The start of something new

28 Aug

Yesterday was the shigyoshiki at my school, or “start of the new semester ceremony.”  While I have to assume ti varies from school to school, at my school, new teachers and school workers are introduced and asked to give a speech, the principal says a few words, winners of sports competitions are honored, and the school song is sung.  All of these things were all fine and well in my book… except the part where new school employees had to give a speech.  I was less thrilled about that aspect.

Luckily for me, I was asked to give a simple self-introduction, somethings that any new employee in a Japanese workplace will probably have to perfect.  In the elongated shigyoshiki version, I told the students my name, that I was from America, my college major, that I studied abroad in Tokyo for four months, and that I was excited to work at this school this year.  That seemed to go over fairly well, and the other ALT at my school did similarly.  Still, standing up on a stage in front of 300 middle schoolers was a bit terrifying… but also somehow, it was a motivating feeling.  I’m looking forward to getting to teach them all… even if down the line I change my opinion of some of them!

The ceremony is conducted in the gymnasium, which has a stage built in on one end to make a sort of gym-atorium (my elementary school had one of these… pretty classy, let me tell you).  The gym was fairly nice, but it was distinctly not air conditioned, and so while I had worn a full suit to impress the crowd while giving my speech, I began to regret that directly afterwards when I sweated through the rest of the ceremony.

ImageHowever, the very end of the ceremony distinctly made up for all of my sweat and discomfort: after honoring the school teams and athletes who had won at sports competitions over the summer, the principal said he had one more honor to give out… to the girls who were a part of Mixed Juice, the team that won the VS Arashi Rolling Coin Tower competition!  He asked them to say a few words (which caused the girls to erupt into giggle and eventually turn to the crowd and say “Arashi are really really cool!”) before giving them the medals and trophy that they had received on the show.  The audience, for the most part, seemed just as tickled as I was by this, and it was a very amusing wrap-up to what I thought was going to be a fairly boring ceremony!

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