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For the second year in a row, JUMP hosted its annual #HolidaysInJapan photo contest, and we were blown away by the talent and beauty of the photos submitted to the contest. This year’s winning entry came from Lauren Shaft, who is stationed with her family in Kanagawa, of her husband and two sons walking through the snow at Kitaguchihongu Fuji Sengenjinja Shrine during Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s how she described the moment she snapped the photo:

“When we arrived at the shrine, it looked like it was snowing due to the snow melting so quickly and falling. As we were walking through, trying to dodge large snow droppings, I snapped this shot of my family as the light hit them perfectly.”

Congratulations Lauren! As this year’s winner, she will receive a gift basket valued at $100 in goodies!

The top three photos were rounded out by a beautiful winter cityscape showing Tokyo Tower submitted by Jennifer Cox, who also is living in Japan with her active-duty spouse, and another showing a snow-covered castle in Japan with swans and koi fish in the foreground submitted by USN Petty Officer Heath Smith (whose superb photography can be viewed here). 

Both runners up are shown in the top row of the gallery. But we had many, many favorite photos — with more than 200 submissions, we picked out some of our favorites to feature below. A huge thanks to everyone who sent in entries!

HolidaysInJapan winner

Congratulations to Shane and Sarah Cameron, who submitted this lovely photo of Odaiba that the JUMP team has chosen as the winner of its first ever #HolidaysInJapan photo contest! The photo features trees wrapped in red and green Christmas lights and a large Christmas tree of lights against the backdrop of a winter’s sky with the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower in the distance.

The winners received a Japan-themed gift basked valued at $100 and JUMP swag. Take a look:

Thank you to everyone who participated this time around. Make sure to check back often for future JUMP events that seek to bring together those who served in Japan, and if you haven’t already, join the JUMP network to keep up with all the latest news and events!

2024 The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP)

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