Thursday, April 1, 2010

Study Program: Day 1

Here is a little insight into our trip to Okinawa...

Up at 03:30 AM and off to Okinawa to experience what is really happening with our own eyes. There has been a lot of news recently dealing with the Futenma Air Base issue and what should/will be done in Okinawa regarding its relocation or closure. We are here to learn as much as possible while visiting the island, through interviewing locals and talking with those on the front lines, in order to make our own opinions on the subject.

Immediately upon arrival we noticed that Naha wasn't your typical airport. Self-defense and U.S. military planes line the runway while fighter jets screamed overhead and men with military backpacks wait in the airport for their flights. We tried to keep a tally of the number of military aircrafts that we heard; 6 helicopters and 4 jets in the first hour that we were there...we lost count half-way into the third hour. Emilie noticed how strange it was to hear but not see the various military aircrafts.

During a taxi ride I asked the driver how he felt about so many foreigners in Okinawa. His initial response was that he liked the business but upon further inquiry he admitted that he could do without the bases.

Just a few images: nice people who are proud of their prefecture's representative high school baseball team at Koshien, beautiful ocean, orchids and tales of a 600 day sit in to protect Henoko from being converted into a new military base...

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