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Local students give service members guided tour of Shuri Castle

By Courtesy Story | | October 27, 2012

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OKINAWA, Japan - Local students with the Naha Nikkei Business College spent the day with U.S. Marines and sailors at Shuri Castle Oct. 27.

During the trip, local students taught the Marines and sailors some of the Okinawan customs and cultures through a guided tour of the centuries-old castle.

“Today benefits both the students and Marines,” said Sgt. Maj. Brent C. Cook, the sergeant major of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. “They interacted in an environment where they exchanged customs and learned about the culture of Okinawa.”

The day started with the Marines and sailors meeting with the students near MCAS Futenma and dividing into mixed groups of students and service members.

“This is a great thing,” said Erika Shinzato, a second-year student at Naha Nikkei Business College. “We get to practice our English as well as teach the Marines about our culture and customs.”

The students explained the unique and rich history of Shuri Castle while walking with their groups through the ancient site.

“Activities like this are important because it provides our students with an opportunity to speak in English and practice their language skills as well as to interact with Marines,” said Anri Manabe, an English teacher at Naha Nikkei Business College. “These opportunities are also great for the Marines because it allows them to explore the area. I want the Marines to have the chance to interact with the Japanese people and to be able to experience more of Okinawa during their time here.”

As many of the Marines and sailors are new to the island, this was the first time many of them were able to experience Okinawan culture and explore their surroundings.

“The combination of the castle and interacting with the students was amazing,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Tam Chu, a hospital corpsman with Marine Air Support Squadron 2, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It gave us a rich cultural experience that we don’t get every day.”

Having the service members gain a better understanding of Okinawa culture and people will help them develop a relationship with the local community.

“This was a great experience for us,” said Chu. “Interacting with the students gave us a chance to learn their customs and for them to learn our customs. This is absolutely going to benefit me in the long run, as I now have a much greater understanding of their culture.”

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/97104/local-students-give-service-members-guided-tour-shuri-castle#ixzz2Ba5aZSGu
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