Kadena Airmen volunteer time to Japanese children

  • Published
  • By Beth Gosselin
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Fifteen Airmen from the 18th Wing here used their native English skills to connect with 60 children at a Japanese preschool Feb. 26 while temporarily deployed to the Japan Air Self Defense Force's Nyutabaru Air Base in Miyazaki Prefecture.

The children, ages 3 to 6 years old, at Isshin preschool treated their American guests to a performance and played games to practice English conversation skills with the Airmen.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the children and teachers," said Hamako Kuroki, the Isshin preschool principal. "Since these children will live in an international society, this is a great first step for them to become a member of that society."

The children welcomed the Airmen with flowers and a greeting of thanks in English. The children then lined up in costumes to perform songs and dance for the Airmen.

"I enjoyed everything about it. It was a blast," said Master Sgt. Chad Baldini, a 13th Air Force, Det. 1 airlift manager.

After the performance, Airmen divided into small groups with 12 children each. Some sang songs together such as the "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" while others played "duck, duck, goose" and "Jan, ken, pon," which Americans know as "rock, paper, scissors."

"Since the school has three English conversation classes, this is a great chance for them to learn their language skills," Ms. Kuroki said. "They look so excited to have this chance. It's giving them confidence to speak in English."

The Airmen have been deployed to Nyutabaru Air Base since Feb. 20 to participate in a bilateral training event aimed at increasing interoperability and strengthening relations between the U.S. Air Force and their JASDF counterparts. Kadena Air Base F-15 Eagles have been flying alongside JASDF F-4s during the training.

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