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    UNIVERSITY STUDENTS CONNECT WITH KINSER MARINES WITH THE HELP OF NEW TECHNOLOGY / 大学生、新・旧「当たり前」駆使しキンザーを体感

    UNIVERSITY STUDENTS CONNECT WITH KINSER MARINES WITH THE HELP OF NEW TECHNOLOGY

    Photo By Yoshie Makiyama | With cell phones in hand, students and Marines enjoy a new way of communication...... read more read more

    URASOE (KINSER), OKINAWA, JAPAN

    09.12.2022

    Story by Yoshie Makiyama 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    Nowadays, the world seems to be getting closer and closer. People can travel across oceans by traditional means such as airplanes and ships, but with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, technological advances are bringing people even closer together.  

      Online courses, conferences, and even travel can be enjoyed virtually. Videophones or simultaneous translation machines are now indispensable tools in people’s everyday lives.

      For 18 students from Okinawa International University who visited Camp Kinser July 8, the aid of such digital tools helped bridge the language barrier.

      The students came from the College of Economics and Regional Environmental Policy and Maedomari’s Okinawa Economics Seminar. Professor Hiromori Maedomari, Faculty of Economics, was in charge of the group.

      The purpose of the visit was to study the role of bases, as well as the potential for post-base utilization as economic infrastructure through site tours at Camp Kinser and direct interaction with service members.  

      Maedomari hopes that this visit will encourage the students to think about how the situation with the military bases can be linked to the development of the local economy as well.

      They were first greeted by Col. Douglas R. Burke, commander of Camp Kinser, with whom they also had a brief question and answer period. Then the session was passed to an overview of the Marine Corps organization by Asako Ishimura, community relations specialist of G7 Government and External Affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific, and an introduction of Camp Kinser by Ichino Doshida, community relations specialist for Camp Kinser.

      After all the briefs, five Marines from Camp Kinser Camp Operations joined. The room was rearranged and students were divided into five small groups with one Marine assigned to each group.

      One group was all women. Students spoke to the assigned Marine in a mixture of English and Japanese. "'itsu' Okinawa come?" One student asked the Marine. The young girl then added "when" for "itsu.'' The student's meaning was clear—she wanted to know when the Marine came to Okinawa.

      Throughout the exchange, they communicated this way but managed to continue the conversation. When the Marine told the group that she was half Filipina and had studied Japanese on her own, they were all surprised.

      On the contrary, other groups made up of all male students chose to use interpreter apps. One group used a voice translator on their cell phones. They showed each other's cell phone with their questions translated, a new way of communication.

      Another group used mixed methods. Their Marine partner used the voice to text on his cell phone and showed the students the interpretation, but although students used similar apps, they read out loud what was translated on their cell phones.

      "I really enjoyed the conversation," said Cpl. Ethan Swearingin, with Camp Kinser Camp Operations. "They know English. I personally want to learn a second language and try to learn Japanese." Although he had difficulty in finding small talk, he would like to participate again if there is another opportunity.

      According to the students, they were not informed of the social event with Marines during their visit, hence, it was a good surprise. They liked interacting with Marines since such opportunities seldom happen.  

      "When I read the English translation on the app and the Marine understood me, I was delighted," said one of the students.

      After the social gathering, the students moved to the Kinser Battle of Okinawa historical display. They listened attentively to Doshida's explanation and looked into the relics and artifacts and touched them sometimes.

      Husaya Yamaguchi, the leader of the regional seminar, a native of Okinawa, who has never been to any past war related displays or museums because he had little interest in them, said that the gun displayed was very heavy when he took it in his own hands and carried it. His face looked shocked as he tried to imagine having to carry and fight with a gun after feeling its weight which you can't experience in an online tour.

      "It sunk into my shoulder, I cannot believe they had to fight the battle carrying such heavy guns. It is unbelievable." He continued that it was heartbreaking to see the pictures of war victims who were brutally killed. "It struck me deep down. I learned today."

      Their visit to the nearby base allowed them to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience. It was not merely for sightseeing, but something that resonated deep in their hearts. It was a mix of traditional ways to visit, interact directly with Marines and feel the Battle of Okinawa at the display, instead of a virtual tour and discussion, while new technology was utilized at key points. The students seemed to have had a memorable experience as they realized even further diversity in communication.

     今、世界はますます近くなっているようだ。人々は飛行機や船などの伝統的な方法で海を越えて移動できるが、最近の新型コロナ感染症のまん延で、より多くの技術の進歩が人々を結び付けてる。オンラインコース、会議、そして旅行さえもバーチャルで楽しむことができる。テレビ電話や同時通訳機は、今や人々の暮らしに欠かせない道具となっている。

     7月8日、キャンプ・キンザーを訪れた沖縄国際大学の2年生16名と院生2名はこうしたデジタルツールの助けを借りて言葉の壁を乗り越えた。
     参加者は全員、 経済学部地域環境政策学科の学生で、前泊博盛教授の「沖縄経済演習ゼミ」のメンバーだ。一行を引率したのは、同ゼミ担当の前泊教授。

     今回の訪問の目的は、キャンプ・キンザーでの視察や隊員との直接の交流を通して、基地の役割と経済インフラとしての基地跡地の将来性などを学ぶことだった。

     教授は、この訪問が学生たちに、米軍基地の現状を地域経済の発展にどう結びつけていけるかを考えてもらうきっかけにもなると期待している。

     一行はまず、キャンプ・キンザー司令官ダグラス・R・バーク大佐から挨拶を受け、簡単な質疑応答を行った。その後、米海兵隊太平洋基地G7政務外交部石村麻子渉外官からの海兵隊組織概要とキャンプ・キンザー土信田一乃渉外官の同基地についての紹介に移った。

     すべてのブリーフィングが終わった後、キャンプ・キンザーのキャンプ・オペレーション(基地運用)から海兵隊員5名が加わった。部屋をアレンジして、学生たちは5つの小グループに分けられた。

     女性ばかりのグループでは、学生たちは、海兵隊員に文の中に英語と日本語を混在させて質問。「Okinawa(オキナワ)、いつcome(カム)?」その後、 [when(ウェン)]と 「いつ」を追加。このようなやり取りながらも、会話は成り立っていた。海兵隊員が、彼女自身はフィリピン人のハーフで、日本語を独学で勉強していると話すと、一同は一斉に驚いた。

     一方、男子学生ばかりで構成された他のグループは、通訳アプリをフル活用。あるグループは、携帯電話の音声翻訳機能を利用し、質問を翻訳した携帯電話を見せ合うという、新しいコミュニケーションの方法で交流を楽しんだ。

     また、別のグループは、混成型の方法で会話を進めた。パートナーの海兵隊員は携帯電話の音声をテキストにして見せたが、学生たちは同じようなアプリを使いながらも、携帯電話で翻訳されたものを声に出して読みあげた。

     「本当に会話を楽しみました。」キャンプ・キンザー、キャンプ・オペレーションのイーサン・スウェアリンギン伍長は言った。「学生たちは英語を知っています。個人的には第二外国語を学びたいので、日本語を勉強しようと思っています。」なかなか上手く話題が見つからず苦労したようだが、また機会があれば参加したいとの感想だ。

     学生らは、今回の訪問では、海兵隊員との交流会については知らされておらず、良い意味でのサプライズだったとのこと。海兵隊員との交流は、あまりない機会なのでとても有意義だったという。

     「アプリの英訳を読んで、海兵隊員が理解してくれた時は嬉しかった」と生徒の一人は話す。

     交流会終了後、一行はキンザー沖縄戦歴史資料館に移動。土信田渉外官の説明に熱心に耳を傾け、遺品や 貴重な資料を覗き込んだり、時に手に触れたりと、真剣な眼差しで鑑賞していた。

     ゼミのリーダーである沖縄出身の山口房也さんは、過去の戦争にあまり興味がなく、関連の資料館や博物館に行った経験がなかったが、実際に展示された銃を自分の手で持ったとき、その重さに驚いたという。オンライン見学会では味わえない銃の重みを直に感じ、生まれて初めて対峙したであろう過去の現実にショックを隠せない様子だった。

     「肩に食い込みました。こんな重い銃を持って戦わなければならなかったなんて、信じられない。本当に考えられないことです。」そして、残酷に殺された人々の写真を見て、胸が張り裂けそうになったと続けた。「心に響きました。今日は勉強になりました。」

     近隣の基地を訪れ、他では得られない体験をすることができた。それは単なる観光ではなく、彼らにとっては心の奥底に響くものだったようだ。バーチャルな見学や討論会ではなく、海兵隊員と直接交流し、資料館で沖縄戦を感じるという従来の方法をとりつつ、要所要所では新しいテクノロジーを活用。まさにコミュニケーションにおけるさらなる多様性を実感しながら、学生たちは記憶に残る体験をしたのだろう。

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.12.2022
    Date Posted: 09.29.2022 20:13
    Story ID: 430335
    Location: URASOE (KINSER), OKINAWA, JP

    Web Views: 59
    Downloads: 0

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