Last night was our welcome party hosted by the Himeji Board of Education. I've been here 5 months and you may be wondering why our welcome party is so late, but it's because the new Australian ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) just arrived last month. The Australian teacher's contract is from January-December, which mirrors the Australian school year and the American teacher's contract is from September-August.
We were told about 2-3 weeks before the party that we would need to perform and that a Japanese administrator was going to perform for us as well. Since most of us are not good at singing and had no desire to get up in front of the group, the ALTs decided to select two representatives, one American and one Australian to sing. Alexis from America and Rosalina from Australia were our singing leaders! Yay for people who like to perform! Sometimes I wish I could play the guitar and sing because I think it would come in handy for the classroom.
The party was in the exact same place and room as the Dentist's Party that I previously posted about on December 30th. There were mostly principals and some administrators at the party. When we walked in a few minutes late, everyone was already there. Chairs were lining the wall and it was primarily men sitting in them. The ALTs were on one side of the room and the principals and administrators were on the other side of the room. It felt a bit awkward, kind of like a Jr. High School dance with all of the kids lining the walls because they are too shy to mingle or dance.
I forgot to take pictures until the middle of the evening, so I don't have that many.
Principals & Administrators (Wall Flowers)
The superintendent welcomed us while our boss, Iizuka-sensei did all of the translating. We were told to split up and mix together. There was a long buffet table in the middle of the room and about 6 round tables without chairs spread across the room. So, we all went to different tables and stood next to the various principals/administrators. I stood with Mr. Anno, my principal from Masui Jr. High School. He’s so kind! There were some more speeches and we toasted each other with beer and later saki. We made small talk and ate some really good food, sushi, nabe, fried chicken and fish, etc. It was really nice.
Julian and John
Mac, Me and Julian 2
The ALTs had to introduce themselves to the audience. Then Alexis and Rosalina each played the guitar and sang some songs. John Roy tried to recite a poem by an Australian poet, but realized in the middle that it was too difficult to translate and suddenly he became shy and apologized and got off stage. It was a good effort. Next, it was the Japanese staff's turn to perform, so one of the administrators played the piano while he sang opera at the same time. He played a couple of songs and then he asked that each group, the Australians, Americans and Japanese to sing their respective national anthems. And for our final song, the entire group sang the famous Japanese song called "Sakura" together. I think that was my favorite part of the night. It was really sweet. Welcome to Japan!
Rosalina Strumming and Singing
Opera Singer and Piano Player
Australian National Anthem
American National Anthem