With the Good and Bad split pretty much nearly down the centre, right after Baachan's fish and veggie dish, no a bit later, after K agreed to take Erica to bed. That all sounds pretty good, right? As was the lovely Graduation Ceremony before that. More about that later.
I was annoyed primarily by my futile attempts to cut through some red tape at the city office. I don't really want to go into detail, but have you ever found, all you foreigners living in Japan, that sometimes staff keep answering the question you DIDN'T ask but won't listen to the one you ARE asking? Or shuffle you into the expected path when all you wanted was to ask a few questions? Or neglect to tell you some very vital piece of information which then has you scrambling to fix? Suffice it to say, all of the above today.
It really set me off for the day, I must have a lot of underlying stress. I was so annoyed I gave up on the idea of finding out where our local drop-off point for donated blankets, etc. was, and decided I would just give money to the Red Cross! Since then I found an address for another place that will take my paltry box of items, I'll send it there instead and stay the hell away from City Office until I absolutely MUST go. Kanji has promised to help me next time, he could see how upset I was (and felt a bit guilty that he contributed to it by marching a still-not-asleep Erica down to me when I arrived home, so I could get her down. Grrr.)
BUT the morning was great! It was the first O.I.T. graduation I have been to, despite teaching there for at least part of the year for 12 years. The other years were on behalf of another company, who, if they ever got an invitation, never passed it on the teachers. So it was a new thing for me. I've been to graduations before, but never one where I was a teacher - it was so nice have a connection to each and every student!
I teach a one-year course straddling the second half of the First Year and the first half of the Second Year, so I hadn't seen this group since last October. Many of them looked surprised, and pleased to see me there, and a whole bunch of them called out to me when they were lined up for the photo, which all felt very nice!
It was astonishingly formal, with lots of bowing and standing up and sitting down, but it was run very, very tightly and finished exactly on time. We had a one-minute silence for the tsunami. The speeches were nice and short. There was the requisite amount of red- and white-beribboned officials and special guests. I arrived at the same time as the Prefectural Governor. I realized as soon as I saw the very shiny car drive right up to the door. I was on the steps. I first tried to hurry to get in first, but they were fast and caught me up at the door, where I then tried to step back, but they noticed me trying to step back and the minions motioned me to go in, and I think I was supposed to say no, no, no and step back again, but I ended up going in at the same time. Oops.
Well here are a few photos - the ceremony, with one of my favorite students giving the return speech. The whole class, and me and my girls. SO few girls at this technical college, where they learn things like systems engineering. Only 4 in this year, and all in the architectural course.