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It is Graduation Season in Japan Again

Mandylion

Omnipotence personified
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15 Mar 2003
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Graduation is upon those of us in the education racket over here. The J-Pop Mafia is turning out the usual sad ballads about loss, separation anxiety and nostalgic longing. Graduation ceremonies, just a step above funerals in their joyous outpourings of emotion, have or will be taking place shortly for all appropriate school levels.

Since I have so little to do this time of year I can spend uninterrupted hours thinking back to my various graduations and doing a little comparing.

While no graduation ceremony is without some degrees of nostalgia and excitement for the future, Japan really seems to like the sadder elements of these ceremonies.

When I went to my graduation ceremonies in the US it was a festive atmosphere celebrating accomplishments and, in some cases, that we would never have to go back there again. :D There was cheering and clapping and a general rowdiness. You met with your friends after and had huge parties. It is one of the few times you can openly bask in your own achievements surrounded by people doing the same and not begrudging you own ego-inflating trip.

By contrast, the junior high ceremony I went to yesterday was a very solemn affair (as have high school ones I have been too - only more so). Lots of bowing, as expected, but also lots of tears accompanied by a soundtrack of adagios and slow chamber music. No applause as each student was called up to get their certificates (only clapping when they came in and went in and out). Many, but mercifully short, speeches by stuffy old school board men, delivered in monotone and extolling the children to "keep trying," "study hard" and of course "to persevere (gambaru)."

As if young students aren't scared enough about the great big future - high schools with big kids in them or colleges far from home.

Sure, there where some happy times and smiles after all the ceremonies were over, but the whole process had just such a weight and a gravity to it that I found oppressive. They push these kids so hard to study, go to clubs on weekends, and pass entrance exams, that you think they could afford to have them let their hair down once a year! :mad: I guess it is true what they say, Japanese schools are there to teach children how to be Japanese, not necessarily to learn anything. I would put the fun level at about the same as being lectured to by government educational officials, which as anyone can tell you is on par with intensive dental work.

Sure, sure, there are all sorts of reasons why the ceremonies might be the way they are - the dissolution of a group structure in Japan is never an easy thing and these kids have been together since 1st grade (elementary). But I don't think yesterdays proceedings inspired many to go out and bootstrap their way to the top.

Isn't that kind of what graduation is supposed to be about? Lighting a fire under students and inspiring them to meet the next challenge life will throw at them rather than making it feel like they are being cast to the wolves?

Any thoughts on graduations, or education, in Japan in general?
 
I had a thought, but it doesn't have much to do with graduation or anything. It just popped into my mind while I was reading this. That is: can they not remove unruly students from the classroom in Japan? I read on someone's JET blog that this was against the law.

Sorry if this was a bit off topic...
 
Posts don't have to do with graduation :) - anything is great.

No, they cannot. I'm sure they would do somethig if the student was going to harm, him/herself or others, but you cannot remove a student for, say talking on a cell phone in class or talking loudly with friends.
 
You can't remove a student for talking on a cell phone in class?! Wow.

My mom has a whole drawer full of pagers and cell phones that she confiscates...
 
I've heard stories...Of course most of the students are great, but you do get some schools that get a large % of real problems. These are the kids that have been left behind or not shown enough tough love to get them up to speed with their classmates. Kids cannot be failed or held back either, so sometimes in high school, or even junior high, you get kids who have fallen through the cracks and no one has stopped to try and get them back. The kids get the sense that they are not going anywhere because no one is trying to make them work so they give up. Then school really becomes like prision. You go to high school, do your three years and then get out.

It is a real shame.
 
Yep, you can't remove a student from class, unless the circumstances are extreme. I have asked several teachers about this, and they all answer with something like, "He (or she) has a right to learn." Of course I countered that the problem student may be hurting the other students right to learn, but the conversation always seems to die after that. But you can confiscate things. I know a teacher with a drawer full of Manga.

Man, my schools had Grad ceremonies last week. The one I went to was outright depressing. The principal started choking back tears in his speech, and even second year students started crying. I'm always amazed how close student and teacher are here. It really was touching. I have a few pics of it I'll post later.


Crazy. When I graduated at that age, me and all my classmates were excitied we could finally tell all the nuns to F*ck off.
😌
 
mad pierrot said:
Crazy. When I graduated at that age, me and all my classmates were excitied we could finally tell all the nuns to F*ck off.
😌

Heh. I didn't shed one tear when I left. Had no sentimental feelings whatsoever. I was so glad to get the hell out of that joint. Especially when my mom was breathing down my neck for the last 6 years of my school career.
 
kirei_na_me said:
Heh. I didn't shed one tear when I left. Had no sentimental feelings whatsoever. I was so glad to get the hell out of that joint. Especially when my mom was breathing down my neck for the last 6 years of my school career.

I hated my last year of college, but had no mom breathing down my neck, either :eek:

Hope the suicide rate doesn't increase as usual in Japan, tho.... :eek:

Watching Beginner episode 7 as I write this :D
 
Esca, you in the right thread?

Sounds like you should be in the fat American thread. Anyways, here's the pics I promised.
 

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For those who have graduated this year, we congratulate you, we salute you, and we are in earnest that you will take your successes even higher. Excelsior.
👍 😌
 
Hey how did that get here.......Its suppose to be in the obesity thread...

From Mandylion Couldn't figure out how to move your post intact EscaFlowne, so I had to copy and paste it. I tried to make sure it was clear that it was your post though....
 
Last edited by a moderator:
It is Gradutation

Yep, you can't remove a student from class, unless the circumstances are extreme. I have asked several teachers about this, and they all answer with something like, "He (or she) has a right to learn." Of course I countered that the problem student may be hurting the other students right to learn, but the conversation always seems to die after that. But you can confiscate things. I know a teacher with a drawer full of Manga.

Man, my schools had Grad ceremonies last week. The one I went to was outright depressing. The principal started choking back tears in his speech, and even second year students started crying. I'm always amazed how close student and teacher are here. It really was touching. I have a few pics of it I'll post later.


Crazy. When I graduated at that age, me and all my classmates were excitied we could finally tell all the nuns to F*ck off.

Several threads here;
- How different American Schools Japanese Schools
- Teachers In Japan and Teachers in America
- Misbehaving Students; Japanese versus Americans
 
I don't even think I'm going to my graduation ceremony, and my mom said she doesn't care. I'll just have them mail me my diploma, lol. I'll probably go bowling or something that night.
 
At my graduation (which was in June 2002), the announcer (who was one of my teachers) mispronounced my name, to my slight chagrin. Afterwards, the chorus sang "I Sing The Body Electric," and "Seasons Of Love." It turns out, they played the same song at the following ceremony. And after that, during the Grad Night, I got lost in a voluptuous harem of metrosexual obliviousness, and I don't even want to go into detail there, cause you'd freak! :D
 
metrosexual..... ?

our graduation was great, was the whole formal dress with speeches but it was things like 'congratulations for doing so well' 'good luck with the future' then we all went out and got pissed.

something that amuses me about japanese schools is the massive divide between public and private schools. I went to a private school on exchange and mobiles were banned, kids behaved and there was very little trouble on the whole. Kids worked hard at their studies, they fall behind or be slack and they are dropped from the school. i've been in a public school too, but only for a month. was a great school but you notice that theres a difference, its hard to pick. the students still work hard, theres no trouble but its more relaxed and sane (more like school in australia). Not sure which i prefer tho.
 
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