I Think I'm Turning Japanese
I just returned to my base school, Nagamine, after watching the 6th graders graduate from elementary school. It was, of course, conducted entirely in Japanese, which means I understood about 1/4 of what was being said. The main gist was pretty plain, though: 6th graders enter, receive their diplomas one at a time, Kocho sensei gives a speech, PTA gives a speech, songs are sung, and the students leave.

If you ever go to one of these graduations, you're not going for the rehearsed speeches or the long sessions of clapping or the possibility of seeing someone (most likely an adult) burst into tears for no particular reason. You're going in order to see what kind of crazy getup these students come up with.

1) short skirts
First and foremost, you cannot help but notice the absurdly short skirts some of the girls choose to wear. A couple girls' skirts barely peeked out from under their sweaters. I think I might have spotted butt cheek. Keep in mind, these are 11 or 12 year old girls, so I don't think they were trying to go for the "sexy school girl" look. I can't help thinking what the hell the parents are thinking when they okay this fashion choice. "You look so cute! You should pair that 2-inch skirt with some thigh high stockings! A pedophile's dream!" Not to mention, it is about 3 degrees inside the auditorium. I am surprised no one died of hypothermia.

2) culottes
I didn't realize people still wore these outside of a Great Gatsby croquet themed party. Really, this is a popular enough "dressy" look for boys that clothing stores are selling them non-ironically? But at least the boys wearing culottes were owning it, striding down the aisle with heads held high. I can't help but wonder if the culotte-clad boys were participating in some kind of fashion show chicken. The first person to balk and change into normal pants loses!

3) neck scarfs
I actually quite like this look. Sure, the plaid usually clashes with some other pattern in the outfit, but it makes the girls look like a flight attendent, so you can't help feeling like they must be really nice and gracious people. They might even offer you a ginger ale if you're lucky.

4) sweater vests
There is nothing bad I can say about the sweater vest. I think it is a look that anyone can pull off, no matter what style you're trying for. But, I must wonder why all the kids wearing sweater vests only chose varying shades of blue. Is there a rule in Japan that you can't have a non-blue sweater vest at graduation?

5) blazers (with or without contrast piping and a crest)
Every girl who wore a blazer either had a family crest or contrast piping. Or, if she was really going for it, she had both. Extra points if her buttons are gold.

I don't know if it was because the auditorium was mind-numbingly cold, or I had way too much sleep last night, or I was just that into the fashion choices of these rambunctious 6th graders, but I didn't find one moment of the ceremony boring! That's saying a lot, since I have the attention span of... hey look, it's lunchtime!

3/23/2011 07:08:50 pm

FYI: Our sweater vests were also blue. I thought it was because blue and white are our school colors. Two students wore bright yellow and stood out like crazy. What were their parents thinking?

3/24/2011 02:07:48 am

Once again, quite amusing, just like the sea turtles...

3/25/2011 09:34:19 am

I didn't know those were called culottes...very funny post, I needed that!


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