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    Misawa Navy Snow Team Wraps Up 37th Consecutive Sapporo Snow Festival

    Misawa Navy Sapporo Snow Team Visits Jidokaikan

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jan David Mercado | 200205-N-EJ241-2245 SAPPORO, Japan (Feb. 5, 2020) - Information Systems Technician...... read more read more

    SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN

    02.08.2020

    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jan David Mercado 

    Naval Air Facility Misawa

    SAPPORO, Japan - The Misawa Navy Snow Team, made up of Sailors from Naval Air Facility Misawa and tenant commands, participated in the 71st Sapporo Snow Festival from January 28 to February 7 in Sapporo, Japan in Hokkaido prefecture.

    U.S. Navy commands in Misawa have sent teams to the event for 37 consecutive years in order to continue building upon the strong friendships between the U.S. and Japan.

    “This year, I think the most challenging part of the Sapporo Snow Festival was that the actual sculpture had some void space in it, and chunks of ice, because of the low amounts of snow that Hokkaido got this year,” said Builder 1st Class Jenny Cunningham, the only returning member from last year’s snow team.

    Building the sculpture was only one of the reasons why Misawa Navy sent a team to the event.

    “Lots of people from all over the world have come up and talked to us and complemented us on the sculpture and asked us where we are from, and why we are here,” said Chief Aviation Electrician's Mate Justin White, assigned to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Misawa, who acted as the Snow Team’s primary Japanese interpreter for the event. “They are always surprised to hear that the Navy has had a Snow Team for 37 years, and I think they really enjoy seeing all the different stuff from all over the world and interacting with different people.”

    Building and maintaining long-lasting community relations through professionalism, friendship, and service are how the Misawa Navy team continues the tradition of good will, which is seen in the efforts they put forth with their participation in after school english classes for local children, known as Jido-kan community relations events.

    “That was my first one,” said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Miller, assigned to Commander, Task Force 72, a first-time member of the Misawa Navy Snow Team. “The kids were so happy we were there and it was a good time.”

    Jido-kans primarily focus on language skills and bring Sailors and Japanese students together in an effort to reinforce both community involvement and academic excellence.

    The Navy has participated in Jido-kans near Misawa Air Base for several years, but their participation in the Nijo Harunire Jidokaikan during their time at the Sapporo Snow Festival will mark their first time participating at a Jido-kan in the Sapporo area.

    In addition to the Jido-kan, the Misawa Navy Snow Team also participated in a monthly English-speaking community relations event hosted by the U.S. Consulate General to Sapporo. The event started over 10 years ago to provide Japanese locals the opportunity to have face to face interactions with english speakers in a more intimate way.

    “This is at least the second time I have taken part in an English-speaking Comrel,” said Cunningham. “We get to talk about topics that are a little more complex than with a younger group, and also about food, and interesting local things as well.”

    Some Sapporo residents of the English-speaking community relations event have been participating since the very beginning of the event.

    Although the sculpture has been completed, and the community relations events during the Sapporo Snow Festival have ended for the Snow Team, the determination to help and strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Japan carry on.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.08.2020
    Date Posted: 02.10.2020 03:53
    Story ID: 362347
    Location: SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO, JP 

    Web Views: 72
    Downloads: 1
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