Friendship on display: Misawa Airmen celebrate 31st Japan Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
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.