News: CLC-36 visits Kinnan, promotes positive Marine Corps image
Story by Pfc. David Walters
IWAKUNI, Japan - While stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, Marines are expected to uphold not only the image of the Marine Corps, but also America.
Station personnel represent to our host nation how Americans back in the states conduct themselves. Marines are ambassadors, and as such, Marines need to instill trust within their host country and set the example as positive role models.
Marines from Combat Logistics Company 36 visited Kinnan Hoikuen, a kindergarten in Iwakuni, to teach basic English, American culture and interact with the Japanese youth, June 7, 2013.
During their visit, Marines taught proper pronunciation of the English Alphabet, performed American songs such as ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,’ and the ‘Chicken Dance,’ and played interactive games, allowing the children to smile, laugh and interact with Marines.
“It sounded like a good thing to do,” said Cpl. Jordan R. Ingram, CLC-36 supply reparable issue point non-commissioned officer. “I wanted to go off base and meet the kids of the community and see how the Japanese culture is.”
Ingram was one of four Marines from CLC-36 who made the trip to Kinnan. The four Marines were spread among three classrooms that had all different age groups: three years old, four to five years old, and six years old.
Ingram said he feels the Marines' presence to the Japanese kids was comparable to a ‘positive light.’
“Hopefully, getting them used to Americans at a younger age, when they get older they will be more comfortable with us and the language barrier will not have such a large gap,” said Ingram.
School systems differ from country to country and some may hold higher standards than others.
Starting at three years old, Japanese kids go to Youchien, which is equivalent to preschool in America. They stay in Youchien until age six, then continue to elementary school.
While in Youchien, the young Japanese students learn small portions of the English language as well as Japanese.
Nami Yamamoto, Marine Corps Community Services youth cultural program coordinator, participated in the CLC-36 Marines’ visit to the Kinnan.
Yamamoto said she feels visits to the Kinnan are important to the Japanese youth to help them get comfortable, learn and interact with people from different countries.
“It’s really good for the Japanese kids to learn English and try and communicate with other people from other countries with a language that is different,” said Yamamoto. “It’s also good for the Marines in that way too.”
Marines are a positive influence on surrounding populations that they are connected with in any way. It is a Marine’s job to provide a sense of protection, be a role model and represent the Marine Corps and America in a positive way to all ages. The CLC-36 Kinnan visit did just that, and with the monthly appearances they make, it helps support a positive presence here.