Today was Graduation Day at Asahi Junior High. Preparations for this day probably began months in advance...it was a pretty big to-do. It was also a very typical Japanese ceremony...a lot of bowing, serious faces, lack of cheer...but it was rather moving nonetheless.
However, the most exciting part of the whole day was the "farewell ceremony" that was held afterward. The underclassmen all lined up and bid their departing senpai adieu (ooh, borrowed Japanese and French in one sentence). They exchanged momentos and gifts...and nearly everyone cried. You have to remember that many of these kids have known eachother since preschool and now the graduates are going away (some moving to other cities) to attend high school. It was a big bowl of happy and sad all mixed together.
I tried to stay out of things for the most part, just play the casual observer, but I did get in there to get pictures with a few of my favorite students.
More pictures over at Flickr.