Monday, March 05, 2018

Noah's final Observation Day at our local elementary school in Japan...

Last Thursday March 1st, was Noah's final Observation Day as an elementary school student. And on a more important note, it was also Noah's final Observation Day in Japan PERIOD. So a super special day for us and him. Observation Day was for the last class of the day, for all 6 grades. Two weeks beforehand, Noah told me that his 6th grade class had planned to bake cookies the day before Observation Day. Something us parents and our 6th grade student could share together. And a week beforehand the 6th graders were deciding, if the final Observation Day should be us watching and observing class or if we should go and play some dodge ball in the gymnasium. They voted and decided we should play dodge ball. So that's what we did. March 1st, at 1:20pm us 6th grade parents met outside the school gym. Our 6th graders were already waiting for us inside the building. Important to note... this is the day we all paid for their elementary school yearbook. 22,000 yen/ around US$200.00 We paid, got our receipt. And entered the gymnasium. Living in rural Japan, with a town population under 5,000 people. Our school has just one 6th grade class. And only one 1st grade class, and only one 2nd grade class etc.  36 kids total for the 6th graders. We split the kids in half and had 2 dodgeball games going at once in the gym. I've known these parents since Noah was a first grader. Remember since our town is so tiny, our town doesn't even have a yochien. There is 1 hoikuen in our actual town, but both Branden and Noah went to a yochien in a small city nearest our town. And some of the parents, I have known since Branden was in the first grade too. So, for me...when I look at these pictures. I see parents that I am really fond of. I see people who we have enjoyed undokai/sports day with  for 6-9 years, if they were also fellow parents from Branden's ichinensei too.When I see this picture, I see Noah. I see my husband and I also see my friends and Noah's friends. 

The biggest of smiles and best of laughs. My husband and his friend. They are both in the Father's Club. This man in red has 2 daughters. His oldest daughter was a classmate of Branden's since they were first graders. And his middle daughter is Noah's age. We have been close with this family for 9 years. Living in rural Japan, your relationships with others... especially if you raise kids here. Your bonds are tight. Your friendships are close. Noboru being originally from Osaka and me being originally from America, this town just welcomed us with open arms and an open mind. Friendships like this are truly priceless. And the "helper" teacher in the background in gray, I adore her so much! She's fantastic. 

Let's try not to get hit with the ball!

Noah's main teacher in the gray pants and blue sweatshirt. 

Noah having such a great day! He loves dodgeball.

The 6th graders sang a graduation type of song for us parents. They all did so wonderfully. 
Noah is part of the Baking Club, so he had to get to school extra early, the day before and make the dough with the other 6th grade baking club members. And then at regular school starting time, the rest of the 6th graders met them in the cooking room. Our school has an amazing huge cooking room. And they baked cookies until lunch that day. After the kids sang... they passed out the cookies to us parents. The note sent home the day before, said for us parents to bring our own drink. Noboru and I each brought a bottle of tea and Noah had ice tea in his thermos. 

One bag for the 6th grade child and the other bag with note attached, was for their parent. Noboru and I munched on the cookies Noah made for us. They were delicious. It was a very good idea to bake cookies. Teachers have the best ideas! : )

This note attached to the cookies was written to us from Noah. It says, "For 6 years, thank you for supporting me" Truly such a fantastic note. Such appreciation from my son. Thank you Noah! I will always continue to support you and also your brother too. I love you both so much. So anyway, that was Noah's final Observation Day.

We also had another event, which was basically a "Good bye to the 6th graders event," where all grades sort of celebrate the 6th graders. There was an emotional slide show too. In Japanese it's called, Rokunensei o Okurukai. We had that yesterday. March 5th. I enjoyed all of it, but I admit I cried when they showed the slide show, of our kids starting out as little "pika pika ichinensei" And show pics of our kids, throughout all 6 grades. And by the time, we hit the 5th grade, I was crying. Many of us parents were. So were the kids. Noah graduates March 16th. Right now, because the 6th graders will be graduating soon. Noah goes to school 20 minutes early in the mornings now.... all 6th graders are right now. They have been practicing for graduation since yesterday and this will continue until the day before graduation. Also right now because Noah is a 6th grader and also spring break is almost upon us, Noah has a very irregular schedule right now. He gets out of school right now 2pm most days, but some days it's 11am. So his coming home time right now is shortened now. And as for Branden, he has high school tests this week and next week. So he is getting out of school at 11am for this week and next week. I feel with their irregular schedules....I really have to stay on my toes. And be sure to check and double check *both* their schedules every single day. March is proving to be a busy month for our household. : )