Friday, July 2, 2010

Celebrating Japanese-American Friendship

So I thought of a whole bunch of names for this blog post, but they all seemed like they could offend someone for their World War II references, so I opted for this boring title. It should suffice to say that I got to go onto a Japanese warship last weekend and it was pretty sweet.

This year is apparently the 50th anniversary of the Mutual Cooperation and Defense Treaty between the United States and Japan. The Japan Society of San Diego put on a cool little celebration in downtown San Diego. My mom's side of the family is pretty involved in the Buddhist Temple of San Diego, so I was asked to volunteer at the event, representing the Temple.

They only really needed me to staff the booth while some of our volunteers were doing a Bon Odori dance exhibition, so I had a chance to wander around. Guess what was parked outside the event? Three giant Japanese warships! We all know that the Japanese constitution forbids Japan to have an army or a navy, but it sure looks like they found a few loopholes. I got to tour two of the ships and they had all the usual war stuff: missiles, helicopters and big cannon-looking things. It was pretty awesome. Each ship had tons of Japanese sailors on it, standing at attention. They weren't super intimidating, the way I would imagine Chinese soldiers would be, but they still made me uneasy because I've recently watched HBO's The Pacific.

Anyway, I had some good Japanese food, got to see some cool performances, and I sold some Japanese wares at my Temples booth (all proceeds go to a scholarship fund). Go Japan! Go USA! Too bad you both lost in the World Cup!