Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Graduation!

Tuesday was my eldest daughter's high school graduation.

"What? In the middle of February?" Yes, because the Japanese school and business years run from April to March. So, now she has 6 weeks of free time before she heads off to college (from home, by train, almost 2 hours each way...)

Did I mention it was on Tuesday? You know, that day after Monday, one of those 5 days when most people work? Yep, and I didn't go. Does that make me father-of-the-year? Maybe, but neither did most other fathers, nor quite a few mothers, actually.

It kinda surprised me. Kindergarten graduation is a big deal, held on Saturday so both parents have a chance to come and watch their 6-yr-old sit and fidget through a series of speeches before heading back to their classrooms to receive a graduation scroll (and you thought it was hard to sit through your high school graduation). Mothers dress up in their best kimonos, having their hair pinned up; fathers come in suit and tie. Mothers beam with pride, and sob with joy.

Elementary school graduation ramps it up another notch, having the kids parade in by pairs to "Pomp and Circumstance". After the requisite speeches (they do love their speeches here), they get called up to the podium one-by-one to receive their scrolls, bowing and holding the scroll straight out in front of them. Mothers sob with joy, fathers beam with pride.

Junior high school was more of the same, adding in the parade out through the grounds to the front gate, while mothers sob with joy. I was just about the only father there.

But high school? Nope. Guess they ran out of ideas or something. There were a few speeches, then each teacher read out the names of their students while the class stood at attention. Then the class shouted "Hai!" (basically, 'here!' in this context) and sat down again. That's it. All done.

Then my daughter came home, ate a quick lunch, and headed to the beauty salon for a color job, while some of her friends got permanents (they aren't allowed to do either, or even to wear makeup, while in high school). There will be a lot of frizzy-haired young raccoons with light brown or red hair walking around by the end of the month....

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