Friendship on display: Misawa Airmen celebrate 31st Japan Day

Suwanat Kazuo, a mask artist, carves a mask during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. Hirotoshi Mikami started the 31-year-old tradition which included 50 host nation organizations and more than 500 performers, artists and craftsmen. The base-wide celebration gave Team Misawa a chance to experience authentic Japanese culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

Suwanat Kazuo, a mask artist, carves a mask during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. This 31-year-old event included 50 host nation organizations and more than 500 performers, artists and craftsmen. The base-wide celebration gave Team Misawa a chance to experience authentic Japanese culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

A Makibano kid drummer performs during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. The event featured many performers including Okamisawa sacred dancers, Nanbu local Shamisen music and Towada Suijin Thunder Drum musicians. Showcasing Japanese music was one of the many events performed at Japan Day which highlighted the cultures techniques and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A Makibano kid drummer performs during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. The event featured many performers, including Okamisawa sacred dancers, Nanbu local Shamisen music and Towada Suijin Thunder Drum musicians. The Japanese music showcase was one of the many Japan Day events, which highlighted the culture's techniques and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A samurai drawing is displayed during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. Samurai, which means the way of the warrior, was a common theme throughout the event. The goal of the event was to create an everlasting bond between the two cultures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

A samurai drawing is displayed during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. Samurai, which means the way of the warrior, was a common theme throughout the event. The goal of Japan Day was to create an everlasting bond not only between the two cultures but also between Misawa Airmen and Aomori Prefecture locals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul D Kirmis and his family, front, and Mayor Kazumasa Taneichi and wife, back, are escorted into the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. These distinguished visitors held a ribbon cutting ceremony which represents the two cultures, one community concept. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

U.S. Air Force Col. Paul D. Kirmis, the 35th Fighter Wing vice commander and his family, front, and Misawa City Mayor Kazumasa Taneichi and his wife, back, are escorted into the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. These distinguished visitors held a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks).

Funami Ryoetu, a bonsai hobbyist and Japan Day volunteer, left, showcases a bonsai tree to Maeda Hiroshi, a Japan Day attendee, right, during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. Bonsai is a 2,000 year old Japanese art form where growing of miniature trees is cultivated by growing and shaping the plant over a long period of time. Japan Day gave way to Misawa newcomers experiencing a wide variety of what makes Japan so interesting, all in a centralized location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

Funami Ryoetu, a bonsai hobbyist and Japan Day volunteer, left, shows a bonsai tree to Maeda Hiroshi, a Japan Day attendee, right, during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. Bonsai is a 2,000-year-old Japanese art form where miniature trees are cultivated by growing and shaping the plant over a long period of time. Japan Day provided Misawa newcomers insight into the traditions, culture, and art forms that make Japan so interesting, all in a centralized location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

Performing artists from Aomori University showcase their ninja capabilities during the 31st Annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. This ninja club is unique because it’s the only club of its kind in the Aomori prefecture. Events like Japan Day and American Day cement these experiences, showing similarities and appealing differences between the U.S. and Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

Performing artists from Aomori University showcase their ninja skills during the 31st annual Japan Day at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 14, 2018. This ninja club is unique because it’s the only club of its kind in Aomori Prefecture. Events like Japan Day and American Day show the similarities and differences between the United States and Japan in a positive way. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Imagine being immersed into a new world, a new culture, which most Americans don’t get to experience. Beats of drums and the hums of flutes float through the air, colorful eye-catching attire louder than the smells flowing from the eatery—a rush of happiness takes over the entire room.

Try clay pottery making. If you don’t fancy that, be adorned with a traditional kimono. Hungry? Mouthwatering meat on a stick awaits; it’s fresh off the grill! These cultural pleasures welcomed participants to the start of Japan Day, April 14, at the Tohoku Enlisted Club, Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Hirotoshi Mikami, who led the first Japan Day 31 years ago, also led the charge in this year's event, which included 50 host nation organizations and more than 500 performers, artists and craftsmen. The base-wide celebration gave Team Misawa a chance to experience authentic Japanese culture.

“Japan Day is extremely important for the community,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kyle Dunn, the Japan Day chairman. “Team Misawa members and families who are new to the area or are having difficulty adjusting to living in a different country have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of what makes Japan so interesting, all in a centralized location.”

Not only does Japan Day offer a unique component, but it displays a positive contrast and comparison of cultures and customs.

“Events like Japan Day and American Day cement these experiences, showing similarities and appealing differences between our two great nations,” explained Dunn. “Once you have that cultural familiarity and firsthand knowledge, the bond and friendship between the U.S. and Japan communities is almost effortless.”

Creating an everlasting bond was a shared goal for attendees and distinguished visitors.

“Japan Day is a wonderful opportunity for members of Misawa to connect with Japanese traditional culture,” said Kazumasa Taneichi, the Mayor of Misawa City. “It gives American and Japanese citizens an opportunity to have a deepened understanding of each other’s cultures. The friendship between two countries is strengthened through this event.”

As Japan Day came to an end, volunteers began to tear down the banners, break down the tables and escort the attendees to the exit. However, the close of the day doesn’t distract from the positive interaction and the shared culture demonstrated. Events such as these ensure the continued enhancement of the strong ties and unbreakable alliance with Japan.