MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — From an exhibit of samurai weapons and medieval Japanese armor to kite making and taiko drumming, Japan Day is a cultural feast for all ages.

This year’s 19th annual event is April 1 at Edgren High School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s a great chance to get to know the Japanese a little better,” said Capt. Richard E. Cullivan, 35th Maintenance Group executive officer.

Cullivan and Senior Master Sgt. Shaun Crusha headed up this year’s Japan Day committee on base, helping organize the venues and signing up about 180 American volunteers.

The Misawa International Club organizes Japan Day every year to share local Japanese customs and culture with Americans at the base, Cullivan said. The club also helps the base with American Day, usually held over a June weekend outside the gate.

About 600 Japanese, including 20 exhibitors, are expected. Hands-on cultural activities include kite making, pottery, calligraphy, a Japanese tea ceremony, kimono wearing, kendo sword fighting and other martial arts. Various shows will be staged throughout the day, including taiko drumming, the Japanese sacred lion dance, poetry reading and musical instrument playing.

“It’s both cultural displays and shows,” Cullivan said. “Between the two, it captures a lot of Japan as far as their culture and history.”

Admission is free. Traditional Japanese food — not just “meat on a stick,” Cullivan said — will be available. A map listing where and when events will be held will be distributed at the door. Fliers also are available at the base post office. A few volunteers who speak English and some Japanese to work as interpreters still are needed. Call Master Sgt. Paula Spencer at DSN 226-4167 to volunteer.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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