Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Branden's Junior high school entrance ceremony

April, 8th was Branden's entrance ceremony at the local elementary school. It was to begin at 10am, though us parents were already in the gym at the local junior high school at 9:30am waiting. The older grades were there already and waiting too. Our junior high school is grades 7,8 and 9th grade, but like I said here...we say first grader, 2nd grader, and 3rd grader (of chugako/junior high) 

Many parents were sitting along the side, pictured here, but Genki's mom told us that morning to sit where we were... because we would have a better view. She has an older daughter (Momo-chan) who is a 9th grader this year, so she knows. It is very nice to have a friend who has already..."been there, done that", so to speak. helps me out a ton! : ) 

Parents waiting. This family in particular with the pamphlet have 3 daughters, meanwhile we have 2 sons. And their oldest daughter is the same grade as Branden and their middle daughter is the same grade as Noah. Their youngest is maybe 1 or 2 years old. : ) Also this dad  of 3 girls, is in the "Father's club" too, same as Noboru. Really nice family. : )

See the color difference on the shoes? That's 1 way, to know who is in, which grade. Branden and the other 7th graders, have green on their shoes, the 8th graders have yellow on their shoes and the 9th graders have blue on their shoes.

If you remember, we were wondering what length of sock was acceptable, remember our JH school has a "must cover the ankle" policy. Seeing this, made me think the shorter length was acceptable and that he doesn't need to wear the longer type socks. I think the girls do though, but as I only have boys and not a girl, I don't know the girl rules for sure though. : )

I could see the kids standing outside around 9:58am, but they waited until exactly 10am to start! I had my camera pointing and ready! 

Spotted Branden right away! Again since our last name is more towards the front of the alphabet, he came out pretty fast!

Merging of the 2 elementary schools into the 1 junior high.

I was happy, I could take the couple pics I did, because the music was much faster and they walked by pretty fast! Not bad for a digital camera! : ) I was thinking, go camera go! Click, click click! 

And last pic, they were gone before we knew it! : ) The super short movie below is so you can see how quickly the music was and how much faster they walked versus the slower graduation walk, they had in March. Music was pretty happy and peppy. Felt like in a second they were poof, gone and already sitting in their seats. I did think, gosh I hope the pics came out alright! : ) So not perfection pic wise...but acceptable pics at least! : )
Kids were sitting down, new 7th graders, the older grades looking on. 

There are only two 7th grade classes, so the 2 teachers stood and took roll call, while the whole gym stood silent and listened to the names being called, so quiet you could hear a pin drop! 

When your name was called, you were to stand and loudly say...hai! That's what these kids were doing in this picture! Again since Branden's last name is near-ish the front of the alphabet, he stood already when they called his name, Branden stood and said...hai!!!! As soon as they said your name...you were officially a student there! 

I do not know who this man is, I am sorry. I don't want to assume he is the principal, so until we know for sure, he'll be "unknown guy", for now. Sorry, I just don't know...if he is the head teacher... or principal or who.... I even asked Noboru, that morning during the ceremony and nope... even he didn't know. So...but we'll find out... as the school year rolls on. 

A small junior high school population wise. The first floor has the two 7th grade classes on it, the 8th grade has 2 classes on the 2nd floor and the 9th graders are on the 3rd floor. Most of the kids come from our particular elementary school, so most of the kids who came from our elementary school, know the majority of the kids in this school already. For example, when Branden was a 1st grader in elementary, many of these kids were 2nd graders or 3rd graders, so they know each other. The other school is way farther away from the local junior high school and smaller population wise.  

I was really happy that the entrance ceremony was so short! Okay not 5 minutes type short... but seriously way shorter than the elementary school entrance ceremony or yochien entrance ceremony. They moved things along at lightning speeds. Didn't drag on, which was very nice! They did though have many many older official people from our town stand up and we'd clap a few times, then the next person stood, they'd announce who they were and we'd clap. This happened about 25-30 times that morning. Board of education guy would stand for example, we'd clap, the 1 and only policeman in our town stood and we clapped again. The mayor of our town stood and we clapped. The principal from our elementary stood and he's awesome, so we clapped again. The principal from the tinier elementary school stood and we clapped. See the video camera? They video taped the people standing and us clapping. Again they stood much faster and it went a whole lot quicker, than it did 3 weeks before when Branden graduated. Noboru did whisper to me at this point, saying "how inaka/countryside/rural we are...he said the police never showed up during an entrance ceremony when he was having his entrance ceremony in Osaka, hahaha. @.@ I said, okay. : )  Noboru obviously, went to school in Japan so he has something to compare it to, if that makes sense, going to school in a major city, versus now living in a town of under 5,000 people, so he notices the difference, where as I wouldn't since I didn't go to school in Japan. : )  

A 9th grader stood and welcomed the new 7th graders! Saying we remember you, from elementary school and we welcome you! It was short, it was sweet, it was really nice.

H, from our elementary school was chosen to speak on behalf of the 7th graders. He said basically, "we will try very hard and we are happy to be here."

The flag was whisked away.

And then, all the teachers stood in a line and introduced themselves to the new 7th graders and us new parents of the school. For example...here are the two 7th grade sensei's/teachers, they said each of their names, they bowed and we all clapped. Then went grade by grade and then the older grades left and it was now just us 7th grade parents and the 7th grade kids in the gym. Picture time! Parents group picture with kids. And kids picture alone. 

This is Branden's class. I took a few pics from this side and then I moved and walked more towards where Branden was sitting in this picture. The front row of girls for example, front row girl farthest left with short hair, is from the other elementary school, however she has swam with Branden at the same swim school for the past 6 years at least! They catch the same swim bus together every Monday, she only swims once a week, where as, Branden and Noah swim twice a week, but she does know both Branden and Noah. She is an amazing swimmer though, like truly insane swimming skills. So her and Branden now each other really well. Next to her is A-chan from our elementary school. Swimming girl farthest left also has a name with an A, too. 3rd girl front row is of course, the adorable and wonderful Saya-chan (Saya swims too). And after Saya-chan...Chi-chan is sitting next to their male sensei... 

Out of this class, 7 of these kids are from the other school, but the rest are from our school. 

Aww, Mr. Dimples you were supposed to sit with your feet together, hahaha. Oh well, I did lightly mention it, so hopefully you will remember that for next time. : )

Telegrams for the kids from their former elementary schools and their former yochiens and teachers. Oh that is right...I forgot to mention this!!! 1 girl is NOT from either of the town schools. She moved here from Ibaraki, which is very close. But yep, she doesn't know anyone, but is quickly making friends and everyone really likes her and stuff. : ) So 1 telegram for her from her old school, wishing her good luck! : )
The first floor is for the newbies! This is Branden's class! They decorated it and stuff!

He's a first grader in the A class. 

Very cute!
I see Branden in this pic and wicked good swimming girl is sitting behind him! Many girls have backpacks as their bags, cute! Two girls from the other smaller school swim with Branden who are new 7th graders too (A-chan and 1 more),  so not just 1, so he knows 2 of the girls from swimming school, very well, good friends. 

Branden was sitting next to K, who went to the same school, but they have since mixed up the class again and switched the seats and now Branden is sitting right next to Saya-chan. They're very good friends, and both super smart kids, so they like sitting next to each other. : ) Saya-chan's more like a sister to Branden, they're really close. 

The teacher told the class, "I am sure your teacher told you about the big Kanji test and math test we will have 2 days from now and I am sure you studied for it" Yes, the elementary school did tell us that right before graduation. He also spoke about the mid term May 22nd and the final in June. 

Central heating and air, same as the elementary school.

The blending of 2 schools for us mom's. You could feel the tension or awkwardness, in the room though. Cut it with a knife almost. See the mom's along the side here? Okay the 4 mom's farthest on the right, those are all the mom's from "our school"...Miyuki's mom farthest right, next was mom I forgot her name (sorry), next was mom, all in white is Saya-chan's mom and the tall thin one is K's mom who works at the cheap drink store. Then the 3 mom's next to K's mom were from the other school, then the 2 farthest left were from our school again. There was like this weird division... weird thing type feeling. They stood within their group of mom's and we stood within ours. Of course, obviously after a couple month's from now, meaning as time goes on.... we will all feel mingled and normal. But it does honestly, take some time, it's not going to magically happen over night though. Saya-chan's mom for example, her daughter went to a yochien in the city and she doesn't know these other mom's from Joe Blow... walking down the street. Meanwhile some mom's knew the other mom's... but hadn't seen them since 7 years ago at hoikuen or they've been cheering against each other at games. Read this and perhaps you can understand the feelings a bit better..our elementary school played basketball *against* their school for 6 years...each wanting their own school to win, as is normal in sports, if you know what I mean : ).... obviously, our swim team took on their swim team in the big swim meet last August when Branden competed against their school, of course they cheered madly for their school, which is totally normal and we cheered just as loudly for our school which is totally normal and expected as a parent. Our track team took on their team etc etc, you know what I mean, I hope. So...yeah just a really sort of weird creepy vibe happening in the room that morning, now we are 1, we used to cheer against each other and now we cheer together and for each other, again we are human after all and, it's just going to take a little time to adjust... not going to happen in 1 second, it will take a little time. Very hard to explain unless you were there and I thought of maybe not mentioning this at all, but yeah...just weirdness in the room, you could have cut with a knife. Hahaha. It will fade this feeling, I am sure. This feeling logically speaking won't last forever, we all know that. : )  I don't think this feeling might happen at all in a bigger city, where say 5 different schools blended into 1 junior high, because there would just be so many people, so many kids, so many different 7th grade classes, this might not happen at all in bigger cities. But here in our town, where it's 2 small elementary schools blending into 1 small junior high, there is a huge... us versus them, type weird feeling. I just hope this feelings ends for us all, very soon. : (  Nobody wants to feel weird, am I right? : ) Hopefully we'll gel soon enough!
I erased Branden's 2 kanji's from our last name, but this just showed the child where to sit and said good luck and congratulations, type a message from the junior high school and their fellow older students, 8th and 9th graders. 

This was even weirder. The kids left the room and we decided who would be in the PTA, hold a position. Frankly, I'm holding a VP role already this year and I've got enough on my plate with that job, so I wasn't going to volunteer this year, maybe next year. However, the teacher said...why don't we split you mothers up by what elementary school you went to. That way you know each other already and you can decide faster. Also the teacher said, you mom's from the big school (meaning our school) pick a few more jobs than the tiny school. @.@ I personally think us mom's should start to become friends, and as fast as possible would be nice... you know what I mean. If he keeps separating us by "our former school" then we will remain divided the next 3 years, mark my words! @.@ But, you know... his decision. So the 7 mom's from the teeny tiny school went in a little group, you can see their tiny group nearest the window, farthest in this pic. Meanwhile our massive huge group of mom's took both rows, 4 seats wide and all the way from front row to the farthest back row. It was like alpha school and beta school. : ( Big school/most kids/most parent power and than teeny tiny school. : (  Again I just hope the sensei, starts to blend us mom's in, we will see. I think the smaller school mom's felt way way more nervous and uncomfortable than we did, let's put it that way. I hope my sharing how weird it was for the 2 schools parents won't over shadow this post about Branden's entrance day, which is why I have debated with myself about sharing how awkward it was for many of the parents.  The whole point of this post was and is, to celebrate Branden's special day. : )

We took up the whole middle row, and  also the whole right row too, everyone sitting in a seat is from our school and there was way more behind me. But we did decide among our former elementary school the jobs quickly. We already know each other, we know who likes what, all the mom's from our housing community know I am a VP this year already, so it was just quick and easier perhaps. After the parent class reps were decided, it was over and we left. We were so happy to be done with this day, because we had this *huge* build up to the middle school entrance day, the start of junior high school, the studying for the test, the uniforms, the bike. Putting the stickers on the helmet. The bike helmets were free from our town, for every student whose parents filled out a form... saying they were riding a bike to the junior high school. We were happy, because we enjoyed the entrance ceremony a lot, it was quick and nice, we did get to see our kids classroom and teacher, the class parent rep jobs were decided, we had accomplished a lot that morning. Us mom's from both schools will mingle in time and then we'll be so happy our schools combined in a few months, I am sure. But for now it was time to go home and just be glad it was done for the day. Let's go home, get out of our formal clothes, time to slap on some regular clothes, go and have some lunch and relax for the rest of the day. We knew we would be having a yakiniku bbq in the backyard and it was a nice thing we had to look forward to after finishing up the entrance ceremony! We officially won't have to wear any clothes like this, or attend another graduation or entrance ceremony type thing... for the next 3 years, we were like...happy day...happy day! : ) Let's go home! : )
Starting a new...Branden and the other 7th graders are new here. Meanwhile these group of 9th graders are well aware it is their last year at this school and they were enjoying the blossoming cherry blossoms/sakura and taking pics, their last sakura season at this school for them! I smiled and thought..gosh the years fly by! We enjoyed watching them take pics as a class, while we were leaving the school! Yes, they do have views of rice fields from their school, hahaha.

A pic of the junior high school, on our way out, clearly the 7th grade class B didn't decide class reps yet because they were still in the meeting as we parents of class A left. : ) 
We 3 went to Saizeriya for lunch around noon... after stopping off at home first to switch to normal regular clothes, Noah was at school during this time. At 3pm, we picked up Noah at the elementary school and by that time, the meat was well marinated, rice made and we were ready. 

I love living in rural Japan and having rice fields right behind our house, as far as the eye can see. Rumors of monkeys in the wilderness. Hearing crickets and frogs croaking at night now that the rice has been planted and water is filled in the fields. Seeing tractors and seeing dirt clumps all throughout the roads and know a tractor passed on this road recently! I love that half of the mom's from our elementary school also went to the same elementary school. That the head teacher at our elementary school was also a student there. Clearly folks don't like leaving this town! lol! It is like living in Mayberry, everybody knows everything. But there is also a comfort,with living in a small town too.  

Little farmer K-truck probably checking to see how her husband was managing in the fields. They're planted now, but they were working hard in this pic. 

Soccer boy!

A little soccer while we got dinner ready! We ate around 4:20pm-ish. Noboru at the grill, I meanwhile rinsed and cleaned strawberry's, lettuce and set the table. 

Dinner time! We had marinted pork, chicken and also beef kalbi. 

Fresh fruit, potato salad, lettuce for wrapping the meat with, sauce for dunking our meat, the beef wasn't out yet, still on the grill in this pic.

The beefs now in this pic. 

Enjoying dinner as a family. A nice Spring evening. Happy to have finished with the entrance ceremony. Some of our dinner conversation was...we asked Branden "do you like your new teacher Branden? Is he nice? What do you think of your new school? Also, what about you Noah, how was school today? Who did you play with? "Lots of people, plus I learned a new soccer move during recess!!!" : )

Everyone helped clean up after dinner. Leftover food got put onto smaller plates by Branden, Noah plastic wrapped those plates with leftovers. I meanwhile put the dishes into the dish washer. Branden wiped the dinner table and Noah sweeped the floor under the table and near the chairs. Clean up was super fast with 4 people helping and then we had dessert. 

Have a wonderful 7th grade, school year kiddo, we sure do love you! : )