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JAL lets it snow for Okinawan Youth

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1999-03-20

The saying "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" is a foreign concept to most Okinawans. Japan Airlines (JAL) thought differently recently and decided it was time to 'let it snow' in Okinawa when they flew three tons of snow here in six airfreight containers from the northern-most island of Japan, Hokkaido.

Though it may seem a flight of fancy to some, JAL wanted Okinawan children to experience the icy cool feeling of snow in their hands and under their feet. JAL invited 70 children from four different schools to frolic in the snow in front of RYUBO shopping center in Naha on March 5. The children invited to take part in this event included: a kindergarten orphanage, Matsuyama Kindergarten, and two schools for the mentally and physically challenged.

The JAL members gathered beforehand and shoveled the snow from the containers onto a tarp in front of RYUBO. When the children arrived most of them were in shorts and flip-flops. But the children never thought twice about how cold the snow might be, and they ran and jumped into the snow like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Curious onlookers young and old anxiously walked over to the snow and formed snowballs, crumbled the snow between their fingers, and even sampled the icy delight with their tongues. Smiles lit faces of most as they had never before experienced snow. JAL gave the Okinawans a memorable gift that they will always cherish.

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