Local Parade Draws More Than 24,000 Visitors to CFAY
Story by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Devon Dow
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors and their family members volunteered to carry a traditional Japanese shrine, called a Mikoshi, through the city of Yokosuka and onto Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) during the 35th Annual Yokosuka Mikoshi Parade Oct. 16.
A Mikoshi is a portable wooden Shinto shrine hand-carried during Matsuri, or Japanese festival, believed to bring good luck and fortune in the coming year. CFAY's Mikoshi was one of the 76 shrines in the day’s event.
The parade began near Yokosuka-Chuo Train Station, proceeding down Chuo Dori, commonly known as “Blue Street”. After carrying the Mikoshi through the streets of Yokosuka, CFAY opened its gates to the local community as the Mikoshi parade ended at CFAY with food and more festivities including live musical performances from the 7th Fleet Band Far East Edition.
Sailors who participated in carrying the Mikoshi said their cultural experience in the parade has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Today has been incredible, my shoulder hurts, but it’s been incredible,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Dormain Hodge, a native of Newark, NJ. “I have even more respect for the Japanese after carrying the Mikoshi around today. I think being a part of this parade today shows the strong relationship CFAY has with the local community. There are thousands upon thousands of visitors here today. I think it is great that we all had this chance to come together today."
“Today was my first time taking part in this parade and it was an honor to be apart of it,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Franklin Fernandez of Cavite, Republic of Philippines. “I think CFAY does a great job in the local community, being apart of this parade and having it come onto CFAY really says a lot to me about how the city of Yokosuka feels about CFAY.”
Visitors said they were pleased with the opportunity to have the parade come through CFAY. Visitors were able to see first hand the CFAY environment; they took photos with Sailors, enjoyed live entertainment and purchased a wide variety of popular American foods, the most popular amongst the guest, pepperoni pizzas.
“This year is my second time coming to the festival and I am really glad I came this year,” said Kento Akiba. “I really enjoy this event and seeing the base. This is not something I see everyday so it is great to be welcomed to the base when it is open to the public.”
For Masa Kobayashi, it is first time ever visiting CFAY. Equipped with his personal camera he said he was impressed by the amount of visitors to the parade that followed the festivities onto CFAY.
“This has been a really good time for me and my friends, I am glad they brought me here today. I hope that this happens again so I can come.”