Local farmers peel back social boundaries with station students
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, JAPAN -- Yamaguchi Oshima Agriculture Cooperative Association visited Matthew C. Perry Elementary for the seventh annual mikan presentation at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Jan. 19, 2017.
Local farmers presented the sweet, easy-to-peel citrus fruit similar to American mandarin oranges to students expanding their experience of Japanese cultures.
“We have 540 students,” said Larry Wahl, psychologist for M.C. Perry Schools. “They go home with mikans and share their experience with their parents helping grow the bond we have with the Japanese.”
Students prepared letters of appreciation in English and Japanese to say ‘thank you’ to the farmers. Some students made personalized gift bags, and the host nation class showed their gratitude by holding up signs that read in Japanese, English and Spanish, “Thank you for the delicious mikans!”
“Seeing the students’ reaction to the mikan presentation is a great pleasure,” said Motoki Yoshimura, leading board of director and union president at Yamaguchi Oshima Agriculture Cooperative Association. “It’s nice to see the excitement over our little fruit.”
Yoshimura also said they bring mikans to MCAS Iwakuni because Oshima Island is in close proximity to the air station, making it easy to share mikans and great memories with the students.
“It’s difficult for the Japanese to have this American base in the middle of their world,” said Wahl. “Events like this help develop and strengthen our relationship with Japan.”