summer breezeAaron Pylinski | Community Writer
Hanami, the traditional ringing in of spring is in our rearview mirror and that means that summer is dead ahead. Typical summer fun always includes backyard barbecues and trips to the outdoor pool, but MCCS offers lots to satiate the adventurous, the active, and those looking to score a couple extra quid to put in their pocket and spend during the hotter months.
Summer is just around the corner and MCCS is ramping up the season with a load of Outdoor Recreation activities, summer hires, excursions from Information Tours & Travel (IT&T), and the Single Marine Program.
Outdoor Recreation (Rec) offers trips throughout Japan to all SOFA personnel on station. They offer a wide array of gear available for rent. Through funds bolstered by the Qualified Recycling Program (QRP), MCCS Iwakuni is the only Outdoor Rec in the entire Marine Corps that offers free gear rental and are available on a first come, first serve basis. The only fee associated with gear rental is a $3 cleaning fee for sleeping bags.
There are some trips available for the summer including three overnight trips to Mount Fuji on July 19-23, August 2-6, and August 18-22. The Fuji trips include free time in Tokyo and a stay at the New Sanno Hotel. The fee for the trip is $150 plus the cost of the hotel. Outdoor Rec offers surfing classes at Hamada Beach on June 23, sailing classes on June 7-11 and July 5-9.
Another popular trip is the sunset standup paddleboard on the Nishiki River. The dates for these trips are June 1, June 8, July 13, and July 27. The trip starts at 4:45 PM and costs $10. If you’re not into paddling, there are bike trips. The Shimanami Bike Trip takes you across seven bridges from Imabari City to Onomichi City in the Hiroshima Prefecture. You can rent a bike or bring your own. Transportation costs $30 and the bus stops at a midway point for those who don't want to complete the entire 70 km trek. Dates for the bike trips are May 19 and May 26, and they go from 6 AM - 7:30 PM. This trip is recommended for ages 16 and older.
River rafting is a popular activity in this area during the summer months. Outdoor Rec has trips to the Yoshino River, a class four level of difficulty, on May 28 and July 4. Yoshina River is one of the most exciting rivers for rafting in Japan. Bus departs IronWorks Gym at 5:30 AM and returns around 10 PM. This trip is recommended for ages 13 and older. Be sure to stop by Outdoor Rec for information on local hiking, biking, and camping.
MCCS Iwakuni offers flexible (flex), part-time, and full-time positions for students and parents for the summer. The summer hiring process is a crucial element to MCCS because the summer months are typically the busiest for food services, retail, and car rental. When the schools let out for the summer, there is a flood of adults and children buzzing around the base. This creates an increase in demand for services, but it also creates a demand for people to fill positions within those services, too.
Human Resources (HR) for MCCS Iwakuni actively hires year round, but for the summer months they focus on hiring high school students ages 14 and older to fill flex positions in the food court, retail, the Sakura Theater, and Semper Fit. HR is hosting a job fair at the M.C. Perry High School Gymnasium on May 18 from Noon - 3 PM. This is a prime opportunity for students and parents who are looking for summer employment to see what positions are available and what hiring incentives for which they are eligible.
MCCS offers resources to assist with resume writing. If you’re a high school student and missed any of the three Personal & Professional Development (PP&D) resume writing classes in April, they offer one-on-one classes by appointment. HR also offers one-on-one resume sessions by appointment for adults. HR is located on the second floor of the Crossroads.
Information Tours & Travel:
Information Tours & Travel (IT&T) offers a variety of trips and tours and can help with travel arrangements for your business or vacation within Japan. IT&T has friendly a staff that can assist with travel arrangements, which include anything from bus and train tickets to hotel or camping reservation assistance. IT&T has many guided bus trips and tours nearly every weekend, giving those stationed in Iwakuni an opportunity to experience different aspects of Japanese culture throughout the country. Reservations are offered on a first come, first serve basis and pricing varies depending on the type of excursion.
To kick off the summer, IT&T is offering a trip to Tokyo over the Memorial Day weekend, May 23-28. The price for this trip varies depending on hotel fees, which are broken down by rank and type of hotel room. The transportation fee for the trip is $181, and meals for the trip are not included. The second Tokyo trip is June 15-20 as well and prices and fees are the same as the Memorial Day weekend trip.
If Tokyo is not what you’re after, you can enjoy cherry picking in Miyoshi at the Hirata Fruits Farm with a Yakiniku barbecue lunch on June 9 or 23. The cost is $46 for ages 6 and older, $36 for ages 3-5, and $25 for ages 2 and younger. This cost includes farm admission but does not include the price of the meal. It is recommended that you bring earphones for the bus ride because they usually play a movie for entertainment on the nearly two-hour bus ride.
Baseball season is in full swing and Japan is known for its rowdy fan base. IT&T has a trip to see the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks host the Hiroshima Carp at the Yafuoku Dome in Fukuoka on June 17. Prices are ages 3 and older is $72, and ages 3 and younger is $37. One adult can hold one child ages 3 and under at the baseball game free of charge and prices do not include food and drinks.
IT&T also offers a Universal Studios Japan trip on June 30. The park has the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Wonderland area for children, the Hollywood Dream Ride rollercoaster, the Amazing Adventure of Spiderman ride, a Jurassic Park area, and the latest attraction the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Minion Park. The fee for the trip is $45 for a bus seat and tickets for the park are purchased at the gate. One day passes at Universal Studios Japan is ¥7,900 for ages 12 and older and ¥4,500 for ages 4-11.
Single Marine Program:
MCCS Iwakuni’s Single Marine Program (SMP) touts itself as the best in the Corps. They have two locations on station, The Marine Lounge on the first floor of the Crossroads and Hornet’s Nest next to the North Side Marine Mart. They both include sophisticated home theater systems with movies, pool tables, ping-pong, gaming consoles, musical instruments, Wi-Fi, and computers. The Hornet’s Nest has a gym as well. Both locations offer free food for single and unaccompanied servicemembers on the weekends.
In addition to the offerings of their facilities, SMP has a number of outdoor activities for the summer to keep our young servicemembers fit, focused, and active. The main summer activity for SMP is the Mount Fuji climb July 26-31. It’s a 5-day trip and costs $225. The price includes transportation and lodging. The trip has 36 available seats and usually fills up the first day of the registration which is May 21.
The Single Marine Program has volunteer opportunities this summer for single and unaccompanied servicemembers. The Hashirijima beach clean-up day is June 16, the Yuu Beach clean up is June 19, July 17, and August 21, and the children’s home visit in Houfu City is June 23, July 7, and August 11.
At the end of the summer, the Hornet’s Nest is hosting their End of Summer Party on the northside. It is a block party that includes a karaoke and dance competition, a Humvee pull, tug of war, and other fun outdoor activities. The party is September 26 from 5-9 PM