And So It Begins Again…

Back to school, back to school! It’s the first week of the new school year here in Japan. Every year, schools start with a 始業式 (opening ceremony) and 入学式 (entrance ceremony). Even though the school I teach at is a combined Junior High School and High School, they are considered two separate ‘schools’. The students physically stay in the same school, but things like their uniform changes – the girls wear a different coloured skirt, and the boys change the buttons on their jackets. The Opening Ceremony is for continuing students, which in my school’s case is JHS 2nd and 3rd grades, and HS 2nd and 3rd grades. At this ceremony, the new teachers are introduced and homeroom teachers are announced as well. While the Entrance Ceremony, held on the next day, is for students entering the new ‘schools’ – JHS 1st grade and HS 1st grade. All the parents are invited to attend and it’s much more formal and official. In the gym, which is decked out in red and white celebratory banners, the Principal says a (long!) speech, everyone sings the national anthem, the students sing the school song, the PTA says a few words, the homeroom teachers are announced, and the brass band performs while the students exit the gym at the end. It lasts about an hour, then everyone goes outside to take photos under the sakura trees! Last year the cherry blossoms peaked in March, so by the time the Entrance Ceremony came around, there were no flowers left on the trees – very unfortunate! Luckily this year, they bloomed a bit later, and there were plenty of flowers for all those photo hungry parents!

入学式 ' Entrance Ceremony'

入学式 ‘ Entrance Ceremony’

Red and white banner wraps around the gym

Red and white banner wraps around the gym

Students bow to the principal

Students bow to the principal

On stage: Principals on the left, PTA on the right

On stage: Principals on the left, PTA on the right. It’s more common to use traditional dates in Japan – so instead of 2014, it’s year Heisei 26.

Sakura-lined entrance

Sakura-lined entrance

View from above. You can just see some students having their photos taken.

View from above. You can just see some students having their photos taken.

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6 thoughts on “And So It Begins Again…

  1. fun post – and I enjoyed seeing the photo of the students bowing to the principal – just a cool angle and gave a feel for what you wrote about. And how awesome the trees were in bloom in April instead of March! Liked the view from above too. :)

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    • Haha thanks! Yeah it’s pretty interesting for me to see these types of events, from a cultural point of view. Even though all the students have to bow about 10 times, they don’t always do it properly… there are lots of slack kids who don’t put any effort into their bows! And by the end of the principal’s speech, they were all getting restless and bored. Kids will be kids!

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  2. 今年の入学式が、桜の満開のときで よかったですね。入学式場(しきじょう)に こんなに大勢(おおぜい)の人びとがいるのを見て、驚きました。出席した生徒さんの数は 何人くらいですか。正門(せいもん)へ向かって、桜並木(さくらなみき)の道を歩いて行く、生徒と父兄(ふけい)の姿が とても うれしそうに 見えたことでしょう。
    農大の高校生、中学生である、誇り(ほこり)と 将来(しょうらい)への夢(ゆめ)をもって、
    新学期の開始ですね。セリア先生は、どんな夢と希望をもって、新学期をむかえましたか。

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    • 中学1年生の数は役180人、高校1年生の数は役350人です。そうですね、英語の先生として、生徒の皆さんは「英語」を授業以外でもアクセス出来る希望が持っています。例えば、イングリッシュの掲示板や、イングリッシュの新聞などを通して、面白い英文をどこても見えて、興味を高めます。今年も頑張ります :)

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  3. Quite impressive ceremony for starting school, something that we don’t have that tradition in the US, but I think it is a good idea to impart the importance of education to the students that way. Very nice photos, Celia!

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    • Yes they love their ceremonies here! I think it’s a good idea too. Because there are so many students in the school, they don’t come together very often, so it’s nice to have at least one formal gathering to mark the beginning of the year.

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