This was the last week of the school year in Japan. One of my four-year old kids drew me this. I had previously told her mum I was from Northern Ireland, and religious/political flag squabbles aside, fair play to her for even knowing what part of the world it is in. Coming from Northern Ireland, it’s always very difficult to explain to people about my country – some don’t even know it exists. And I’m not just talking about Japanese people. Many Americans and even British people I have met along the way too. I guess I can’t blame them, for I myself sometimes don’t even know what the hell’s going on geographically and politically. Over the years, however, I’ve come to appreciate that we’re a unique country, and a friendly bunch of weirdos to boot.
To be honest, the period from January to March in Tokyo is always a weird one. It’s cold, grim, and most people are in hibernation. But somehow, when graduation day finally comes around in March, the sun always seems to be shining and the first cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom. In Europe, the school year starts in September, but I think it makes more sense to follow the Japanese school calendar. Spring is a time for fresh starts, and so it’s fitting that the first day of the next school year will be in April.
I came back to Japan in January because my company needed a teacher asap after another one quit. And so while it has been good to help those kids over the final hurdle before graduation, I’m ready for a fresh start too. Spring is nearly here, finally.
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