Station residents participate in rice-planting event
Station residents participated in a rice-planting event, led by Cultural Adaptation, June 8, 2013.
The Iwakuni Agricultural Forestry Office also supported the event.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the people who live on base and those who live off base too,” said Nami Yamamoto, Youth Cultural Program coordinator. “Even for the Japanese people, it was our first time to plant rice. For as long as I’ve known, the Marines, sailors and families can only stay here for up to three years, so I would really like them to enjoy the Japanese culture while they’re here. This is one of the good opportunities to learn what rice really is and how to plant it.”
Chiiki Koryu No Sato, a local nonprofit organization, helped facilitate the opportunity for servicemembers to partake in this rare act.
“I’m so happy that I can be a part of the program,” said Yamamoto. “I love seeing people talk to each other and smile at each other. Even though they don’t speak the same language, they can still communicate with each other. I deeply appreciate all the help from everyone in this local community and the participation. If we didn’t have any participation from the base, this event wouldn’t happen.”
To some participants, even the slightest possibility of being able to attend was enough of a reason to wake up early on a Saturday.
“I had gone the day after sign-up started and there were already 20 people on the list, so I thought I had missed out,” said Mathew Burdick, rice-planting participant. “But I came by this morning, just in case someone didn’t make it, and lucky for me at least, there was one spot open, so I was able to come.”
Burdick continued by mentioning his enjoyment on getting the chance to further expand his knowledge of his host country.
“I think that any time you’re able to learn more about someone else’s culture, you just come to appreciate them and their country more,” said Burdick. “I talk to a lot of people on base and, unfortunately, there are a few who don’t take advantage of being out in Japan. They just spend all their time on base. I feel like they’re really missing out on how great of an experience it is to be stationed in Japan.”
Burdick said he plans to return for the eventual rice-harvesting event scheduled for October.