Student Spotlight Feature: Azusa Yokoyama

“I was introduced to BUJA freshman year. I joined the e-board sophomore year and have been on e-board since. BUJA is a cultural group in which our role is to not only spread culture and awareness to anyone who wishes to learn more about Japanese culture, but also to foster relationships between new incoming Japanese students as well as Japanese-American students and the greater Binghamton population. The work I do in BUJA means a lot to me. As a Japanese-American, I often get caught in the in-between as someone who is received both as “too American” in Japan or “too Japanese” in America. I have often found myself torn between the two identities, but in BUJA such disparities don’t exist. Our organization is composed of a diverse group of people who are determined to learn about Japanese culture, international Japanese students, other Japanese-American students, and those who simply want to have fun and make friends during our events. To be able to bring them all together through this organization is very important to me and helps me feel comfortable in my own skin.”

Azusa Yokoyama is a senior graduating May 2016, double majoring in Biochemistry and English Creative Writing (Global Concentration). She is also the publicist of Chanbara, a Japanese-sword fighting performance and martial arts group. She is also part of the Student Support Services (SSS) and a former tutor for introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Physics for Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) and SSS.

“We had a recent fundraiser for the 5th anniversary of the Tohoku Tsunami in Japan last week by selling matcha green tea cookies. It was a huge success. I was fortunate that my family did not suffer during the tsunami disaster 5 years ago. However, many of those I know in Japan and even some members from BUJA who went there to help out in person after the disaster, have witnessed the damage that occurred. There are still so many that are affected by the aftermath of the disaster, and though 5 years have passed, relief funds are still needed. With this fundraiser, we were able raise awareness to the tragic disaster that had happened. The most rewarding moments in BUJA are when BUJA is able to bring such different people together through out events. Nothing makes me happier than watching so many people enjoying our events and making new friends. This is what motivates me to work hard everyday. Working in BUJA for more than 3 years now, I have learned how much of an impact we can make. I cannot express in words how hard my e-board works in order to make our events top-notch: they spend more than 8 hours a week in meetings, filming, shopping, coordinating, and preparing for our events, and their hard work definitely shows. Not only that, but they are able to reach out to people and make them feel welcomed into the organization.”

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