By Candateshia Pafford, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJanuary 24, 2014
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 24, 2014) -- Three Japanese students from nearby Sagamihara City Shincho Junior High School participated in a job-shadowing program at Camp Zama Jan. 17 to experience a variety of possible future academic and career options.
Naoko Baba, Shincho Junior High vice principal, said this was the fourth consecutive year that students from the school participated in the program.
"This program gives our students an opportunity to reflect on their life and future," said Baba.
By working on the installation, the participating students get an opportunity to see a wide variety of jobs and gain some hands-on experience, said Baba.
"Going to Camp Zama will help students to gain global perspectives," said Baba.
The students were excited to see and work with Americans because they have had little exposure to foreign cultures, said Hisako Okamoto, a Camp Zama community relations officer assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Japan who helped coordinate the event.
"I am glad [these students] are being exposed to a foreign culture now, so that when they proceed in life they can look back at this experience," said Okamoto.
Eighth-grader Ayano Takahashi said she took part in the job-shadowing program for the opportunity to visit and experience what life was like on Camp Zama.
"I felt nervous because the U.S. Soldiers seemed very strong and taller than [Japanese people], but when I met them and shook their hands, my image of them changed," said Takahashi.
Takahashi said she and her classmates study formal English in school rather than conversational English, so she was most interested to see how Americans speak in their daily lives.
Mika Hamada, also an eighth-grader, said she at first she felt nervous when the Americans working at Camp Zama spoke with her.
"I couldn't speak English the way I wanted to, but I liked interacting with not only the Japanese workers at Camp Zama, but the foreigners as well," said Hamada.
The students performed duties at Military Protocol, the Camp Zama Dining Facility, the library and Education Center, and also toured the Camp Zama Youth Center. They interacted with American students on Camp Zama.