349th Signal shares American culture with local Japanese students
November 1, 2013
OKINAWA, Japan - Soldiers and family members of the 349th Signal Company, 78th Signal Battalion, traveled to the Kabato Pre-School to share an American tradition, Halloween, with students Oct.28 in Yomitan Village, Okinawa, Japan.
Team 349th put on their best Halloween threads to hand out candy and interact with almost 70 students during the hour long visit. Capt. Alec Kinczewski, commander of the 349th, said the unit has established a good relationship with the school to strengthen U.S. Army on Okinawa's relationship with its host country neighbors.
"We've been an active partner with the school for about two years now," said Kinczewski. "Today we want to give them some treats and have some fun by sharing our culture with the students."
As Kabato students circled through the candy lanes they each gave the American phrase "Happy Halloween" in order to receive candy. The language interaction was the idea of Spc. Luke House, a network systems administrator assigned to the 349th, who regularly volunteers to teach English to the Kabato students. He explained it's important for Soldiers to get involved with local Yomitan village citizens.
"It's essential to have a presence in the community," said House. "More than anything the kids will grow up with the knowledge that American Soldiers and their families came out to put a smile on their faces."
At the end of the event Reiko Kinjo, Kabato Pre-School principal, thanked everyone for attending the event. She explained it was amazing to have volunteers on site and in costumes for a day of fun.
"It's very important to build a mutual understanding of cultures through community engagements and events," explained Kinjo.
Kinczewski added the unit looks forward to more activities with the school during the holiday season.
"We are planning to come back during Thanksgiving and Christmas to continue to strengthen our relationship and remain visible and active with Kabato," he said.