Volleyball festival sparks cross-cultural friendships on Okinawa
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — More than 500 volleyball fanatics turned out to watch high-schoolers from the U.S. and Japan compete in two days of “friendship” matches on Okinawa.
The eighth annual Okinawa and U.S. Friendship Volleyball Festival, held recently at Kadena’s Kinser Fitness and Sports Complex, featured 18 teams. Sixteen came from Japanese schools on the island, while the U.S. teams hailed from Kadena and Kubasaki high schools.
“Volleyball is like a common ground,” said Kadena junior Meghan Bonafilia. “The Japanese players are always so kind and welcoming. Even though there is a bit of a language barrier sometimes, we are able to say little phrases where we can talk to each other.”
Bonafilia said she made some Japanese friends during last year’s event.
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