Saint Joseph’s College will present “Evening in Japan” on Wednesday, Mar. 8. The event will include a dinner, Japanese folk songs, tea ceremony and talks on baseball, haiku and living in Okinawa.

The night kicks off with a Japanese-themed dinner at 6 p.m. in the campus dining hall. Then the Saint Joseph’s College Concert Choir, directed by music professor Paul McGovern of Windham, enriches the theme with a performance of four Japanese folk songs at the George Auditorium in Alfond Hall at 7 p.m.

Following the performance, MaryAnn Sheridan of Windham will conduct a Japanese tea ceremony in the Faculty Commons at Alfond Hall. The presentation will explore the connections between Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony and the art of meditation. A video relating to the ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony will also show in the auditorium.

Scott Balcomb of Gorham and Edward Rielly of Westbrook, both Saint Joseph’s professors, will also discuss two important areas of cultural exchange between Japan and the United States – baseball and haiku. An ancestor of Balcomb’s wife is credited with helping to introduce baseball to Japan, and their family flew to Japan in recent years for a ceremony to honor this connection. Rielly has published numerous volumes of haiku and written several books and articles on baseball.

Erin Cully of South Portland, a 2004 graduate of Saint Joseph’s College, will present “Under the Cherry Blossom Tree: A Child’s View of Okinawa.” She will introduce the culture and history of Okinawa and discuss her experience growing up there.

The “Evening in Japan” event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Committee at Saint Joseph’s College. The Japanese dinner, which will include sushi and sashimi, costs $8 and is served in the campus dining hall on the lower floor of Mercy Hall. No reservation required. Call 893-7723 for further information.

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