Thursday, April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday. Noah's elementary school entrance ceremony 2012...

This is the last entrance ceremony themed TBT for April 2016. Yes, I did manage to write posts for the 4 weeks, all this month. I hope these posts can help someone. Or shed some light. Give some food for thought or help or at least something to think about, if you have younger aged kiddos. : )  This is one of the many catalogs that I was given from our yochien when Branden was in his final year at yochien (Japanese kindergarten) These were given at the end of October. Why are these catalogs given out so early? It's actually... not too early at all. Because if you are ordering a handmade/handsewn one and a popular one at that. There could be a wait. Quality made to order randoseru start being ready.... end of January/early February. If you ordered yours in November/early December. You don't want to order your randoseru late! Especially if it's a special "made to order" randoseru. Also, there are also mass produced randoseru too. That can be bought at Aeon for say 19,800 yen (about $198 US) but considering the randoseru is used all 6 years and must last that long. So find the best quality one, of course within your budget. They go up in price all the way to 65,000 yen-70,000yen ($650-$700 US) but again considering it will have to last all 6 years. Hold tons of books and basically take a beating being used for 6 years straight. On the opposite end of the spectrum....I have even seen randoseru at Cainz/Besia for 9,800 yen (about $100US) so not to worry... you will be able to find one within your budget. This is a lot different than how we do in the US and just buy a new Jansports or Lands End backpack every year. : ) I was lucky in that and I know I mentioned it beforehand. But, I was lucky in that.... I had a really fantastic set of girl/mom friends when Branden was in yochien. And same when Noah was in yochien too. But, at the time when Bran was in yochien. I let them know. As honestly as I could. "I know nothing about randoseru, please tell me anything you can. "Should we buy a budget friendly one or splurge?" Everyone of my friends said..."invest in my child's randoseru" (backpack). It's a symbol of Japanese childhood innocence...that randoseru. So again. They helped me a ton. So we agreed and decided to invest in Branden's randoseru. Plus it's also a fantastic keepsake/memory. We flipped through catalog after catalog. And we finally liked 1 place. And had 3 randoseru we liked from that 1 place. See how in this picture they sew them all themselves. We bought Bran's from this place. 

Let me share a little story. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka had their own "school bag" so Noboru never.... not ever in his life had a randoseru. Something he wishes he had the chance to have as a child. Also, another weird fact. Noboru's elementary school in Osaka, they wore street shoes in his school. Yes, no inside shoes for Noboru either. Is this weird or what? If you live in Japan this could sound super weird. However, I do know of one foreign mama, she's a friend of mine and her child's school now days (not in Osaka) has their own school bag too. Same way as Noboru's school did. However they wear inside shoes. : ) Also, my niece J she lives in Osaka and her school requires randoseru. So, again not all schools are the same. So, Noboru not ever having a randoseru. Grew up thinking, boys only wear black randoseru and girls wear only red. We know how wrong my sweetie pie was. But again. He never went to a school with a randoseru, so not his fault. And besides...he was in elementary school in the 80's. So that was back in the day, anyway. Ykwim. : )  I should have asked my friends about this from our yochien but I didn't. I should have asked about colors. There were many backpacks in blue that I really liked for Branden. Like the one this boy is carrying in blue with stars. I really liked this one. This was my #1 choice this blue one with blue and orange stars. I LOVED this backpack. But Noboru was like...no way. Boys have to wear black randoseru! Maybe he thought they'd spontaneously combust, if boys don't pick black or I don't know what. He was not wavering on this black randoseru thing at all. Did I mention how much I loved this blue one with blue and orange stars? 

Bottom row second to the right. The blue randosru, I wanted for B. But, I compromised for the black version bottom row far left. Only because Noboru said, every boy in Branden's class would show up with black and if Branden didn't show up with black... he would be a Weirdo Mc Weirdo-pants. Which was so totally wrong but...there ya go! When 2 parents grow up... neither having a randoseru. It's like...the blind leading the blind! I tell ya. : ) 

This was the model one. But we put in the order for this. Because as Noboru said... every single boy human child in the class would be carrying black. @_@ Wrong. But anyways. 

I wanted the blue one with the stars picture above some place. And my 2nd choice was this 3 toned blue randoseru. This looked super cool to me too. I remember this as clear as crystal...Noboru looked at this blue striped cool randoseru and said..."If Branden shows up with this, he will get laughed out of school" @_@ Umm no he wouldn't. And he said that about that conservative blue one with stars too. 

He was insistant on the black. Yes he has since apologized profusely...though not necessary at all. Hey, it is what it is. Can't change it. The bright side is...at least Bran got a nice black one with stars and quilting stitched on his and stuff. With his name and stuff on it. Made for him. Bran's was about, 59,000 yen. We figured about a $100 a year. Oh and one more thing. Bran's 2 best friend's in elementary. Genki's randoseru was not black and the Jimbei boy's was blue. @_@  Live and learn. But yes I do like Bran's randoseru and it was made just for him. 
Flash back years later. I got a new stack of randoseru catalogs for Noah. From our yochien. But, this time around, I was pickier. I knew I could pick ANY color, this time around. I now had one thing I didn't have when it was Branden's turn. This time around, I had *experience* And that is priceless. I knew exactly what I wanted. I started looking and hunting for Noah's randoseru in September. Yes, I did. I didn't track it down until mid October. Found a place that makes them 100% hand sewn made to order. A place in Osaka. We called them once... emailed with them 2 times before placing our order. And we had our order placed by the end of October. By mid January the year Noah was set to graduate yochien, the handsewn randoseru of Noah's was already shipped out. This place emailed us... the first day they started to make Noah's randoseru, they emailed us the final week when they were near done making Noah's randoseru. They were in contact with us twice a month for the duration since we ordered Noah's randoseru. As they should for the price we paid for Noah's! The cost for Noah's randoseru? About 70,000 yen easy. But he is our last child. We will never have another. And this time around, we had the freedom of any color and...we just knew way more about randoseru the second time around. Anyway,  randoseru usually have charms placed on them. Usually something from a shrine that has good study wishes on it. Or something like that. And some have fun charms but every randoseru I have ever seen... has a charm. Noah's favorite colors are yellow and orange. You all know that. So, I made sure to get these Crocs charms in Noah's colors. : ) 

Entrance ceremony day. And boy oh boy were we ready! Zero nerves, no fear. We've got this! : )

Ready for school! Now you get to go with your big brother! That means fun! : )

Such a preppy randoseru.
Noah's outfit came from Comme Ca, socks came from there too. 
Each new first grader was assigned a 6th grade helper that day. You know how deputy Barney Fife was very gung ho about being a policeman on the Andy Griffith Show? Well Noah's helper was so nice, but he took his job as our helper... very seriously! Bless his little heart! : ) First thing he told me was, "Branden-kun's mom, you can just stand back here (back of the class) not to worry I will get your little one... all set up. He didn't know Noah's name yet. But he learned it within minutes of getting Noah all safely set up. : ) You see just parents in this pic. Yet, all these kids had 1 kid helper. But none really helped except Noah's super helper! He rocked! : ) This gave me time to take pics. : ) 

Our helper was making sure Noah brought all his required bags with tape, glue, scissors, etc. And his red and white hat. This kid rocked so much... he knocked and scratched everything right off the list and hung the bags and everything. In fact right here, he mentioned to Noboru that he could just go and stand at the back too...that he truly can get Noah all squared away on his own. @_@ I tell ya this kid was...super kid! He was amazing and so helpful! Best helper kid ever! 

See all the parents trying to get their kids area all set up. See Noah's bags hanging and seat cover on. Right in this picture Noah and our amazing wonderful helper was getting the clips for the cleaning rags all set up under his seat. See there's another 6th grader standing behind my mom friend but that kid wasn't really helpful like our helper was. Our helper...did so much. We weren't even needed. Hahaha. : ) I salute you... best most helpful 6th grader who helped Noah! : ) You see that blue Ikea bag on someone's table? You need to bring a huge bag with you on the entrance day and bring everything. Branden's time of entrance ceremony, I didn't forget a single thing but I was so nervous, I mentioned I was like... near heart attack type stress. This time around. I was so calm, so chill. So zen. The parents in Noah's class who had older siblings, like the 4 classmates of Noah's who have siblings in Bran's grade, for example. Those mom's were so ahead of the game. They were experts by now. See little K yawning in the row behind Noah? That's because his mom did this once before...when Bran and her oldest son... big K started the first grade. So with her experience, she went in there set up little K's desk and was finished in no time flat. The new...first grade mom's experiencing it...for the first time...were the ones still at the desks. I chalk it up to nerves and just trying to get things right. : ) Firs times always the hardest. Second time...hey it ain't no biggie. : ) This time around...I totally got to enjoy it...100% for all it was. Versus worry and give myself a stress heart attack. : ) 

Remember Noah's first grade seat cover? Green happy elephants with a bright yellow head cover for a disaster. Head protection basically. 

See the seat far left farthest this camera? See how it's missing a seat cover. Yep, seat cover was forgotten. Again...most parents remember everything but some forgot stuff. And you know what. That's A-okay. Nobody's perfect. It happens. Live and learn. 

Noah walking with his 2 helpers. The best helper was that little boy though, He was fantastic!

If you're thinking...you have seen that teacher before. That's because she was Branden's first and 2nd grade teacher. And was Noah's first grade teacher too. 

As soon as the teacher took roll call and announced your name, you were officially a student there. 

All grades except the first grade helped dismantle and get the gym back to looking like a gym. That is Bran in his orange Ralph Lauren big pony top.

I am so glad Noah wore gray!

All mother's in this class are 100% Japanese. Except me and 1 other mom. Me being American and her being from the Philippines. She is so awesome, so wonderful and I am so glad to call her my friend. Anyways, she only has 1 child. Same grade as Noah. She looked as nervous... during Noah's entrance day, as I know I looked during Branden's entrance ceremony. I could understand her feelings 100%. I could understand. Because like me...she was not raised in Japan, she hopes to get things right. She's never experienced entrance ceremony at the elementary school before. So, I totally get that. Don't we all, try to do our best. She brought her daughter's seat cover and randoseru. But she forgot her daughters inside tray that goes inside her desk and I think her little bags and red and white hat. She forgot a lot. And by the stress on her face. Remember, I was just cool calm and collected sitting at the back of the class....as our "wonder helper" did it all for us. She meanwhile looked stressed out...like near stress heart attack levels. I had never met her before. But...again. It is times like these... that determines the type of person you are. What sort of character do you have. Will you sit and watch someone struggle and say nothing. Or will you try and comfort? You already know the type of nerd, that I am. I'm a comforter. I hate to see people in stress. Believe me...I know what it's like. And I know how it feels to live in a culture not your own and feel like all eyes are staring and judging. So anyways back to the story. She's looking super nervous. And I smile first. She smiles in return. She says in English to me, "I forgot my daughter's tray"...I tell her...in the most soothing kind voice I can muster. And I say to her. "It's okay" She lets out a huge sigh of relief. She can see...no judgement here. There's none from me. And again I try to comfort and I say. "I have 1 older son, he goes to this same school, and when he had his entrance ceremony a few years ago. I was so nervous. So doki doki", I told her. She smiled so big. Oh really? I said, "it's okay. It's different for us since we've never been to school in Japan. Harder for us, in a way. Besides, everyone looks so nervous too... see", I add and we both look around. I added..."not to worry, nobody even notices." : ) Just tomorrow come early and bring it, I said. We both shook our heads. She heard kindness. On a very stressful day. We became fast friends that day. And we are friends even til this day. And yeah that's how we met.  You don't have to be perfect in this world...but you should always try to be kind.  

Hi Yuka-sensei. We meet again. : ) Hahaha. : ) 

These were my most easy years! When both boys went to the same school. 

And down the hill we go. 

Walking to our car!

Oh jungle gym! Enjoy your elementary school years Noah! : ) 

When you know this is your last child EVER and you go outside and go nuts with taking about a bazillion pictures. Hahaha. : )

And that was that. And then we went to go and eat! A celebration lunch. Just us 4. : ) 

Any final thoughts on the subject. Hmm. I blogged in great detail all about Branden starting yochien. Noah starting yochien. And course, all the mistakes I made along the way. And I blogged all about Branden and Noah starting elementary school and also blogged about Branden starting JHS. And why? In hopes this information will come in handy to someone in the future. I blogged it all, as it happened all those years ago, but all the very detailed information is all there/here. The one thing I want to say. And the one thing I want to stress to you, if you are a fellow foreign parent living in Japan is...be kind to yourself. There will be times, when you have things down to a science. And times when you feel so nervous and maybe you might feel so out of your element, I have had times like that too, oh yes I have. Or you may even feel like you bombed out, super hardcore. But seriously. Don't beat yourself up over it! Know that...this too will pass. You will eventually get the hang of things. And sure hindsight is 20/20. But if you forget something you needed to bring. Just be kind to yourself, be forgiving. And in a few years it might just turn out to be your most funniest memory. And if you see another fellow foreign parent and they look like they could use a kind word...please give it. That's all. : )