Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and Iwakuni City residents compete in a game of tug-of-war during the Undokai children’s sports event at Atago Sports Complex in Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 23, 2019. The Undokai children’s sports event consisted of six events that gave station residents the opportunity to compete in team-building games alongside Iwakuni locals. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trista Whited)
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and Iwakuni City residents compete in a game of tug-of-war during the Undokai children’s sports event at Atago Sports Complex in Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 23, 2019. The Undokai children’s sports event consisted of six events that gave station residents the opportunity to compete in team-building games alongside Iwakuni locals. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Trista Whited)

Japanese and MCAS Iwakuni residents compete together in Undokai event

by Lance Cpl. Trista Whited
10th Marine Regiment

IWAKUNI CITY, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Iwakuni City residents joined together for the Undokai children’s sports event at Atago Sports Complex in Iwakuni, Nov. 23, 2019.

The Undokai children’s sports event is a set of team-building games that joined station residents with neighboring Japanese locals from the nearby schools. The Undokai sports provided an opportunity for the youth and their parents to participate in an event that promoted physical fitness, teamwork, responsibility and ultimately a fun time.

“I think anytime that we go out and have a good time with children, particularly children, it kind of brings energy into our lives. Most of us are working pretty hard on the day to day basis especially from the adult’s side of the house,” said Lt. Col. Jason Kaufmann, commanding officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, “I think having a little bit of fun helps recharge the batteries and to do that with our neighbors here in Iwakuni just makes it that much more wonderful”.

The Undokai children’s sports event consisted of six events: two icebreaker games, bean-bag toss, dekapan race, rolling-ball race and tug-of-war. There were games just for the youth and ones where the parents could participate alongside their children. The participants were broke up into four teams: team blue skies (blue), team dragon ball (red), team green samurai (green) and team white tiger (white). The four teams competed against each other with team green samurai becoming the overall champions. All of the teams broke through a language and cultural barrier and worked together for the set goals. Each participant experienced a different cultural perspective when completing each exercise.

Capt. Rodney Scott, an endodontist with MCAS Iwakuni’s Branch Health Clinic, said, “I think knowing how to interact with different people is very important; knowing how to appreciate other cultures, It just broadens your horizons. I think it makes you a better, well-rounded person when you grow up.”

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