By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Aug. 12, 2016) – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) hosted its 47th annual summer festival. The event offered SRF-JRMC employees’ families and friends an opportunity to experience one of the year’s biggest workplace functions, and celebrated one of Japan’s traditional dancing festivals, Bon Odori.
The Friendly Society – the command’s largest private organization composed of more than 1,000 Japanese employee members – and the administrative department’s command support division co-sponsored this annual festival.
“I know that much work goes into planning and preparing an event like this,” said SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer Capt. Garrett Farman. “I would like to thank the SRF-JRMC family, including the Friendly Society, the production shops and the support codes for your dedication and hard work!”
The event’s distinguished guest speaker, Yokosuka Deputy Mayor Akira Tagami, also shared his remarks.
“I would like to thank Captain Farman and all the people present in the ceremony for your kind invitation today,” said Tagami, who attended on Yokosuka Mayor Yuto Yoshida’s behalf. “SRF-JRMC is an indispensable facility for the 7th Fleet ships, and it continues to evolve with a very important role. I am confident that the craftsman spirit of SRF-JRMC established past achievements and mutual trust.”
“I hope this occasion would further develop the friendly relation between Japan and the United States.”
“I would like to thank all the shops, codes, and Friendly Society leaders and officers for their support to make this event possible,” said Friendly Society President Mitsuyoshi Ishiwata, the physical infrastructure management director. “Those who were here every year in the past and those who are here for the first time, please enjoy yourselves!”
Summer festival participants enjoyed many kinds of dishes, including traditional Japanese yakitori (grilled chicken), oden (minced fish and vegetables stewed in stock soup), yakisoba (fried noodles) and takoyaki (fried octopus pudding). They also played games such as darts, ball scooping and a shooting gallery, in which winners received prizes. Performance acts included a Japanese drums musical act, hula and traditional bon dance.
Bon refers to a Japanese belief and custom in which ancestors’ spirits are said to revisit their families for a reunion during the summer time. Many Japanese people visit their ancestral homes during bon holidays, typically in July and August.
Specifically, bon odori (literally meaning “bon dance”) is for welcoming ancestors’ spirits and comprises a circular dance around a stage. The dances and music vary depending on the region.
“I think this event here at SRF-JRMC is an excellent opportunity to bring friends from out of town,” said Rear Adm. Mathew Carter, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, one of the distinguished guests at the event. “And, [it is an excellent opportunity] also for family and friends at SRF-JRMC and the base to get together, and enjoy very good food, great music and watch activities as well.”
“Everything went really great,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Justin Starling. Starling and safety engineer Hitoshi Kato were present to provide emergency services if necessary. “Everyone was safe. Thanks to [the Environmental, Safety, Health and Radiological Controls Department], making sure everything is safe and people are following procedures, with proper personal protective equipment. Luckily we’ve had good mild weather; it was not so hot, and we had no injuries. It was a good day.”