When I told the teacher I've worked with the longest that I was leaving she burst into tears. She was really upset and couldn't leave the room for a few minutes in order to get herself together. I've been here long enough to know that it wasn't really appropriate to touch her, but I just couldn't let her stand there and cry in front of me. I stood up, asked if I could hug her and gave her a squeeze. More than any other country, living in Japan has made me realize things about my own culture and how much I'm a product of it. I couldn't just let some one I've known for 15 months cry in front of me without hugging her. I literally couldn't do it, especially when I was the cause of her distress. John's only been at his schools for a month and some of his teachers were near tears too.
It's definitely going to be difficult to upset the "wa" at school by leaving early. They aren't telling my students until an all school assembly on my last day (per the Japanese custom) when I'll give a speech on the stage. Yikes.