Tea Time Friday gives Huskers the chance to relax and enjoy Japanese culture | Nebraska today
Chai. Earl Grey. Caramel.
Whatever your tea choice, the Kawasaki Reading Room invites everyone to try new flavors and connect with Japanese culture as part of its weekly Tea Time Friday program.
Every Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Huskers can pick up flavored tea and a snack outside the doors of the Reading Room, located on the third floor of the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center. Members of the campus community have the option of stopping quickly for tea or staying longer and exploring the quiet study space of the reading room, craft workshops or more than 7 000 books on Japanese culture, history and language.
Reading Room Manager Madoka Wayoro encourages all students, whether they’re studying Japanese or have Japanese heritage, to try Tea Time Friday. And while she hopes the Huskers will explore the resources of the reading room in addition to having tea, she mostly hopes they’ll feel comfortable enough to relax there.
“They’re so stressed and struggling with classes,” Wayoro said, “but I want this place to be a safe place for people to drop by, relax, talk to me if they need to.”
Some students, Wayoro observed, started coming at teatime on Friday for a weekly treat, but ended up staying longer to make new friends or get involved in the reading room. Joe Vlach, an economics graduate, has been trying new flavors every Friday since freshman year.
“My favorite part of Tea Time Friday is its low-key atmosphere,” Vlach said. “Some days I talk a lot and play games with friends; other days I’ll relax and read a book. The ability to do something different every week while enjoying the same atmosphere is what, in my opinion, makes Tea Time Friday truly unique.
Once Vlach became addicted to the weekly event, he further explored the venue’s resources by teaching himself Japanese from a textbook. The Japanese language is one of his strongest passions now, and he says it has given him countless opportunities.
As the semester continues, Wayoro has many plans in mind to welcome students for tea time. On March 4, she is hosting a celebration for Hinamatsuri, or Japanese Girl’s Day, and will feature tea and an essential oil blending activity. She also hopes to start offering students the opportunity to enjoy brewed tea together in person, which has not been possible due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Whatever the future, Wayoro hopes students will see value in attending.
“It’s just a place where students can come and relax, like an oasis in the desert,” Wayoro said.