Story and Photo by Paul Long, FLEACT Yokosuka, Public Affairs
Commander, Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka’s Yokohama Detachment,locally known as Negishi Navy Housing Complex, hosted their 30th Annual Friendship Day, April 12.
According to the base security department, more than 7,100 Japanese visitors attended the festival.Chief Master -at-Arms Errol Cummings, Officer-in-Charge of Negishi and master of ceremonies during the opening ceremony, thanked those who helped make the day possible.
“I would like to give a special thanks to Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) for their hard work in planning and executing this event, “Cummings said. “I greatly appreciate the efforts of the Security Department and the Yamate Police Station for providing their services in support of this safe and secure event. Thank you to the Yokohama City Naka Fire Department for your continuous support of our event by providing the ladder truck and earthquake experience vehicle.”
FLEACT, Yokosuka’s Commanding Officer, Capt. David Glenister, was the guest speaker for opening ceremony.
“We are very international in our thinking because America and Japan are the best of allies, and we are the best of friends,” said Glenister. “To be able to welcome all the citizens here, both from on the base and from Yokohama for just a friendship event, with no other agenda, to share our cultural similarities, learn of our cultural differences, and to enjoy each other’s company on such a beautiful day, is a wonderful event. It’s not just about having fun. It’s about the celebration of the friendship we already have with each other.”
Negishi Navy Housing Complex borders three wards (districts) in Yokohama; Naka, Isogo and Minami wards. Director General of Naka Ward, Yokohama City, Akihiko Makami addressed the audience as a representative of the city’s government.
“It is important both Japanese and U.S. citizens understand our culture differences and to experience both cultures again through such a community-based event, “said Makami. “I believe this experience will produce mutual trust and builds and establish true friendship.”
Festival attendees were treated to a mixture of Japanese and American cuisine, provided by local vendors, MWR concessionaires, and several CFAY community groups. One of the most popular food stands was called Sasebo Burger, a southern Japanese rendition of the American hamburger. MWR also provided game tents and inflatable rides for smaller children.
Musical entertainment was provided by the Seventh Fleet Band’s “Far East Edition”, local rock groups the Admiral’s Band and Rogun’s Band, the Heiraku Junior High School Band.
Haraka Yamaki, attended Negishi’s Friendship Day festivals in the past with her family. This year she came with her friend, Natsumi Sugaya.“I like talking to new people and I have a lot of fun here,” Yamaki said. “I really enjoy the festival.”
The next scheduled community festival for Negishi will the 48th Bon Odori (Bon Dance) festival in August.