The Graduate

Well, we have our first graduate!  Owen graduated from Japanese yochien, which is a 2-3 year combined pre-school and Kindergarten.  It is a REALLY big deal in this country!  Dads get off work; women dress in their most formal BLACK suits, pearls, and high heels (I’m glad that I knew this ahead of time– I’ve had a friend or two show up at their child’s graduation wearing the wrong color)… But most of the moms were wearing fake white corsages that I didn’t know I needed…





…and it is very clear that the school teachers, staff, and children take the event quite seriously.



They even made yearbooks for Owen’s class!


I read a book a number of years ago entitled, “Going to School in Japan.”  The author did extensive research on what happens at Japanese yochiens compared with American kindergartens.  She came to the conclusion (this is oversimplified, of course) that basically the goal of American kindergartens is to teach the child independence;  in japan the goal is to teach cooperation.  Over and over we have seen this reality.  We are amazed at how the yochien educators are able to pull off all that they do, and how they get 60 children ages 5 and 6 to all — cooperate!

One friend wrote and asked – “But did you cry?”  Yes- I was in quite good company.  I tried to keep the sniffles to a minimum while videotaping…but hearing your son singing in Japanese, “Thank you Mom and Dad for all you’ve done for me” can make even a non-cryer-type shed a few tears.  

Here is a 5 minute video overview of Owen’s graduation. You’ll see that Annie was involved, as well, as one of the younger siblings also attending the yochien.

So… I guess I’d better start making some fake white corsages… if all three of our children end up finishing college — only 14 more graduations to go!








3 thoughts on “The Graduate

  1. O Sue! I can’t believe Owen graduated from Yochien already!!! I loved the video and while i wish i could have been there, I’m really glad that i wasn’t. I majorly teared up during Owen’s seikatsu happyoukai, and i think i probably wouldn’t have been able to sniffle as quietly as you did!

  2. Congratulations Owen!!!

    When Luke graduated from yochien many of the mother’s wore kimono, so it was very colorful AND they made all the mothers stand-up front in lines as they called the kids names out in groups of 5s. I felt like I was graduating! The dads had to all sit in the back with their cameras.

  3. Congratulations to Owen! I loved watching the video. We have our own graduation ceremony at preschool each year so it was fun to compare. Hard to believe our Jordan will graduate from high school in June! I don’t know where the time went. We had a huge party for Sarah when she graduated, but with Brad still being unemployed, it is hard to plan. Hopefully the future will be brighter by then.

    Hope all is well! I miss hearing from you! Hugs all around xoxoxox!

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