Tag Archives: u.s. air force

The U.S. military are Japan’s “friends”

29 Mar

Since the 2011 March 11 earthquake that struck 東北地方 (the Tohoku Region of Japan), the overseas media have reported extensively on Japanese manners and the excellent rescue and repair work conducted by the Japanese…especially those willing to risk their lives.

But with a disaster of this scale it goes without saying that Japan needs help. And people from all over the world have been extremely kind and generous. Immediately after the tsunami destroyed the lives of so many in the Sendai area, rescue teams and donations came to help from many countries.

I saw a news report on TV here in Japan that focused on the U.S. military’s relief assistance in Sendai and Fukushima.

The U.S. military has a number of bases in various parts of Japan and the Japanese people understand the sacrifices that those in the military make and most of the Japanese people appreciate the protection that the U.S. military gives to Japan by having bases here.
But it’s a bit of a perennial problem in Japan. The U.S. bases take up valuable land in this small country, there have been a number of crimes, sometimes violent ones, committed by American servicemen stationed here, and some of the bases are for the Air Force and have noisy jets flying overheard all day everyday which greatly disturbs the people who live in the vicinity.

But since America has sent over 18,000 American service-people from the bases around Japan to help with the rescue and rebuilding of the Sendai area and also helping to cool down the nuclear plant in Fukushima, the people of Japan have seen the U.S. military at their best.
And they’re quite good!

The U.S. military has named the work they’re doing 「友だち作戦」 (“Operation: Tomodachi”).
「友だち」 (“Tomodachi“) is Japanese for “friends“.

They have a patch on their sleeve of the Japanese flag with the Japanese character 「」 which says “friend” in Japanese. And 「がんばろう日本」 which means “We can do it, Japan!“.

The TV news program I saw showed the U.S. Marines giving bottled water, food and blankets to the people left with nothing since the tsunami. But it also showed them giving American candy and toys to the children who lost everything they own. Toys and chocolate may seem unimportant…unless you saw the big smiles of those children. It was very heartwarming and thoughtful of the Marines to remember to bring something for those kids.

But the most impressive things I saw the U.S. Marines do in that report was when they quickly restored electricity to a town that was without power since the earthquake two weeks ago. And also, the Sendai Airport was such a mess and covered with so much debris since the tsunami that the Japanese authorities believed it would take too long to clear the runways for the airport to be of any use to bring much needed relief to the city…but the Marines got busy clearing the mess as soon as they arrived in Sendai and later the same day, the runways were cleared enough to be used!

Even the people who would like the U.S. military to not be stationed in Japan are extremely impressed and grateful for their help!
Thank you U.S. military. You really are a 「友だち」 (tomodachi)!

今週末

25 Aug

The 2008 Summer Olympics in 北京 (Beijing) have ended.
Did you watch the closing ceremony?

The top ten countries for medals:

  1. 中華人民共和国 (China) – 51 gold (100 total)
  2. アメリカ合衆国 (USA) – 36 gold (110 total)
  3. ロシア連邦 (Russia) – 23 gold (72 total)
  4. グレート・ブリテンおよび北アイルランド連合王国 (Great Britain) – 19 gold (47 total)
  5. ドイツ連邦共和国 (Germany) – 16 gold (41 total)
  6. オーストラリア (Australia) – 14 gold (46 total)
  7. 大韓民国 (South Korea) – 13 gold (31 total)
  8. 日本国 (Japan) – 9 gold (25 total)
  9. イタリア共和国 (Italy) – 8 gold (28 total)
  10. フランス共和国 (France) – 7 gold (40 total)

Speaking of sports, a Russian 相撲 (Sumo) wrestler in Japan named 若ノ鵬 (Wakanohou) was recently arrested for possession of marijuana and dismissed from the Sumo Federation.

Japan has very strict drug laws. If he is convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and / or deportation.

What a stupid mistake.

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Last Saturday (2008/8/23), lightning struck the 醍醐寺 (Daigoji Temple) in 京都 (Kyoto, Japan), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, causing a fire which destroyed part of the centuries old cultural asset.

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Also on Saturday we took our oldest daughter to an exhibition of Tokyo high schools and colleges to help us decide which one should attend next school year which begins in April in Japan.
She’ll be starting high school (10th grade).

Here’s a picture I took of the event. It was pretty crowded:

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From there, we went to the 米国空軍有効祭 (U.S. Air Force Friendship Festival) at the U.S. Air Force base in western Tokyo.

This is the only time that the U.S. military bases are open to the public. Actually, going on the U.S. bases is almost like going to America. The food, clothes, and the way everyone speaks loudly (and in English) are all very American. It’s kinda a culture shock for me (and of course, my family)…I guess I’m not used to America anymore.

It was a little bit rainy the day of this year’s festival, so it wasn’t so fun (but it wasn’t hot, so that was nice). We went to this festival three years ago…it was nice sunny weather on that day (although quite hot).

I couldn’t get any nice pictures from this weekend’s festival at the U.S. Air Force base because of the weather…but here are a couple pictures from the event when we went in 2005. They had a sky-diving show and let the public look inside the aircraft:

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And yesterday (Sunday), I volunteered to help set up and run a booth at a local summer festival near our house.

It was still raining (and it’s still raining today 😦 ) but a fairly large number of people still turned up. I helped run the drinks and かき氷 (flavored shaved ice) booth.

The weather was pretty cool, so not many people wanted shaved ice…but we sold alot of drinks. Especially beer!

It was a 盆踊り (Bon dancing) festival…but I was surprised that so many people still did the dancing despite the weather.

I was busy helping out so I didn’t bring my camera. But I took a picture with the cell-phone. It didn’t turn out so good because it was rainy and evening.

It was fun.