Thursday, March 24, 2011


The last two days of school (closing ceremony and graduation followed by the teachers' drinking party) are a LOT of Japan concentrated in 2 days. Frankly, I find this culture exhausting when I have to participate so fully in it. All the dressing up, straight rows, excessive bowing, formalities and pent up emotion. Whew. In Japan there is always a right way to do everything so outsiders have to be hyper vigilant to pick up on the cues of what to do like when to stand up, sit down, bow, how to sit, etc.

The kids have been practicing for years already so they're pros.
Here's a shot from graduation.

Here are the third graders (like 9th graders) singing their last song together. Can you see the awesome bonsai on the stage? Even after all this time here it's still kind of weird to see over 300 kids with the exact same shade of hair.

This is the most cruel part. The kids don't know which teachers won't be there next year. (About 1/3 leave every year.) They surprise them on the last day of school at an assembly where all of the teachers who are leaving come out on stage and give farewell speeches. Meanwhile, the kids cry and later tug at the them and say their goodbyes as we shoo them out the door.

I'm bummed because some of my favorite teachers are leaving.
Hopefully I'll like the new ones just as much.

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