Monday, 30 March 2009

PostHeaderIcon Bad Japan: Graduations


I'm pretty sure my work hate me.

The school year in Japan ends in March and this means there are graduations for every top grade from kindergarten to senior high school. They are a very important deal over here and the day is full of bowing and other formal drivel. For the foreigner it means giving up your public holiday or weekend to sit for two hours and be bored to death. It is hard to tell whether the boredom comes from not understanding everything said... or just being bored by with what little you do. It does give me an excuse to wear my suit but it does seem rather pointless when you enter the school and replace your smart shoes with bright green slippers a few sizes too small. I always end up walking like a chicken through the halls.

The ceremony itself involves every student getting a certificate which is then followed by every person in the town giving the same speech. The weirdest parts come at the end when all the other grades give a synchronised speech in which each student says a few words. One student will bark "I REMEMBER SPORTS DAY".... the second will go "WHEN YOU HELPED ME!.... followed by a "I WAS HAPPY! THANK YOU! It is absolute torture to listen to. The day ends with a few songs along the lings of Arrriigaaattooou Saaayyyooonnaaarraaa and the amusing "Keep on Beeerrreeebbbbbaaaaing (believing).

My most hated part is something I have already complained about already. I have called it "Now is the time to..." and it is something I have noticed with Japanese people. Obviously the end of the ceremony is the time to cry so people burst into tears. If they are not real then the women will dramatically but delicately dab their eyes with a handkerchief. Then the students leave the hall in a shower of petals as emotional music plays in the background... as they walk off into the future. By future... I mean the school down the road full of the same classmates.

Interesting fact: I decided to write this because the "town photographer" just walked into the office and I hate him. He's such a gloomy looking wee man who fancies himself just because he bought an expensive camera. He even made himself an armband with カメラ (camera) written on it just so everyone knows how important he is.


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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.