WAKI TOWN, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents journeyed outside the gates to join Japanese locals for an annual calligraphy event in Waki Town, Japan, Jan. 7, 2017.
The residents had the opportunity to watch a performance from the Otake Senior High School calligraphy club, and then they took action in some calligraphy of their own.
Homeschooled children from the air station participated with local Japanese children in writing their goals in Kanji for the new year.
“The purpose of the event is for children to organize their dreams or goals for the year,” said Masayuki Yuasa, representative for Waki Town art association. “They write them down at the beginning of the year, and then they strive to reach them.”
Yuasa said the event is supposed to be pleasant and help introduce cultural exchanges between the Japanese and American children.
Using calligraphy to write goals is a Japanese tradition that takes place at the beginning of every new year similar to the American tradition of New Year’s resolutions.
“I think it sets the students up for a good start to this year,” said Margaret Peterson, representative for MCAS Iwakuni homeschooled kids. “It allows them to embrace the culture that we’re living in and really feel connected to the Japanese.”
Traveling outside the air station community and joining the Japanese in their events gives a different perspective and understanding of their culture.
“It’s hands on, they’re able to talk, communicate and interact with the Japanese adults and students,” said Peterson. “It’s all very helpful for them to feel connected.”
Peterson said she was honored to experience the traditions and culture with her family, and it was a pleasure to share that with other station residents
The art created through dreams and ambitions of the children will be displayed at the Waki Town cultural hall as a reminder of the goals set for the year.
“Things like this assist in the cultural exchange between us and the air station,” said Yuasa. “The first-hand experience opens many doors to everyone involved. I want to continue seeing this, and I also hope to see many faces at the art festival this summer.”