MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station residents gathered information and intermingled with Japanese locals during the Iwakuni Expo at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 10, 2016.
The expo provided residents a glimpse of the services that are available to them on and off the air station such as tourist destinations, shopping malls and local hotels.
“The Iwakuni Expo is an event we have held for more than 10 years,” said Tony Goodsell, acting director for Personal Professional Development with Marine and Family Programs. “This gives residents an idea of what is available to them on base and in the local community. Because we are overseas, we are limited in the support services that we are used to having. When people come here, I don’t think they know how many things there are to do.”
Throughout the expo, residents enjoyed shows by the Kishi Dancers, Semper Fit Group Exercise Program and Marifu Daiko-a drumming group.
During the first performance, the Kishi Dancers, Naoko Kishi and Yoshiharu Kishi, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force amateur social dancers, performed Latin dances, the Cha-Cha and Rumba, and the Waltz.
“We looked forward to taking part in the event and are excited to have participated,” said Naoko Kishi. “We didn’t know that Marine Corps Community Services and the air station had so many organizations and opportunities. We would like to perform again next year.”
The Semper Fit Group Exercise Program executed the second performance where Melody Schnoyer, an instructor, presented a pilates class followed by Jinky Canonizado, an instructor, demonstrating a zumba class.
Finally, residents watched Marifu Daiko give a drum performance called ‘Warrior March.’ Marifu Daiko consists mostly of local Matthew C. Perry Elementary School and High School students, along with several residents from the air station.
“I have enjoyed the performances and like to see the kids watching and being happy,” said Kazumi Sakae, an international promoter for tourism with the Hiroshima Prefecture Government Tourism Promotion Division. “I hope to have more chances to be a part of events like this, not only in Iwakuni, but also in Hiroshima to exchange our culture and knowledge . . . that would be great.”
Throughout the expo, residents had the opportunity to win prizes such as gift cards, tickets, camping equipment or a weekend trip. At the end of the event, Bambi Johnstone, a health teacher at M.C. Perry, won the grand prize, which was a two-night stay at the Grand Prince Hotel in Hiroshima.
“This is awesome,” said Johnstone. “I never would have guessed that I would have won . . . Iwakuni is a great place to be.”