U.S. Navy Sailors and families with Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) Iwakuni tour the Kasinoki Cake Factory in Yanai, Japan, Jan. 20, 2019. AIMD visited the factory during a day trip to a series of different locations as a way to increase morale and unit cohesion. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Jones)
U.S. Navy Sailors and families with Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) Iwakuni tour the Kasinoki Cake Factory in Yanai, Japan, Jan. 20, 2019. AIMD visited the factory during a day trip to a series of different locations as a way to increase morale and unit cohesion. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Jones)

AIMD Iwakuni spends day touring Suo-Oshima, Yanai

by Cpl. Andrew Jones
Stripes Japan

The main activity during the trip was to throw mochi, a type of Japanese rice cake, during the Mochi Broadcasting Carnival in Suo-Oshima. The unit also visited historical buildings, a hot pot restaurant, a soy sauce factory and a cake factory.

AIMD was invited to attend the mochi throwing by the Suo-Oshima Tourism Association and served as Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni ambassadors to the event. This year marks the second time that AIMD was in attendance.

The mochi broadcasting involved the sailors and families standing on top of a platform and throwing mochi to a crowd. Some of the mochi cakes were marked differently for the chance to win a prize.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Miyano, the officer in charge of AIMD, said that the purpose of the trip was to boost the morale and cohesion of the unit and get sailors off base and out of the barracks to experience new places in Japan.

“A lot of times people don’t get to go outside base and if they can, they don’t know what to do,” said Miyano. “Oshima is a really nice place and we were invited to come so we took the opportunity, rented a bus and we took a tour.”

The trip lasted all day and many of the stops were off the beaten path, such as the hot pot restaurant situated on the side of a hill, out of site from the main road. From tasting pastries at the cake factory to soy sauce being made in 150-year-old barrels, the trip seemed to be planned with care and brought service members to places that may be hard to find just by utilizing public transportation.

“This is fun for a lot of sailors that don’t have vehicles and also the ones who just got here,” said U.S. Navy Senior Chief Aircraft Structural Mechanic Golda Russell, the quality assurance officer with AIMD. “It’s easier for them instead of going out on their own. Command events like this build camaraderie and they don't have to do anything besides sit in the bus and enjoy the sights.”

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