U.S. Navy Sailors from Fleet Activities Yokosuka
and citizens from the town of Shimoda, Japan, gather to celebrate the start of the U.S.
– Japan friendship with the 77th Annual Black Ship Festival.
It’s just a good opportunity to get together and remember our history, of when Commodore
Perry came in 1854 to open trade and diplomacy with Japan. And, it’s important today that
we continue that trade and diplomacy with our major ally here in the western Pacific.
The three day festival commemorates this historic event by hosting a parade through the streets
of Shimoda, remembering the U.S. service members who are buried and looked after at a local
cemetery, and finishing off with some friendly but very competitive sports.
I participated in the parade that was really fun. It was really fun just walking around
and seeing so many people excited to see you and waving at you and everybody wanting you
to take pictures with them and their kids and it was a really fun experience.
While the people of Shimoda can look forward to this event every year, for most Sailors
who participate, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Petty Officer Brian M. Brooks, Shimoda, Japan.