Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents and Iwakuni City residents dig for lotus root during a lotus root trip hosted by the Cultural Adaptation Program (CAP) in Iwakuni City, Japan. Feb. 5, 2019. Station residents took a trip to a local market and lotus root field with the CAP in order to learn about the lotus root grown in Iwakuni. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Angelo Sagum)
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents and Iwakuni City residents dig for lotus root during a lotus root trip hosted by the Cultural Adaptation Program (CAP) in Iwakuni City, Japan. Feb. 5, 2019. Station residents took a trip to a local market and lotus root field with the CAP in order to learn about the lotus root grown in Iwakuni. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Angelo Sagum)

Learning the roots: station residents dig lotus roots

by Lance Cpl. Angelo Sagum
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni residents visited a local market to learn about the lotus root in Iwakuni City, Feb. 5, 2019.

The Cultural Adaptation Program (CAP) hosted the trip for MCAS Iwakuni Residents to experience how local lotus root is harvested and prepared as a meal. Lotus root is the root of a flower and is similar to potatoes.

“It’s great to have a good understanding of what other cultures are like and food is a big part of that,” said Janna Bethel, a station resident. “The lotus root is something we don’t have in our diet, but it seems to be a big staple here. Being able to eat that helps you understand the other culture.”

CAP provides station residents with unique cultural experiences that help them understand the local culture and have a mutual bond with the Iwakuni residents. 

Participants created four lotus root dishes at a local cooking class. They also waded through mud, dug with tools and uncovered roots grown horizontally in a lotus root field. They were rewarded at the end of the trip with the roots of their labor in a raffle-like drawing.

“It’s a great opportunity to go out and experience Japan unlike anything else,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Glenn Staley, the station ordnance officer of MCAS Iwakuni. “You can go snowboarding or skiing out in Mizuho, but that’s not really experiencing Japan like you do in this way. Rice harvesting, bamboo shoot harvesting and planting, and root digging are all experiences you don’t get to do anywhere else.”

For more information on trips like this, contact CAP at 253-6165 or by cell phone at 070-1096-0536.

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