proceeds from the festival benefit the WHS Japanese program and earthquake relief.
“If anyone is interested in Japanese culture or food at all, they should come to the festival,” Schmidt said.
“They’ll get to experience a little Japan while they’re here,” Russell added.
The festival will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6 in the WHS commons, 1201 39th St. Admission is free to view the cultural items. Admission for the performances, which run from 2 to 5 p.m., is $3 for students, senior citizens and members of the military, free for ASB members and children under 5, and $5 for adults.
Food ranges in price from $2 to $3 per item.