I've been to boring-ass graduations, mine included, but the one I attended today was by far the worst one i've ever been to. I showed up and the students were lined up in one of the two gyms to head into the other gym where they had their chairs all set up. I was ushered in to sit in a seat next to the door to watch the whole proceedings from the comfort of my suit and tie. THis is the only time i've worn the suit and tie since coming here. Admitedly, i've tied more neckties in the 4 months here than in my entire previous existence, but that's beside the point. THe english teacher came up to me and said, "THank you for coming, today will be in a traditional Japanese style, enjoy." I was intrigued at this point, maybe there would be someting interesting afterall.
The seniors all marched into the auditorium to some cheesy piano tune that i could recognise but not place. They were just wearing their school uniforms and so, looked exactly as they did every other day of their semi-adult lives (they wear the uniforms every day except sunday). THis was a big mistake from my perspective, there was no particular dignity for these girls, they just looked normal in their little sailor outfits and knock knees. Then through a series of bows, standing, sitting and instructions of various types, we passed a good 2.5 hours sitting and listening to various people drone on through the ceremony about how auspicious and great their class is. I don't know this for a fact because i understood only about 25 words the whole time, i'm just assuming. They read off all of the names in the class, about 100 total, and then instead of handing each student her diploma, they gave the wad of them to certain students to be distributed in some other way. I guess that's ok, if you want to stress that the group is more important than individual achievements, but realistically, i felt that the students were cheated. They had no gowns to wear, no stupid hats, no annoying tassels, none of the really good things about graduation. They aren't even really finished with school, they're going on a class trip to Vancouver in the middle of April and they'll hang out all summer. Some of the girls were a little teary eyed, but i can only imagine what it would have been like if it had been a really good graduation, or even a mediocre ceremony instead of some hack-job in the gym.
Oh well, i got a nicely prepared box of glutinous rice and chestnuts out of the deal.