U.S. NROTC Engages in Cultural Exchange with Japanese Counterpart

U.S. NROTC Engages in Cultural Exchange with Japanese Counterpart

Approximately 20 midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps participated in a cultural exchange at the Japan Maritime Officer Candidate School June 23.

The midshipmen were each paired with their Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) counterpart from the Japan Maritime Officer Candidate School and bonded through a series of cultural events, further demonstrating the mutual friendship both navies share in part with the U.S.-Japan alliance.

The day began with a greeting for the U.S. Midshipmen from Rear Adm. Ryuzo Sakato, the school’s superintendent. The midshipmen then took part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a calligraphy course where the JMSDF Midshipmen guided their U.S. counterparts through a calligraphy class.

During the class, Midshipman Ashley Wires, from Cape Cod, Mass., said she has had the dream to become a member of the U.S. Navy since she was 5-years-old. Wires comes from a family with deep military roots. Her grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and took part in the Battle of Midway.

“While he is not here with us today, I am sure if he saw what I am doing today he would be so shocked and happy,” she said. “Since arriving in Japan for this exchange I have had nothing but great experiences and met great Sailors from the JMSDF and U.S. Navy. Today is definitely an eye-opener for me and it shows me how much cooperation goes on between the U.S. and Japan navies; I love it.”

Following the calligraphy class, the Midshipmen were treated to martial arts demonstrations by JMSDF Midshipmen and given the chance to learn techniques that were shown during the demonstration.

The midshipmen collectively had a panel discussion where they provided background information about the JMSDF Officer Candidates School’s history, the local area and the significance of the U.S.-Japan alliance. The discussion was followed by a reception concluding the days’ events.

The U.S. midshipmen all agreed that the event was a Navy experience that they would never forget.

“Being here today has been unbelievable,” said Midshipman Westin Giles, a native for Pensacola, Fla. “I could not ask for more. I have been really impressed by the people and Sailors of Japan and their hospitality. I am gracious to have the chance to learn about how the U.S. and Japan navies work together here in Asia.”

“I had a blast today, I will recommend this to others at my university,” said Midshipman Timothy Oliver, from Louisville, Ky. “I loved the martial arts demonstrations today and the fact that I was able to meet an actual Admiral of the JMSDF was incredible. I simply cannot believe the opportunity for the experience I have had here today.”

“I could not take enough photos today, the officers candidate school was amazing and the JMDSF midshipmen were so great to us,” said Midshipman Jeremiah Henderson, from Callahan, Co. “It is been a great experience getting to know the other Midshipmen from around the U.S. during this visit to Japan as well. I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity to become a member and serve in the U.S. Navy.”

Naval Today Staff , July 3, 2012; Image: U.S. Navy