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Yokosuka team members celebrate graduation from English Language Conversation Workshop

By Theresa R. Horne, DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan

In an effort to close communication gaps and increase collaboration between English-speaking and Japanese-speaking employees at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, the Cultural Kizuna team at the distribution center has created an English Language Conversation Workshop and a Japanese Language Conversation Workshop. The workshops just graduated the first group of 25 employees at the end of March.

The goal of the ELCW and the JCLW courses is to help students converse with English and Japanese coworkers on a daily basis. "It fosters great communication," said Navy Cmdr. Edward Butzirus, commander of the distribution center. "I care very deeply about communication and realize how working relationships can affect the mission. I feel that we are leading the pack in the right direction."

The ELCW graduated 23 employees, while the JLCW graduated two employees at the ceremony. Kei Nishino, facilities assistant and ELCW student, noted that the class has helped him in his conversations with coworkers. "I really think it is a good class for me to take because I learned to speak English from a textbook, but in this class, I learned a more casual way of speaking," he said. "I want to continue to learn more."

Butzirus congratulated all of the students and engaged in beginner to intermediate-level conversations with the Japanese employees. Many of the students practiced their skills learned in the class by introducing themselves and explaining where they work to the commander.

The language workshops were led by volunteer teachers employed by DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, and they were also honored during the graduation ceremony for their generosity. When asked why he decided to teach as a volunteer, Navy Lt. Ken Nelson, the only military member to teach an English class, said "I love to teach and I felt that my language experience in English and Japanese could help. These classes are necessary because it's important for people to feel comfortable speaking to others so they can make their feelings and opinions heard, regardless of language barriers."

Taking a brief moment to talk with the class before the ceremony, Butzirus asked whether the students would like the language workshops to continue. Unanimously, every hand in the room raised, teachers included. "You [teachers] are making an enormous impact on the masses and everyone is asking for more of the same," said Butzirus. Classes will resume in May 2013 and are open to all DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, employees.

The English Language Conversation Workshop and the Japanese Language Conversation Workshop at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, graduated its first group of students at the end of March, including: (First row, from left) Hideto Ono, Nobuyuki Satoh, Theresa Horne, Taeko Morgan, Takami Hall, Carmelita Fuentes, Junko Asano Majors, Akimasa Kojima.  (Second row, from left) Yoko Yamashita, Reiko Kobayashi, Shuzoh Kudoh, Masatoshi Takano, Yuuichi Hashimoto, Navy Cmdr. Edward Butzirus (the distribution center's commander), Toshiaki Ookura, Youichiro Ogihara, Naohiko  Kurihara, Naoya  Ito, Yasuyuki Tanaka. (Third row from left) Yasunobu Andoh, Robert Burt, Toshitaka Furihata, Charles Patrick, Navt Lt. Ken Nelson, Ichiro Kuwana, Matthew Ung, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, Junji Shibita, Kei Nishino, and Harufumi Ishi.
The English Language Conversation Workshop and the Japanese Language Conversation Workshop at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, graduated its first group of students at the end of March, including: (First row, from left) Hideto Ono, Nobuyuki Satoh, Theresa Horne, Taeko Morgan, Takami Hall, Carmelita Fuentes, Junko Asano Majors, Akimasa Kojima. (Second row, from left) Yoko Yamashita, Reiko Kobayashi, Shuzoh Kudoh, Masatoshi Takano, Yuuichi Hashimoto, Navy Cmdr. Edward Butzirus (the distribution center's commander), Toshiaki Ookura, Youichiro Ogihara, Naohiko Kurihara, Naoya Ito, Yasuyuki Tanaka. (Third row from left) Yasunobu Andoh, Robert Burt, Toshitaka Furihata, Charles Patrick, Navt Lt. Ken Nelson, Ichiro Kuwana, Matthew Ung, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, Junji Shibita, Kei Nishino, and Harufumi Ishi.
 
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