Japanese Ships say Konnichiwa To Tampa
The two training ships and one destroyer have a crew of about 800 men and women. That includes about 200 newly-commissioned officers, who are getting some on-the-job training at sea.
Along with sharpening navigation and ship-handling skills, the stop in Tampa offers a chance for the sailors and the locals to learn about each other first-hand.
VOICE OF LT. NODA: 'Tampa ni isho desuk...
Lt. Taisei Noda says his impression of Florida was based on a film he saw, featuring an iconic dolphin.
VOICE OF LT. NODA: 'Flipper to yo, eiga mitte...
Translation: As a child I saw the movie 'Flipper,' so I thought Florida was nothing but blue water. When I saw the modern buildings of Tampa, I was pleasantly surprised, he says.
World War II navy veteran Victor DiMaio, who served on a PT boat tender in the Pacific theater, was impressed with the sleek, modern ships.
DiMAIO: I didn't think the Japanese had that many ships this size. I figured they'd have a few small boats, but not no three cruisers like these are.
The ships are moored behind Cruise Terminal #3 at the Port of Tampa. They're open to the public this morning from 9:30-11:30 and this afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30.
©2013 WUSF. All rights reserved.