Apr 5, 2019
My daughter is four, and attends a pre-school here in Niigata. Today was the annual "entrance ceremony" day, since the school year here starts in April. I guess I'd assumed that an entrance ceremony was going to be a situation where the children would meet their new room teachers, get acquainted with any new faces in their classes, and get back into the groove with their school routine.
I was shocked then, to get there and realize that the entrance ceremony seemed less about the children and more about ticking bureaucratic boxes (at this point this really shouldn't surprise me, though).
Let me just preface this by saying that my daughter's preschool has children from babies to five year olds attending, so you have some scope for age. The entrance ceremony information said the ceremony would run from 9.30am until 11.30am.
The school didn't open the doors until 9.30am on the dot in this situation. No matter that there were families outside waiting with young kids, they didn't let anyone inside the premises until bang-on 9.30. It's been snowing the last couple of days here and it's still cold, so why you wouldn't let people inside was beyond me. Thankfully we just hung out in the car until they opened the doors, but some families probably walked or caught public transport to be there.
9.30am isn't actually the "start time" for the ceremony. It's the "gathering time". The gathering time gives you a chance to find a place to sit, but the main event didn't actually start until 10. You'd think that people who deal with children all day would try and minimize the amount of idle time that kids (especially the real young ones) would be dealing with.
This ceremony was not about the kids at all. We sat through an hour of speeches from the principal and other staff. I guess I was expecting a more child focused "first day back at school" feeling, but nope - this was just lots of bowing and lots of long winded drivel.
I'm just saying...when my four year old - and the rest of the kids there - seemed bored out of their minds, I couldn't really fault them, since as an adult I was feeling the same way.
Please tell me that this is an anomaly and entrance ceremonies aren't always just full of irrelevant, long winded speeches?
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!
Bad news, ALL entrance ceremonies, and to some extend graduation ceremonies are like this. It is an event to celebrate but you rarely see smiles because they are supposed to be strict and formal. Like you said, it often turns out to not be about the students. Get ready for a lot more boring events like these in the future and time wasted during each event lol.
@Jackson it was definitely SO different to what I remember my "first day back at school" events were back as a kid. She's my eldest so I was kind of taken aback that it was so formal for a bunch of pre-schoolers, but I guess I've just gotta grin and bear it from the sounds!
Same here today. Elementary school ones I've attended as an ALT have been similar too. Woo.