Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My darlin' students...

Well, it's been almost a year now since I became homeroom teacher. It's been a LONG year, at least compared with my first year at Okisho... but I have learned a lot and been blessed a lot, and have enjoyed getting to know these students personally over the past 11 months. At Okisho, the 11th graders become 12th graders a little early, at least as far as the classes they take. So these guys and gals are still "mine" but they're taking 12th grade classes, which means their schedules and classmates have completely changed. But they still meet with me every morning and after school. Anyways, just thought I'd drop a pic and a brief message.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

No WAY... ジャンケン・トゥ・ザ・MAX

Well since nothing is "new" in my life at the moment, I figured I would share with you an intriguing variation on the rock, scissors, paper "game." Now most of you know that rock beats scissors, which beat paper, which beats rock. And Canadians throw a little dynamite into the mix for fun. (Dynamite beats rock and paper, but its wick is cut by scissors.) Well, I wanted to research whether this was a Canadian variation or something known of around the world. Turns out it's just a Canadian thing. Anyways, ever heard of ULTIMATE Rock/Scissors/Paper? Here's the chart. Get this - there are TWENTY-FIVE "weapons" - each is stronger than 12 and weaker than 12 of the weapons. Someday if I have a lot of time and someone to practice with, I would love to master them all!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Blazer Toss - ブレザー投げ

Here it is, folks. Enjoy it. I tear up every time I watch it!

Grad Party 09 - 卒パ!


It blows me away each year... you teach these kids every day for 2 years, and see them in their school uniforms and that's just how you know them. But then graduation party time comes along, and out comes their sense of fashion, their individual expression, their outer (and inner) beauty. Man, do I really teach such good looking kids? (Adults?) It was a fun night for all... enjoy a few pics that I took. By the way, who's that guy in the Okisho school uniform???


Yep, I'm up to my old tricks again. Yesterday morning, I went to school for graduation looking like this:


But then I went home for a little break, and decided it was time to turn back the clocks. So this is how I looked as I headed off for the graduation party:


Congradulations! おめでとう!

Days like these are always bittersweet for me. I am so proud of my students. They have worked hard for years to get where they are, and I am excited for their future. But of course, I will miss seeing their smiling faces at school as well. Graduation season is here again. This year, 362 students are ready to take the next step in life, and have become Okisho alumni. Here's the rundown of a typical graduation ceremony:

First, you have the grand entrance of the graduates, then an official "opening" speech. Then the kids all get their diplomas. The principal hands it to them as they bow before him.

As this is happening, each homeroom teacher takes a turn at the microphone, and calls each of his/her students up to the stage. It's a long process, but gives a chance to really acknowledge each student for his/her accomplishments.

Then there's an awards ceremony, which is followed by a moving speech by one of the graduates. This year it was none other than Narumi Genka, who was definitely worthy of representing the class of '09. Her speech was filled with emotion, and left the audience teary-eyed.

Then the students throw up their blazers in triumph (I'll post video soon), and then they leave the gymnasium in full glory. There's a "flower road" made outside that the students walk along, receiving flowers, gifts, and pats on the head as they meet family, friends, and teachers.

There are certain aspects of Japanese schools that almost make me wish I had been born and raised in this country. Graduation is one of them.

Graduation Art

Yesterday, it was time for Okisho's 24th graduating class to shine. But there was something that stood out even more for me during the ceremony. Check out the picture below and see if you can figure out what it is.


That's right, the picture next to the stage. The students in the "art club" spent a whole week putting this together, and I was floored with how beautifully it turned out! Good work, girls! The dragon is called Ryudai, and the fish is Kazuko. Not sure why, but they even gave them ages and a little background story. Turns out Ryudai was in love with Kazuko, but since she's a full 7 years older than he is, she did not return his feelings of love. Cute, eh?