Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hokuyo graduation, Pt. 1

Yesterday, was graduation day for all the junior high schoolers of Sapporo (and probably all of Japan). This was my first Japanese JHS graduation, so I was excited to see how different they would be from American graduation.

First of all, Japanese graduation is extremely orderly. Everything is timed down to the second, and everything is very precise.

Here's one of the homerooms walking in to the ceremony. Notice their homeroom teacher's wearing kimono.

Next was the handing out of the diplomas. This was also a very precise method, and the students had to accept the diploma, bow, and turn all in a certain way.

First the boys,

...then the girls.

Then the principal made a speech (who, by the way, was looking very sharp in a suit with coattails), then the PTA president made a speech, then the student council president made a sppech. I had no idea what any of them were about, but I'm sure they were your run-of-the-mill graduation speech.

And did I mention there was lots of synchronized bowing? When over 500 people bow at the same time, it makes the coolest whooshing sound.

Next, it was time for the 1st and 2nd grade to sing a song to the 3rd grade. Beautiful, as always. And afterwards, the 3rd grade sang their farewell song. I taped some of it:

Then the whole school sang together and the third grade left, class by class, many of them crying. Boy, did I find out later that it was just the tip of the crying iceberg.

After the third grade left the gym, they went back to their homerooms to say goodbye to their class and teacher with whom they'd been with for three years. It was very emotional, both happy and sad.

Tamayama sensei, playing two recorders for her class.

Then it was time for them to leave, and the cameras and yearbooks came out. I must've signed hundreds of yearbooks, and taken hundreds of pictures. And I loved it!

Excited boys. They were yelling "I love you Sarah!" at the top of their lungs right before this moment.

Love these girls: Misa, Saki, and Miyuki. Miyuki is the one I helped with for her English interview.

On the right is Go, one of my favorite students. He spoke great English.

Keita's in the front. I had lots of good conversations with him.

Taiga came along and then we just started getting silly.

What a special group of kids, and I really wish that I'd had more time with them. Now they're all going off to their high schools, wherever that may be.

Man, I'm gonna miss them!!!

*For part two, I'll talk about the third grade goodbye party that was last Friday. It was a little overshadowed by other, uh, events that happened that day. Until next time!

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