Game night gets cultural

Collin Brault

Students laugh while playing traditional Japanese games while attending Club Nippon Game Night on September 26th.
[/media-credit] Students laugh while playing traditional Japanese games while attending Club Nippon Game Night on September 26th.

Over forty students gathered in Reeve 306 Tuesday for Club Nippon’s Japanese Game Night.

The event showcased a variety of games native to Japan, ranging from toys, to video games to interpersonal group games.

Not only were all the games there native to Japan, but most could only be found in Japan too.

“Most of the games are hard to find in the United States,” Club Nippon President Yu Nagai said. “Most of them are almost exclusively sold in Japan.”

Nagai, a UWO student, was born in Japan and moved to the United States when he was 15.

“I return back home to Tokyo, Japan every summer, which is where I purchased all of these toys and games,” Nagai said.

One table of the room was covered in hand-held toys such as abacuses, yo-yos, kaleidoscopes, spinning tops and ring toss pillars.

“Many people don’t know that all of these items originated in Japan,” said Nagai.

Another corner of the room featured a station dedicated to origami, the art of folding paper.

Special origami squares of paper were spread across the table. The paper had a unique design on one side and a rough textured white back side.

“Origami paper is totally different from regular paper,” Nagai said.

Nagai went on to discuss the inspiration and significance of the game night and Club Nippon.

“Some people stereotype Japanese culture and have misconceptions, so we put on events to give people experience and allow them to see what Japanese culture is really like,” Nagai said.

In another corner of the room was a Japanese-themed video game that was brought in by the club’s vice president, Mark Flyte.

In the arena-style fighting game “Lethal League,” players smash or bunt a ball at their opponent, attempting to knock them out.

“Lethal League isn’t Japanese, but is very similar to a Japanese game called ‘Magigirl Fighting Game.’ It’s like ‘Super Smash Bro’s’ meets Major League Baseball,” Flyte said.

Flyte went on to tell of another member’s experience with Japanese video games.

“We had an executive board member go to Japan and actually purchase the Japanese version of the Wii and a bunch of games along with it,” Nagai said.

The night finished with a few large group games where everyone attending played at the same time, competing for prizes like Japanese candy and other smaller toys and trinkets.

Club Nippon’s next event will feature a demonstration of Taiko Drumming.

“Some people do it for release and to relieve stress while others play the instrument just for fun,” Nagai said.

The event will take place on the second floor of Albee Hall on Oct. 13.