Today I was treated to the ultimate in visual spectacles - a Japanese high school graduation . Today, all my wee third years began the first day of the rest of their lives. I was asked all day, "What was your graduation like?" and I couldn't for the life of me remember. I can only assume that it was something of a non-event, probably involving nothing more than a signed school blouse and four vodka cruisers.
You guys, we could stand to learn something from the Japanese.
The ceremony was fairly innocuous in itself - lengthy speeches by the principal and trustees; awards; certificates; a tuneless rendition of the school song; proud parents wooed into slumber by the drone of name after name after name. But the outfits! You see - the Japanese don't have a prom, or anything vaguely resembling a school dance. I pitied them for that - I think the dignified Japanese mentality could do with the shake-up that 400 students grinding in time to S Club 7 will inspire.
Little did I know that graduation is where this all occurs. I must add here that my experience probably differs from the average graduation ceremony. Kaisei, as you know by now, has no uniform, and is therefore atypical when it comes to the formality and uniformity that important school occasions usually inspire. Whereas most high school students will graduate in their uniforms, with their Black Black hair and knee length skirts and perfectly pressed shirts, Kaisei's students get as much distance from this norm as possible.
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you:
This GIRL (she's 17, are you kidding me?!?!)
This BOY who went up on stage to accept his degree from the principal...
...dressed like THIS:
They were so cheerful, so proud, so full of personality, so unashamedly pumped for the future. I love my school. No two ways about it. And perhaps the best part was that although they were all dressed so ornately, with hair that must have taken hours and kimono comprised of 6 layers of clothing, on their feet...
... they all wore their old school sneakers.