Okay, March seems to be getting the better of me, but it won’t last for long!
Graduation in Japan is attended by the teachers, all the students of the school, the parents of the graduating students and the PTA.
The students’ names are called by one of their homeroom teachers, and then one student is selected to go up to the principal and receive all the certificates for his / her class. My graduating class was about 240 students, give or take a few, and the ceremony took about an hour and a half. Then I got to put away chairs with the first and second grade students.
Then, after graduation, even if it’s on a weekday, comes the Enkai. (en – energy, kai – kite). This is where we get to eat great food (the Cha-han soup / pudding was part of it) and toast the teachers of the graduating class. And drink.
At any enkai, it’s important to remember to pour drinks for others, since it’s rude to pour your own drink in Japan (you will see the drunker teachers, especially guys, sometimes pour their own drinks). I usually make sure I pour for my principal, vice-principal, in this case the 3rd year teachers, and then my English teachers. And some of these people will even pour for me! 🙂
Mostly we’ll listen to speeches, eat and drink. And drink. I somehow ended up drinking about a bottle of wine, after I had told my husband that I wasn’t going to drink, and a friend of mine has remarked “You don’t know the true meaning of peer pressure until you’re at a Japanese enkai”.
The December enkai is great though, we get to exchange presents and play games!