Americans learn about local hosts, culture
KADENA AIR BASE - More than 80 service members attended an Okinawan cultural seminar sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Okinawa liaison office at the Schilling Community Center, Sept. 21.
A brief history of Okinawa and its origin was given to attendants to emphasize the importance of ambassadorship and the need to continue to learn about the host country's culture and history.
"To me, this seminar was educational," said Airman 1st Class Justin Manyvanh, 18th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, who took notes during the brief. "I just got here on island and I didn't know anything about Okinawa. Leadership said we should come to this and I didn't know what to expect."
Along with the history lesson, service members were given a traditional Okinawan karate demonstration and also the chance to try those skills themselves.
Roughly 20 service members volunteered to remove their boots and take center stage to learn a few karate techniques firsthand from a 74-year-old karate master who has been practicing his art for more than 50 years.
"I'm very proud to introduce part of the Okinawan culture to people on base," said Masahiro Nakamoto, master Karate sensei for the Okinawa Traditional Kobudo Preservation Society and demonstrator at the seminar. "Today was a very good demonstration because everybody was trying hard to be part of it and that's not always the case."
This was the fourth year Nakamoto has come to Kadena to demonstrate and teach service members. He looks forward to returning to share his culture and talents with more service members new to the island.
"The karate was totally insane. If I weren't shy, I might've done the karate, but I'm still new," said Manyvanh who arrived to Okinawa only four months ago.