MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Status of Forces Agreement personnel spent two days perusing the wares on display during Marine Corps Community Services’ 2013 Spring Bazaar at the IronWorks Gym sports courts here March 23-24, 2013.
The bazaar is an event held each spring and fall that showcases many extravagant articles of clothing, furniture, and other souvenirs and novelty items from across Asia.
“The bazaar is when we bring vendors from throughout Asia from Korea, China, mainland Japan, every now and then we’ll get someone from Thailand,” said John Ayers, MCCS services director. “They come in and bring furniture, small trinket items for people to purchase. It’s just like the advertisements says, ‘Being able to shop Asia without leaving Iwakuni.'”
During the bazaar, Iwakuni residents purchased items large and small, such as everything from stress balls, paintings and katanas to more elaborate and unique pieces such as replica samurai armor and rugs.
The customer who did not readily find what he wanted at this bazaar had the option to special order an item and receive it at the fall bazaar.
Ayers said MCCS also attempts to bring new vendors in to the bazaar, along with vendors who received special orders from the prior sale.
The bazaar was open to SOFA status personnel and retirees.
For many servicemembers on base, this was a unique opportunity to experience different cultures.
“It lets us see things we normally wouldn’t see on a daily basis, meet new people and see unique items we wouldn’t normally find back home,” said Lance Cpl. Moriah L. Stalker, a Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 company clerk and bazaar shopper. “I think it’s important because Marines don’t always want to leave the barracks and see new things and
this is an easier way for them to understand the unique culture we face out here. It allows us to see it without having the fear of not knowing where we’re going.”
Anyone who wishes to experience an MCCS bazaar has only to wait until the fall for the next scheduled event. At the fall bazaar, event participants can once again experience the wonder of seeing many unique trinkets and baubles this part of the world has to offer.