CJAS is and always has been more than just a group of strangers coming together once a week on Saturday night to mindlessly absorb the pretty pictures in front of them. First and foremost, CJAS is a social event, in which we're all friends united by a similar interest. I truly dread the day, if it ever comes, that CJAS becomes an impersonal experience -- one where members feel uncomfortable talking to each other during breaks. We're all here to have fun and gain something from everything we watch, even if we don't particularly like every title.
This semester, we've decided to try out a few ideas. One of the new ideas we debuted last semester was the auction. This year, the auction looks like it'll be even bigger and more varied than the last one, so if you missed out on those gorgeous scrolls and posters last time around (like I did), now's your chance to get the goods and help out the club at the same time. A new committee has been formed (sounds mysterious, doesn't it?), in which the Instrumentality of CJAS plan will be put into action. We've got all kinds of cool stuff in the planning stages for the coming semester. If you'd like to help out in our programming activities, talk to any e-board member during the break. It'll be better than most dorm programming, for sure.
Some of the best CJAS activities I've had the pleasure of participating in have taken place outside of the normal CJAS meetings, and if you're interested, we wholly welcome you to join us -- we don't discriminate. Below is a list of some of the stuff CJAS members have been known to do, either planned or on a whim. For the most part, you don't even have to pay, so get to know your fellow CJASers and join in!
1. Sledding and traying. Hey, GSD is close to Libe Slope, so who says the fun has to stop at midnight? I've seen members bring trays to meetings, and I think it's a great idea.
2. Making Snow-Totoros and the like. Aspiring snow sculptors and people who like playing with snow are in high demand. Snowball fights are inevitable.
3. Paintballing was a great success last year. "Kill" the CJAS president and feel the adrenaline rush of being shot at after having chosen the worst cover available -- I've done both.
4. Video gaming (and strategy board gaming) is another activity we partake in year-round at all hours of the day and night. Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and N64 all in the same room at the same time. I've also had the chance to role-play both Robotech and Gundam campaign universes with CJAS friends.
5. Sparring club is now defunct, but we used to beat each other up every Friday after e-board. Would anyone like to resurrect this?
6. Anime convention trips to Otakon (Baltimore) and Anime Expo (Los Angeles) in the summer and I-Con (SUNY Stonybrook) in the Spring. It's always fun to attend anime conventions with other CJASers around. I like to think that our large groups of people intimidate other less-mighty organizations. =)
7. Shopping trips to the NYC area during various school breaks. It's the second-best thing to going to cons. The Japanese food is good, too.
8. Our semesterly CJAS dinner -- pretty straightforward.
9. Watching anime outside of the regular CJAS meetings is something that I (and many others) do a lot of. Whether it's the moderate amount watched during the school week, CJAS-organized informal showings, the 10-hour Friday night marathons, the marathons during spring break in which we finish entire series in one sitting, or the never-to-be-repeated 31-hour Robotech marathon (all 85 episodes), the experience is not to be missed.
The widely-varied world of anime and manga is something that should be shared with others. I am of the belief that anime should yield creativity (as opposed to passively watching images on a screen), perhaps by making you think less mundane thoughts, by encouraging you to socialize with others, by inspiring you to create the perfect piece of fanfiction or fan-art, by making you want to get involved in running an anime club, or even by giving you the desire to write articles for the weekly newsletter.
Even though the medium's ultimate goal is to entertain, we can still be productive through anime. You get so much more out of the experience when you're not just a passive observer. So even though I encourage you to sit back and enjoy tonight's showing, keep in mind that even after the lights are turned on again, the artistic experience that is anime has more to offer to you, and you to it.
[12/2/04 Update: For further articles by Lawrence Eng, see his anime page.]