Thursday, April 07, 2016

Throwback Thursday. Branden's Elementary School Entrance Ceremony...

Since this is April and for those of us in Japan, we know April means Entrance Ceremony season. : ) I thought April would be a fantastic time to show some Entrance Ceremony's that our kids have had. So I think this month's TBT's should have an entrance ceremony theme. Or "starting school" theme at least. : )  And I think this sounds fun and like a really great idea, especially for those of you, living outside of Japan. Back to the picture. : ) Branden started the first grade in April of 2008. 
Branden now days towers over the kid in the shorts and white socks on the right of Branden. Our right when looking at this picture. The other kid in capris and Branden are pretty much head to head height wise now days and he and Bran are really good friends, the kid in capris. : )  

What did I know about elementary school entrance ceremonies? Not much back then. However from all the shopping malls and suits on kid mannequins. Basically what Noboru said was, every little boy wears a mini version of a "salaryman" suit. Shorts, pants or capris. but think mini "salaryman" suit and you get the idea. I thought that black outfit was really umm. Funeral-y.  Or, I'm not sure how to put it. I didn't really care for it. I wished he would have been able to wear a different color or something. And it turns out for the most part Noboru was right, every boy wore the same boring thing basically. The girls wore really cute different colors and styles of pretty dresses. And then there was Genki. He wore this, this is him from the back. His outfit was so cool. So different. I whispered to Noboru, "I thought you said every boy needed a mini black suit?" He said "they do." I said "apparently not." I said, "I wish I would have known this. I would have dressed Branden differently or at least in a different color." Last thing I said was "Noah's going to wear something different when his time comes, than a boring old black suit." Yep, I was totally in awe of Genki's cool outfit. And the bright side is, I bet he got more than the 1 time only...usage out of it too. : ) 

Noah waiting for the kids to come into the room escorted by a 6th grader. Noah needed to be quiet for the ceremony. Check, he was totally quiet! Good Noah, good good Noah! : ) And yes all the kids were staring, as were all the new first grade parents except Genki's family who knew us already. @_@ OMG! Little story tidbit. The year I first moved to Japan. There was a foreign wife in Japan and was on a group I used to belong to, anyway she was dearly wanting and ready to move back to her home country. I was a Japan newbie. And I had no advice to give, but I have never forgotten her or how nice she was. Her one thing she hated most and why they did move back to her home country the year I moved to Japan... was as a western woman. She could not stand the constant staring. She was shy and the unwanted attention was driving her nuts. Understandably so. Again, I was a newbie. So, never commented on the staring issue, because I had no advice I just moved here. And I at times... years later...every now and then. Think about her, think about how wise she was, she had so much more Japan under her belt at the time, than I did...but yeah..I think of her every now and then fondly...and wonder, how's she's doing. : ) But yes, she is/was totally right. The stares never end, if you are a western woman in Japan. They are just endless. 98% of the time, I don't even notice anymore. But yes, it's never ending. And if you have hafu kids that sort of amplifies the stares to the extreme-o. Especially with Noah who looks super western.   

Hi kiddo. You're doing a good job! Are the kids still staring? Let me see.  Yep, they're still staring. I feel your pain kid...I feel your pain! : (  Oh and that's my MIL right next to Noboru. : )
All family's got a school packet... months before school started of what was needed on the first day of school. With diagrams and drawings. You need 2 cleaning rags that have to hang at the back of your child's chair and they should look like this. You need so many little bags and they will have to hang on the side of their desks. I honestly put more pressure on myself then probably any mother at the entrance ceremony that day. Why? Because if we lived in America, I know how to do things, or at least the playing field is level, since the language there is my native language. Plus I went to school in the US and I know how to handle and do things there. However with living in Japan with  the majority of everyone here being Japanese. My biggest worry and fear is that I'll do something wrong, since I am not from here. Screw something up and my kids will get the short end of the stick for it. Does that make sense? I just don't want a gaggle of Japanese mom's whispering..."oh he didn't bring such and such? Awww that must be because his mom isn't...Japanese." In a "poor kid" sorta tone. Do you feel what I'm saying. So, because that is sort of my biggest fear and worry.....I put more pressure on myself. Huge enormous loads of pressure on myself. I never went to Japanese school. Things that might be obvious to the other mom's in my son's class... might not be obvious to me. You know? So, I tell you...I studied the crap....out of that "everything you need to know before starting the first grade at our school" handbook. I mean I stared and studied and took notes.... on each page. I used color highlighter markers. And when the time came, the day of the entrance ceremony... all us parents went into the classroom and the mothers instinctually knew to put all their kids seat cushions/safety headcovers on the chairs. Slide their trays into their desks, etc etc. And thank the lord, I started to do the same...yay!  So studying endlessly...that crazy booklet, writing notes in English on each page for stuff really important that I needed to remember helped. Because, I started doing Branden's right away. Hanging the handmade bags in their spot on the side of the desk, put his coupy and crayon and scissors and pianica in their spots. Placed everything in it's rightful place. Under the watchful eye of my mother in law and all other mom's in the classroom. I did it. The stress was real people, the stress was real! Hahaha. : ) Again though...I just don't want to mess something up and someone think..."well she's a foreigner what did you expect?" So yes...I put unnecessary amounts of stress on myself. practically "stress heart attack" types of amounts of pressure. Branden had forgotten nothing that day or should I say *I* forgot nothing. He brought everything. Shoot...I even brought 2 extra clips that hang the cleaning rags, in case we lost one along the walk from the car to the school. : ) Yes that is SO me. And seriously...I didn't want to take any chances. : ) Our elementary school gave out free child alarms, pictured on all the desks in this pic. That if you sense trouble you pull it and it emits a screeching high pitch sound. A stranger danger alarm. 

There were 4 other toddler babes same age as Noah, that would eventually become Noah's first grade classmates, in the classroom that day, years down the road. : ) The boy sitting next to Branden that first day would end up becoming one of Branden's closest good friends. They were like best friends all through elementary school. He lives in our housing community however he goes to a different JHS. That is the future "Jimbei boy" hahaha. : ) However at this first meeting. They didn't know each other yet. They weren't friends yet. That year they ended up becoming the very best of friends though. And his mom is "awesome sauce", she's a real cool lady, the Jimbei boy's mom. : ) Noah always wants to be right next to Branden. With Branden around, he always feels really safe and part of the club, as long as his big brother is near. We had Branden's randoseru made especially for him from a company in Chiba. Quilting on the sides and really nice blue and silver stars on the front. Our yochien handed out many randoseru catalogs in Branden's final year of yochien. And that coupled with my amazing good "mama friends" from yochien they told me, everything I ever needed to know about randoseru. All or like 98% the kids at our particular yochien bought "made to order" handmade handsewn... randoseru. They helped me a lot... my kind girl friends. We would look through catalogs when we'd go to our mother's luncheons and so their help with the Japanese backpacks was so nice to have. I was really lucky to have such helpful wonderful good friends from our yochien. And heck, by the time Noah needed one. I knew pretty much everything about that already. Chalk that up to experience. : )

Some family shots! Thank you grandma Mitsuko for coming all the way from Osaka, you rock! : ) Everyone ready for an early lunch? : ) Branden's pick since it was his special day. His entrance ceremony. : ) 
Branden was holding my hand super tightly. : ) Noah and his orange high top Converse. And I love that grandma M is so in love with her grandson... that she can't even take her eyes off him, while walking towards the parking lot. 

Branden picked Coco's. Perhaps he was in love with the drink bar. : ) My mother in law ohhed and awed over Branden and Noah during lunch, she was just so happy being able to spend time with them. And Noboru and I meanwhile were like...phew! Aren't you glad we survived today? Yes...we did it! We were like high 5-ing each other once or twice... during lunch. Huge feelings of relief. Oh and funny thing is....so many other family's were also at the small city... nearest our town eating at Coco's too. Hahaha. Perhaps because our town has no actual restaurants? Hahaha. : )  How was I during Noah's elementary school entrance ceremony? Absolutely zero nervousness or anxiety. I felt calm as a cucumber. I felt really zen that day. Complete calm. Branden's first grade entrance ceremony...I was at...more like an almost stress heart attack, type level, ykwim. Meanwhile, Noah's ichinensei ceremony? Complete serenity. I guess...it's just...after going through it once...the 2nd time.. was honestly no big deal... stress wise... at all. No fear of the unknown... because nothing was...unknown anymore. Does that make sense? : ) Anyway...that was this weeks TBT. Branden's elementary school entrance ceremony. : )