Thursday, June 18, 2009

End of the school year

The days go by quickly and so much happens (but nothing interesting) that I find it hard to start a post because I know I have to do something before I get it finished. Quick update.

My nephew was "promoted" from 5th grade to middle school. They no longer call it "graduation" or "junior high school" and in my day we completed 6th grade in the elementary school but no longer.

So many things that I find interesting but I'm sure my American blog readers aren't going to be interested at all in my observations. Promotion was a quick handing out of certificates in the classroom on Monday. Some parents attended but not all. The teacher was wearing shorts and the whole thing was over before I got any pictures. After the classroom event all the kids walked down to the neighborhood park and had a barbecue of hot dogs and hamburgers.

Big difference from Japanese elementary school graduation. My kids were required to wear their up-coming jr. high school uniforms and it was "suggested" to the mothers that we all wear a black suit. A real orchestrated event in Japan (as is the kindergarten graduation ceremonies, and the jr. high graduation ceremonies).

Tuesday there was an awards assembly at my nephew's school and that really choked me up. That's funny because the only child in the whole school that I know is my nephew! Again, casualness prevailed for all the kids and parents (parents all sat on the picnic benches on the school grounds and drank Starbucks as they watched). I was most impressed at the awards given in every class for "Most improvement". Most improvement in reading, in writing, in math, in citizenship. Of course some recognition of excellence in grades but by far the most improvement theme ran high.

Another situation that struck me was when the Deaf-Ed classes were called on stage for the recognition. Up until then the general mood was a lot of cheering and clapping and whistling for each child. Typical American loud and fun loving. But when the children in those classes were called forward the whole assembly spontaneously raised their hands and twisted their wrists in the official American Sign Language sign for a cheer. I just thought that was so caring and touching.

Grandma update. We went to visit Mother after the ceremonies and found her in a real tiz about everything. Sort of an anxiety attack. But the hospital said she could go home so home we came! She has zonked out since then. We'll see what the next few days bring.

Leiya's here! She flew in at 10:00 last night! Lots of chatting between us already (daughters give so much more information than sons!) but not enough light to take a picture of her.

And Takumi blew in around 12:00 midnight so I have my children together for the day.

On today's agenda are promotion ceremonies for my niece to high school.


Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Hugs to you as you absorb so much all at once, I wish you peace and the ability to take it in, one "thing" at a time.

Leslie said...

But we are interested in the cultural differences you notice. I'll likely never get to Japan. :)
And how wonderful to have both children with you. I know how special those times are!

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

It sounds like by coming to the States early you got to attend a lot of events you would have missed otherwise. Glad to hear your mother's coming home from the hospital.

BrendaLou said...

oh, enjoy the kids together in the same place at the same time! I'm such a mother hen I delight when the girls are together. doesn't happen often.

Shasta said...

I think people get tired of having so many graduations. I heard a lot of rumbling for a middle school graduation. We didn't do much for high school either - I figure the real party happens when the formal education is really over.

Rae Ann said...

Glad to hear that Grandma is home. I'm sure that is a relief for you. Graduations are not all what they used to be. I think College Graduation takes on the most. But still everything is very very casual, no suits anymore.
Glad your children are there to visit with you, enjoy your day. Rae Ann

Allie said...

I do like to hear your take on "americanisms"....I love the waving cheer for the deaf students! So glad Grandma is home, and Leiya is there, and Takumi too! What a blessing!

UB said...

I was wondering do all the parents speak fluent English? I do hope you have a moment to answer!

CT said...

Tanya, since I'm a foreigner to both Japan AND USA, it is very very interesting to read your POV on both cultures!

Thank you for your prayers... :D really, they mean so much to me!
God bless you!