Support our mission
 
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 stand in formation on USS Harpers Ferry on March 10, their first day onboard for a mission last week. The unit's sergeant major and commanding officer gave the Marines a talk about the upcoming mission and how to behave on the ship.
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 stand in formation on USS Harpers Ferry on March 10, their first day onboard for a mission last week. The unit's sergeant major and commanding officer gave the Marines a talk about the upcoming mission and how to behave on the ship. (Megan McCloskey / S&S)

They don’t eat with chopsticks or bow when entering a room, but some USS Harpers Ferry sailors say they take a little bit of Japan with them when they head out to sea.

“It doesn’t change when we pull out of port,” Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Hightower said. “I feel like we’re still in Japan.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Rogozinski, who works in the engine room but is currently on galley duty, said sometimes at sea she’ll forget where she is.

But then she’ll hear words like “hai” and “domo” — Japanese for “yes” and “thank you” — around the passageways and she clicks back to Japan.

For those who speak the language — even just a little — greetings are often given in Japanese. “Ohayo gozaimasu” instead of “good morning.” “Konichiwa” instead of “good afternoon.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dennis Adams, who has been with the ship for 2½ years, said he and others who are fairly fluent speak the language with each other “to keep our Japanese up while we’re at sea.”

Some sailors who have Japanese girlfriends back at port will hit Adams up for help with sending out an e-mail to their significant other or translating something she wrote.

“Even underway, they’re trying to understand the culture,” Adams said.

Much of the Japanese way of life incorporated onboard is just automatic from living in Japan for a while, said Hightower, whose wife is Japanese.

“I went back to the States and I got culture shock. And it was my own country,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Colin Costa.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos


around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up