Japanese Soldiers Experience American Life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Japanese Soldiers Experience American Life

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Japanese soldiers have been at the Yakima Training Center for a few weeks now but they haven't been able to much of what American life is like. That all changed Sunday when Japanese soldiers spent the evening with a local Yakima family.

There's exchange students, but has anyone heard of exchange soldiers?

"(We want to) show them how we live here in the U.S." Dave Thompson said. "Something a little different than what they're used to."

Dave Thompson and his family have hosted Japanese soldiers for a night five years in a row.

"Each group is so different," Kaitlyn Thompson, Dave's daughter said, "their hobbies, their families. Even though sometimes there is a language barrier they're able to show us pictures."

They soldiers looked like exchange students, anxiously waiting to be picked by the families they would be with for the night. After 'hellos' and gifts were exchanged, the Japanese waived goodbye and were off to experience American life. And what could be more American than BBQ and football?"

"Well its about as American as apple pie and betty boop," Dave said. "So we are taking them out to Famous Dave's since they're known for their BBQ."

Dave can relate to the Japanese soldiers. He's an American Veteran who served 2 tours in Iraq as a bomb technician. Dave was stationed in Yakima for six years and met his wife while stationed in Germany. This soldier exchange is his way of giving back."

"When (my family and I) were traveling around the world, stationed abroad, we always wanted to be apart of the community," he said.

Judging by observation, the Japanese enjoyed their All-American experience.

The Thompsons got to spent nearly 7 hours with the Japanese soldiers. After dinner they were going to head home to root on the Sea hawks. And with the score of that game looks like it was a pretty good idea.

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