Friday, March 9, 2012

One Graduation Song

The graduation ceremony for the third years will be this coming Monday. It never fails to amaze me how few things have changed in Japanese schools. My students still have the same hair-styles, the boys wear the black gakuran, the girls the sailor-style dress, and for special days the teachers wear hakama. We sing the same song, and I would bet good money the bunting in this black-and-white video was red-and-white, just like the one we hung today.

And the crying, of course, is timeless.

How much we owe our respected teachers,
For the time in the garden of their instruction.
Looking back, the months and years have flown,
And now is the time for us to bid farewell.

How much we owe the harmonious time together,
Though we part we will never forget.
We'll keep striving to become successful and make our names,
But now is the time for us to bid farewell.

We learned to study in the evening by the window,
By the light of fireflies reflected on snow banks.*
Months and years will pass before we forget,
And now is the time for us to bid farewell.

*A saying that means someone who is so devoted to their studies that they’ll use even the slightest source of light.

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