Monday, May 7, 2012

Friendship Day

Every year MCAS Iwakuni opens its gates to host Friendship Day. This day celebrates the relationship between the United States and our host country. Tons of food, games, and an awesome air show fill the day.

I've been hearing mixed reviews over the last few weeks as to what to expect. "There are so many people" was the most popular response. And yes, there were tons of people. The day did not disappoint!


All the buses....
There were so many people! The base opened all the gates to allow pedestrians onto the station. The traffic out in town was horrible. Two lane roads were blocked off so full lanes could be used as parking. People were lined up waiting to come on base on Friday night - sleeping in their cars. One thing I though was really interesting was how people would park on the side of the river where we live. The roads in Japan are tiny - what should be a two lane road is barely big enough for one. Visitors would drive down the road and park. This made me curious as to how one gets out. You would have to wait until the eight cars in front of you left. Might be a pain if someone decides to stay a few hours longer than you.

Many people took buses from all over the area. They traveled from most train stations to be brought on base. Another way to come on was by bicycle to the Iwakuni station and then walk to base. (That's a 2.5 mile walk!)


Something something on a stick
There were rows and rows of food vendors along the flightline. Many Japanese vendors come on base and sell favorites like yakitori (chicken on a stick), yakisoba, squid, and octopus. The base supplies the American food which is the highlight for many. Pizza is the biggest seller. We watched people video taping themselves eating pizza. This made me feel better about constantly taking pictures of Japanese food we try here! Another big hit were hamburgers and cheeseburgers. The lines for the American food were at least 100 people long all day.

Coconut and pineapple

Strawberry and mango smoothies
I've still been recovering from tossing all my cookies so I played it safe with fruity items. All the vendors would accept yen and dollar. The smoothies was the best deal. They had 100 yen = $1.00. Friday's yen rate was 79 to the dollar so we got smoothies on the cheap!

Fun and Games:

Part of the flightline was designated for the children's area. While I was standing beside it texting Dustin I was ninja-photo attacked! I was looking down at my phone when two girls came up behind me standing just a foot behind me. They held up peace signs and then a person in front of me took the picture! It was a sneak attack! Later while walking around with Dustin (he had to work the event) we were asked to take pictures with random people. A coworker of mine said the Japanese would like Dustin because he was in uniform and me because I have blue eyes and light hair. It was an interesting experience!

Titanic Slide - poor taste?
Car Show:

Another section of the flightline had a car show. It was a traditional car show with suped-up trick cars, older cars, fancy cars (the new Porsche, a Lamborghini, etc) and a Model T. What we found the most interesting was the section of trucks. A Chevrolet Avalanche and GMC Sierra. Not all blinged out - just on display because they are huge compared to Japanese vehicles.


There were stages set up at different areas of the event. All over were sounds of music coupled with booms from the jets overhead. My favorite was the traveling USMC band. They just walked all around the flightline playing music and starting up dance sessions.

What a fun day!

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