Thursday, April 12, 2012

Noah's entrance ceremony at the elementary school

March 9, 2012 was Noah's shogakko/elementary school entrance ceremony!
The 6th graders at our school were waiting in the schools entry way with corsage in hand at the genkan of the school, and as we came in and signed in, a 6th grader came up to each child and pinned them. : ) Once pinned we thanked the lovely 6th grader and showed Noah where the ichinensei/1st grade shoe boxes are. He put his penny loafers inside and will now when leaving place his "inside shoes" in the shoe box. There's 2 levels in each shoe box for each child. One for inside shoes and one for regular shoes (same as in yochien so not much different). So, Noah got on his inside shoes, I put on my Target slippers, Noboru put on the school slippers. And we went into the one and only (for this year) first grade classroom. Each 6th grader was waiting and helped each child get situated. As we entered, this boy was assigned Noah. He asked Noah, where are your clips and your cleaning rags? Noah showed him and the boy went to Noah's desk and got them clipped, he also bent down and explained to Noah how to clip them and unclip them, showing him the ropes basically. Each child was being helped in this same excat way. This is one thing I really enjoy about elementary schools here in Japan, they all help each other. It's all very..."it takes a village" type approach. At least that's how it is at our school and I like that. The kids feel very welcomed. Next the 6th grade boy came back and said, 'where's your tray?" And the amazing helper grabbed Noah's tray and slid it into the desk. He said to Noah this is where that goes, inside said tray goes such and such and such. Noah smiled and said, "got it" Good, the boy replied. : ) They were all so nice. Again nice to each new student. Getting situated was pretty easy, with the help of the super helpful 6th graders. : )
Helping Noah get his seat cushion/earthquake saftey thing onto his seat and also attach his 2 smallish bags to the desk. The 3rd bag will have chop stick in it next week. half days all this week. So no lunch for the ichinensei's yet. Also, there is a mother from the Philippines, she's standing with pink flower and her daughter is sitting behind Noah in this pic. She's super nice, I'll tell you about that below more in detail. But everyone else in the class is Japanese which is cool/fine too. I chit chat to all. : )
So we now were in the gym. They had said to us while waiting, because of possible earthquake, they will have the entrance ceremony this year with the earthquake covers/seat cushions. So the 6th graders brought down the entire ichinensei classes covers, which is what you see below in this pic. Also the entire shcool also came down to attend the ceremony with their own covers as well. So whole school brought their covers. This was not like this in Branden's day when he entered here.
The heads of the town to the right. All of the kids in the gymnasium now. Que music! : )

Noah entering the gym! Noboru was video taping this also at the same time! And I was taking pics between taking this mini video with my camera. The school was clapping and cheering. It was a really happy thing for the first graders to get to experience.

The 6th graders making sure all the kids get to their seats.
The Yuka sensei and I. And an entrance ceremony for the first grade yet again. Yeah no, I'm not having a deja vu at all. Ha ha ha. ; ) All kidding aside, her being Noah's teacher is quite possibly the best thing to have happened to our family! She's close in age to us and most parents of elementary school kids. We know her outside of school via the swim club. Her child goes to the shogakko where 98% of all my mom friends go. So there's connections here. She used to take her older son to swim club for those swim weeks during the breaks like we used to take Branden to. So every single day during Spring break, I'd be sitting there with my instant coffee in my Starbucks tumbler and she'd be sitting with her toddling baby 1 year younger then Noah and I'd be upstairs watching Branden through the glass with a tiny Noah at the time, you saw Branden's pic at his entrance ceremony Noah was a little babe at the time, so yeah we'd see each other all Spring break like that. Her not a stich of makeup on, me not a stitch of makeup on! : ) So complete comfort on her end with Noah being in her class and complete comfort on our end with her being Noah's sensei.
All of the teachers stood and clapped as they all entered.
See the video camera? Our local town TV channel will be airing this! @_@ LOL! And then the Yuka sensei took roll call! And each child stood up when their name was called and said, hai!
Noah stood and said, hai!

Please listen to this 6th grader give his speech. It is lovely! And they do this every year, they also said similiar when Branden started. This 6th grader is saying basically is, don't be nervous or worried about being here, we will look after you. And so will the teachers. It is just an amazing feeling hear them say that. The way the older kids looks after the younger is one thing I honestly really love about Japanese elementary schools here. The whole.... we take care of our own, in this town, in this school..type mentality is just something I really enjoy about living in Japan. Care for the younger ones, teach them the ropes kind of thing.

Aha we know this sensei who led the school with their singing, this is my fellow former yochien mom friend! But still friend. : ) Just I'm not at the yochien anymore. Boy oh boy did we chit chat after the ceremony was over outside! : )
And every single teacher stood in front of the school and first graders and said, their name and which class/grade they teach and then they bowed.
My fellow former yochien mom friend bowing in this pic. And then next to her is the 5th grade #2 sensei, who is new. And who likes speaking English apparantly. And then the 26 year old teacher to the left of the woman in pink that is Branden's teacher. He's VERY nice!
After basically making these new first graders feel the love, feel totally and completely welcome. The Yuka sensei stood and said, let's and only ichinensei class! That's right, only 1 class! : ) A biggish class but 1 all in the same. So out she went and que music one last time! Totoro!

And out they walked. All of us parents....very happy! All of the students at this school, happy and supportive. And done!!! Just about done.
They walked them out 2 by 2.
Noah and this guy.
The new 2nd graders helped and carried all the new ichinensei's chairs back to their class. And the 6th graders came and carried their earthquake covers. Everyone pitched in to get the ichinensei's settled once more. It was amazing watching this. Literally every class did something to help.
And in came the 5th graders to help build the stage that us parents would be standing on to take the class photo. Hey...I know that boy in orange! : ) Hi Branden! Best helper and good big brother!
Hi Genki in the black on the right of this picture. Hi Keita-kun in gray behind Branden. Hi all kids that I know! LOL. : ) Like I said....everyone pitched in to help.
They brought out the flowers for the pics.
A penny for your thoughts my sweet. : )
And looking for a reassuring look from mama. I'm here baby....I'm here. : )
A bit blurry of a pic. Also, according to the list there are twins in this class? I think that's right. Anyway, we didn't see any twins, identical twins. Could be fraternal. But then they could be cousins. But....Noboru said twins. I'll keep ya posted. : )
Trying to get all the kids together before calling us parents. And picture done. We took about 9 pics, someone was closing their eyes one time, then someone didn't have their hands in the right spot the next. : ) You know how it goes. After the pic was done, we were done. They said, everyone back to the classroom. Anyway, like I've said, about my town. This town there are no foreigners.: ( There's Kenny's dad and me as far as American's go. Anyway, so there is a woman from the Philippines who has a daughter in Noah's class. This makes me really happy. Anway let me give you the short story of when I first saw her and stuff. I first saw her, during the undokai last year during when Noah had to make that lap, announcing I'll go here next year. We saw eachother but only for about 5 minutes at the most. She was on the opposite sides of the tent otherwise I would have gone over and made friends right away. I also was chit chatting with Sera's mom and that whole...Kouki's mom and Sera's mom meeting thing was happening at this same exact time, then I saw Megumi, who I met at that health cattle call thing all those years ago, that I blogged about....then the kids made the lap and they all left and we stayed since Branden is a student there and was in undokai last year. Anyway, so Monday morning, she was in the classroom. It wasn't like we could speak because the 6th graders were getting our kids situated, so much going on. Though I did give her a smile and she gave me one back. Megumi, came over to chit chat with me. Sera's mom got a new haircut (Sera's mom and Megumi are direct neighbors so there's that connection going on also). Everything swirling. Many parents coming in saying good morning, we all bowed and good morning-ed back or nice to meet you-ed back. We did this many times. So lots going on. But I made a point of smiling at her. To basically say...I'm friendly, I'd like to make friends. : ) But again with so many things going on....with the please pass me the rags, pass me the clips. Just so much going on and happening. It just wasn't our time. So when we came back to the class after the entrance ceremony happened and the pic and everything, I am now back in the classroom and she came in also. : ) Anyway, I turned around and said...hi! And smiled. She said, "you are American", I said, yes and then asked, where are you from? She said, I'm from the Phillipines. I said, cool! Nice to meet you. She said, what's your name. I said, my name is Gina. What's yours? She said, Adele. I said, well nice to meet you. She said, nice to meet you too. She said...are you nervous? (She looked nervous) I said, no, but, that's only because I have an older son but when he started here, I was FREAKING out and nervous, so I know what you mean! She laughed! And I laughed. I think she was super happy we got to meet, she's very nice. And I'm also glad we got to meet and become friends also. She has only 1 child, a daughter. And her husband was there and he seemed happy she met a new friend. I was also really happy to make a new friend too. You this life, if you're cool with people... they're more then likely gonna be cool with you too. She's away from her home and probably misses her family like crazy and I feel exactly the same way. And you know, if we're going to be taking this journney of our kids being in the first grade why not together, right?! So, I chatted with her a bit more and then everyone else came into the class and the Yuka sensei started explaining everything.
The Yuka sensei explaining everything in this picture. She said they would get their yellow covers for their randoseru the next day but the police were to come to the school to present it to them. So another mini ceremony for the kids to accept the yellow covers for their randoseru, thank goodness us parents could skip that part the following day. ; ) However in Branden's day they just gave it on the entrance ceremony day. Anyway see, Noah? And the girl sitting next to him? With the black dress with cute white like pilgrim collar. Her name in Japanese is Lili, so her name is basically Lily-chan. : ) Anyway I thought that was a very cute name, anyway. And behind Noah sits Adele's daughter and next to Adele's daughter is Kaito-kun (Kouki's little brother)
And over! I know I took a lot of pics but forgive me, as you know you only get to enter the first grade once! And in Japan it's a big deal. So, that's the reason for lots of pics. Sorry. : ) Forgive me as I said. Anyway here is Noah. Ceremony is done and over with, phew. we made it, we all survived. ha ha ha.
Standing right near dad. What are we waiting for? Branden was getting out and so we waited for Branden to come down. Also, have to say, so many people down right loved Noah's backpack. Really caught us off guard. @_@ Sera's dad, and mom in the morning said, wow that backpack! And then even after the ceremony and stuff. Sera's dad flat out said..."seriously that's the coolest backpack...where on earth did you get that?!" For a dad for crying out loud to mention something like that was definitely a bit surprising. So yeah they LOVED it. And then the yochien friend of mine who's also a sensei here, she was outside right near this door, she said, Noah looked so good (cool) during the ceremony! And then she said...pretty much same thing...where on earth did you get the backpack? She said please tell me, write me down the info because next year my child will be ichinensei. And she said, I being a shogakko teacher see MANY backpacks and I've yet to see one like that! Then another sensei came out and said pretty much the same thing. But yeah Noboru and I were just a little surprised Noah's randoseru got such huge attention at the entrance ceremony. I mean...we knew we liked it of course and that was all that mattered to us at the time. But we didn't know it was going to get the attenton it got. His whole class of parents took notice of it all that day. Which just really surprised us. Anyway I was debating sharing this, but it all really happened, so I better just jot it down here for memory purposes.
And then Branden came out.
We took a pic of Branden on his entrance ceremony day at this very spot. So we had to do the same.

Walking together down the hill.

Noboru wanted me to take some pics of Noah in the backyard. Again this is our last entrance ceremony for shogakko, so it's understandable why we took so many pics. : ) Gomen ne~ last chance. ; )

And the ceremony is all done. And now it's time to just adjust to your fun new life at the elementary school with your big brother and all your new friends! He's made a ton so far, more on that in the next post! : )