MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
The giving spirit and holiday songs filled the Sakura Theater as Matthew C. Perry Elementary School teachers and students shared cultures with distinguished guests and community leaders here during the 2nd annual Mikan Exchange Dec. 15.
A Mikan is a small fruit similar to a tangerine.
The Mikan fruit exchange gave the M.C. Perry children a taste, literally, of Japanese culture.
“This exchange builds friendship between the station and Iwakuni communities,” said Christopher B. Kimmey, M.C. Perry Elementary School music teacher. “We want it to build a bridge for our children to immerse themselves in Japanese culture.”
The M.C. Perry music class sang a Japanese song about friendship while Yoshihiko Fukuda, Iwakuni city mayor, Lt. Col. P. J. Kerr, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni executive officer, other distinguished guests and community leaders sat in the front row.
The guests of honor had planned for this joyful event for months.
“Planning for this event started at the beginning of the school year,” Kimmey said. “My students have been practicing very hard for today. They learned a lot of songs and are very good at singing them.”
Not only was there planning on M.C. Perry’s part, the Japanese community leaders and a local produce company made efforts to ensure everything went smoothly as well.
“This effort was made possible by the local produce company and other local organizations who provided us with the Mikans,” Fukuda said. “I was happy to help present the very delicious Mikan to the children here.”
Nineteen cases of Mikans were given to the M.C. Perry students.
“I wish for this event to continue into the future for more American children to experience a small part of Japanese culture,” Fukuda said.
After the Mikan exchange, the M.C. Perry students sang holiday songs and watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”