U.S. Marines and families from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni participated in a community cultural exchange with local Japanese children at Tsuzu Elementary School, Iwakuni City, Aug. 29, 2019.
The exchange provided an arts and crafts class and a cooking class where participants learned how to make different styles of gyoza. Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that is wrapped in a thin dough, pan-fried and typically contains ground pork, green onion and cabbage.
“It’s an opportunity for the Japanese students to see American children and get used to interacting with them.” Mikie Watanabe, a Cultural Adaptation Program specialist
“I had a lot of fun. My wife and I learned how to make Chinese and Japanese style gyoza today,” said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Daryl Tunstall, an aircraft ordnance technician, with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA)-121.
In addition to gyoza making, the event provided the opportunity for residents on base to learn more about Japanese culture from local Japanese students.
“I came to this class in May and it was nice to come back this time and see the Japanese children again and they recognized me and were excited to see me,” said Marlena Tunstall, wife of Daryl Tunstall.
The class is a semi-annual event that is coordinated with the Cultural Adaptation Program on base and the Tsuzu Elementary School.
Watanabe said the exchange allowed children and families from two different cultures to interact with each other and further the relationship of the station and the Japanese community.