Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This time I'm the one not walking at graduation.

DSC00010 Today my school had their graduation ceremony for the third year students moving onto high school. I came to school wearing my best but the students just wore their same beat up uniforms they've been wearing ever since they started three years ago. I guess, the uniforms looked alright enough but the least they could have done was have worn shoes other than the ones they wear for P.E. . It really looks tacky.
Anyway, the first graduation ceremony was painfully long, clocking in at an astounding three hours. The first ceremony was basically the official ceremony held by the PTA and the school board. The students were handed their diplomas and sat down quietly. Speeches were given by the principal, PTA, and school board members. I really didn't know who was graduating here, the students or the board members.
Just when I thought it was safe to relax and maybe go home, I found out there was a second informal graduation ceremony held by the students. So I sat through another hour or so of singing and sobbing. The students really get worked up over moving out of junior high school. I know when I was finished with my junior high, I couldn't care less about the people in the school or any of the memories I may have made there. Maybe it was due to me being a transfer student. Who knows?
stfu The real reason I decided to make an entry today was to share what happened during the second ceremony. As a testimony to how serious these students can get, I witnessed something no 15 year old should ever endure. While students were giving their farewell speeches on the stage steps, one of the boys just couldn't handle all the stress or whatnot and lost his breakfast all over the stage. At first I didn't know what was going on because he did it so discreetly by turning around slowly and bending over a bit. I thought he had dropped something but then I saw an orange-ish-brown colored liquid flowing from where his head was. I knew he was puking his guts out. Poor kid, I'm sure which ever high school he ends up going to, that story is going to stick with him forever. Kids that age, no matter what country they come from latch on to things like flies on stink.
The best thing about this kid loosing his breakfast was the fact that nobody seemed to react to it. He just continued to puke as the other kids stood beside him almost oblivious to what was happening. I was expecting there to be a chain reaction puke fest' but all that happened was that the music got cut and teachers hurried to clean up the mess and walk the kid to the nurse's office. I felt really sorry for the teachers that cleaned up the puke in their Sunday best' but I guess somebody had to do it. After about five minutes of absolute silence from the students and audience, the ceremony resumed as if nothing happened. Nobody even mentioned it after the ceremony or addressed the audience for the unfortunate event.
I suppose JHS graduation for Japanese students can be really nerve racking. This is a point where many of the students will just go onto part time jobs or what not. It's kind of sad but that's the way it is here in rural Japan. Their compulsory education ends after JHS so they aren't required to complete high school. JHS might have been the bet thing for a lot of those kids that graduated today. I really am not sure because I didn't have time to get to know many of them.
So the third year students move on and I'm glad they're finally gone. They were a tough bunch to work with and I'm glad the second and first year students are generally a fun and active bunch. I look forward to sending off the now second years next year at their graduation ceremony. I'm absolutely sure I'll be more a part of the graduation next time around.

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