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Mids Spend Semester at National Defense Academy of Japan

Posted on: January 10, 2014 08:00 EST by the International Programs Office

Two midshipmen with hardly any common interests or lifestyles went to study abroad to a large island far away and received the same invaluable experience at the National Defense Academy of Japan.  The following is the tale of Midshipman 2nd Class Nohre and Midshipman 1st Class Myung during their cultural immersion at the Japanese military institute.

Japan is a very popular tourist location with many different attractions, from innovative and intricate anime and exquisite seafood to peaceful shrines and bizarre cafes. Despite all the great temptations, both midshipmen were on a mission to discover something deeper about the country. 

Their mission was not only to improve skills in the Japanese language, but also to learn how the Japanese Self Defense Forces operates.  After all, Japan is one of the United States’ great allies, and it is important to learn more about the people we work closely with.

Upon arrival, both midshipmen were challenged with refining their Japanese language skills and cultural understanding. Japan is a country where most people have little understanding of English.  The mids had one month to adjust to their new lifestyle before reporting to the National Defense Academy of Japan.

From the first day, it was clear that culture, lifestyle and logic at the new academy were different from the U.S. Naval Academy. Rapid changes in lifestyle were thrilling and exciting.  Both midshipmen knew it was going to be a semester of a lifetime.

Every day was a different experience, always learning a new aspect about the Japanese military culture.  In the beginning there were many things that both midshipmen were very inquisitive about.  But the more they observed and asked questions, the more it became clear of how culture directly reflects present protocol and logic.  Both midshipmen made everlasting bonds and friendships with the Japanese cadets and officers.  In fact, after this semester, both midshipmen are convinced to try to get their first tour out of Japan. 

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