Here in Japan the school year ends around the middle of March and then restarts the second week of April. At this time of year a lot of children will move up to the next level of their education be that within the same school or graduate from Primary and Secondary Schools.
As I have experienced in England with my own graduation assembly from Primary School I’m not new to the idea but what shocked me was my son’s nursery had their very own graduation ceremony; an event that required my wife and me to wear a suit.
The ceremony was over three hours long which involved the children sing a few songs and then moving onto the head teacher handing out graduation certificates. She wore a traditional Japanese kimono and each child was called up to be given their certificates and with a deep bow they officially graduated from Nursery.
Near the end all the children were escorted back to their classrooms along with their teachers. We then went on to watch a 30 minute slideshow of all 40 children growing up from the age they joined the school. It was very moving and the funny part was a picture of me hammering a huge bowl of rice to make mochi; pounded rice. At the end we were told that once the children had reached ten years of age they would be asked to come back and view the video so they ask all the parents to not tell them what we saw.
Finally we returned to the children’s classrooms to hear their teacher talk about how much they will miss them and wish them the best of luck at Primary School. A habit that I really dislike with the teachers here is how much they cry. Be it for showing gratitude or failure they will just brake out in tiers.
The whole event from start to finish took well over three hours and for most of that time I stood so I had aching feet by the end but I really enjoyed the event just because it was something different to what we would expect back home and I look forward to repeating it three more times.