MCAS FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">MCAS FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan— The Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Single Marine Program hosted Kokusai University students for a day of sports and games with Marines and sailors Dec. 17 on MCAS Futenma.
The games provided a way for students and service members to bridge the gap and break down language barriers.
Despite the chill in the air, the students, Marines and sailors participated in a friendly soccer tournament.
“Events like this build a strong relationship between the communities,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Perez, a navigation aids technician with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “Sports, regardless of race, religion or language, is a way for people to connect.”
After the tournament, everyone met back at the SMP center for pizza and few rounds of Pictionary. The players used English and Japanese words, relying on a partner to help them with the words.
“We came out to have fun, it was a great thing to be able to participate in,” said Perez. “This is definitely something that I’d want to do again. It was a good time. When you live in a foreign country, it’s hard to adapt, but when you get to meet the local residents it’s really eye-opening and something that everyone should do.”
These events create a fun, relaxed environment, enabling participants to reach out and create new friendships.
“This was the very first time I have participated in this type of gathering,” said Miria Takeda, a student at Kokusai University. “At first when I saw all of the Marines, I was very nervous. After the soccer game, when we played the picture game in the SMP Building, I became more comfortable with the Marines. Because of the language barrier it was very difficult to communicate with everyone, but during the game, drawing helped us understand each other. We all shared laughs and fun. I would like to participate in the next gathering.”