News: Cultural Adaptation opens doors to new experiences
Story by Lance Cpl. James Smith
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station residents gathered together to take part in a Cultural Adaptation trip, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, which provides station residents with opportunities to experience the culture and history of Japan.
A recent trip consisted of a visit to the White Snake Museum, Shirohebi Shrine and Sekido Storage, where participants worked together in building a replica of a Kintai Bridge arch Dec. 7, 2012.
During the course of the trip, patrons learned about the history of white snakes in Iwakuni and had the opportunity to hold a snake. The tour progressed to the Shirohebi Shrine, which was recently built. The shrine didn’t open for another week; patrons were given a sneak peak before the grand opening. It is now open to the public to visit for 100 yen.
From there, the group journeyed to Sekido Storage Warehouse, where they learned about the architecture of the Kintai Bridge and built a 1 to 125th-scale replica of one arch.
“It was great to understand the bridge and how it was built,” said Mike Whiteside, station resident. “I learned to appreciate more of the hard work people did back when they built this bridge.”
After completing the model, patrons had the opportunity to stand on the center of the bridge.
“Our goal is for people to understand our culture and get to know about Japan,” said Akie Sumomogi, MCCS cultural adaptation specialist. “The program is like a first step for people to experience different things.”
For those wanting to venture out and learn more about Japanese culture and history, this program can help.
“I think (they) did a really good job of setting up these kinds of opportunities for people,” said Whiteside. “I would recommend anyone in my family, when they visit, to come out to these and participate.”
Any station resident is able to participate in these kinds of trips and prices vary from trip to trip.
Trips vary in location and content, anywhere from Miyajima Island’s Itsukushima shrine, to their upcoming trip to Hiroshima Castle Jan. 25.
Factors that play into choosing where to go include how traditional the area is, popularity of the attraction and the distance from the air station, said Sumomogi.
The Cultural Adaptation program offers other classes, including beginner's Japanese and local cuisine cooking classes. It also supplies information on local events.