Bowling with Friends: Okinawa University students with Service Members

by Lance Cpl. Tayler P. Schwamb, Marine Corps Installations Pacific
Stripes Okinawa

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt;">Members of the military community met with students of Okinawa University through the Single Marine Program for an afternoon of bowling Jan. 13 at the bowling alley aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

Twenty-eight service members and students gathered to create friendships at the Camp Foster Bowling Alley. The bowlers spent the afternoon sharing pizza, jokes and experiences.

“I love meeting people and these students are such uplifting people,” said Lance Cpl. Ketheluya Bolling Anzueta, an administrative specialist with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “I was asking the students simple things just to get to know them and their daily lives and help them practice their English like how far is your school? or what is your age? Sometimes it was harder to ask them things like what do you do for fun” and we had to use (a translation application). Bowling is kind of like unit physical training but instead of building unit cohesion it is building island cohesion. Everything builds that bond up, even something as small as bowling.”

During the games, bowlers danced to popular American songs, breaking out classic American dance moves like the sprinkler. Teammates constantly encouraged each other with high fives.

“Bowling presents a common ground,” said Anna Ivie, the recreation assistant of the Camp Foster Bowling Alley. “I know from personal experience how hard it is to make friends out in Okinawa, so we were thrilled when the Single Marine Program called us.”

At the end of the event, the bowlers exchanged numbers and goodbyes, a hint of smiles still pulling at the corners of their mouths.

“It makes me so happy to make foreigner friends,” said Sumire Shimabukuro, a student at Okinawa University. “Foreigner friends are so different, they have big personalities. I learned so much I can’t wait to see them more.”

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