Today was Opening Ceremony, marking the start of the new term.  Since I’m new, I had to give a self-introduction speech.  I did it in English and Japanese, but as I got close to the end I started blanking and had to look at my cheat sheet. >_<

The ceremony is very formal.  You take your indoor shoes off before going up on stage.  Since the principal introduced me, he walked in front of me, so I did what he did.  Well, the other ALT had already told me about the shoes, but I didn’t know about the bowing to the Japanese flag.  When the principal bowed up on stage, I honestly didn’t realize what he was bowing for (I’m kinda slow sometimes, lol) and I bowed too.  I think some students might have laughed, but they could have been laughing at something else.  Anyway, I gave my speech, was a little confused about the procedure for going off stage, but I think it went alright.  Later, when the principal walked back on stage, I saw that he also bowed to the flag when going off the stage.  My co-ALT said it really isn’t expected that I bow to the flag since I’m not Japanese.  I figure if I at least do it when I walk on stage (not that that happens often) it’s alright.  It doesn’t make me feel any weirder than all the times I had to say something like “to serve my fellow Americans” with my right hand up in the City Year oath while I wasn’t an American.  To say nothing of the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school.

It was a bit sad to see that all the girls sit behind all the boys in assembly (that is, the students are placed that way).  If I get a chance, I’d like to ask some of the students what they think about that.  It could be that they don’t care at all.

Everyone also sang the school song.  The lyrics are up on what seems to be a wooden panel at the front of the auditorium/gym.  From where I was sitting I could read along.  Not that I tried to sing, since I didn’t know the melody and couldn’t read all the kanji anyway.  But eventually I’d like to learn it.  It’s not that long.

Well, tomorrow is the first class.  The schedule still isn’t quite normal because of all the practice for 体育祭 (taiikusai), or the Sports Day Festival.  So, there’s only one class tomorrow for us ALTs.  I hope it goes well!

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