MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The Public Affairs Office hosted Japanese servicemembers aboard station in an effort to build intercultural relationships as
well as communication skills here, Feb. 27 to March 1, 2013.
The Japanese servicemembers toured the station's Zero Hangar, the IronWorks Gym, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171’s motor transportation facility, and several other locations throughout the base.
“This is a very nice opportunity to study English and how Marines live aboard the base,” said Capt. Taiki Shiraki, Japan
Ground Self Defense Force officer in charge of the event. “It also gives us a chance to see what Americans like to do in their free time and what hobbies they may have.”
Master Sgt. Hiroshi Saito, senior enlisted member during the event, also said he thinks events such as this help build
the relationship between the United States and Japan. Two Japanese members even went as far as getting the infamous Marine Corps haircut, the “high and tight.”
“I've learned a lot of military terminology and got to see some of the Marines' equipment,” said Shiraki.
Shiraki added that he was very impressed at how professional Marines treat their jobs and how welcoming they were.
"My favorite part about being aboard the station was seeing the fighter aircraft and all of the equipment," said Shiraki.
Shiraki even got the unique opportunity to fly an F-18 in the flight simulator. Aside from all work, there was some play. The host servicemembers taught American football to the JGSDF soldiers.
At first the soldiers didn't understand the game, but by the end of it they were able to catch long passes and even throw spirals.
Although the event only lasted two days, it was an experience that will last a lifetime. Some JGSDF are slated to return in
the summer, when they will increase their English-speaking proficiency and break more barriers between the cultures.