MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Matthew C. Perry Schools, Higashi Junior High School and Agenosho Elementary School students performed in a holiday concert, Dec. 15, 2014, at the Marine Memorial Chapel aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
This event is the first time the Japanese and American children performed together this year.
“Initially, this event was made for the kids to showcase what they’ve been working on for about three or four months and to celebrate the holidays, but it turned into a cultural friendship event when we invited the Japanese to come perform with us,” said Allen Strawbridge, the music director at M.C. Perry High School.
Inviting the children from Higashi Junior High and Agenosho Elementary School to perform at the concert established a stronger bond between the U.S. and Japan, said Keiji Harada, a music teacher at Higashi Junior High.
“It’s hard to get to know each other because of the language variance, but opportunities like this make it easier for the new generation to begin to build a bond,” said Harada.
According to Harada, it’s important for the new generation to become friends while they are still young and this event was a great way for them to interact.
Strawbridge agreed with Harada, saying he invited the children from Higashi and Agenosho because he agrees that it’s important for the next generation to foster friendships.
“It’s important to interact with the host country, the people right outside of the gate, so we provide a lot of opportunities for that,” said Strawbridge.
Harada said he speaks for everyone from Higashi Junior High and Agenosho Elementary School who attended when he says that it was a very good experience and he hopes opportunities like this happen more often.