Tuesday 15 March 2022

It’s Graduation Day!

We had our graduation ceremony today and so many befitting adjectives come to mind: solemn, precision and uniformity, orderly and beautiful, traditional, and, I wouldn’t be wrong if I added spiritual to the list. It was memorable and touching, so much so that I got the inspiration to write after such a long time LOL! I had a hard time holding back the tears from the very minute that the procession of graduating students marched in, led by their form tutors. The dam burst eventually when the 3C form tutor got on the podium and tearily made a roll call of her students for the last time 🙈. 

There was nothing impromptu about the beautiful ceremony that I witnessed today. It was all well planned and smoothly executed. Graduating students, the third-year teachers and planning committee prepared extensively, rehearsing the procession vigorously and rigorously, leaving no room for mistakes. Proper Samurai style. I love it! In fact, the schedule and program schedule were printed days before so everyone knew what to expect. It started at 9 a.m. on the dot, and ended at 10. This is worthy of mention and notable for me, coming from a culture of “African Time” where we give room to people who may be running late while spending some extra time putting unnecessary last-minute adjustments on a whim🥴. 

During the ceremony, I observed several aspects and cultural symbols and mannerisms which I believe are distinctly Japanese. I mean, Japan never ceases to amaze me especially with the way that they have held on to tradition and their refusal to bow to western/outside influences in certain key areas. Of course, there are many western elements that they embraced to keep up with the rest of the global society, but they have succeeded in giving those things some kind of Japanese flavour.

Ambience is everything. There were flowers- real and decorative- all around the school. The paper ones were made out of cardboards and crafted like Sakura which is the National flower of Japan. Most of the colourful decorations were hand-made by junior students (first and second grade), supervised and assisted by teachers. The stage of the gym where the ceremony took place was the most fascinating for me. Colourful and beautiful, it had so many decorations, the flag of Japan and the school flag as the backdrop, and I noticed that everyone who had something to do on stage bowed in obeisance to the flags before they climbed up. And oh, 校長先生 (principal) looked so regal in his Kimono, I had to ask for a picture 😄. 
The solemnity of the ceremony bounced up and down the back of many bows. The moving and eloquent speeches by the principal, the outgoing and incumbent students’ representative were all met with polite, straight-backed formal bows. Not the cheering and clapping of hands that I am used to. We only clapped thrice- as the graduating students marched in and filed out, and after the reception when they were leaving school with their parents. 

Two years working as a 4 Skills Support teacher to support the English learning journey of the graduating students and I am so going to miss them. Wishing them good luck and best wishes for the future. 卒業おめでとうございます。

Thanks for stopping by. See you next post!


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