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So Long, Farewell, Sayonara, Goodbye

March 18, 2013

We’ve entered the final week of school, with the sixth graders’ graduation ceremony on the 19th. That’s only a day away. As such, it also means that last week was the final week of English classes for my sixth graders and for a fair amount of my fifth graders. It’s amazing how much I’ve gotten to know my students over the year, and I didn’t expect to get all teary eyed when I watch graduation rehearsals or when my sixth graders give me a handmade gift on behalf of the class or receiving a plaque with a class photo with me and messages written on word bubbles stuck all around the edges.

I just know I’m going to need to carry tissues at graduation.

Last Monday the sixth graders at MES invited all of their teachers to a special ceremony planned by the students in order to thank their teachers for their hard work during their time at school. At many points there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience, as the students played a song on their recorders, percussion, pianicas, and accordions and handed all of us canvas tote bags that they personalized for each teacher. (Mine had the initials KK with a heart in between, since my name would be spelled Kyarorin Kohru in Japan’s romanized writing system).

My initials!

My initials!

However, the teachers had a surprise of their own for the kids, as we sang the song 「世界に一つだけの花」(sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana), an extremely famous song sung by the boy band SMAP, to them.

Luckily I knew the song, and they gave me a sheet of lyrics so I could follow along. However, I didn’t realize that the teachers would also perform the famous dance to go along with it! It was a good thing that I was second from the end, so I wasn’t sticking out too much like a sore thumb.
With every final English class, I make sure at the end of the period to take a picture with  my students. I’d post my pictures here, but due to privacy concerns regarding my students I’m not able to. So, just imagine twenty two different pictures of me surrounded by fifth or sixth grade kids and you’ve got the general idea.

Tomorrow is graduation and as much as I wish to be at every single of my schools’ graduation ceremonies, the Koga BOE decided that every single school in the district have to hold their ceremony on the same day. This means that I can only attend one graduation ceremony, which is saddening because I know I had many schools that hoped that I could join them.

It’s been such a great year, and I’m looking forward to the next school year in Japan. No word yet regarding whether or not I get to stay at my same schools. I think it’ll all depend on whether I get my Japanese driver’s license or not! Wish me luck — my test is next Monday!

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