Station residents share American traditions with Japanese children
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Volunteers from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, brought holiday joy to the children of Josho Hoikuen during a community relations preschool visit, Dec. 9, 2014.
Marines, sailors and civilians traveled to Josho Hoikuen to hand out candy and sing for the children to strengthen the bond between the U.S. and Japan.
“About 11 years ago, the Marine Memorial Chapel started this program to provide services and outreach to the local community in a gesture of goodwill and to come to know our neighbors,” said Yamada Noriko, an administrative specialist with the chapel.
To build friendship with the Japanese, the U.S. needs to show they are grateful for providing them the privilege to live here, said Julie Benson, an event volunteer.
“The visits also help both Americans and Japanese learn about each other's culture, which increases their understanding and appreciation for the world's diversity,” said Noriko.
According to Noriko, the children enjoy learning English from Americans and the parents appreciate the help their children receive from native speakers.
“I think it’s especially important to reach out to the children, because it is good for them to get a positive impression of us while they’re still young,” said Seaman Apprentice Domenica Leonard, a corpsman with the Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic.
Noriko said the school visits are always fun, as well as successful in achieving friendship building goals.
“We have visited several schools every month for 11 years,” said Noriko. “I believe that our ongoing visits will create good memories for the children and the adults involved.”
Upcoming dates for preschool visits include Dec. 16 and 18. For more information, contact the station chapel at 253-3371.