Monday, March 20, 2006

Graduation + Back in Hong Kong

My plan on Friday morning was to leave the apartment and bike to the school to attend the graduation ceremony, then leave at 11:30 and bike to the station to catch my Shinkansen to Tokyo. Unfortunately, when I woke up it was a FREAKING DOWNPOUR so I called a taxi ... which couldn't find my apartment building. So I was 30 minutes late to the school ... I still arrived in plenty of time, of course, but STILL.

Everyone was dressed up, but the women were wearing kimono and hakama. Damn, guess I should have gotten one ... guess I'll have to save up, sigh. Here, the vice-principal talks on the phone. Funny, I think she looks like Sakura ...

Ok, so I guess not. But I like the pink. まいや、そうではないね。でもそのピンクな服が好きだ。

Two women from the office were making special sakura-flavoured tea that is used for celebratory occasions. It's not really tea, as all they are doing is putting a sakura blossom and what appears to be a kind of paste into hot water, but the taste is ... odd but good, if salty.

The stage for the ceremony. For ceremonies, Japan really goes all out.
Since it took place in the unheated gym, they rolled out the superheaters which look like the Eye of Mordor. I'm not going to say which has already been said in many blogs, but it was true - the superheaters heat the room to make it unbearably hot, then are promptly turned off for the rest of the ceremony so everyone freezes. In Japanese, this is called 'efficiency'.

The students are called by name and receive their certificate of graduation directly from the principal. They then announce their intention to be good middle school students, and pass authority to the fifth-graders. Interestingly, they also said they would renounce war and live in a peaceful society. I informed a Chinese friend of this, who responded "Oh, I don't believe them". Sigh, Japan, sometimes we just can't win!

I had to leave the ceremony early, but I did make it to the station on time. I was damn starving though, so I bought a beef and rice bento. And get this - it's self-heating! Pull the string ...

and it gets nice and hot! Lots of steam too!

The heating blocks or whatever are kind of heavy and take up half the packaging, but hey. I wonder how it works ...

Oh yeah. On the way out at Narita I saw this poster reminding everyone that U.S. beef is still banned in Japan, so DON'T EAT ANY OR YOU WILL DIE!!!! They also include Canada in the smaller text even though we've been certified safe by J-land. Bastards!!!

10 Comments 論評:

  • I wonder what the real intention of banning American beef is. Bitterness over another trade embargo?

    By Anonymous Chris, at 3/21/2006 1:46 AM  

  • To be fair, there was that shipment of beef right after the ban that contained banned bits. And Australian beef is cornering the market because they test every cow while the States does not.

    By Blogger 羽之助, at 3/21/2006 8:40 AM  

  • Very smart. Although testing every animal is probably costly (compared to doing test samples), if that allows you to own a whole country's beef market, then so be it!

    By Anonymous Chris, at 3/22/2006 1:36 AM  

  • Your school's graduation setup looks EXACTLY like mine did, down to the color of the tablecloth and the individual little flowerpots spaced out on the gym stairs. Only two of our teachers wore kimono, though - the one female sannensei homeroom teacher (there are only two sannensei homerooms in total), and the lady who was assisting the principal during the ceremony.

    By Blogger MNJetter, at 3/22/2006 8:35 AM  

  • LOL, how nice of the Eye of Mordor to attend the graduation ceremony! Hmmm beef... 牛丼 is my favorite. Sigh, I still eat American beef, but I am still alive, yahoo!

    By Anonymous Peng, at 3/22/2006 10:14 AM  

  • 牛丼、最高!

    By Anonymous Chris, at 3/22/2006 11:59 AM  

  • Hi pat.....great pictures! Got your parcel - thank you so much for the stamps! I love them! Also the little screen thing. Forgot you were back in HK. Spent a week with Amy - she had strep throat and now has mono - I knew it!

    Jamie is cute. Love all the pictures from the school. The stage looked so beautiful!

    Hope I don't embarress you by writing to you this way - you know, saying all this Mum stuff.

    Love Mom

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/23/2006 3:28 AM  

  • Remember that the whole reason this blog was set up in the first place was so you could keep tabs on me.

    Amy has mono? What, does this run in the family now or what? Well, two weeks out with absolute throat torture and she'll be good as new.

    By Blogger 羽之助, at 3/23/2006 9:10 PM  

  • Hey, are you on mixi at all?

    I love the Mordor comment! As did my geek friends.

    By Blogger tvashtri, at 3/27/2006 9:42 AM  

  • Mixi is yet another orkut-like thing that I have no time to read.

    By Blogger 羽之助, at 3/27/2006 10:43 AM  

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