Wow, it’s March tomorrow! It is crazy how fast time flies! This month signifies the end of many things in Japan, such as the fiscal year and school year. In March, the weather starts to get warmer, and people become more relaxed as the year winds down and they can start to look forward to the new working year.
Tomorrow, the graduation ceremony for the high school seniors will be held. 2014 also marks 10 years since I graduated high school. Pretty insane! I can still remember the feeling of excitement of finishing school and moving out of home! Although it’s not common for Japanese teenagers to move out of home after high school or even university, unless they get married, I know the students must be feeling such a sense of relief and accomplishment right now. Kids in Japan do an incredible amount of study so that they can pass the arduous university entrance tests. Their future paths have been decided for now, but the world truly is their oyster! I wish them all the best of luck!! If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past 10 years, it’s that you should never give up on your dreams – ‘hope’ drives us and pushes us to do our best. You might have hope that you’ll get a certain opportunity, find a better job, meet a special someone; whatever it is, so long as you keep the dream alive, it will come to fruition, albeit not always when you want it to happen!
As is tradition in Japan, parents often show their appreciation for teachers through gifts. These pictures are of some special ‘thank you’ presents that the graduates’ parents organized for all the teachers. Rosé wine and manju (red bean paste sweets) with the school emblem. So lovely! The manju are red (pink) and white for a reason… These are the colours of celebration in Japan. Both at the graduation and opening ceremony, big red and white banners are put up in the school. Other places you can see red and white are at weddings, the New Year’s Eve TV music show called Kohaku (lit. red and white), and of course the Japanese flag!