Local Organization presents Base Commander with 7-foot Kite
"We’ll just keep flying jets until we get a chance to fly the kites… We won't give up until we get a chance to fly these kites," said Carrier Air Wing Five Commanding Officer Capt. William Koyama during a small ceremony with the Shinwa Kai Association, a local group for kiteflying enthusiasts, and a few base community members.
According to Koyama, the original intent of the group’s visit to the base was to come together and fly kites with the base community members on Tailor Field, but due to inclement weather the event was tentatively rescheduled for a future date in May.
The day’s events moved to the Fleet and Family Support Center lobby where the Shinwa Kai Association presented three traditional Japanese takos (kites) to NAF Atsugi Commanding Officer Capt. John Bushey. One kite in particular, which stood 7’x7’, was specially made with an NAF Atsugi logo and will be displayed here on base.
“Unfortunately we were rained out today, but we really appreciate any chance to get the community together for a unique intercultural experience,” said Bushey.
According to Koyama, the idea for the event came about via a brief conversation with Ayase City Mayor Seijiro Kasama during an annual mochi pounding event at the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Gym.
The traditional Japanese kites on display at the event caught Koyama’s eye and he asked Kasama about them.
“I didn’t even realize they were kites at first, so when I learned what they were, I was very interested,” said Koyama.
About a week later at another command function, Koyama brought up the subject again with Kasama, who replied that he had a friend in the Shinwa Kai Association. From there the two began to plan out the event.
“I think he was surprised that I wanted to follow through,” said Koyama. “Kasama is a good friend of the kite group, so he talked with them and we came up with a date and made it happen.”
Toward the end of the gathering, the organization presented both Bushey and Koyama each with a koma, which is a traditional Japanese toy similar to a spinning top.
“The more we do with the community, the more we understand each other, and gain knowledge on the things that each group cares about,” Said Koyama. “We will have a chance at bettering our relationship when we both understand what we are trying to accomplish.”