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Cultural & Relocation Programs & Services

Relocating to MCAS Iwakuni is a major milestone in your career and personal life. MCCS programs are with you every step of the way, from the day you receive your orders to the day you leave. See what Cultural & Relocation Programs & Services we offer.

Programs are available to assist newcomers, and newcomers will need them at some point.

Our Information and Referrals section is filled with information to help you find your way around locally and throughout Japan. The Information and Referral staff are available to assist you with any questions you have about, well, anything!

Cultural Adaptation will help you with the final stage of acclimating to your new duty station. From language to public transportation, you will find your time here much more rewarding if you try to adapt.

Japan is a country full of traditions, culture and beauty. Its history stretches back thousands of years and many of the more colorful eras are still alive and ready to be explored. Get out and see what fascinating experiences await you!

Contact Information

Cultural & Relocation Services

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New to Iwakuni

Iwakuni, which translates to “rock country,” is a sprawling city that encompasses 337 square miles of beaches, small bays, countryside and clusters of small mountains. The American population, much of it living aboard the Air Station, and the 140,000+ locals, comprise Iwakuni’s unique cultural diversity. Whatever Japanese experience you are looking for, Iwakuni will show it to you.

The city belongs to Yamaguchi prefecture that makes up the Western end of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Being stationed in Iwakuni is ideal for traveling as Kyushu and Shikoku islands are feasible day trips by car. And getting in and out of town is ultra convenient with Iwakuni Kintaikyo airport located right outside the gate! The Shinkansen bullet train stops at Shin Iwakuni Station, making travel throughout Japan a breeze.

One of Iwakuni City’s primary borders is the Seto Inland Sea. A drive or bike ride along the roads hugging the coastline make for scenic day trips. On clear days, many nearby islands are visible. Most tourists make a day trip from nearby Hiroshima or Miyajima via train to see the Kintai Bridge and Iwakuni Castle, but locals know that there is so much more to do here.

It’s true that there is a strong industrial presence within central Iwakuni comprised of paper, refined oil, and textile manufacturers. But much of the city is scenic waterfront, uncountable rivers and streams, Lotus and rice paddies and forests. There are beaches and hiking trails that are reachable by train or bus. A quick drive can transport you to another island, a bamboo forest, temples, world heritage sights or several large cities.

MCAS Iwakuni occupies a delta comprised of land that was reclaimed by a feudal lord roughly four hundred years ago. The Japanese government commissioned a base here in 1940, and it became a training and defense air station as well as housing Etajima Naval Academy. After being occupied by multiple countries, it became a US Military Base in 1952. Currently, the base population is comprised of roughly 5,500 active duty, family members and civilian employees.

MCCS programs and professionals are here to support you and are committed to making your tour in Iwakuni adventurous, successful and most of all, memorable.


Cultural Adaptation

A whole new world opens up when you begin to understand the Japanese language, culture and customs. From little things like ordering at a restaurant to extended travel around the country, get the most from your overseas assignment by learning about your host nation.

Contact Information

Cultural Adaptation

Marine & Family Programs Bldg. 411
Rm. 101


Phone: 0827796165

DSN: (315) 253-6165

MON-FRI  8 AM - 5 PM

Moving to Japan and having a satisfying tour begins with a positive attitude, open mind and an understanding of the basics in Japanese customs and culture. Here are some of the more important things to know about your new host country.

Public Transportation

Many Japanese rely on public transportation as their sole source of getting around. This is a venue where Japan’s reputation as a polite society is best illustrated. Etiquette while using public transportation is pretty simple: just be respectful of others. Don’t eat, drink, talk on your mobile device or have a loud conversation. Buses and trains have reserved seating for the elderly, pregnant, disabled or parents carrying young children. If you should see one of them without a seat, you should stand up and offer your seat.

Tipping

This is less of a culture shock and more of a culture perk. Tipping is almost never expected in Japan, especially in restaurants.

Cash is King

Always carry extra Yen when going off-base. Some larger chains of restaurants and grocery stores accept credit card, but some do not. Personal checks are foreign to most Japanese and off-base rentals are paid via bank transactions or in cash. Utility bills are usually paid in cash at convenience stores or bank transactions. ATM cards issued at banks aboard MCAS Iwakuni can be used to withdraw Yen at 7-11 stores and off-base post office ATMs.

Not One Drop

Remember, not one drop if you're driving! Japan has very strict legal limits and severe punishments for driving under the influence. Don't risk it, do not have a single drop if you are driving.

Time Zones

Many of us are nearly half a world away from friends and family back in the states, and while the distance is vast, modern technology has made it pretty easy to keep in touch. Email, video conferencing and internet phones are great tools to maintain that contact, but figuring out what time it is back home can be tricky.

Japan is close to the International Date Line; roughly a day ahead of the U.S. Japan and does not observe Daylight Savings Time (DST). To figure out the time difference, add Japan’s UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) +9 to the desired time zone’s (adjusting for DST if needed) and count back that many hours from the current time.

Japanese Alphabet

The modern Japanese writing system uses three main scripts: Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana. Romanized Japanese, called rōmaji, is frequently used to spell out Japanese words with the English alphabet sounds. Visit Cultural Adaptation or Information Referral today to see about learning the Japanese alphabets.

Events

Basics

How are you

(O) genki des ka?

I am fine

Genki desu

Excuse me / Pardon

Sumimasen

Are you okay?

Die joubu?

What time is it?

Nanji deska?

What is your name?

O na-mae wa non deska?

My name is _____.

Watashi no namae wa _____ des.

Yes / No

Hai / Iie

Please

O negai shimasu

Thank you

Arigatou

You are welcome

Dou itashimashite

I am (really) sorry

Gomen nasai

Go ahead / After you

Dozo

What is it?

Kore wa nandesu ka?

Just a moment

Chotto matte kudasai

Left / Right

He da-rie / Me-ge

Where is the toilet?

Toyre wa doko deska?

This / That / There

Ko-re / So-re / A-re

Greetings & Farewells

Good afternoon

Kon nichi wa

Good evening

Kon ban wa

Nice to meet you

Hajime mashite

Have a nice day

Yoi ichinichi wo

How are you

(O) genki des ka?

I am fine

Genki desu

Are you okay?

Die joubu?

What is your name?

O na-mae wa non deska?

My name is _____.

Watashi no namae wa _____ des.

Good night

O yasumi nasai

Good bye

Sayonara

See ya!

Mata ne

I am American

Watashi wa Americajin desu

Being Polite

How are you

(O) genki des ka?

I am fine

Genki desu

Excuse me / Pardon

Sumimasen

Are you okay?

Die joubu?

Please

O negai shimasu

Thank you

Arigatou

You are welcome

Dou itashimashite

I am (really) sorry

Gomen nasai

Go ahead / After you

Dozo

Just a moment

Chotto matte kudasai

Please wait here

Koko de mat-te kudasai

Can I help you?

I-ra shai ma-se?

Understanding

I am American

Watashi wa Americajin desu

Can you speak English?

Eigo ga dekimasu ka?

I don't understand Japanese

Nihongo ga wakarimasen

Do you understand?

Wakarimasu ka?

I understand

Wakarimasu

I don't understand

Wakarimasen

Speak slowly

Yukkuri hanashite kudasai

Can I help you?

I-ra shai ma-se?

Eating

Excuse me / Pardon

Sumimasen

Cheers!

Kanpai!

What is it?

Kore wa nandesu ka?

What would you recommend?

Nani ga osu-sume deska?

I'll have that

A-re okudasai

Please decide for me

Oma kase shimas

That was delicious

Oyshi katta

Where is the toilet?

Toyre wa doko deska?

How much is it?

Ikura desu ka?

This / That / There

Ko-re / So-re / A-re

I would like the receipt please

eshito o-onegai shimas

Do I need to pay up front?

Ma-e barai deska?

Shopping

Excuse me / Pardon

Sumimasen

What is it?

Kore wa nandesu ka?

What would you recommend?

Nani ga osu-sume deska?

I'll have that

A-re okudasai

Do you have _____?

_____ ga arimaska?

How much is it?

Ikura desu ka?

This / That / There

Ko-re / So-re / A-re

Can you write down the price?

Nadan o-kaite kure masenka?

I would like the receipt please

eshito o-onegai shimas

I would like to return this

Hem pin o onegai shimas

Do I need to pay up front?

Ma-e barai deska?

I'm just looking

Mi-te i-ru dake des

That's too expensive

Taka sugi mas

Traveling

Excuse me / Pardon

Sumimasen

Do you have _____?

_____ ga arimaska?

Please stop here

Koko ne tomete kuda sai

What train station is this?

Koko wa nanieki deska?

I would like a taxi

Takshi o o-ne-gashimas

How much is it to _____?

_____ ma-de ikura deska?

Please wait here

Koko de mat-te kudasai

Please slow down

Speedo o oto shi-te kudasai

Left / Right

He da-rie / Me-ge

What time is check out?

Checku ow-to wa nanji deski?

Where is the toilet?

Toyre wa doko deska?

How much is it?

Ikura desu ka?

I would like the receipt please

eshito o-onegai shimas

Do I need to pay up front?

Ma-e barai deska?


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