Yesterday was E’s elementary entrance ceremony and it was a big deal.
You know it’s a big deal because Jason went out and bought a suit and tie for this event. Anyone who knows Jason would tell you that him wearing a suit for anything is an event on its own.
Anyway, back to the entrance ceremony…
In Japan, it’s a big deal when your child enters grade 1. It’s like the end of their carefree days as a small child and the beginning of what will be their academic life as they go down the road towards becoming responsible adults. Everything changes when they become elementary school students.
To celebrate this big life event, many Japanese elementary schools hold an entrance ceremony on the first day of school, usually in the first week of April which often coincides with the cherry blossoms blooming. Also, everyone dresses up nicely for the entrance ceremony. Parents and kids both dress up in suits and nice dresses to commemorate this event. Thus, the reason why Jason wore a suit yesterday.
Upon entering the school, the kids find out which class they are assigned to. In E’s case, she was assigned to class 1 while all her friends from her previous school were assigned to class 2. It sucks that she’s all alone in her class but it might be good for her in the long run since it will force her to make new friends. At least I hope she does.
After registering E’s paperwork, she was given a name tag and went with all the other kids in preparation for the ceremony while all parents were ushered to gym, where the ceremony took place.
The ceremony was entirely in Japanese with a few times where there was English spoken but not too much. The Principal made a speech and welcomed the first graders to the school. Then the classroom teachers were introduced followed by the rest of the teachers the kids will have throughout their first year. After that, there was some more people introduced. I’m guessing those are community leaders and whatnots. I started to zone out a little since I didn’t know who they were.
There was also a performance by the grade 2 students and a small welcome speech by 2 grade 6 boys.
All-in-all, the ceremony itself went on for about 45 minutes. At the end, all the kids left the gym and parents were asked to stay to listen to the PTA leaders talk about the PTA.
After all the long speeches were done, we took class photos. All the parents of class 1 went up to the stage to stand for the photo and our kids sat at the front with the principal and teachers. After we were done, class 2 went and took their photo while we went back to the classroom.
The homeroom teacher spoke to the class and parents about stuff. I wasn’t actually in the room since it was too crowded and didn’t hear what was going on. It didn’t really matter anyway since it was also all in Japanese. At least Jason was in the classroom getting all the info.
The class then said their goodbyes to the teacher and everyone packed up ALL the stuff that was given to them from the school and headed home.
This was all the stuff that we were given by the school to take home and label. Text books, desk sets, math sets, etc. Every little thing that can be found in this set of stuff had to have her name on it. Every little thing includes each individual card from a card deck, every single crayon…which means I have my work cut out for me this week.
It doesn’t sound like a very exciting day from the way I explained it but it was definitely an experience for Jason, E, and I. E doesn’t remember any Japanese and just went with the flow of the class. She was talking with the girl who was her partner but that girl probably didn’t have E’s English fluency. She’s super shy and scared of being alone in the class but is making an effort to learn how to fit in.
Jason and I were just proud parents of our little first grader. It was as much a rite of passage for us as it was for her. It’s also mixed with worry about how E will fit in with her lack of Japanese. Hopefully, she will make new friends in the next few weeks who will help her out. We were already approached by several parents who introduced their kids to E in English. So that’s a good sign.
So now we wait and see how things go. Hopefully, she’ll pick up more Japanese in the coming weeks and gain more confidence as well as overcome her shyness so that she can make good friends in class.
Congratulations on your entry into elementary school, E!