Westwood Horizon

Taste of Asia Brings Together a Diversity of Cultures

By Nicole Souydalay, Heritage Events Editor

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Taste of Asia showed off an assortment of cultures on Friday, April 13 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Westwood cafetorium. One of the purposes of the Taste of Asia was to raise funds for Project Graduation, the annual post-graduation party for seniors. However, another reason for the event was to bring together different Asian cultures, which manifested in a variety of ways, from food and dance, to fashion.

Taking the stage were different visual performances that displayed unique features of different Asian backgrounds. One event that took place was the fashion show, with members of different cultures coming onto stage sporting ethnic dress.

“Three of us who helped out with the Japanese booth ended up wearing kimonos and doing the fashion show as well,” Ellen Okamura ‘18 said. “We really wanted to show off traditional Japanese fashion because it’s not something you see normally in America.”

Others in the audience decided to take part in traditional dress as well to bring to the event a display of their heritage.

“[My] Punjabi dress is from India and it’s just a long dress-like top with leggings at the bottom,” Manasi Chande ‘20 said. “I was just wearing it to express my culture; it just lets the whole world know who you are simply through what you’re wearing.”

Seniors Brandon Allid, Kathleen Zhang, Lyna Pham, Mona Dong, and Osric Nagle commanded the stage as the MCs, announcing the next performers, sponsors, winners of the silent auctions, and other important information.

“There were a lot going on behind that wasn’t present here on stage,” Nagle said. “We do a lot of running around finding people and there was a lot that we had to do on the fly that we had to deal. Honestly, it was kinda stressful, but we tried not to show it. This is something I’ve done before in the past and I kinda liked it. Personally one of the reasons I try to do it is because I try to improve where I’m weak at. One of the things I’m not super great at is public speaking, so I try to practice as much as possible.”

Other students helped volunteer at the event by passing out food, cleaning up, and performing other essential tasks to make sure everything was in order.

“I had to volunteer at the drink station, but I also like Taste of Asia because you get to see a lot of Asian cultures come together,” Audheya Mannepalli ‘18 said.

In addition, a tech crew worked behind the stage and around the cafetorium to help ensure that the performances would run smoothly.

“I was working backstage to help with organizing cues and when to start music and managing mics,” Veda Allen ‘19 said. “I would have to go up and ask [the next group ready] when they wanted their music, but it was difficult because I had a headset on. The people working lighting and sound would be talking to me while other people were talking to me backstage. I actually got to meet some new people and see glimpses into a lot of new cultures that I’m not familiar with, so it was a really neat learning experience.”

All in all, Taste of Asia was a time for students and other attendants to celebrate the cultures of themselves and others in a diverse social event.

“I really love how immersed I feel with all the cultures,” Okamura said. “It’s really just a great place to learn about every single culture because we all see Westwood and we see how diverse it is, but we never really get to learn about it really.so It’s nice to come here socialize with everybody and learn new things.”

About the Contributors
Nicole Souydalay, Heritage Events Editor

Hi! My name is Nicole and I am a reporter for the Horizon. Most of my free time is spent taking personality...

Faith Song, Extras Editor

To those who are actually taking the time to know me better, my name is Faith Song. I am currently an...

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