By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. Embassy Tokyo and Commander Naval Forces Japan organized and hosted a tour of Fleet Activities Yokosuka for 11 Japanese university students Aug. 12.
The selected students were given tours of the Center for Naval Engineering and Afloat Training Group Western Pacific as part of a community outreach program.
"The goal of the outreach program is to show what kind of work is done on base and what kind of life American service members lead," said Noyuri Mitsuhashi, cultural affairs assistant at U.S. Embassy Tokyo. "Though we only brought 11 students on base today, we hope they will share what they learned to a broader audience and give them a better idea of what Americans are doing in Japan."
The students were given the opportunity to take photos and video footage of the tour, as well as interview Sailors on camera. Upon returning to their respective universities, the students can share their experiences with classmates, leading to a better understanding of the U.S. military way of life.
"Before getting a chance to talk with service members, I thought they stayed on base all the time and did training," said Mami Hioki an international politics major at University of the Sacred Heart. "Coming to Yokosuka changed my opinion about the U.S. military, I see now that they are normal people with families and friends."
While touring the Center for Naval Engineering, the students were given a chance to handle Navy firefighting equipment and see how U.S. Sailors train for emergencies.
"Letting them see how we train and how committed we are to doing our job, shows us in a more positive light," said Master Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) David Singer, who offered his services as tour guide of the facility.
After speaking with several Sailors and asking them questions about where they were from, what they did on duty and during their free time, Hioki was able to relate to them.
"I was surprised to know some of the young Sailors even play the same video games and watch the same anime I do," said Hioki. "I found I could relate to them more than I would have imagined."