This week’s volunteer profile: Sebastian, a three-year volunteer for the Cherry Blossom Festival! If you’ve volunteered with us for a few years and are interested in having a profile like this one done, let us know in an email and feel free to attach a picture of yourself if you like!
How long have you been volunteering with the Cherry Blossom Festival and/or Japan Philly?
I’ve been volunteering with JASGP for 3 straight years, with this upcoming festival being my 4th.
How did you get interested in Japanese culture?
I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture from a very young age. The cartoons were always visually pleasing and thought provoking. As I got older the cultural values really impressed me. Being very detail oriented I admired all the sophistication and craftsmanship that Japan brings/shows the rest of the world. Everything from ancient temples to origami was amazing to say the least. Having the Japanese Tea house in Philadelphia and the exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum was really helpful in understanding the history. Origami was a really fun pastime for me as well. In grade school I got an award for being able to fold the smallest crane with a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass. The love for the earth and respect for other life is another honorable quality that I associate with Japanese culture and it resonates with me.
Do you have a favorite memory of the Cherry Blossom Festival?
My favorite memory of the cherry blossom festival would have to be in the first year I volunteered: I was only scheduled to help in the morning setup, but as the day went on I assisted in helping teach lots of other children and adults how to fold origami. Also meeting lots of really nice people that share the love for culture like I do is really rewarding to be a part of. I have to add that every year has had a unique element to it that has made me a happier person.
If you could add your dream event or guest performer to the Cherry Blossom Festival, what or who would it be?
If I could add my dream performer it would have to be Lupe Fiasco. He is an artist that has an appreciation for Japanese culture and sends a positive message to the world in general.
Great answers, Sebastian– thanks again!