Yokota event celebrates Asian-Pacific heritage
Stars and Stripes May 19, 2008
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Military families here wishing to immerse themselves in Asian-Pacific culture didn’t have to go far Saturday.
For three hours, people filled the Yokota High School gym to sample food and watch performances representing the eight different cultures featured at the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Cultural Show and Food Tasting.
Along with the eats, showgoers enjoyed music, dancing and martial arts demonstrations.
Event coordinator Master Sgt. Darren Lee said many of the presenters and performers didn’t need to travel far to showcase their cultures.
"Most of the groups here are from Yokota," Lee said. "People don’t have to go off base if they don’t want to. On Yokota, there are a lot of cultural things to do."
Lee said that in many cases, the annual event serves as a cultural introduction for members of the Yokota community.
"Just exposing people to these kinds of activities really helps the military member to fit in if they don’t feel like they fit in off base," Lee said. "They get fellowship and get to know people, and it gives them confidence to go out and experience more off base."
Cynthia Rubio performed with her fellow Sons of Hawaii dancers during the festivity. For Rubio and others like her, the event was a chance to celebrate where they come from and an opportunity to embrace their roots.
"It’s great to be able to represent," Rubio said. "I’m from Hawaii, and this is what we do in Hawaii. We’re far from home, but this is as close as we can get."