JUMP promotes cultural diversity, awareness with food

Students line up for the “Nothing but Noodles” event sponsored by the Japanese University Meal Project (JUMP). JUMP tries to increase cultural awareness at UNA by providing Japanese cuisine to students.

The Japanese University Meal Project (JUMP) is an on-campus organization that provides Japanese cuisine to the students of UNA. They hold tasting events and bake sales regularly to help introduce popular dishes from Japan to domestic students.

JUMP held a “Nothing but Noodles” event March 7 that featured udon, somen and soba noodles. Some other foods available throughout the semester include green tea cookies and dango (rice cakes).

The members of the organization also want to introduce Japanese culture in other ways, such as Japanese movie screenings, origami, calligraphy demonstrations and traditional performances such as martial arts.

JUMP is not only for international students. All who share a love for Japanese culture are welcome to join.

Club members are excited about the opportunity to share cultures.

“It’s not only about our culture,” said Takayuki Kashiwazaki, vice president of JUMP and marketing major at UNA. “We get to share other cultures because we have more American students than other members.”

Kashiwazaki said the organization helped him think more about his culture and allowed him to see the differences that exist between his culture and others. He said he also encourages new members to enroll.

“We are very open to UNA students here, and if you are interested in Japanese culture, then you should join,” he said.

Darrell Coble, the president of JUMP, has been to Japan four times. His wife is Japanese and works there. One of the main goals of JUMP is to educate the community on the history of Japan and what’s popular in Japan, he said.

“We are trying to share everything Japanese,” he said.

Some students said JUMP has helped them get more involved on campus.

“I joined JUMP about a year ago,” said Mack Cornwell, member and UNA student. “It really was the catalyst for me to get involved in all things international.”

Cornwell said it is interesting to compare how the international students do things, such as run the events. He said they have a high level of professionalism and are very organized.

JUMP provides social events to

students on campus.

“It is a great way to meet different kinds of people,” said A.J. Mashburn, a secondary education major at UNA. “I’ve been into Japanese culture for around 10 years, and this is a logical club to be in.”

His favorite food from JUMP is tonkatsu, a pork tenderloin that has been breaded in panko breadcrumbs and deep fried.

Professor Bob Hendren, who is the adviser for the group, said this is the best group he has ever worked with.

“What I see happening is (international students) establishing such a cultural prescience; they want Americans to appreciate what they appreciate,” he said.

JUMP has an active Facebook to post upcoming events. Students who are interested to join may also visit the site.