Just JAMMing

By Anna Boratyn
Features Editor
Wandering the halls of Prospect, it’s impossible to not come across at least one of a multitude of posters, each with a blue oval-shaped creature with strange orange growth sprouting of the sides of its face, beady black eyes staring at you and posing the query “DO YOU LEIK MUDKIPS?” 
Home of Prospect’s Mudkip infestation, JAMM Club concerns itself primarily with — and is an acronym for — Japanese anime, a Japanese animation style, manga, a Japanese drawing style, and Mitsuwa, a Japanese marketplace in Arlington Heights.    
According to JAMM Club adviser Karen Kruse, the group votes on their activities, which often consist of watching short anime music videos, drawing manga,  watching webinars (web seminars) about Japanese culture, calligraphy, and (coming soon) Japanese flower arranging. 
The Mitsuwa part of JAMM Club kicks in two or three times a year, when the group takes a field trip to Mitsuwa to experience Japanese culture first-hand.
Senior and JAMM Club member Mary Rose Peterson first found out about Japanese culture via her brother and through  Prospect’s tech crew.
Attracted by the “aspect of nerdiness” surrounding Japanese pop culture, she joined JAMM club, which enabled her share her love of with like-minded students, and to go to Anime Central, also known as A-Cen.
A-Cen is a convention of all things anime which takes place at the Rosemont Convention Center.  At A-Cen, for the price of $42, an anime fan can attend of a series of panels discussing everything from a specific character, to Japanese culture in general, watch a Japanese band perform, buy souvenirs at “Dealer’s Hall” and art at “Artist’s Alley,” and attend a rave filled with fans dressed as anime characters.
Though Peterson dressed as a steam-punk rocker last year, the costumes can vary from a t-shirt and jeans to “wings, flames, and a flowing kimono.”
As a result of these experiences at JAMM, Peterson recommends that people join JAMM Club. 
“I know ‘nerd’ isn’t a diss anymore,” said Peterson, “It’s nice being able to be in a group of nerds, to be able to nerd out, for a bit.”
At a meeting of JAMM club, members watch clip after clip of anime.  Some are melodramatic, some are hilariously awkward, and some are just hilarious.
In one, images of delicious food and anime characters alternate, as the heroine sings in Japanese, about her unrequited crush who is presumably a chef.
In a Japanese vegetable juice commercial, pretty anime characters dance in front of an enormous tomato.
Still another traces the love story of a 14-year-old Mary-Antoinette-like character who declares “Oh, its tea time,” after ordering a massacre of the townsfolk.
Through all this, JAMM club members loudly criticize, comment and critique the subject matter, sniggering at the sometimes awkward Japanese-to-English translations scrolling across the bottom of the projector screen.
All of this begs the question—what exactly, is a mudkip?
According to Peterson, it’s simply a cute little water-type Pokémon which fires water blasts.  Those things on the sides of its face are gills. 
Peterson can’t, however, explain the mudkip’s popularity. 
“I actually don’t know what’s behind the whole, ‘ha ha, it’s a mudkip,” said Peterson. “I don’t know why people get so excited about Mudkips. Maybe it’s because it’s kind of weird-looking.”
So does Peterson liek mudkips?
Yes, she does.