We experienced our first Yokota Friendship Festival, earlier this month, and it was an amazing event! Every year the base opens the gates to our Japanese friends for a weekend, so they can experience the base and see the airplanes. Being an Air Force family, we have been to many air shows, but this one seemed different to me. It was so fun to see the Japanese literally streaming through the gates and excited to be there. Apparently over 150,000 Japanese attended the two day event.
There was a military dog demonstration. Always interesting.
And lots of games, face painting and activities for the kids.
Almost everyone on base works this event in some capacity, whether it is setting up food booths, selling merchandise, etc., it is a big undertaking. Matt had to roam the grounds as a medic. So, luckily we were able to wander around with him for a few hours.
He was "guarding" the cart here, and they were asked to pose for several pictures as well. Haha!
The Japanese Air Force also has a presence on this base.
Can't forget the character!
This is an area of the flight line that we never see because it is off limits, and no pictures are generally allowed. So, of course, we took a picture.
Then there was a large display of different aircraft. Both, American and Japanese.
You could also tour, and take pictures inside, the different aircraft.
The AWACS surveillance plane.
The line for this one went on forever!
The Osprey was also popular.
Entering the C-130 , from the cargo door in back.
The fighter pilot's are always rock stars! (For my brother-in-law, Derek!)
My two loves on the flight line.
A sight you don't see everyday at an American airshow!
They opened the hangar and set up a stage for entertainment.
We enjoyed the hula dancers.
It was packed! Definitely standing room only.
(Side note- the Japanese go almost everywhere with these plastic tarps. They are used to sit on as well as save your spot at an event. Even at Disneyland, we saw many tarps saving spots for the parade, and no one messes with it or questions it. Genius!)
This booth was particularly popular. Beer in a refillable, yard-long, souvenir glass. I had to smile every time I saw one because it reminded me so much of what you would see in Vegas. I miss that place!
There was even a lanyard to wear it around your neck...and many did. Haha!
I guess we needed someone else for trash duty?
It was hot, humid, and crowded! But, it was so fun to share a piece of our base, and our country with our Japanese hosts! Until next year....