Courtesy of the Namaste Facebook Page
Students stand waiting in anticipation, then scramble to buy tickets for one of the biggest nights of the year: International Night, more commonly referred to as iNite. An event unique to Jefferson, iNite is a culmination of months of hard work and training, filled with performances and presentations from numerous culture clubs, including Namaste and Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS).
Due to this year’s distance learning, iNite will be held online. Clubs will send in videos of their performances, which the organizers will compile and livestream on Youtube on an undecided date in May.
“There’s Homecoming and Prom, but [iNite] is special to TJ, in a way,” senior and JNHS co-president Chameli Yumang said. “It fosters a sense of community, since you and your friends are getting ready for this big performance and there’s excitement in the air. It’s the sort of feeling you want to go back to, a core high school memory.”
JNHS is among the performing groups, and plans to have three acts: Wotagei, the Koi dance, and Taiko. Wotagei is a dance involving lightsticks that fans of certain idols use at concerts. The Koi dance is a popular dance challenge, choreographed to the song Koi by Gen Hoshino. The last act, Taiko, is a traditional form of drumming that JNHS has held workshops for in the past, though whether or not they will go through with this act has not been confirmed. However, with the unique circumstances come equally unique options.
“I wouldn’t say being virtual has hindered us, but we’ve definitely had to adjust,” Yumang said. “There are some acts we won’t feasibly be able to do this year because of social distancing restrictions. However, [virtual iNite] actually has given us more flexibility to do our acts in a way. For a long time, we’ve thought about including some of the Japanese exchange students, which JNHS hasn’t been able to do since 2013. With a 100% remote Koi dance performance, we could have them participate in our act without complications.”
The club has been practicing their acts on weekends for several months and finds the online environment a better alternative to face-to-face practices.
“I think it’s a lot more organized this year, especially for Taiko,” JNHS member and junior Alyssa Rask said. “Normally, the drums are loud and it’s difficult to organize everything. I also really enjoy having online meetings as an option, because if we were still in person, having practices on the weekends wouldn’t be an option since everyone would have to drive somewhere, so these meetings are really convenient.”
Although the beloved Jefferson event will look very different this spring, there remains the familiar sense of excitement and joy that it has brought in previous years.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the other acts and seeing how people have changed their format to incorporate this online environment,” Rask said.