|Current mood:|| indescribable|
The Last Day of School
The day started with a short homeroom at 8:35, and then everybody cleaned, even though we had just arrived; I guess the school just wanted to make sure everything was cleaned before the winter break. After that, everybody went to the gymnasium, where the closing ceremonies for the term began.
I knew I was going to have to give a speech, but wasn’t sure when I would be doing it. As it turns out, I was up first, before the official closing ceremonies were to begin. The school principal first made a short speech about me, saying that it was pretty cool that I could speak so many languages, among other things. He said that he was most amazed when I translated for my mom when she visited the school, rather than leaving the job to the English teachers. Then, I went up and gave my speech. I basically just read what I had wrote on a sheet of paper yesterday, and had had “corrected” by Mr. Fujimoto (who, by the way, refused to help me with but the most obvious mistakes in Japanese, saying that “people [would] say ‘oh, Nathan’s Japanese is better than mine. I hate him’” I didn’t make enough mistakes). Here is the speech, with a rough translation, for the sake of completeness:
First of all, thank you.
My exchange was difficult at first; I didn’t know much (about Japanese) language or culture.
But with the help of teachers, friends, and my host family, it got more fun.
For example, in the classroom, the students and teachers helped me a lot.
Also, the teachers let me participate in various clubs.
In particular, the students and teachers of Brass Band gave me a lot of assistance.
In addition, I was very happy when people greeted me when I was walking in the halls.
I am grateful to everyone at this school.
Thanks you very much.
I will never forget (everyone).
(in English) I love Kojo High School. Good luck, everyone!"
I was worried before I gave the speech that it wasn’t very good, and everyone’s reaction didn’t help make me feel better; nobody mentioned my speech AT ALL the rest of the day, except the one time I asked someone directly how my speech was. The answer was “your Japanese was very good. It was very easy to understand.” I think people expected me to do something wild/radical on my last day, and were disappointed that I didn’t. Oh, well.
Anyway, after I gave my speech, there were some talks by a few teachers about how everyone had to continue to work towards their goals during winter vacation, and things like that. The closing ceremonies finished a little before 10:00, at which time everybody went to the final homeroom of the year.
The first thing that happened during homeroom was a short talk by Kumano-sensei, my PIEE Area Representative who had come to hear my speech and get back the Japanese study materials he had lent me the last time I made a speech for the school, in April. He basically said that my Japanese had improved a lot during my year, and that he was sure that all of my classmates had helped me a lot during my year to get used to Japan.
After Kumano-sensei left, Mr. Fujimoto handed out a few things, including the school newspaper. While I had known I would be in the school newspaper after I had my interview a few weeks ago, I hadn’t expected such a big article; more than half of the back page was about me. Apparently, other were surprised, too; I heard someone say (in Japanese) “the newspaper club really doesn’t have anything (better) to write, do they?”
After that, I received a few things from various people. I got a photo album and a list of all Pokemon in Japanese from Mrs. Taniguchi (the General Japanese teacher, and the person whose electronic dictionary I borrowed when I didn’t have one of my own), a baseball shirt with today’s date on it from another teacher I’ve seen a lot, and an obi from the karate teacher (which surprised me; I guess he was planning to give me something when I went to Karate practice again for my ‘last practice’, but we didn’t manage to find any good date in the last week. I also received 1000 cranes on strings that my classmates put together, which was really touching. Once again, I feel bad that I didn’t have worthy gifts to give in return, although I did what I could.
When homeroom ended, and people began going to their respective clubs, there was a little more gift-trading, with both teachers and students, and then I walked home, carrying my school slippers with me.
In unrelated news, I bought myself a Christmas Eve pizza (ha ha) at Big Mouth, a take out/delivery pizza store near Kojo. Although I’d been thinking about it for a while, it was the first time I actually bought myself pizza there. I tried yakiniku pizza for the first time; it was small, but tasty.
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I bet you're excited to come home and nostalgic about the country you're leaving at the same time, huh? That's how I felt, anyway, despite any unhappiness I had there. If we're making a trip to Egypt together someday, we're also taking one to Japan ^_^ Merry Christmas!|
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