There is a slice of America in the city of Fussa – just on the western edge of Tokyo. A sprawling compound the size of a small city itself, the US Military’s Yokota Air Base has been a fixture since the late 1940s. Over the years, it has grown and expanded and is now home to about 14,000 military personnel. It’s a self-sustaining community inside guarded walls.
While members of the military frequently go off-base to take in the culture of Tokyo, it’s not often Japanese locals get a chance to go on base to have a taste of real Americana. But, once a year, Yokota opens their gates and hosts their neighbours for the annual Japanese-American Friendship festival. I had the chance to take in this year’s event along with some friends (including two who work on-base), and was in awe of the spectacle.