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18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival honors former EC professor and administrator

A+musical+performance+done+by+Taiko+Center+of+Los+Angeles+at+the+18th+Annual+Cherry+Blossom+Festival+on+Thursday%2C+April+5.+Photo+credit%3A+Jaimie+Woods
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18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival honors former EC professor and administrator

A musical performance done by Taiko Center of Los Angeles at the 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

A musical performance done by Taiko Center of Los Angeles at the 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

A musical performance done by Taiko Center of Los Angeles at the 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

A musical performance done by Taiko Center of Los Angeles at the 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

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Seats were filled during the Taiko drumming performance at the annual Nadine Ishitani Hata Memorial Cherry Blossom Festival at El Camino College on the Student Activities Center outdoor stage at 1-2 p.m. on Thursday, April 5.

The drummers from the Taiko Center of Los Angeles, dressed in black, created traditional harmonious pounding rhythms and incorporated their use of voice.

Many patrons stopped in their tracks to watch the performance.

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El Camino College's 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
April 5, 2018. 16007 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

Matthew Rodriguez, 23, undecided major, was on his way to the library from class when he decided to enjoy the show.

“It was pretty cool.” Rodriguez said. He respects that they are celebrating Nadine Hata.

The festival is held annually to celebrate the life of Nadine Hata, who served as professor and an administrator at El Camino College. She died losing her battle with breast cancer.

Donald Hata, Nadine’s husband was introduced onto the stage by President Dena Maloney.

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El Camino College's 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
April 5, 2018. 16007 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

He shared his reflections on what Nadine would have thought about the event and the world today.

“Nadine would have be very, very pleased with the diversity,” Hata said, “Look around at this crowd. These are the faces of America.”

Hata also mentioned that Nadine’s favorite part of the event would be the haiku readings.

Students from the creative writing/poetry class taught by Rhea Lewitzki performed original haikus.

Samantha Moeder, 19, English major with an emphasis in creative writing and poetry, who was among these students, said she thinks “it’s spectacular” that they choose to honor Hata through this festival and that she is honored she gets to perform.

“It’s always a rush (performing). But as an artist of any kind, you want to share your work,” Moeder said. “It was a really cool experience today. I really enjoyed it.”

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El Camino student Samantha Moeder reading her poetry at the 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Thursday, April 5. Photo credit: Jaimie Woods

The event came to an end with a few dance numbers. One by Kanna Iwasaki as she imitated the Japanese women in the fields of Japan through her dance moves.

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Daniel Berney's Advanced Dance Ensemble students perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival held on the ECC Library lawn on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

Karin Baker from American Honda Motor Co., the company who provides the campus with the cherry blossom trees, worked closely with Nadine, she said.

“It’s really special for us,” Baker said. “She believed in education. And we believe in education for students in the South Bay. (We would) just like to see her legacy live on.”

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El Camino College's 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
April 5, 2018. 16007 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

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El Camino College's 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
April 5, 2018. 16007 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

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A line of hungry guests help themselves to some Japanese snacks at the Cherry Blossom Festival held on the ECC Library lawn on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Photo credit: Jack Kan

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18th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival honors former EC professor and administrator