Monday, March 05, 2007

My Trip to JASDF (Part 2)

Hello, everyone~!

I'm going to talk about the rest of the report of the trip to JASDF. I've been reviewing the experiences I've had and what I've seen there, I came to think it really was a nice opportunity! It was not only interesting but also the chance to get closer to the things about public service.

After getting off the helicopter, I got on the bus to go to the dinning hall for lunch. There are two kinds of dinning halls, and the place the people eat is decided by the military class they belong to. The one I visited was called "曹士食堂"(sou-shi-shoku-dou), and it means that sergeants and soldiers can eat there. Actually, those who are qualified as sergeants and soldiers have to eat there because it's a part of their obligations, and what they eat is paid by taxpayers. So they can't waste it. To my surprise, The base has a unit which is taking charge of just making meals every day. What a self-sufficient! Talking of food, you're wondering if it tastes good or not, aren't you? So I put the picture of the meal I ate on the day! It looks classic, and it did remind me of the days I enjoyed eating school lunch when I was a junior high student. It was well-balanced and low-fat meal, I think. In addition to that, it was delicious! I just didn't expect it to be that yummy, so I was almost impressed. Ha! Ha!

There's actually one more thing I enjoyed doing while I had lunch there. I had the chance to talk with the women who has served there as a general member of the Self-Defense of Forces. The number of women who serve there is still small, but I think it's been on the rise. The woman I talked with has joined the Force after she graduated from her university. She had thought about working as a person who contributes things she's good at to the world, and decided to take the exam to be where she is now. She said that she will be sent to Kuwait as a part of the mission conducted by the Japanese government. I just hope that she'll be safe there, and do what she needs to do. Even though I already knew that the government has been making efforts to help the situation of the Middle East improve by sending our people from the Force, I was surprised to know that the woman next to me who enjoyed eating lunch with me will soon go there. The fact that she talked about it so casually also surprised me. However, it somehow shows that she is ready for the mission, and that we don't have to worry about it because she seemed to be just fine.

After the tour, I started thinking about the defense of my country deeply and differently from the past. It also adds a new perspective to the issues of the Middle East where the Japanese government has gotten involved as an ally of the US, and contributor to the international community. Finally, I think I was able to find that everything we do as a country would all be connected globally by touring one of the national government places in Japan.

We rarely have an opportunity to think about our own force of defense because our troops are only intended to defend our country. Also, we tend to have an atmosphere which does not allow ourselves to talk about it because mentioning about the Force could be taken as an implication of wanting to go to war. The issues of the Force are really complicated in terms of politics. The tour, however, made me realize the importance of listening to the voices of the people working there, and getting to know the reality.

I put the rest of the pictures I took on the day on bubbleshare. Enjoy!

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That's all for today!
See you soon~.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Trip to JASDF (Part 1)

Hello, everyone~!

I've been slacking with my entries a little bit, haven't I? Well, it seems that I have something to post about today. Yaay!

I took a small trip to Saitama prefecture to pay a visit to the base of JASDF. Can you guess what JASDF stands for? What do you think? It stands for Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The reason why I visited there was to participate the program made by the PR department called "JASDF's Tour for Women". I happened to find the information on its website, and I decided to apply because I thought it would be a good opportunity to know about its roles.

As I mentioned, the base I went to is located in Saitama prefecture, and it took an hour or so to go there from my home. Since there's US Yokota Air Base next to my home town, I could imagine how the base would look like. But still, it wasn't the US's. So I was excited about visiting there. On this blog, I've decided to divide my report into two parts because I think it's going to be too long to read at a time if I make it into one part.

I saw and learn a lot of things about our Self-Defense Force, and it has drawn the nation's attention every time the argument about the definition of "self-defense" has come out. However, after I visited there, I thought it's also important for us to think about the people in the Force who do what they need to do because just discussing the definition or the ideological thing is likely to end up ignoring the voices that we should listen to. It's unfair to judge the people who work for the country without knowing about the truth, I guess.

Well, let me go back to talking about the trip. The first thing I did was boarding a helicopter. It was actually the first time for me to get on a helicopter. It's basically used for transporting foods, commodities, and so on. It's also used for transportations of people whent the situation is urgent. When I was about to get on, it got windier and windier as I got closer to the helicopter. It can carry 55 passengers. I wondered if its people on board sleep here, and I asked. The answer was no. Its flight time is not long enough to fall asleep, and the seat will never let you sleep because it's not comfortable! After boarding the helicopter, I felt like I should be thankful for how comfortable commercial airplanes are! Ha! Ha! Then, the picture on the right side, which looks like Google map, was taken from the helicopter. When you enlarge it, do you see the mountain covered with the snow? It's Mt. Fuji. (Remember I talked about the trip to there?)

Well, I'm sure photographs will definitely help you imagine what it's like to get on a helicopter. But is it really enough? Is there any better way to do so? These questions occured to me during the flight, and I found that it would be nice if I try to shoot some videos.

So...Why don't you try this? (CAUTION:Noisy sound included.)

I shot this short video when I was allowed to walk around the inside of the helicopter. The weather was so clear that you can barely see anything from the window, but at least it proves that I was there!

This was taken when I stood close to the window. I have no idea where it was, but I hope it helps you get some ideas of what I did yesterday.
Alright, that's all for today!
But don't forget to stay tuned for part 2!