Friday, April 13, 2007

Cherry blossoms

Yesterday was the entrance ceremony at Mifumi Kindergarten where I teach once a week. It is formal ceremony (some of the mothers were in kimono) so I went to the ceremony dressed up but ugh, I had to wear stockings! and ugh, I had to wear make-up! And double ugh! my suit is tighter than it was last year! As soon as it was over I changed back into my jeans even before I got back home!

Thirty-two 3 and 4 year olds were welcomed into the kindergarten. In Japan, there are three grades of kindergarten and halfway through the year another small class will be added. I would say 90% of Japanese children have at least two years of kindergarten starting at age 4 and maybe 50% start at age 3. To my American thinking, I wonder about the wisdom of making the kids leave their parents so early but both my kids started kindergarten at age 3 too and so far they don't seem to be suffering any traumas. I guess since Japan is a cooperative society, the idea is that everyone should get used to each other and learn to compromise, cooperate and depend on each other as soon as possible. Kindergarten starts at around 8:30 and goes until 2:00 and most kindergartens in Japan require the kids to wear uniforms and hats and have regulation bags. I think Mifumi has a cute little regulation cap but no uniforms. It considers itself quite a free thinking kindergarten and tries to encourage individualism and there are very little academics taught.

The ceremony itself was quite nice and the weather was beautiful. Cherry blossom season and entrance ceremony season are almost synonymous in Japan and parents and children will pose for pictures under the cherry trees. Almost all schools and kindergartens will have their token trees just so that the entrance ceremonies will be nice. This cute little map I got off the internet shows the dates in the different parts of Japan where the cherry blossoms can be expected to be in full bloom! Everyone get out your cameras!


teodo said...

I like the entrance at school cerimony and always affect myself.

The jeans are very confortable!
ciao ciao, happy school and happy quilting.

Beemoosie said...

I love your blog header!!
It's very interesting to hear of you life in Japan! Thank you for visiting my blog!

Connie said...

The cherry blossoms are so beautiful. It would be so exciting to be there seeing them in person too.