I Corps and JGSDF come together for clean up

5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Staff Sgt. David Chapman

Date: 12.06.2013
Posted: 12.06.2013 06:45
News ID: 117834
I Corps and JGSDF come together for clean up

CHITOSE, Japan - I Corps soldiers participating in Yama Sakura 65 joined forces with members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Northern Army to clean up litter around the city of Chitose, Japan, Dec. 4.<br /> <br /> With garbage bags in hand, more than 100 uniformed personnel, descended onto the banks of the Chitose River and Salmon Park to collect litter and show a unified force to help beatify the city who hosted YS 65.<br /> <br /> Those who took the opportunity to help with the cleanup took away more then just an opportunity to get out of the training area. They got to see a little bit more of the country of Japan.<br /> <br /> “This was really a labor of love,” said Lt. Col. Evangeline Saiz, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps. “I volunteered to be part of this cultural experience and what I got out of it was fellowship, friendship and the opportunity to get out and experience what the Japanese culture has to offer us.” <br /> <br /> Many soldiers at the exercise had other obligations and couldn’t attend the event, but Saiz had some words of advice for the next time the opportunity presents itself. <br /> <br /> “You’re missing a wonderful opportunity to get out and about the country of Japan and experience what the Japanese have to offer us,” she said.<br /> <br /> As a special cultural surprise, participants in the cleanup received the opportunity to watch a green tea ceremony and help make rice cakes.<br /> <br /> “It was a different tea,” said Pfc. Joseph Rhodes, B Company, I Corps. “It definitely tasted like there was something good in it. It wasn’t just hot water with some sweets in it.”<br /> <br /> For Rhodes, the ceremonial aspect of the Japanese culture excites him most about taking part in the cultural exchanges that Yama Sakura 65 offers soldiers.<br /> <br /> “Everything in Japan has a meaning and a purpose and that is what I like about seeing everything here,” said Rhodes. “Originally I thought today I would just be going out and picking up sticks and some trash. But it has been a fun day and definitely worth it.”