Most of the Japanese students hadn’t packed colorful and elaborate kimonos in their suitcases when they came to Pittsburgh — they were limited to carrying one bag apiece.
About 25 students from Yasuda Women’s University in Hiroshima, who were at the English Language Institute at the University of Pittsburgh for five months learning English, were away from home in January, missing out on the annual Coming of Age ceremony, a national holiday in Japan.
So, Pitt’s Asian Studies Center threw a party — kimonos included.
A banner that reads “University of Pittsburgh Coming of Age Day Ceremony” in Japanese greeted student Nika Tanimoto and other participants.
“This Coming of Age ceremony seems like the perfect confluence of the University, our Japanese students and the community to celebrate together,” said Lynn Kawaratani, the center’s acting associate director. Members of the Pittsburgh community, the Japanese Nationality Room Committee and the Japan America Society of Pennsylvania all loaned kimonos for the students to wear. The Asian Studies Center has been partnering with Pitt’s English Language Institute for about a year, developing programming for these international students as well as Pitt students.