March 10: Time
Today was the Junior High’s Graduation day. What happened? Just the other day these kids were 6th graders and now they’re graduation from Junior High?? How did that happen?
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Despite the fact that it was long and the vocabulary for something like graduation is difficult. It was fun to get to watch this group of kids graduate from junior high school.
Here are some of the fun things that happen at my junior high school for graduation.
When all the visitors come to the school, they take off their shoes. Since people can’t wear shoes in Japanese school buildings, they put their outside shoes on a tarp and either wear the shoes they brought or the slippers provided by the school.
In Japan, special “dignitaries” are invited to school ceremonies. My friend and school office lady, K, waits for the dignitaries to come. The dignitaries are people like the mayor, the other school principals, the head of the PTA and other important people. Sometimes I’m one of them – I always much prefer to be a regular audience member though. Before the ceremony, they wait in the Principal’s office and speak in difficult Japanese.
The kids create massive amounts of these tissue paper flowers and use them to decorate the school.
This wall says “Thank You.”
The students’ recent science projects are on display here.
Before graduation there’s a special room for the parents to wait in while the kids have homeroom, and a few other things to do.
If there’s a space with not much happening, it was decorated.
This says “Omedeto” it means “Congratulations.”
The graduating students (I think) write letters to their classmates and maybe their families.
This is the stage. The sign across the top says something like “Congratulations on your Graduation.” The flags below are for Hokkaido, Japan, and my town. When someone goes on stage, they bow to the Japanese flag. The trees in the back are made up of a ton of tiny Cherry Blossom cutouts.
The line of video cameras. These people also come out at every ceremony or school festival.
After the students have walked the stage, speeches are given.
First, the principal.
Next, a representative from the Board of Education.
After that, the mayor.
Last, the head of the PTA.
After they spoke, the students sang a couple of songs.
After that, it was party time. This was my place marker.
The party was fun. There was of course, lunch. After that it was animal bingo – I was one of several winners.
After bingo, we played the telephone game. My team didn’t win, but one of the rounds I passed on what I had heard correctly and the next time, I was probably the weak link in the chain. It’s soo hard to play the telephone game in your second language. Now I kind of know how my kids feel – they’re usually playing with each other and words they know. I was playing with a bunch of things I had no clue about.
The weather was terrible, so as we cleared our cars, my new-this-year JTE and I had a nice chat about winter in Japan vs. Portland.