Friday, March 19, 2010

The Graduation Chronicles - Chuugakkou (JHS)

In Japan the school year runs from April to March- which means it starts in Spring and ends in Winter, which kind makes sense. These last few days, I've been having graduations.

Here is a quick synopsis of the Junior High's graduation in pictures. Let me warn you: Japanese graduations aree tear-jerkers. They bore you to tears for the first half, then they find every conceivable way to tug on your heartstrings.

In the morning, there was a ceremony for the 1st and 2nd years. Then we had these wonderful bentos (boxed lunch). The brown thing in the second pic contains natto - fermented soybeans, it's one of those hate it or love it foods. I hate it.

Omiyage (gifts) The Japanese one says "Life (force, not as opposed to death) and the French one says Language of Chocolate- they made me happy :)

Hareyama sensei leads in 3-1, as Baba sensei holds the door open. The girl you can see upstairs is one of the Nurse Room kids. She's with the school counselor. In Japan, if you have an issue with one of the kids in your class, or with a teacher, or if you're too shy, you can elect not to go to class and spand your days in the Nurse Room. You're also not special ed, if you say you aren't. I am not making this up.

As you enter the (freezing cold because they turned off the heaters because they are noisy) gym, you bow.

Hirai sensei went the whole nine yards and wore a kimono. Every female teacher seems to own one. I'd buy one if they weren't 9 layers of clothing and didn't cost $8000 US or so.

The kids march into the room and wait for the entire class before the sit. Girls and boys are always seperated in Japanese schools. Side by side- but seperate.

Then the form teachers read their names and they collect their citations.

They give it to these girls, who put it in a little folder.

Boys first, then girls,

like a little assembly line.

These 4 haven't been absent in the 9 years since they started primary (Elementary) school! Afterwards were a bunch of speeches. I didn't take pics, speeches look the same all over the world.

Here's the tearjerker part: the 3rd years are singing to the rest of the school

And the rest of the school sings back to them.

Kanako playing the piano. In every class of 30 or so, there are 3 or 4 kids who play well enough to do accompaniment.

And they also train the kids to conduct.

Many buildings still do the traditional inside shoes- outside shoes. It always amuses me to see people dressed to the nines and in slippers.

The dignitaries leaving. The dignitaries included: Mayor's Rep, Board of Education rep, 9 town coucil reps, principals of the the 3 primary schools that feed into the Junior High, Police rep, Post Office rep, and 4 bank reps.

Waiting outside the school (in 5 degree weather) to give the sempai's their gifts. (Sempai is a person who's been doing something longer than you, and therefore ahead of you in seniority.)

Here come the 3rd years.

The first and second years did an "Air". It's a way for the kids to pay their respects.

Bye bye Ichinohe Junior High

I was surprised I made the teacher's list- my position doesn't fit into the Japanese structure. I'm the 3rd from the bottom on the right, above the school counselor, and below the woman who makes the school lunch menu.


Graduates on stage with streamers.

Bento and Bingo.

Kanpai! You can't eat until you toast!

This bento was AWESOMESAUCE!!!

The bento box I won in Bingo.


The kids sang YELL, another tearjerker, featuring the line sayonara is not a sad word. Let the blubbering begin!

They gave all the teachers flowers.

Dear Claire (ku-re-a), it's only been a short time, but you worked very hard to teach us English. Thank you very much. Graduates. WAAAAA!

And finally, instalment number 6 of Iwate Swan.

Sorry about the long post. It's just been a really far out week.


Marsha Sigman said...

This is incredible! I love all the pics and now I am really hungry by the What an awesome view into your world. Congrats on the acknowlegements from the school and your class!

Postman said...

This was absolutely fascinating. Glad the bento was awesomesauce...

Claire Dawn said...

Thanks guys! A lot of people won't ever get a chance to coem to Japan so I think it's kinda my duty to give them a peep, if they want to see.